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)
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
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 🙂
The 40’ Kaikoura was built in 1951 by P Vos. It is believed she was built for the owner of Kaikoura Island at the mouth of Fitzroy Harbour, Great Barrier Island, as transport between the island and Auckland.
She has always been a zoom zoomer – when launched she had twin165 engines that gave her a top speed of 25 knots. These days she is a regular compeditor (& winner) at CYA race events. The flybridge was added in 1988, by then owner Stewart Bridgford,
20-06-2021 – Input on Kaikours’s twin Perkins 510, 8.36 liter, V8 4-stoke diesels from Mark Erskine The 510 (cubic inch) V8 was the first V8 model manufactured by Perkins, UK in 1965 and were rated at 170 HP at 2,800 rpm and were used predominantly in trucks and a few bus models.
The 510 was followed by the more reliable, longer stroke 540 cubic inch V8 Perkins at 8.84 liters and 170 HP at 2,600 rpm.
Other than their considerable size and weight for a modest power output, the 510 (and 540) proved reliable enough in commercial vehicle operation, so would make good, reliable marine engines when run at constant lower revs and moderate loads.
“Kaikoura’s” previous Kermath inline 6-cylinder engines were side-valve (or “flat-head”) design and all side-valve engines have a lower crank center line to top of engine measurements than overhead valve and overhead cam inline design engines.
The lower engine height above crank shaft center line helps boat builders retain flat cabin floors in larger boat designs.
Most V8 design engines (including overhead valve) also have lower crankshaft center line to top of engine measurements because the cylinders and cylinder heads are inclined in “V” shape out either side of the crank shaft center line.
So although the 510 (and 540) Perkins V8 diesel engines are considerably larger and considerably heavier than the previous Kermath inline 6-cylinder engines for similar power output, the top of the Perkins V8 engine wouldn’t have been much higher than the top of the inline 6-cylinder Kermath side-valve, which means “Kaikoura” would have likely retained her same flat cabin flooring over the Perkins engines – a nice feature in all boats.
REMEMBER RIVERHEAD TAVERN LUNCH CRUISE ON SUNDAY – TIMES BELOW. Join in by car if you are boatless.