Herne Bay Yacht Club + Primadonna Update

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HERNE BAY YACHT CLUB

I love the above photo c.1930 of the Herne Bay Yacht Club, a lot of classes on show.
These days there is a better chance of seeing a helicopter taking off from that spot 🙂
15-06-2020 Input below from Robin Elliott

The photo of the boats from the Herne Bay JUNIOR Yacht Club (as it was known then) was taken probably 1933 not long after it was formed for boys under 18 and the location is the foot of George Dennes’s slipway at Sarsfield St, Herne bay.
George Dennes was the commodore and the only adult in the club. All other positions were held by the boys, who ran all the meetings. Vice Commodore Geoff Hodgson was 9, Rear Commodore Jim Faire, aged 13, Hon Sec Colin Dennes ages 16.

At first the boats were a mixed bag of local sailing dinks, the odd Zeddie, ‘anything with a sail’ and as you can see there in sail number 10, what looks to be a Zeddie with a bowsprit and jib.
In the winter of 1934, George Tyler built the 12-foot Silver Fern to an Arch Logan design for Colin Dennes. Others followed and the club consolidated around the new Silver Fern Class.

The administration experience gained from running their own affairs was put to good effect when many of the members, once they reached 18 years joined Richmond Yacht Club. By 1939, the RYC Commodore was Rupert Thorpe, Vice Comm Jim Frankham; Rear Comm Colin Dennes. All three HBJYC graduates and all under 21.

George Dennes died in 1942 and the Commodore’s role was taken over by Alf Thompson (Chad’s father) and continued until the Silver Fern’s demise around 1952, swept way by the new fangled Cherub, Moths and Pennant classes.

Notable yachtsmen, in no particular order, who came through the Silver Ferns were Laurie Davidson, John Lasher, Jim Faire, Des and Ray Hurley, Roy and Frank Dickson, Alan Barclay, Brian Woods, Des Townson, Murray White, Neville Thom, Shirley & Roy White, John Taylor, Roly Moreland, John Peet ….. and on and on…..

It was a very important club in its time and its unique structure actually trained young yacht club administrators. No other club did that.

 

PRIMADONNA – Comes North
These days most woodys that you see on the back of Boat Haulage’s rig are heading south, so its great to see one arriving in Auckland. The 1910 ex whale chaser – Primadonna, arrived Friday afternoon at Pier 21.
A few days of TLC from new owner James Hutchinson and then she will be back in the water. Hopefully another candidate for the Anniversary Day Tug/Work Boat race on the harbour 🙂
She came with a lot of documentation from pervious owners, so when I sight that, hopefully we can establish / confirm her provenance.
Read / view more at this previous WW story https://waitematawoodys.com/2017/04/19/primadonna/
16-06-2020 Input from Peter Beech (petethedeep)

“We had the pleasure of care taking the old Primadonna for a number of years over 40 yrs ago, we did a lot of cruising and have many wonderful memories of her.
 She was powered by a 3 cyl water cooled Lister about 30 hp, being long and skinny with a beautiful counter stern , she ran like a skinny hogget, was good for 9 kts and was miserable on fuel. (less than a Gallon per hr.)
I’d like to comment on the issue of “hearsay history”, I remember researching the whakapapa of the Primadonna by talking to the descendants of original owner, Alf Baldick who farmed in Onapua Bay in Tory Channel.
His nephew Ian Baldick told me that his uncle had her built in 1913 by Ernie Lane.
During the Great War they whaled out of Te awai iti, I have an old photo of her along side a beached whale in Tar White. 
From memory there were 4 Baldick brothers, Alf, Herman and Darcy (twins) both stood 6 ft 4″ in their stocking feet ! and Billy Baldick who farmed on Blumine Island,( another sister Ida lived with him, ) Billy was reputed to have built 200 clinker dinghys on the island, selling them to Sounds farmers.
One of their sisters married a Guard, a descendant of Jackie Guard, ( the famous whaler) and another married a Jackson, of the Jackson Bay whaling dynasty, so whaling was very much in their blood.
I was talking to Hermans daughter Grace one day about the Baldick boats, she said –
“The old people are dead and gone but their boats live on”
She also said that their lives revolved around their boats, they were their daily transport, their farm boats, their fishing boats, they built many of them themselves and repaired and modified them.
She said that once a year they would all gather at Maraetai Bay, line their boats up and have a regatta! Alf had the Primmadonna, Herman and Darcey had the Greyhound and the Daphnee,  Billy had the Waiata .
I dont know what become of the Daphnee, the Greyhound  with her beautiful clipper bow and counter stern eventually rotted away, the Dreadnaught was built by Herman and Darcey for their sister Emma Guard, very similar to the Greyhound but Emma wanted more beam and draft for stability so they could carry farm produce over Cook Strait to the Wellington markets.
Last time I saw her she was in Wellington, not sure where she is now. Gracey told me that when they were planking her, towards the end they ran out of copper rooves so used Halfpennies. 
I have Billies old Waiata  at home here in the shed, she would be one of the oldest boats in the Sounds, built by Ernest Berg around 1900′ ish..  she is a pretty, double diagonal, straight stemmed, with a lovely counter stern, she originally had a Glouster stern, or cut off counter, Billy took her to Ernie Lane and said “put a descent counter on her.” (she is a real classic and for sale to the right buyer, who wants a restoration project.
Local people in my fathers generation used to tell stories, like folk legends about The Guards and the Baldicks, they were probably illiterate, they spoke with a real south of England Cornish drawl that was so distinctive, they lived a very isolated but fascinating  lifestyle.
So these are local oral histories, they are not researched to see if we have got our facts straight, the old lady was right, the old people are dead and gone and now their boats are well over 100 yrs old and wooden boats no matter what their condition are all restorable.
Unfortunately the old people never wrote down their stories and when boats outlive living memories they become fairy tales.
30 yrs ago I went around alot of the old timers and wrote down alot of their memories about the old Sounds launches and collected a lot of old photos, I’m pleased that I did that because all those old boys are dead and gone now.
Waitamata Woodys is doing just that in digital formate which is wonderful and should be encouraged because it ensures that the stories and the spirits of our old people in these wonderful craft live on”
Primadonna heads north
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WCW Riverhead June2020

