The Future of Classic Wooden Boating

I Think I’ve Just Seen Future of Classic Wooden Boating?

A pretty bold headline but what I saw on Saturday at Whangateau was special – have a good look at the photos & you’ll see –

1. A collection of very cool small boats (sail, oar,motor) some restored to concours condition, so just managing to stay afloat.

2. A group of boating enthusiasts of all ages & gender that just wanted to have some fun in classic wooden boats.

3. Everyone helping each other unload & rig up.

4. No macho, bump bump racing, just folks mucking about in boats.

5. Crusty old salts showing grand-kids how to sail.

6. BBQ’ed sausages in white bread.

7. Yachties that had become launchies that were now having to use their iPhone to Google “How to rig a Frostbite”

8. A classic dinghy that had been gifted to the next generation of yachtie that was now sitting on a state-of-the-art carbon-fiber beach trailer.

A lot of people help make the above happen but none of it happens without Pam Cundy & George Emtage, these two are the guardians of today’s venue – The Whangateau Traditional Boat yard.

They might not know it, but they are at the leading edge of the next stage of the classic wooden boating movement.

It was a great day, we need more of these 🙂 in the mean time – enjoy the photos. Remember click on any photo to enlarge it & on forward the link to today’s post to all your friends & tell them to cut that boat down from the garage rafters 🙂

28 thoughts on “The Future of Classic Wooden Boating

  1. Hi all,
    just before we disappear from the face page – a big thank you to those that have contacted us in support of the regattas, boat yard and the informal club. We are open to hearing all your ideas for the regatta days and club, or even if you just enjoy attending without a boat, please feel free to email.
    Our aim is to promote the restoration / preservation and use of our small vintage New Zealand craft and invite all wooden boat owners enthusiasts to participate with us.
    Ta Alan for your help.


  2. I really don’t see why the CYA couldn’t cater for the whole range of traditional boats. I was happy to fly the CYA flag from GlynBird when she was with me! Many people on classic boats asked me what CYA was -one now high profile launchie suggested Classic Yachting Australia……


  3. The zdys that appear in the photos with the newer looking sails are very kindly donated by Bud Nalder and made by Bud and George in the boat shed / work shop.
    Bud has set us up with cloth and a new sewing machine and tuition at the yard.


  4. I like your first line of thought “… that needs resurrection?”
    The zd class you see here are planked zdys real timber not ply. If you can find one and restore that then you have preserved and can enjoy a piece of nz history.


  5. Yeah right. We all thought that the Classic Yacht Association would assume the mantle of the Traditional Boat Association, but it didn’t…not interested.
    While I don’t subscribe to the old epithet of “The A class Club” for the CYA, there is still a lingering disappointment that the CYA would not extend its interests beyond the Logan and Bailey keel yachts to embrace grass roots small craft too. The Old Farts Club of some years ago was on the right track with its collection of Zeddies and Idle Alongs, but that faded as the Farts became even older.
    It has taken a certain chemistry of people, of place and of attitude to produce the miracle of Whangateau.
    Let’s embrace it (perhaps not barely though).


  6. I loved those photos. Has anyone a Zeddy that needs resurrection?
    Where do you find those gems? Are the plans available?
    How can I have some sailing fun as well as own a launch?


  7. Hi Warren,
    Please do email me and I shall answer your questions but for now:
    Briefly – The sailing days / steaming have always been a spare of the moment thing so advertising these was always going to be awkward. They are based on time and height of tide.
    The fleet of some 20 + traditional, planked, small craft are being offered on the now regatta days and are boats that George and I have restored over a 10 year period here at the yard. George and I maintain them and set them up on regatta days. We actually dont have any help to prepare for the regattas as led to believe, a huge task for the two of us and perhaps by forming a club we can find one or two that might like to help us.
    Now the regattas have picked up momentum we would encourage responsible owners to bring there own boats.
    It has been assumed that the yard has had a large staff and many volunteers this is simply not so. The work here the maintenance on the building and slipways has been carried out by George and I with some occasional help. George has tried to remain retired and I have always had boat building work come through the front doors I don’t need to advertise. The boat yard is not commercial and the money made here goes back into the boats and the running of the yard.
    Any interested peoples in the newly formed, casual, club shall also be associating with The Whangateau Boat Yard with the interests of preserving this wonderful facility.
    Hope this helps.
    We look forward to getting these fun days going for all – I have to add ‘responsible’ wooden boat owners to enjoy.
    I shall simply take your email address to inform you of an up and coming regatta.


  8. For those that enjoyed the days events or would like to participate in the future & or would like to support the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard in doing so – I am presently endeavoring to form a Traditional NZ Small Boat and Sailing Club, ( wooden craft, design, of other origin would be welcome) from out of the boat yard. The interest has been very encouraging but please bare with me in the forming of the club as work is already very pressing at the yard.

    George and I shall be in our 10 th year of Whangateau Traditional Boats, shortly, and we would like to invite you to a celebratory Regatta at the end of the year.

    Please do email me if interested in the informal Club and Regatta. I shall try to get back to you promptly however if you feel I have missed your email send another. I’m sorry but please don’t phone, best my working hours are not interrupted.

    Email :


  9. Baden it was great to have you and the boys along, we had a really relaxing time with you all – some regulars and some new boats and faces. George said please feel free to call by for a sail there’s always a yacht rigged and out on the beach that you can sail or you might like to take the 12 ftr for a run. Keep in touch.


  10. Thanks Pam and team for a great day. This is what boating is all about. This sort of thing brings back many memories for me and I am so glad my boys can experience this. It’s a shame it is so hard to find “a space” like this in modern society. Thanks again Pam & George let us know when you do it again.
    Baden, Morgan &Roger


  11. Late seventies VS I recall them, pre John Wellsford becoming a designer and Neil Beken was building the lovely Victorias, Nathan I should have come down in the mighty Waikiore was fishing out by Rangi on my own but forgot about Issy bay.


  12. We are fairly new to the wooden boating scene as recent sailors, and just love the atmosphere and warmth that Pam and George bring to these events. It was a lovely day’s sailing and a real joy to be out on the beautiful, crystal clear Whangateau with other wooden boats. The sausages were good too.


  13. Yeah. You would have a pretty good understanding Alan as we have exchanged a lot of emails in discussion. Thank you again for giving the boat yard here and George and I a voice.
    I’m trying to put some thoughts down for you to post but the big ” Get some work done!!!, the party’s over ” stick is being weilded from you know who. 🙂


  14. It occurred to me. A sort of deja vu really. Way way back in the mid ’70s there was this rather loose organisation -The Traditional Small Craft Society. The glue that held it all together was a magnificent journal edited by Pete McCurdy later the curator of the Hobson Wharf museum.
    We just used to have sail ins on the various bays around the soon-to-be-filled-in Auckland Harbour. Rain hail or gale, we’d just sail, row. steam or motor in on the tide.
    At Saturday’s regatta there were a few survivors John Pryor, Peter Sewell, Paul Gilbert and me. Any others want to ‘fess up? The Trad Small Craft Soc was just one of those delightful spontaneous groupings -the right crowd and no crowding.
    The journal stopped when Pete got really busy with the museum and, without Ficepuke or close communications, we dropped out. Maybe you are right -the boats are still up in the garage loft. There were periodic sail ins afterwards but generally unpublicised.
    Great times!


  15. So this is why no launches turned up to the CYA Round rangi+ Cake day…. Tino Rawa Trust, Iorangi and Dolphin of Leith had a great night anyhow. Looks to have been nice up Whangateau


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