20th Lake Rotoiti – Antique & Classic Boat Show – 200+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos










20th Lake Rotoiti – Antique & Classic Boat Show – 200+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos

On the 1st weekend of March we travelled south to Nelson for a wee escape. Just by chance (yeah right says the wife) there was a classic woody event on. I have seen and heard a lot about the Antique & Classic Boat Show that is held every year on Lake Rotoiti, one hour south of Nelson but I had never attended. We were staying with good friends in Mapua so early on the Sunday the men folk packed up the car  and headed off. We arrived at the lake as everyone was dusting off  / polishing their pride and joy – I understand there was a social event on the Saturday night and a few looked a little ‘dusty’ themselves.
The venue is just mind blowingly spectacular – and I have not seen so much varnished wood in one place in NZ before. Combine this with a very laid back southern friendliness and we had a great morning.
The woodys on show ranged from vintage radio controlled speedboats, sailing dinghies and speedboats to 100 mile-an-hour hydro-planes. Check out the movie of the hydro-plane Elray III below.
The photos above are intended to give you an insight into the show, warts and all – it’s not a gallery of perfectly presented craft.
Enjoy, we did.

4 thoughts on “20th Lake Rotoiti – Antique & Classic Boat Show – 200+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos

  1. Can anyone tell me about a little boat called a saga craft I’m looking to buy, runs around a 10hp Johnson, ply bottom and teak I think on top??


  2. Fantastic photos, what a great collection of boats with some real works of art. I especially like the photos of the Bruce Crandall designed (1930s) ‘FLYER’ (pic P 1050501- Might be wrong but looks like one) If it is, these have a massive amount of tricky framing work and come 2 sizes, one around 13ft for 1.5 Litre engines and one around 18ft for (originally) a flathead V8. There is a nice video on You Tube of one built in Finland and lengthened to 19ft and V8 powered in action (You Tube search for -Flyer 20 ) Almost bought the plans from a guy, David N. Goodchild from Bala – Cynwyd ( Penn) in the states, who reproduced hundreds of boat plans (amongst other things) from the 20s to 60s, – (even a few old NZ boats) but thought the cost of wood would be prohibitive here. Unfortunately the guy suddenly closed the site and sold his house due to suffering medical problems, but I managed to get a few plans of old small yachts and speedboats, plus a plan and build instructions/ methods for my Schock 15ft daysailer before he closed shop. Plans for ‘Flyer’ and many others are still available free from wooden boat sites.


  3. Just going to mention the Safa Craft but JTD beat me to it. My fathers 2nd cousin Russell Bullivant made these boats in the 50s and early 60s in Christchurch. They originally wanted to make a perfect ski boat as his son Vaughan and daughter Vernia were both at one time NZ male and female ski champs. (Vaughan holding the NZ ski jump record for around 20 years and one of the originators of barefoot skiing in NZ) Both my father (Vaughan Bullivant) and Russell were cousins and best mates who were right into boats, when we all lived in the South Island.They both swapped christian names with each others sons, – me being John Russell Bullivant and Russells’ son being David Vaughan Bullivant (confused?) also way back the family were apparently hyphenated Vaughan/Bullivants to add even more confusion.
    The Family moved to Australia in the 60s where Vaughan demonstrated barefoot at Aust water shows as well as Cyprus Gardens in the states, where at one display he had a serious skiing accident (hitting a tower barefooting backwards and being underwater for 11 minutes) but made a miraculous recovery. Vaughan went on to start the ‘Natures Own’ health supplement company and after selling that, owned Daydream Island in the Whitsundays for a number of years (totally rebuilding and re-modelling it)
    I saw one of the old Safa Craft dinghys on Trade Me a while back. but unfortunately it was in the South Island. I would have bought it otherwise. I don’t think they built any boats in Australia.


  4. Stunning! Absolutely stunning! Thought the Bren gun on the runabout was a great idea – could have used one last Wednesday off Fitzpatrick Bay when an italianate looking launch came past us at 16 – 18 knots and about 6 metres away (We were anchored)
    Re pic P1050405, the varnished Safa Craft; I’d bet (a small amount 🙂 ) it’s the one that used to belong to our family. My father (with me along) drove down to Christchurch and picked a new bare hull from Bullivant’s and trailed it back up to Blenheim, where we spent interminable hours varnishing it inside and out.

    Photo added below Alan H


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