Back in November 2021 after 32 years of ownership we sold the 1922 Dick Lang built launch – Lady Adelaide (link below) for Kerry Lilley. In reply to the question “what’s next” Kerry walked me along the dock to Awariki, a 32’ 1967 Owen Woolley built woody. Kerry has a long connection with the boat having worked on her when he was an apprentice.
First thing that hit me was the space – compared to Lady Adelaide, Awariki was a ballroom down below. As purchased she was a little tired, but no better person than Kerry to take her on.
Fast forward to the 2022 Woodys Classic Weekend at Clevedon Cruising Club and we get to have a sneak peek at the almost completed refit. As you would expect, very impressive.
Just back from a near perfect weekend cruising with a great bunch of classic wooden boat enthusiasts, up the Wairoa River to the Clevedon Cruising Club for an overnight shindig.
The weekend had all the right ingredients – great weather, cool boats, nice people + mouth-watering food, that always = a winner. Todays photo gallery comes to us from my cameras and Jason Prew’s new out of the box iPhone 14 Pro (I need one, I’m buying one).
By now regular WW readers will be familiar with the format of the weekend – we meet off the entrance to the Wairoa River and then weave our way up river to the Clevedon Cruising Club. The flotilla berths at the CCC dock, in front of their clubhouse, then we ‘open’ the boats for club member to view. Happy hour tends to start early up the river, and this weekend it was even earlier. Later in the day we retire to the clubrooms for a shared BBQ dinner, and live music.
This year the club organised a number of raffles and a mystery auction – the club and Woodys collectively raised over $3,500 for the new fuel jetty. Well done to everyone involved – I indirectly won a new bilge pump (my cabin boy, bid on a mystery package and one of the included items was the pump – and my bonus – he doesn’t own a boat)
Boats participating in the cruise were – Allergy, Awariki, Lady Clare, Lady Ellen, Merita, Mokoia, My Girl, Ngaio, Ngarimu, Raindance, Smooth Operator, Trinidad, Waikaro.
I’ll let the photos tell the story. Below are two videos which highlight the two extremes of classic wooden craft – Raindance at 7.5 knots and Jason Prew’s – My Girl, doing est. 24 knots 🙂 Thanks to Jason and Ant Smit for the footage.
As always – click on photos to enlarge 😉 ENJOY. Details on more Woodys Classic events below.
Ps that dessert plate wasn’t mine and I’m too nice a person to name the owner…… and equally no story as to why there is a photo of a skipper dipping wet on his duck board 🙂
The truely talented boating photographers talk about the ‘golden hour’, the period just before sunset and just after dawn. Rarely in a bay is it an hour, sometimes it is 10>15 minutes before the sun disappears behind the hills or clouds.
On the Thursday before Easter, this average photographer (me) arrived in Chamberlains Bay, Ponui Island at just the right time and captured some special photos of the woody launches gathering for the Woody Classics Weekend cruise the next day up the Waihou River to Paeroa.
Woodys Classic Launch Easter River Cruise To Paeroa
The Easter weekend cruise was always going to be a biggie – with most launches having to travel upwards of 10 hours to reach the final destination – the ‘waterfront’ Historical Maritime Museum & Park in Paeroa. Most of the woody fleet gathered Thursday evening in Chamberlain Bay, Ponui Island in anticipation of an early start across the Firth of Thames, to rendezvous with the launches arriving from Thames and to collect our guide / navigator for the trip up the Waihou River. I’d have to say that the straight line trip across the Firth of Thames was 4 hours of my life I’ll never get back 🙂
We meet just off the old Kopu Swing Bridge which was opened specially for us to pass thru – and the welcome / turn out on the old bridge was outstanding. Must have been a quiet day in Thames, maybe it was that it was Good Friday and most things (pubs etc) were closed 😉
We shot thru the gap and 10 minutes later our lead boat, with navigator on board, found a mud bank and were ‘stationary’ for over an hour. Once moving again the remainder of the 4+ hour journey was fun to travel together in close proximity, but the scenery got very repetitive and at 5 knots max – the going was slow. The skippers were kept awake by lots of locals who had gathered at wharfs and in paddocks to wave as we went past. The dodging of the occasional ‘grassberg’ (floating mid-stream) also kept skippers on their toes.
The final short leg from the main river to the Museum dock again saw the lead boat aground and a wait for more tide.
We sneaked in just before dusk, a very long 10 hour day.
Jason Prew and Peter Vandersloot oversaw the shoehorning of the 10 woodys into the docking area. Then it was ashore to stretch the legs and a BBQ dinner/ catch up. The Museum had set up an impressive and most appreciated dining / BBQ area for the crews to enjoy. Post dinner most returned to the boats for an early night.
Observation- it’s bloody cold up a creek in the middle of the Waikato, thank god for hot water bottles.
Saturday was another cracker autumn day. The crews enjoyed a trip on the classic launch – Ariana (skippered by Peter Vandersloot) to the Paeroa township for morning tea at the local RSA – hot scones and pastries – always a winner. To balance out the catering, the river trip was split in two – with 1/2 the crew travelling by bus and boating back and same same in reverse for the other 1/2.
The day saw a great turn-out of locals visiting the Museum and walking the docks. I would encourage you to search the following words Kopu Bridge / Waihou River / Maritime Museum & Park on Facebook – the weekend was covered by so many people – lots more photos and videos to see.
Special mention must be made to Peter Vandersloot who masterminded the weekend and was on hand to provide so many insights into the heritage of the area, vessels and personalities. The Museum’s Chairperson Colin James and partner Gloria (a trustee) who were everywhere when needed and helped the weekend run smoothly.
Lastly none of this would have happened without woodys Jason Prew from The Slipway Milford, and Kerry Lilley for pulling everything together – well done guys.
The return trip back down the river had its challenges, very complicated tide table – but to the best of my knowledge no one is still there 🙂
The Museum and their boat trips are a must do if you are passing thru or around Paeroa. And big ups to the local council and business association – Paeroa is a healthy, well presented town, and a credit to everyone living there.
Over the next week I’ll do additional WW stories on the Museum, the river trip to Paeroa on board Ariana and a few of the launches that made the trip.
(Woodys who attended – My Girl, Raindance, Awariki, Lucille, Summer Wine, Ngarimu, Lucinda, Maroro, Cindy Jane, Kaikoura, and guest appearance by Ariana – refer photos below)
(Photo credits to – Jason Prew, Linus Fleming, Andre Thomas, Andrew & Mechaela Dobbs and yours truly)
Family commitments & the weather meant that this years Xmas / NY cruise was a tad short this year e.g. 7 days & the location was a lap of Waiheke Island. A lot of classics were in the same boat (pun) with the weather so we tended to be in the same spot at the same time – good for photos 🙂
I’m sure I missed a few so I apologize upfront, I have also saved a few for separate ww posts.
Enjoy the gallery of classics, most I have been able to name (scroll over image) & you can enlarge photos by clicking on them 😉
I can’t wait for the Mahurangi Regatta weekend……………………