The 25-year-old sailed a superb finals series after a week of testing conditions off Takapuna, taking bronze and finishing ahead of her main British rivals in the race for Olympic selection.
At the first trials event at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta in January, Brewster finished 16th and behind the three other Skandia Team GBR contenders for the sole Beijing berth – a position which she believes worked to her advantage at the Worlds.
“It’s been a tough week, but I came here with no pressure really on me,” she explained. “I felt like I was really calm and just tried to sail like I would do at any other event.
”I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet that I’ve won bronze!”
The 32-year-old Royal Naval Officer Penny Clark, who gained an early advantage in the selection battle by finishing fourth and as top British at the Miami event, also secured her best ever Worlds result to finish in seventh place in New Zealand.
“It’s mixed emotions, really,” Clark explained. “My goal was a top ten finish so a week ago if someone had offered me a seventh place at the World Championships I’d have taken their hand off – it’s my best Worlds result, but Andrea did better!
“I really am pleased for her – she had a tough time of it in Miami, but we’ve been training hard together since then.”
Lizzie Vickers finished the regatta in 15th place, while Charlotte Dobson was 25th after picking up a third yellow flag penalty in the final race to marr what otherwise could have been a top ten finish.
The Laser Radial is the only one of the 11 Olympic sailing classes in which the Royal Yachting Association has still to identify its preferred candidate for the Beijing Games, and the Worlds was the second event in the official selection process for the class.
The RYA’s selectors will now determine whether the trials will move on to the next designated event, which would be the French Olympic Sailing Week at Hyeres in April.
Laser Radial World Championships, Takapuna (NZL)
1.Sarah Steyaert, FRA (40pts)
2. Xu Lijia, CHN (49pts)
3. Andrea Brewster, GBR (69pts)
7. Penny Clark (84pts)
15. Lizzie Vickers (121pts)
24. Charlotte Dobson (138pts)
26. Laura Baldwin (145pts)