The Moreton Bay Classic – PART TWO – The Race

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The Moreton Bay Classic – PART TWO – The Race

Following on from yesterdays story showcasing the inaugural running of the Moreton Bay Classic – probably the biggest classic one day on-the-water event in Australia, today we get to see the race fleet up close. The last group of photos are from the post race festivities in Horseshoe Bay.                                                                                                                           If you missed yesterdays story – scroll down to view it or click this link  https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/07/04/the-race-social-event-that-stops-the-bay-the-moreton-bay-classic-part-one/

As mention yesterday – the time is long overdue for an event like this on the Waitemata – no drag racers, no show ponies, no big ego’s or bad attitudes and no 24hr marathons  – just a good old fashioned woody day out accumulating in a bay for a BBQ. Details soon. 

The Race/Social Event That Stops The Bay – The Moreton Bay Classic – PART ONE

The Race Social Event That Stops The Bay – The Moreton Bay Classic – PART ONE

Todays mega woody story comes to us from Brisbane based woody Andrew Christie, who regularly sends in reports from the woody movement from across the ditch. Todays is a goody, so find a comfy spot and enjoy 🙂 Take it away Andrew – 

“For my part I have long looked across the Tasman Sea towards the Waitamata Harbour with envy.  The number of classic boats and classic boat events there is the stuff of magic and dreams for a wooden boat tragic.

Here on Moreton Bay in South East Queensland, its own boating paradise, we had nothing to compare until a grudge match between young Jacob Oxlade and Paul Crowther, bubbled to the surface in a throwaway challenge that snowballed in to the largest event for classic wooden boats that Moreton Bay has ever seen last Saturday, 25 June 2022.

Jacob Oxlade, 24 a qualified Master has the good fortune, skill and presence that has seen him become skipper of the South Pacific 11 a 72 foot vessel designed by Eldridge MGuiness and built by the famous Norman R Wright & Son in 1962.  Jacob skippers the South Pacific from Far North Queensland to Tasmania and has formerly skippered other known Moreton Bay Classics, Bali Hai, Mohokoi, Lady Brisbane and others.  Paul Crowther is a member of a successful business dynasty who has recently become the proud owner of the Mohokoi a 70 foot vessel built by Wayne Tipper in 1995.

Jacob in South Pacific was escorting Paul to Myora on North Stradbroke Island, an anchorage favoured by salty Classic Moreton Bay Cruisers as Paul got to know the ropes. As it happened, Mohokoi was ahead of the South Pacific and Paul slowed to let Jacob enter the anchorage first.  As is the nature of such things, an argument then ensued about who was first and who was fastest.  The gauntlet was thrown down by Paul and the challenge accepted by Jacob.  It was on.  The “Race that Stops the Bay” was suddenly being promoted on local classic boating social media but quickly became the “Event that Stops the Bay” to accommodate fears relating to insurance and other regulatory matters that tie down our modern nanny world.

Jacob hoped to attract perhaps eight of the known larger classic vessels and about ten smaller ones for an event he hoped would be reminiscent of old photographs he had seen of the processions of classic boats that escorted the Britannia up the Brisbane River on the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to Queensland in the 1970s.

Jacob regrets that the entry form he published was not designed to accommodate the sheer volume of entrants that he had to process.  Thirty-One classic vessels registered to actively participate in a race of 10.9 nautical miles from Green Island near Manly Harbour in Moreton Bay to South West Rocks at Peel Island. Seventy-One classic vessels registered as spectators.  Jacob counted One Hundred and Twenty Classics in the post-race anchorage of Horseshoe Bay and more again were present close to shore before the starting gun. Entries continued to pour in after close of registration and even on to the day of the event itself.

Jacob is cognisant that each of these classic wooden boats is unique and special.   He inherited his love of them from his father Paul Oxlade who would take him boating from a young age, where Paul Oxlade would point out each of the old Queensland woodies, being able to name their owners, builders, build dates and slip ways, a remarkable skill seemingly only shared by the now Skipper of the Lady Brisbane Mark Nielson.  Such was his father’s inspiration that Jacob became a Master in his own right who desires to share his love of these classic vessels with his own younger generation.  He believes he has come some way to achieving this goal with what is to become a regular event in what is now known as “The Moreton Bay Classic”.

