Mahurangi Regatta – Woody Weekend – 196 photos


WoW what a weekend – perfect weather, perfect location and as always stunning boats. We saw a record turn out for the classic wooden boat parade on Saturday morning – the crowd ashore at Sullivans was a little thin on the ground, but if we are honest, we do not do it for them – its all about us 🙂 , a little like going for a motorbike rumble. We need more events where we just ‘hang-out’ together.

The regatta’s main event – the yacht race appeared to be a big success, the A-Class Logan –  Rawhiti, in the hands of her new owner – Peter Brookes, cleaned up all the major trophies. As has become the norm at Mahurangi races, the results process was a total balls up, it was very dark and late into the night before the final, final results were announced – fingers crossed its all kosher, last year it took days and numerous oops lets try that again announcements 🙂

The big band beach BBQ, was a hit, perfect on all fronts – weather, tide, the band, bbq’s and the people. Given the number of boats in Bon Accord Harbour, Kawau Island, most people headed there on Sunday. The Kawau Boating Boat was bursting at the seams but handed it well. I have split the photos into 4 galleries – Classic Wooden Boat Parade – Yacht Race – Beach BBQ – More (includes Kawau). If I missed your boat, you were somewhere I wasn’t, or in the wrong light , or your’e boats ugly (joking – sort off).
Enjoy a peak at the weekend., click individual photos to enlarge. Next weekend I’m off to the Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Parade –  its a biggie – they have 70+ entries  





Te Kouma Woody Mooching






Dennis Macconaghie sent in the above collection of photos from Te Kouma Harbour. Dennis had just finished a charter and in his words ‘did a quick flick around the harbour to take a few picks of some local woodys’. Many thanks Dennis also good to see what’s wintering on the Coromandel side.
I have to say the all white double-ender (1st photo) is very salty – anyone able to enlighten us more on her?
Input from Jim Lott
The ketch shown in the photos is Aorangi II, a Bert Woollacott 34 ft design (Ladybird?). She was built by Ron Evans who lived at Bucklands Beach out of full length kauri planks over frames, launched late 60’s. From about 1977 until 2017 she was owned by AAH (Hubert) Schulte of Howick and berthed at HM Bay. Around 1980 the original Kelvin engine was replaced with a Yanmar and centre line shaft.
Always look forward to getting the email from WoodenBoat advising my digital copy of WB is available for download – so pleased to see James Dreyer’s Laughing Lady has made the front cover of the July/August issue – well done James and everyone that rubbed up against her during her restoration.
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WCW Riverhead June2020

2020 New Zealand Classic Yacht Regatta Photo Gallery – 100+ photos and videos














2020 New Zealand Classic Yacht Regatta Photo Gallery – 100+ photos and videos

As I have mentioned in the last two WW stories, the Classic Yacht Association of New Zealand have over the last 3 days been running its annual classic yachting event on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.
The near perfect conditions on all three days made for happy skippers and a relieved race organisers. I was on the water for two of the three days and had a blast. The gallery above is a mix of Races 1/2/3. If your boat doesn’t make an appearance, I apologize, I was only a passenger, so captured those that were within range.
On the second day, James Dreyer and myself hosted the world acclaimed marine photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz onboard Jame’s motorboat – Laughing Lady, the perfect platform for recording the on the water activities.
For me it was a master class in boat positioning and photography angles, I tried to keep out of Ben’s way and took the above photos / videos when I could without being in Ben’s line of sight.
These days the CYA run the regatta using the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron as Race HQ and entertainment hub, it is the perfect venue and as always the service and staff were 10/10.
 Scroll down for the official regatta results below
As always – click on photos to enlarge.
Race Course Videos Below (Races 2/3)






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Auckland Anniversary Day – Classic Launch Race – 26 Wooden Boat Photos


