MAHURANGI REGATTA  2019 – The biggest & best classic wooden boat regatta in NZ – 90+ photos































MAHURANGI REGATTA  2019 – The biggest & best classic wooden boat regatta in NZ – 90+ photos

WoW what a woody weekend – simply stunning on all fronts –  sun > wind > location > people & of course the boats. On my estimate, the biggest turnout of classic wooden craft ever. Record numbers for Saturday mornings launch parade.
I’ll go out on a limb & repeat a comment made to me on the deck of Lidgard House, Kawau Island on Sunday night by one of our most prominent & influential classic wooden boat people – “Mahurangi is the real Auckland Anniversary Weekend Regatta” & after cruising back into Auckland today, & not seeing a lot of yachts, I would have to agree.
On Saturday between Jason Prew on My Girl & myself with Raindance we hosted three of the wooden boating world’s superstars – if you read or follow the WoodenBoat magazine, Classic Boat & the hottest property on the block – the vblog,
then the names Maynard Bray, Benjamin Mendlowitz & Steve Stone will be very familiar to you. These gents were motored around the harbour & very selectively photographed / filmed our beautiful woodys. When I mentioned that I had cancelled my trip to next months Hobart Wooden Boat Festival, one commented “why would you go – it’s all here” & woodys – it was.
I have never attempted to understand the ‘politics’ / issues between the Mahurangi Cruising Club & The Friends of Mahurangi people – but between them they turn on a wonderful day, that equals anything on the world classic wooden boat calendar. As with anything, a few wee niggles e.g. crap PA sound system at the beach prize giving meant most people didn’t know the results – but I can tell you that Tony Blake & the crew on Thelma gave all the other A division skippers as master class in regatta sailing. It was wonderful to see the big 5 Arch Logan yachts – Thelma (1897), Rainbow (1898), Ariki (1904), Rawhiti (1905) & Rawene (1908) all on the same race track together, for the first time ever (I think I’m right – Harold?) The results were:
Thelma, followed by Rawhiti, followed by Ariki, then Rainbow & Rawene.
As a result of playing driver for the overseas crew – I’m a little light on sailing photos, but you can see from the gallery above that it was a special day.
Well done MCC and F. of M. for another magic weekend.
If anyone else had the camera out & captured some goodies, email them to
We bailed out of Mahurangi on Sunday morning & headed to Kawau Island for some family R&R – photos below.
Question – what do you do when there is no shotgun to signal sunset & the lowering of the burgee? – well a few lads decided to bang some pots together, then drop the flags at Lidgard House – me thinks there might be a letter in the mail to certain members 🙂




Check out the video below of Rawhiti – sent in from Benjamin Mendlowitz from Off Center Harbour


Update – due to not all launches completing 2 laps of the launch parade – I missed photographing a few boats – photos below ex Justine Ricketts (edited by myself)


AND MORE – link below to the Off Center Harbour video of the 2017 regatta, featuring Steve Horsley’s stunning 1904 Chas Bailey Jnr – Ngatira

UPDATE ex Graeme Finch of the A Class fleet racing Saturday + one of Raindance showing myself & Steve Stone from Off Center Harbour filming / clicking away 🙂

As always – click photos to enlarge 😉

rd @ mr2019

Also from Graeme – one of Bruce Tantrum’s pride & joy – Paramour + Graemes stunning ship – Te Arahi 🙂




UPDATE – An early Saturday morning drone fly-by over Sullivans Bay, Mahurangi. Filmed by Neil Lawton, heads up on the movie from Ian Gavin.

30-01-2019 Update – photos of Laughing Lady ex Jason Prew

Update 11-02-2019 photos below ex Angus Rogers.



Kawau Island Boats & Baches


Kawau Island Boats & Baches

Recently I had had enough of weekends in Auckland so with the wife out of town, I took the opportunity to escape & experience the 2nd to last stage that some of us go thru e.g. yacht > launch> motorhome > death.

An old neighbour & friend Chris Miller, owns a large motorhome, so we headed north to Sandspit – & booked into the camping ground for the weekend.

On Saturday we took the ferry to Kawau Island for what is known as the ‘Royal Mail Run’ – the boat mooches around the island dropping off / picking up passengers & freight for all the private jetties. While not a woody, the ferry trip is a must do, you get to visit most of the bays & can even enjoy a wine or two.

The photos above are a random gallery of the woodys I spotted on the trip & some of the waterfront holiday homes.


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.

Woody Weekend

Waters Fine ww


At last a long weekend 🙂 Always seems such a long time between the last & the first long weekends. I know my log book says its over 5 months since I went past North Head but in my defense Raindance has had a winter of mechanical maintenance.

For woodys looking for some boating this weekend there are a couple options, which hopefully will not be too disrupted by the weather.

Myself & a few others will be mooching around Waiheke Island & at this stage plan to get together somewhere for a catch up on Sunday afternoon (late). Nothing cast in stone & will post something here on ww on Sunday.

For those looking for something further afield its the Kawau Boating Club season opening weekend – plenty to do & I imagine the AB’s game will be screened at the KBC clubhouse. More details below.

And – photos please. Pack the camera & take a few classic woody photos & then email them in to ww.