The race format was kept simple with the primary focus being on a day out and participation which had to be both easy and free as an antidote to our post Covid 19 world.  It was not a navigation event or log race. It was simply a race from post to post but with a handicap on each boats’ start times set by William Wright, a third generation boatbuilder and naval architect with the Norman R Wright & Sons dynasty who handicapped them according to their waterline length, horsepower and top speed.  First across the finish line was the Coral Sea, followed by Floodtide, Lady Mac, Nyala and Tamara.  A best and fairest award of a Garmin watch was won by the Skipper of Mohokoi, the decision being made by John Stewart, Commodore of the Breakfast Creek Boat Club.  The watch was donated with thanks to Gordon Triplett from Garmin.

Because this year’s event occurred spontaneously and without much notice, a fact belied by the sheer number of participants, it is intended to hold the event once more next year to allow those people who missed out a chance to attend, after which it will become bi-annual, to be held in the winter of each year of the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Festival.  The timing is designed to take advantage of the beautiful Winter conditions Moreton Bay experiences and to allow those vessels making their way North for the Winter season both from Tasmania and the South generally to participate. The date has already been set at 24 June 2023 which coincides with the commencement of the Queensland School Holidays and which avoids conflicts with other events listed on the Boating Industry Association’s calendar.  In the event of poor weather a contingency plan for celebrations at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s Canaipa campus are in place.

It is Jacob’s intention that next year all of the classic vessels will be entered as participants with any moderns to be registered as spectators as he explained there was confusion in the minds of classic owners unfamiliar with the format of the new event this year with the result many were shy, entering only as spectators.

At the conclusion of the race festivities continued with a presentation that occurred on the beach at Horseshoe Bay, where a feast of seafood, a lamb on a spit, and a pig on a spit was provided free of charge to participants.

Jacob focused specific attention on safety and an avoidance of inconveniencing non participants, the course being designed to avoid conflict with bay ferries or creating wake on local beaches.  The event was run in consultation with Maritime Safety Queensland and the Water Police who reported no negative occurrences from the event.  Congratulations must go to Jacob and Paul for their thoughtfulness in providing both general refuse and recycling bins at the beach function and for organising a clean-up of the beach the following day such that it was left in better condition than before the presentation.

Thanks must also go to Paul Crowther who paid for the spit roasts and a live band out of his own pocket, Bryant Engineering, the Queensland Gardner specialists who provided the seafood and who operated the rotisseries and set up and pulled down the beach facilities the day before and after the event and to Tony from Tony’s Boats and Marine who paid for bread, onions, napkins and the other bibs and bobs that made the barbeque a success.

The event was filmed by Nick Cornish who runs Game Rod Media so expect a quality documentary about it in the near future.  A Facebook group for the Moreton Bay Classic features footage of the vessels and the event and provides updated information future events.

With a view to keeping the event free to participate in, Jacob and Paul are looking for sponsors and are floating the idea of providing a cap or pennant to commemorate each future event which will bear sponsor logos.

And so a new event was born, the fruit of a throwaway challenge, but which highlighted the health of classic wooding boating in Moreton Bay.  Make sure you support the Moreton Bay Classic and see you on the waters of Moreton Bay on 24 June 2023, and suffer in your jocks on the Waitemata Harbour as it is warm and dry here in Queensland.”

I think waitematawoodys needs to look into pulling a similar event off on the Waitemata – back to you all ASAP with details 🙂 Alan H

The Race – below is just a tease – come back tomorrow for photos from the course 😉

Maire – Where Is She Now

Kawau Island 1950’s
1954 ex K Ricketts
Early 1980’s
Post 1989

Maire – What Became Of Her

Woody Greg Philpott is on the hunt for the ex work-boat Maire, Greg has pulled together the below intel on the vessel but the trial drys up late 1998 >> on wards. Greg would also like more inset into when she was operating in Auckland in the 1960’s/1970’s. Have a read and let us know if your are able to close the story off. 

Maire was built by Roy Lidgard, in his boatbuilding shed in Smelting House Bay on Kawau Island around 1949. She was approximately 42 feet long and originally powered by a 4 cylinder, 88hp Kelvin diesel.

Maire was used by the Lidgards for their own use, towing and workboat activity mainly to tow logs from the Coromandel and barges of ships dunnage that had been milled by the Lidgards on Kawau Island for supply to Union Steam Ship Company ships in Auckland.

She was acquired in the mid 1950’s by Alwyn (mostly called Allan) Horsfall who was then the owner of the Mansion House property on Kawau Island.