Auckland Anniversary Day – Classic Launch Race

Over the long weekend we had a smorgasbord of boating events to chose from, one being a ‘classic’ launch race on the Monday, as part of the 2020 Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta. The format is a handicapped race around a set inner harbour course, effectively a drag race. Handicapping for these races is a challenge, there are so many variables that come into play.
Reviewing the results, the handicapping appears to have done a good job.
The day was near perfect and a delayed start meant that I was able to take the above photos. I was heading back for Mahurangi and was not planning to be at the event.
As you would expect, there were numerous mechanical problems and a few DNF’s.
Photos a little ‘hairy’ – long lens.
1st:   Ngaio
2nd: Sterling
3rd:  Fancy Free








The Marine Photographer’s Eye, Benjamin Mendlowitz – OCH Video Featuring Kiwi Classic Wooden Boats

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The Marine Photographer’s Eye, Benjamin Mendlowitz – OCH Video Featuring Kiwi Classic Wooden Boats – The best photos of our fleet you will have ever seen!

Today’s story is rather special as the team at have given waitematawoody readers access to their latest video that features woodys from this years Mahurangi Regatta. The OCH site contains over 500 videos (& 500 articles) that range from boatbuilding, to trimming sails, to a complete course on understanding every aspect of your marine diesel engine. There’s even a 42-part series on how to build a Caledonia Yawl camp cruiser. The collection of videos features mariners and craftspeople at the very top of the boating field, showing exactly how they do things, and which products they use in their work.

One of the OCH founders is Benjamin Mendlowitz who, in my eyes, is the worlds finest photographer of classic wooden boats, this January, Ben and his co-founders escaped the US winter and headed down under. Whilst in NZ their #1 mission was to attended the Mahurangi Regatta and to this end on the Saturday Jason Prew with My Girl & myself with Raindance hosted – Maynard Bray, Benjamin Mendlowitz & Steve Stone for a Regatta photo shoot.

In the 11 minute video, Ben talks us through his day on the water filming woodys. In the opening section when Ben is commenting on our classic fleet he says “I was newly inspired in my photography”. When a photographer with as much experience as Benjamin Mendlowitz says that – that is saying something about our woody fleet. Plus the video is a master class for anyone interested in marine photography.



The OCH site is 100 percent membership driven, and they do not accept advertising. Not lining their pockets with advertising enables them to provide OCH members with the unvarnished truth, straight from legendary masters of their craft – without worrying whether they piss off an advertiser 🙂

In addition to allowing WW woodys to view the video at no-charge, they have also put together a one-off subscription offer for WW readers.

They are offering 50% off the annual rate – thats an amazing US$24.50 – BUT woodys be quick it will not last for long + there is a Risk Free Guarantee – try it for a few days, if your not happy they will provide you with a 100% refund. I’m a subscriber – I love the site, I have watched one story probably 10 times.



  • FULL ACCESS to everything on the site for 1 full year (including our growing library of over 1,000 videos and articles)
  • Your membership includes three full “how-to-build” video series (80+ videos worth over $500 that you get free)
  • You can get your questions answered in the “comments” section under each video and article
  • Join our community of “off-center” boating enthusiasts around the world



Shemara + Laughing Lady in the spotlight



The photo above shows the ketch Shemara being launched in Wellington 0n the 9th August 1958, it looks a very miserable day – the wee girl I’m sure would rather be elsewhere. Photo ex Lew Redwood > fb.

Do we know what became of Shemara?

Input below from Gavin Pascoe

I own Sherama. She’s moored at Clyde Quay Wellington. 23′ LOA but feels more like 26 or 28′. She was Roydon Thomas’s first design. Built by Frank Ballinger. That’s him with his two sons Peter and Trevor, who are both still active boating in Wellington. She’s an awesome boat, Australian hardwood to the waterline, Alaskan cedar above. There’s footage of her being hauled up to Grafton Road prior to her launching (plus other cool footage) here: Many, many stories go with both the boat and Roydon Thomas. Stories of Roydon Thomas’ exploits are legion. Some clean ones may be read here:

Shemara was never ketch rigged. People would call her a sloop as she carries one main and one jib at a time. However her mast is stepped quite well aft in comparison with most sloops, and therefore strictly speaking is more accurately described as a cutter. Though I’m no expert in the finer points of these matters: and

