View Full Version : The Greatest Weekend and the Mahurangi race

John B
01-29-2001, 10:44 PM
On friday I thought it was doomed.
Raining. Wind warning. Cold.
There was a lurking high pressure system waiting though, so instead of going late friday to the Mahurangi classic and wooden boat regatta , we left Saturday morning.
It was overcast and the windwarning was still there, but we had our sail of the season covering the 23 miles to the Mahurangi Harbour in 3 hrs dead with 10 knots and twice 11 knots showing on our log on the burst.
Neither of those figures are normal or commonly expected on the Waione and our average speed of high sevens for the trip is good passage making for us. Two reefs and our baby jib plus staysail gave us all the power we needed for the broad reach down to the Tiri passage and the lead back up to the Mahurangi harbour.
Great sail.
We were late for the regatta start so it was pile onto the beach for us and a chance to look over some of the smaller craft.
A good collection of clinker, chined and ply boats of various types. My favorite was the 1908 "gunning dory" described to me ( at a distance) as a "Gardiner" ( could it have been Garden?) Someone on the forum will have a better idea than me .

The regatta itself was terrific to watch. Normally I'm right in the thick of it, but this time I was happy to sit back and observe.
Plenty of Logans or Baileys like the Waione out there, but the boats I watched in particular were the Herreschoff's, the Giles, The Alden.
Which boats performed above expectation?
For me it was Arcturus the big Alden schooner and Jonquil, the Buzzards Bay 25 with Lin and Larry Pardey in charge.
Both boats right up in the fleet and revelling in the 25 and 30 knots of wind.
A lay day the next day ( sunday) . The wind had dropped away to nothing and we spent the day lazing at a nearby island in clear water , sun and warmth.
In the evening we moved up to Moturekareka island and met up with Ngatira, A Bailey design, Sorceress the Dyarchy, Tern the Herreschoff leeboard ketch, Jonquil the Buzzards bay 25 and Baliceaux, the big Herreschoff ketch. ( a Bounty I think).There was another lovely local design ... a Woolacott there as well, but I missed her name.
Baliceaux had a Haven 12, newly restored, in company with her and we had a delightful evening sail on her. This little yacht was beautiful to sail , roomy for for 4 adults and appeared viceless to me in the hour I managed aboard. I'm told that it is a Herreschoff 12 and a half modified slightly by Joel White, but again someone on the forum will have more information I'm sure.

Monday on a long weekend. We're in the Auckland Anniversary day regatta passage race back to town. The day was magnificent but no wind first thing.
On with the motor at about 7.30 to get back to our start..... caught 3 fish trolling... Kirsty cooked em while I set the topsail, we did the race , we won the race, beating larger yachts across the line and the only gaff rig in it.

O yes

That was a great weekend. Bring em on like that one.

here's the URL for another 10 photos

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John R Smith
01-30-2001, 05:29 AM
Nice one, John - and you won the race (we expect nothing less from the mighty Waione, of course)! You guys are obviously used to rather more wind than we ever venture out in (25 to 30 knots, hell's teeth). Your regatta sounds a bit like our Falmouth Classics, which is held in August each year.

What interests me is how you guys with big (or bigger) boats adjust to the scale of the thing, and the problems of handling it. Kate and I were wandering around the yard at Gweek Quay on Saturday, and they have three Bristol Pilot Cutters in there at the moment (they are about 50 to 60 feet long). Lying alongside one were the spars - I could JUST about lift one end of the boom! I suppose you have a lot of tackles and purchases and winches and things . . .


01-30-2001, 07:16 AM
Here in Marblehead, William Chamberlain was building boats in 1908 and one of his popular models was a 19' gunning dory. John Gardner from Mystic Seaport knew Chamberlains boats and Gerald Smith's 17' version, and drew up a 19' boat (different especially in that it is the same on both ends) to be built in plywood. Whether any of these boats is the gunning dory in your pictures I don't know. I know I like the mizzen. The Haven is Joel White's version of the 12 1/2 with a centerboard not a keel. Thanks for the telling of a great weekend.

John B
01-30-2001, 04:38 PM
John ,
Waione's gear is light but the sail areas are large. I too, look at the big boats and wonder how they do it when I see the size of some of those spars. In my view it's all about reducing friction and keeping the purchases down to the minimum needed to do the job.
There are advantages with these old rigs though.
The jibs are small, so easy to handle. the main boom is long so that the extra sail area is compensated for by the additional leverage gained.
Talking friction...... the anchor on Waione is easy to get up. Much easier than on any of my friends 30 footers, and that is because of the roller bearings in our anchor fairlead/ spare man. Just because of the smooth running.

Thad thanks for that info on the gunning dory.

01-30-2001, 05:39 PM
Nice boats, thanks for sharing.

01-30-2001, 06:47 PM
Sounds like a great time John.I'll keep those pictures in my mind's eye while shoveling out from the latest snow.Whoops,it looks like rain.Thanks.

Art Read
01-31-2001, 03:29 AM
John.... Is that Buzzard's Bay 25 you refered to a new build? I thought at least most of the originals were accounted for here in native waters. Any pics of it?

John B
01-31-2001, 02:50 PM
Art, I only took this 1 photo of Jonquil, the Buzzards bay 25, just as they were setting sail.
We then sailed up the harbour ( to windward in very light and shifting wind), where she handed out a bit of a drubbing to us.
The boat was built about 1990 or so and is unusual as she ( now I'm dipping into memory here) was caulked every second plank and glued the other. At least , thats what I was told a few years ago by the guy who was maintaining her for the owner.
Currently, the Pardys have some sort of arrangement with the owner and are sailing her. Larry did say he is thinking of building one himself so maybe we'll get a few more about the place. Certainly, the boat is a very good performer and easy on the eye.
Here's hoping.

Art Read
02-01-2001, 03:21 AM
Thanks John... Nice to see 'em still getting built! I thought there might be problems with obtaining the "rights", then again, I might have read something about a way around that. So tell me... Does EVERYBODY in N.Z. sail?

John B
02-01-2001, 03:47 AM
No, I just think that the ones that do are loud.

I asked my 9 year old if she had any friends or even knew anyone who went sailing from her school and the answer was no.
The day before,at the end of the race ( did I say anything about winning that race )(har har ) she was holding the Waione up to the wind in about 10 knots too much wind to have a topsail up , while mum and dad clawed the thing down.She did a good job too.

at Christmas we met up with some good friends of ours at Kawau island in the gulf who had their 2 week old boy on board.
Now what sort of chance has that boy got of having a normal life.
You know what its like Art,....people in boats, they get passionate about it.

02-01-2001, 06:57 AM
Plans and the right to build most Nat Herreshoff designs are available from the Hart Nautical Collection at the M.I.T. Museum, Cambridge, MA, USA. Years ago the curators were tight with the plans, but Kurt Hesselbalch (kurt@mit.org) the present curator is likely to be most accomodating. Good man.

Garrett Lowell
03-09-2005, 04:19 PM
Another great revisit.