It looks like she ended up in Auckland for much of the 1960’s and 1970’s and ownership possibly rested with a Theo Brian Thomas who was based around Panmure. From there Marie was sold to Andrew Paterson who converted her for charter fishing use in the 1980s and operated her firstly out of Sandspit and later out of Whitianga. During his time of ownership of Maire, in July 1981, Paterson removed the Gardner engine and gear box to install a GM motor and also changed the wheel house windows giving them a forward rake.

Marie was sold in 1985 to Neil Hopkins who also operated her out of Whitianga along with his son Grant. Next owner was Ross Packer who owned her from 1996 until 1998.

It is at this point that the trail goes cold; she was sold and believed to have been relocated up north to either Mangawhai or Mangonui. And her name was changed. At one point, one of the previous owners was contacted by the Marine Department questioning why all identifying pieces from the boat (life rings, name board etc.) had been found on a beach at Great Barrier. She was also later apparently seen up on the hard at Te Atatu as an unfinished project.

INPUT from Grant Thomas 

I had also been wondering what had happened to Maire. My Dad was Brian Thomas and he bought her off Horsfall approx. 1962.

I never realised she was originally used for towing etc but that would explain the extra lower belting etc. We owned her for 10 years and used her as a snapper fishing charter boat in the weekends plus went cruising on her in the early years. I was told that Horsfall sold her as she drew too much for the Sandspit run. Lidgards then built the Kawau Isle which looked just like the Maire but less draft.

Maire was 40 foot and drew 5 foot 6″ but 6 foot steaming. She was very slack bilged and use to roll  badly. We kept her up the Tamaki River at Waipuna Rd on the jetty Dad built. We used to slip her at Owen Woolleys yard but she was 20 tons and really too heavy for that slipway. So Dad built his own slipway which is still operating today. I have a great photo of her on the slip.

We did all sorts of commercial work with her, she was a very capable vessel and she was always kept well painted.At the same time we owned the HDML Alert and so there was always a huge amount to do. I spent most of my younger years working very hard trying to maintain these two boats. We also ate a hell of a lot of fish as my Dad was a top fisherman and Maire was a popular boat to charter.

INPUT from Colin Silby

Maire was sitting awaiting repairs shall we say at the Te Atatu boating club when sold. The new owner renamed her Lola May after his mother and sailed her down to Christchurch. On her return back up she settled on a sand bank off Waihi. As the tide dropped she lay over and flooded. I was involved in her salvage and brought her to Westpark where she was on sold.

Bill Couldrey And His Boats – Help Wanted

BILL COULDREY AND HIS BOATS – Help Wanted

Book author and publisher – Jenni Mence (she will hate me using that intro, but its true) whose last book was the uber cool – ‘K CLASS – The Hauraki Gulf’s Iconic Racer Cruiser’, has committed to another mammoth publication. This time focusing on the Arnold Francis (Bill) Couldrey design and boat building bloodline.

Currently in the final research phase, Jenni has called out to WW readers for help identifying the boats and discovering / confirming things like –  the boats built and when, the current owner and/or anyone (owner or otherwise) who has a story to tell about the boat. Jenni would also love to talk to anyone who has memories of Bill himself.One has to assume many of the boats won’t have lasted the distance, however there may still be stories or family photos hanging around of them.
To help keep things semi organised we have broken it into loose categories

MULLET BOATS / 18 FOOTERS & SAILING DINGHIES

# Athena # Shamrock # Hawke # Limerick # Mamaru # Surprise 

# Desdemona # Lanai # Freedom # Nancye # Sonoma # Salome 

# Tamarus # Gay # Maui # Nudger # Kea # Mawera. 

YACHTS

# Gayleen # Awatere # Tarawai # Ocean Phoenix

LAUNCHES

# Pirimanu # Kereru # Cleone # Manunui # Reremoana # Tirimoana # Lisa Ann

# Rag Doll # Natalie # Cabaletta (may have previously been called Latitude) # Deborah Ann

Any further information anyone has on any of these boats – or other Couldrey boats we may not yet have identified would be really appreciated. 

As a reward for your input, everyone that helps out will go into the draw for a copy of Jenni’s K CLASS book + the best photograph submitted (judged by Alan H) also goes into a draw for a another copy of the book. Thats 2 Copies To Be Won. Draw Close off date is August 1st – just in time for Father’s Day

Initial Contact To Jenni Mence at jennimence@gmail.com