And speaking of miserable days – the November 1963 photo below of the Oriental Bay boat harbour in Wellington, is proof of why they build such sturdy vessels so down there 🙂


Not often a classic woody graces the cover of a NZ boating mag

When you are out & about, pick up a copy of the May issue of Boating NZ, they feature Laughing Lady, post launching at the Mahurangi Regatta. Great story & photos. You can see / read about her restoration > launching at the link below (lots of links to stories). There is also a feature on my boat builder friend, Geoff Bagnall, another great reason to grab a copy 😉

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Best Kiwi Woody Boating Photos Of Summer



Best Woody Boating Photos Of Summer

The above photos showing James & Michael Dreyer’s recently relaunched  33’ 1949 Luders designed motorboat – Laughing Lady & Jason Prew’s 1904 Arch Logan gaff rigger- Wairaki – are my 2 favourite photos from this summer. They capture what classic kiwi wooden boating is all about – fun, friendship & fraternity. 

The rebirth of these woodys would not have happened without people like Jason & James & the dozens of talented, enthusiastic craftspeople & helpers that rubbed up against the projects. And amazingly both of the guys have other classic woody projects on the go – Jason is restoring (rebuilding) the 1925 Dick Lang motor launch – My Girl. And James has a Rhodes 33 sloop in restoration in the USA, that hopefully will makes its way down under one day. In the meantime he gets his sailing fix from a 1937, 31’ Yankee One Design – made of kauri here in NZ, that he co-owns with his dad, Barry.

If your interested in viewing the restoration of LL or Wairiki, just search they name in the WW search box. 

  At the other end of the scale below is a short video on the 1910 Camper & Nicholson 162’ classic super yacht – Orion of the Seas, for sale in Italy. It is just magnificent but her maintenance budget would be bigger than the GDP of a lot of African nations. Enjoy the varnish porn. Tomorrow I’ll share with you my trip aboard Trinidad from Whangaroa, down the west coast of NZ to Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton.


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Yesterday, I was privileged to join a small group of friends of the extended Dreyer family at Omaha wharf to celebrate the re-launching of Laughing Lady, owned by brothers James & Michael.
 It’s hard to believe it was over 4 years ago that I first talked to James about the purchase of Laughing Lady in the USA & where would be a good home for her during her restoration. Given James overseas work schedule & desire to be hands on with the project, there really was only one option – the Whangateau boat yard, so that was where she went, just under 4 years ago.
With projects of this size & standard – the end result is always a reflection of the number & calibre of people that have ‘rubbed-up-against’ the vessel, in LL’s case there have been a lot – from Pam, George, James & an army of friends & family. As time ticked on & a re-launch date was set, more wooden boat artisans were roped in. Having seen LL in the flesh, the photos above do not do justice to the work that has been done on her, everyone should take a well deserved a bow.
I was very pleased to see that the project has been a restoration, not a rebuild, James & Michael have kept most things as close to ‘as-launched’ as possible – sure there is modern material & technology in play but its tucked away out of view – the GPS / nav unit is a perfect example, when not needed, it drops down out of sight – very James Bond.
Stunning boat, but the big question, where to keep her – anyone got a vacant boat shed for hire?
I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.
The old lady has had a lot of air time on WW – click the clinks below to view the process (top > bottom) – enjoy
This link will show you photos of her being re – floated

Laughing Lady Yard Updates

V 126

Reremai V126 – Sailing Sunday

I was recently contacted by Nick Atkinson I own Melita (L-28), Nick has been looking for info on the V class
Reremai, for a good friend of his who’s currently working on a Fife (Eilean) in the Med.
The only info they have been able to uncover a previous owner who commented – “We purchased the “Reremai” in or around 1953-4, we moored her in Okahu Bay. She was originally an un-ballasted racing 18ft Mullet Boat and the builders plaque stated that she was built by the Logan Bros. Hr registered number was V126. We added heaps of ballast and sailed the gulf for many years, the only worth while photo is attached, this was taken on the Waitamata during a regatta. The last time I saw the “Reremai” was at “Kawau Island” where she was under a reconstruction by (we think) a guy named “Morris”.

