Auckland Anniversary Regatta

1889 regatta photo ex Wilson & Horton

Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta

Late January > early February is always a big weekend on the yachting calendar – it is Auckland’s birthday and one of the lead events is the Anniversary Day Regatta – started way back in 1840 it is New Zealand’s oldest sporting event and in fact even pre-dates the America’s Cup by 11 years.

In recent years as competition of peoples leisure time has increased, the number of competitors has dipped, but the good news from a woody view point is the event has been propped up by the classic boating fleet and in recent years the inclusion of Tug/Work boat race and a classic launch, round the buoys drag race. If you are not away boating this long weekend, I would encourage you to visit the waterfront to catch some of the action – the Tug/Work boat race at 10am is a hoot. Best viewing spots found here


Its Regatta Day – Get Off The Couch

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Its Regatta Day – Get Off The Couch
The black & white photo above was taken 79 years ago at the 100th Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta. The woody front, right – PACIFIC, is owned by the Classic Yacht Association of NZ, Launch Captain – Nathan Herbert.
You could write a book on this woody, but to me the coolest thing is she was launched in 1917 & ownership remains in the same family – that is 102 years for those of your that failed school cert maths.
Today marks the 179th regatta & Pacific has recently undergone an extensive refit & in my eyes is presented ‘better than new’. Photos below to back that up 🙂
There are not many events in the world that are 179 years old & still running – so today, get off the couch & either hit the water in your boat or nab a prime waterfront viewing spot to see what makes Auckland, our harbour & classic woody fleet so special. Details on start times & viewing locations at the link below.

Beatnik + Mahurangi Regatta Reminder + Details On Sunday River Cruise + Auckland Anniversary Regatta Launch Race




Woody Colin Pawson sent in the above photo of the sloop Beatnik that he snapped during the week at Great Barrier Island. She is flying a CYA burgee, but doesn’t ring any bells with me, maybe a name change or a very new member?

Her ‘cockle shell’ clinker dinghy is rather cute.

Any of the woodys able to tell us more about Beatnik?


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If you’re a serious woody you will have already made plans to be at Mahurangi this coming weekend. As I have told you b4 it is the single biggest gathering of classic wooden boats in New Zealand. Lots to do & see for both yachts & launches + Saturday nights BBQ / dance ashore at Scotts Landing is huge.

You can find out more details at the link below. But for the launches, the classic launch parade meets off Scotts Landing at 10.15am, with a parade start time of 10.30am.

On Sunday at around midday there is a trip up the Mahurangi River to Warkworth – the Jane Gifford will lead the way, so we effectively have a pilot 🙂 It is a great trip & the event is being run to demonstrate support for the dredging / improvements to the basin. Details below.

I’ll post more during the week.


Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta – Classic Launch Race

If Mahurangi was not your scene or you get back early from the Mahurangi, this event is a must do to the ‘petrol-heads’ amongst us. After 100+ years the organisers of the AADR have resuscitated the regatta classic motorboat race. Details below ex Joyce Talbot

“It’s been 100 years or more since a race for power craft was part of the Auckland Anniversary Regatta. But this year, for the first time since the early 1900s, the regatta will feature a classic launch race – and we’d love for you to be part of this historic revival.

This “new” (old) event is the perfect opportunity to show off these wonderful vessels in front of a huge audience of spectators, and a chance to prove once and for all – who has the fastest launch of them all.

Time’s running out to enter the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Regatta and put yourself in the running to win cash, a huge pool of spot prizes including a holiday in Hawaii, and your name on our historic trophy collection.

Entries cost just $30, and every entry received will go in the draw to win a holiday in Hawaii plus loads more.”

Enter now at

Enquiries: 0800-REGATTA   Email:


Scows On The Waitemata

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Scows On The Waitemata
Late last year I was sent the two photos above by Ian McDonald whose sister-in-law was clearing out and old deceased Uncle’s stuff & came
across these photos.

Scows sailing goose-winged has a caption of 1920 Auckland Anniversary Regatta and, the other one is captioned Auck Ann regatta, 1900. Both have NZ Herald – Wilson & Horton stamps on the back. Both are about 12″ x 8″  in size.

Any of the serious classic sailers out there able to ID some of the Scows?

And a launch bonus photo today of Miss Helen on the beach at Russell c1950’s (photo ex Nathan Herbert exEric Lee-Johnson, Te Papa collection)

Russell,Te Papa, Lee-Johnson, Eric 1950's

Big Woody Weekend -120+ Classic wooden launch & yacht photos from 2017 Mahurangi Regatta


Big Woody Weekend -120+ Classic wooden launch & yacht photos – Mahurangi Regatta

Rather a large post this morning woodys – the long weekend started around mid-day Friday when I slipped the lines at the marina & headed up the coast for the Mahurangi Regatta weekend. Late afternoon & into the evening, Sullivans Bay started to fill up with classic launches & cruising classic yachts. Given the SW breeze the classic yacht race fleet were not far behind. Makes a pleasant change to get to see the fleet finishing in daylight 🙂