RSVP waitematawoodys@gmail.com

9 thoughts on “Herne Bay Yacht Club + Primadonna Update

  1. Pingback: An Epic Tale of Whalers, Fishermen,  Farmers & Commercial Launch Masters | waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. Message from David Jones, M FD V Kelvin re history.
    Hi Baden built by Baldicks. Ian Baldick told me years ago they caught 3 whales with it.
    Later owned by Harry Mcmanaway as a fishing boat in the1950s, had 4jp lister ex Lister Enterprise. Was very fast. As I remember Ken Mc Arthur owned it at wairau bar as a fishing boat it caught fire and burned the deck house off. I don’t know who built the new deck house.
    Later it went back to Baldick descendents.
    The people who knew the history early of that boat are all dead. The Baldicks were mostly farmers, big powerful looking men but had an inherited heart problem and never lived to any great age.

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  3. I saw the lovely Primadonna moored off herne bay area today whilst taking my modern classic “Pink Panther” out for a motor run. Took some photos of her and have now looked her up on Waitamata woodeys to get great information on it. PP is long and skinny as well and does a similar speed with a 30HP volvo saildrive. Cheers and thanks for a great site.

    Like

  4. The photo of the boats from the Herne Bay JUNIOR Yacht Club (as it was known then) was taken probably 1933 not long after it was formed for boys under 18 and the location is the foot of George Dennes’s slipway at Sarsfield St, Herne bay.
    George Dennes was the commodore and the only adult in the club. All other positions were held by the boys, who ran all the meetings. Vice Commodore Geoff Hodgson was 9, Rear Commodore Jim Faire, aged 13, Hon Sec Colin Dennes ages 16.

    At first the boats were a mixed bag of local sailing dinks, the odd Zeddie, ‘anything with a sail’ and as you can see there in sail number 10, what looks to be a Zeddie with a bowsprit and jib.
    In the winter of 1934, George Tyler built the 12-foot Silver Fern to an Arch Logan design for Colin Dennes. Others followed and the club consolidated around the new Silver Fern Class.

    The administration experience gained from running their own affairs was put to good effect when many of the members, once they reached 18 years joined Richmond Yacht Club. By 1939, the RYC Commodore was Rupert Thorpe, Vice Comm Jim Frankham; Rear Comm Colin Dennes. All three HBJYC graduates and all under 21.

    George Dennes died in 1942 and the Commodore’s role was taken over by Alf Thompson (Chad’s father) and continued until the Silver Fern’s demise around 1952, swept way by the new fangled Cherub, Moths and Pennant classes.

    Notable yachtsmen, in no particular order, who came through the Silver Ferns were Laurie Davidson, John Lasher, Jim Faire, Des and Ray Hurley, Roy and Frank Dickson, Alan Barclay, Brian Woods, Des Townson, Murray White, Neville Thom, Shirley & Roy White, John Taylor, Roly Moreland, John Peet ….. and on and on…..

    It was a very important club in its time and its unique structure actually trained young yacht club administrators. No other club did that.

    Like

  5. Original name John. Owned and whaled by the Baldick family who were opposition to the Perano’s way back then

    Like

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