Can any of the woodys – help Nick out?

Harold Kidd Input

As for REREMAI, Logan Bros went out of business in 1911 so any builder’s plate with their name on it was a fake.
REREMAI was built in late 1933 probably by Douglas Kusabs at 15 Church St., Onehunga. It is possible that she may have been built by a professional such as Les Coulthard, but there’s no record I can find of that.
She raced on the Manukau at first but Kusabs brought her over to the Waitemata in late 1935/early 1936. Her sail number was V72. Kusabs sold her to B. Foote in November 1936 and he sold her to R. Verran of Northcote in 1938.
In the image above we see, from left, V105, BON VOYAGE built by the Ragg brothers in 1939, V124, SYLVIA, later MARIE, and V126, REREMAI with a new sail number consequent upon her being reregistered with APYMBA in 1953 to H & A Davis of Tanekaha Road, Titirangi.
These were all ballasted 18 footers, loosely called “mullet boats”. REREMAI had 8cwt of internal ballast.
REREMAI’s racing history was mainly on the Manukau and then in the occasional Northcote-Birkenhead and Auckland Anniversary Regatta once she got to the Waitemata..

20-03-2017 – Input from Robin Elliott – Further to the above.
The Manukau clubs issued their own sail identification, the Cruising Club letters A-Z, while the Yacht & Motor Boat Club used numbers from 1 upwards. By the mid 1930’s this had started to breakdown under the regular import of Waitemata boats with Waitemata sail numbers. Also A-Z only gave the Cruising club 26 boats and was self-limiting.
It seems likely that Reremai did not have a numbered sail prior to 1935 when Kusabs took her to the Waitemata whereupon she was issued with V-72. She was stolen from her mooring in Mechanics Bay in March 1936 and the photograph published in the Herald, while poor quality, appears to show no registration number.
A 1935/36 list gives Reremai the number V-60 but this is a confusion with the Panmure 18-footer Reretai, something that continued until Reretai dropped out of sight during the mid 1940’s.
The Auckland Museum has photos of V-60 dated 1941, some labelled Reremai others Reretai.
She took V-126 in 1951 when owned by D.F. Baker of Hobsonville.
In the 1973 NZYF register she was owned by M. Peterson and reported as carrying sail V-129. This number was also repeated in the NZYF registration of 1976 and 1978, owner A. Keyworth, This number may well be a typo just picked up and carried over..
It may have even been a borrowed sail. V-129 was issued in 1954 to a boat named Cobra (dunno what that was). Nobody really cared what you did with these old girls and things were what you said they were.You made up your own history.
By 1988 she was owned by A. Morris and apparently carrying V-72 again.
She appeared on TradeMe Sep 2007: For Sale, port side damaged in storm, $1000
Still out there somewhere.

Laughing Lady Update
A wee update on Laughing Lady ex the ‘Seven Oceans Boatworks FB page, photos below. Looks like a splash is a happening thing soon at the Whangateau boat yard 😉

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Update 07-08-2017 – Getting Closer, some nice detail; work happening 🙂




22-08-2017 Update – poking her nose out 😉


19-12-2017 Update – Getting So Close. Check out the chrome game chairs 😉



Mystery Launches at Thames

Mystery Thames Boats

Mystery Launches at Thames

The above photo shows a group of ‘settler’ style launches berthed  at the Shortland Wharf in Thames.
Are we able to ID any of them & put a date on the photo? Are the bow numbers fishing registration numbers ? photo ex trademe via Peter Thorpy

Laughing Lady Update

James Dreyer has the foot to the floor on the final stages of the restoration of Laughing Lady & has master craftsman Paul Tingy roped in to help with the final details – the photos below show Paul’s reproduction of the original swim ladder & ‘new’ helm.