Saturday dawned as a repeat of Friday in terms of the weather – 10/10, & it stayed that way for the next 3 days – maybe summer has arrived.
For the last few years we have been trying to beat the drum & build interest > participation in a classic wooden launch parade as part of the weekends activities – well 2017 was the year that the classic woodys really made a statement – 35+ launches of all ages & sizes meet off Scotts Landing & proceeded to motor over to Sullivans Bay & parade along the beach front in a special lane that was laid for the parade. To all the skippers that made the effort to join in, many thanks for making the event special. To the skippers that remained at anchor, maybe next year ……… 🙂
While I have been told on numerous occasions that its a sailing weekend, the truth is that with the growth of the classic launch movement , the Mahurangi weekend is now the largest classic wooden boating event in NZ. So lets all enjoy the event & celebrate our magnificent classics. I do have one wee bleat about the weekend, but I’ll talk about that at the end of todays post.

I have broken todays pictorial into five parts – Launch Parade, Regatta Yacht Race, General Regatta, Kawau Island & Trip home / Auckland Anniversary Regatta

At the Regatta prize giving on Saturday night I was chuffed to accept on Harold Kidd’s behalf the ‘John Cole Trophy’ (photo below) – awarded for ‘aesthetic contribution to the Mahurangi Regatta’, when I told Harold about the award he was concerned that it had taken 80 years for people to recognize his good looks, I told him I think his looks were enhanced by the fleet of classics he has presented over the years at the regatta 😉
Not along after walking up to collect Harolds award I was up again – it was my turn this time – I was presented with the ‘Handicappers Trophy’ (photo below) for helping with the Launch Parade over the last 5 years.

I saw lots of cameras out there, so send your photos to & we will share them (the good ones) with the wider woody community.


LAUNCH PARADE (Hopefully I got everyone, if I missed you boat, sorry but one guy (only me on-board, family joined later) & one camera has limitations



KAWAU ISLAND – in case you did not know – the Kawau Boat Club rocks



As you mooch around classics one of the things you notice is that a  lot & I mean A LOT of the boats have dogs on-board, not big scary dogs, 99% of the time they are small / medium dogs & they tend to be very loved & very well behaved – I would estimate that 1/3 of the people that I regularly boat with have a pooch & that pooch is better behaved than most kids. So why would someone attempt to make a classic boating event dog free. Thats what the organizers of the Mahurangi Regatta tried to do this weekend, I say tried because common sense won out & the dogs stayed. But it really does worry me that they are people out there that would send the time & effort to try to change the council rules on a piece of public land just because they do not like dogs. Maybe next time they should try making it Kids Free 🙂 A word of warning, keep this up & you will lose a large chunk of your loyalists.

I will not bother to comment on the stanch of DOC & its apparant drive to make every beach / reserve dog free…….. that is another story.

Tug Boat Tuesday


Now folks if you are in/around Auckland next Monday, you must check out the Tug Boat Race that is part of the Anniversary Day Regatta – some would say its the best part 🙂 its certainly the most spectacular & it all happens in the inner harbour (refer chart below). Just make your way to a vantage point (pack the binoculars) & I can guarantee you will be entertained.
The race starts at 10.00am. off Princes Wharf.

If you are a float, give them plenty of room – they are deceptively fast & rather large 🙂

Yachts ‘versus’ Motor Boats

Yachts ‘versus’ Motor Boats 

29 Jan 1953 – the day it all turned to custard

Now its commonly accepted that a lot of yachties do not hold motor boat owners in very high regard, hopefully its a little different with the CYA members, but even to this day, fathers are telling little Johnny that he would have won the local yacht club Opti race if it had not been for that bl_ _ _y launch that went past.

I think Harold Kidd summed the situation well in the book ‘Southern Breeze’ (published 1999) – extract below:

“Launches were originally considered an integral part of the sport of yachting and civilized it, providing comfortable, safe & (initially) segregated accommodation for the former yachting widows & the children.

Soon, yachtsmen assimilated the new order. Launch owners went out of their way to render assistance to yachts in distress & provide a welcome tow home in flat calms. The relationship, however, between yachtsmen & launchmen was always a little flawed by the affected superiority of the yachtsmen who deprecated launches as ‘stinkpots’, but the truth was that most of the crews were interchangeable, well-know to each other & experienced in both branches of the sport. That situation prevailed during the ‘classic’ period to 1960, but the advent thereafter of fast planing craft in the hands of often totally inexperienced owners diminished to some extent the mutual respect between yachtsmen & powerboat owners”

 In my search for cool photos for waitematawoodys I have uncovered photographic evidence that it happened 7 years earlier than Harold thought, evidence of the exact day & event it all turned pear shape – 29 January 1953, Auckland Anniversary Regatta.

See photo above, the displacement launch in the middle of the photo is all good, the speed boat in the bottom right……………. you can just imagine the language aboard the yachts 30 seconds after this photo was taken.

From this day on we were all tarred with the same brush 🙂