Woodys Classic Launch Easter River Cruise 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)

THE FLEET

AWARIKI – 1967 – Owen Woolley
MARORO – c.1905 – tba
NGARIMU – 1945 – Fred Goldboro
KAIKOURA – 1951 – Percy Vos
SUMMER WINE- Noel May – 1992
CINDY JANE – 1975 – Pelin Empress
MY GIRL – 1925- W H Hand Jr
RAINDANCE – 1928 – Lane Motor Boat Company
LUCILLE – Logan 33
LUCINDA – 1930 – L Coulthard

Woodys Riverhead Tavern Classic Launch Cruise

My Girl
Te Hauraki
Pacific
Manu
Waikaro
Raindance
Waione

Woodys Riverhead Tavern Classic Launch Cruise

Saturdays weather forecast was a wee bit gnarly but with the promise of an improvement later in the day – Harbour bridge > Kauri Point – unpleasant. Kauri Point > Herald Island – average. Upper Harbour > Hotel Good.

The time ashore was perfect, great location, service and the food very good. Return trip ok, except for between the Hobsonville and Te Atatu area – SW wind was whistling thru from the Waitakere Ranges.

We had 10 woodys turn out, 4 of them being newbies to the creek – Awarua, Manu, Margaret Anne and Waione – nice boats, nice people 🙂

Thanks to everyone for a great day.

(most photos have captions – scroll over to view)

Auckland Anniversary Day Classic Regatta – Launch Race + Video of Mahurangi Regatta A Division Start

1st Across The Line – Kaikoura

Auckland Anniversary Day Classic Regatta – Launch Drag Race

Monday saw 10 classic launches brave the inner harbour conditions to contest the annual round the bouys, jandal to the floor romp, to see  who has the most slippery haul or deepest pockets (big engine and fuel). There is a handicap system but let’s not kid ourselves – its first across the line that gets the glory. This year Kaikoura claimed the honours. Photos from Nick Davidson onboard his woody – Juanita, parked off the harbour port rounding mark close to Orakei Wharf.
LINE: 1. Kaikoura 2. Fleetwing 3. My Girl HANDICAP: Fleetwing > Kaikoura > Paika > My Girl > Cindy Jane > Callisto > Waikaro > Kumi > Laughing Lady > Shearwater (Full details below)

Some people take this race very seriously, earlier in the week I witnessed Fleetwing’s keel getting the Jenny Craig treatment (LARGE sections removed) and a new prop added 🙂 

Video Footage of the 2022 Mahurangi Regatta A Division Yacht Start


Two Questions

1. What is sail #3445 doing in that stunning line up of classics. Two points (a) its not a classic (b) it pollutes the image

2. Who was calling starting tactics on sail #A11 (Ida) No room at the inn for them. Maybe they also thought 3445 shouldn’t be there and could squeeze them out 🙂

More & Better Photos At The Link Below

Image gallery can be viewed here https://lissaphotography.queensberryworkspace.com/aadr22. If you buy a photo, 50% of the profits will be donated back to the regatta to keep making it better each year.

Update 03-02-22 Photo below ex John Wright of Fleetwing closing in on My Girl

Classic Wooden Boat Picnic – 20 photos

John Dory
Arohanui
Eileen Patrica
John Dory
Lady Crossley
Centaurus

Classic Wooden Boat Picnic – 20 photos

Firstly I need to thank Predictwind for Saturdays forecast, 100% on the button, as usual. One woody at the picnic didn’t come by boat based on the forecast published in Saturdays NZ Herald newspaper……………….. I suspect they also believe the horoscopes in the same paper are factual.


The morning started off a tad eerie with a sea mist blanketing a lot of the sea area off the east coast – but this burned off late morning and we then enjoyed perfect weather. The NZH and coastguard weather forecasts saw the numbers of launches attending drop to 12 but great to see so many turning up by car. Also very fine to have 3 past CYA chairman in attendance – Steve Cranch, Rod Marler and Peter Mence.
The waterfront based Stillwater Motor Camp is an idyllic setting for a gathering of classic wooden boats – deep water wharf access to raft up to + a tree shaded lawn. After some interesting docking (too many dockside expects) we had the launches tied up and everyone then decamped to the lawn. Special thanks to Mark Edmonds (Monterey) for again coordinating the venue.
A lot of the group had not caught up since the CV-19 lock-downs so it was good to swap stories and boating plans for the upcoming summer.


There has always been good camaraderie on the water between boaties and its something that we foster at Woody Classics Weekends – proof of it in practice is seen below in the photo of Rod and Fiona aboard Arohanui taking Murray Deeble’s Waikiore under tow. Towed him all the way back to the entrance to Milford Creek, where another woody – Jason Prew had ventured out in rather unpleasant conditions to get Waikiore back on her Milford berth. Well done to everyone.

Message for Murray – “should have bought a Yamaha” 🙂

Next Woodys on the water event – November 8th – Riverhead Tavern Lunch Cruise