A Woody Labour Weekend

A Woody Labour Weekend

The weather split the CYA classic fleet in two this Labour weekend with some heading to Kawau for the opening of the ‘new’ Kawau Boating Club. From all reports it was a blast & well done to those that made the trip. The photos below of Kawau are from the camera of Margo & Jamie Hudson (Lady Crossley).
A selection of classic launches mooched around Waiheke Island & with the weather forecast –  Onetangi Bay was the most popular spot. We had to share it with a rather large number of plastic boats, I think every Rivia in Auckland was there, but for once they behaved & the hum of the gen-sets  was almost bearable 🙂
Waiheke photos ex me (I took a few more ,but they will be ‘Mystery Boat’ posts)

PS If you were away on the boat or at the bach, you may have missed the last 4 ww posts, which featured the boats of Norm Fairlie. Stroll down to enjoy 😉



Somethings wrong here – why is the oldest rowing?



If you are looking for a destination for your Labour weekend cruise – see attached flyer promoting the Kawau Boating Club / Mahurangi Spring Splash weekend at Kawau Island.
ww encourages all boaties to support the weekend. There is a lot of money to be spent on the place but it is unique in the Gulf and is worth saving.
If you can’t attend, consider joining, details on the flyer. The club is really dependent on the boating fraternity joining the club and helping to fund the costs of getting the fuel facility operating again and the clubhouse spruced up for summer.

PS – not sure if you noticed it but there is a significant sign of the changing boating environment on this flyer – what you ask?, the new name for what was the Kawau Yacht Club, now the Kawau Boating Club, next it will be the Royal New Zealand Boat Squardon ……….   🙂

Kawau Yacht Club – memories ex Ken Ricketts

I was a foundation member of the original format of the club from day one, & thought perhaps it may be of interest to some, if I write a little anthology, of my knowledge of the background as I know it, & background the early days preceding the creation of the original club, which has now of course, excitingly, taken “its next step along the way, in to the future.”
Post WWII the wonderfully hospitable Mr & Mrs Roy & Irene Lidgard, who were very good family friends, & were, it seems, friends of the whole boating fraternity, in northern New Zealand,  held fairly comparatively impromptu, New Years day gatherings, on their front lawn, of their newly built beautiful, waters edge, Smeltinghouse Bay home, where there was a day filled with dingy races, swimming races, & sailing races, to which most of us, who were at Kawau on that day, attended, with many hundreds, lining their property front lawn, & shoreline. This was followed by a dance & social, in their boatbuilding shed, along the other end of the bay, in the evening. Always a hugely successful & popular event, which I attended every time, from Christmas 1946. The popularity of this was such, that it prompted the wonderful donation, by Mrs Irene Lidgard, of the land, to make the club & club house possible. I think the  Lidgard family, also donated much of the materials for the building.
The actual building was created substantially by donations of labour, some materials,  & time by a good number of boaties and residents of the day, & was erected, in the circumstances, surprisingly quickly.
Initially, its interior was open all the way to the slope of roof line, & was completed, from memory, circa 1949-50. Some years later the ceiling was lowered & made flush.
It was erected before mains supply power came to the lsland, in the early days, power was courtesy of a 1 cyl Lister Diesel, driving a 32 volt DC generator, in a shed a wee way up the bank at  the rear of Lidgard’s house, connected to 3 or 4 x 32 volt light bulbs, hanging from the roof.
Power came to the island in the1950s, – (c1954-56 as I recall), after which the club blossomed, from a  services point of view, with a shower & toilet facility being built, for the benefit of all of us, refrigeration, & sale of foodstuffs being important additional facilities & services, the club provided.
Through the years there have been some wonderful dedicated people running it all as club captain, & one family whom I knew well, who was there for many years, from the 1950s was the Schumachers, of what I have always called Commettee’s Bay, (after Frank Commettee, a business friend of my fathers who had a lovely home in that bay) — next door to Smeltinghouse, who were instrumental to quite a degree, in the evolution of improvements in various areas.
The Lidgards had an association with BP in Auckland, & perhaps with their input, the club acquired its petrol & diesel facility in the later 50s 60s era.
For many years after completion of the clubhouse, every New Years Day, there was, for many, “the ultimate regatta of the year,” with competitions from the very young boys & girls, to extremely mature, both ladies & gentlemen, with ladies & gents racing & completion for many water associated sports, including dinghy rowing, one oared sculling,– from the bow & the stern, which caused many hilarious collisions & sinkings, —  swimming, yacht racing , launch racing, etc., etc. & a great prizegiving  evening of festivity to following on, on New  Years night in the clubhouse with local musicians,  boaties & island residents   providing a big diversity of sound & hilarity. I have considerable 8mm colour movie footage, (now on DVD), of these events & will try & scan some still shots off this.
These wonderful events were attended by many hundreds or perhaps even in to the thousands for the regattas, & went on every New Year Day & night, well in to the 1980s, until eventually, sadly, as a result of a small number of troublemakers, it was reluctantly decided to pull the plug in these wonderful dance social evenings. — A typical example of the majority having it ruined by the few.
As many of us are aware there have been mergers, & financial support from other boating organisations leading eventually, to the great news of this week, that it is continuing to have a future for as all,  but at the end of the day, the  building. its history, & the concept & the club have endured. — Long, long, may it continue –