Matara & Menace – Sailing Sunday

MATARA  @ GH 1.6.16 - 3

MENACE  @ GH 1.6.16

MATARA & MENACE – Sailing Sunday

While doing a lap of the Gulf Harbour compound a few weeks ago Ken Ricketts spotted Matara & Menace, two of the three ‘M’ Class yachts owned by Howard Spencer (the other being Mach One). All were built by Owen Reid* the legendary M Class builder. Reid’s idea to glue the laps of a clinker boat veered away from the traditional & ensured that the moisture content was fairly stable.

Matara & Menace were built in 1991 & Matara was listed for sale last in 2014, most likely when Spencer bought her.
They both look almost brand new in these photos, but Ken reports that they were at Gulf Harbour for some routine TLC.

“If You Buy A Classic, Buy It For Life, Then All The Work Pays Off”
As a bonus today – you an view & or download the official Classic Boat magazine programme for the 2016 Panerai British Classic Week, click blue link below.
Great article on David Murrin, the commodore of the British Classic Yacht Club, the headline above about buying a classic for life is one of David’s quotes.

Classic Boat Panerai Classic British 2016 Guide

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 6.45.22 PM

Input from Robin Elliott

In 1989 Owen Reid began building built 3 M’s simultaneously in the old Watersiders Cafeteria on Princes Wharf.. The planking was glued and fastened, then coated in Everdure to ensure stability of the planking and prevent moisture intake. It was a long term project, all 3 hulls being finished, varnished and decks painted by Owen (with a lot of help from Graham Russell) in 1991.

The late Peter Spencer bought two of these hulls and the third, originally intended for Owen himself, was bought by a syndicate headed by Sandy Grigg.

First to be launched was Peter Spencer’s Matara M-47 in December 1991. He raced Matara for a season or so then handed her over to his son Howard who has campaigned her ever since.

Matara was followed by Sandy Griggs’ Mistress M-50 in October 1992. She is currently owned by Dave and Eric Mahoney.

The third Spencer hull was kept ‘on ice’ until completed by Howard and launched as Menace M-47 in December 2011.

Most of the above details are expanded on in some book somewhere.

Mermerus M16 – Sailing Sunday

MERMERUS M16 Sailing Sunday
photo ex Mac Taylor collection

The above photo of the M-class Mermerus planning at speed is proof that you do not need composite construction, carbon fibre & space-age  fabrics to go like the stink & most likely have the crew bricking themselves 🙂
Now if you believe Ron Carters 1954 book, ‘The Glory of Sail’, she was built in 1939 by Gainor Jackson of Devonport, Auckland.

I’m sure one of the anoraks will be able to confirm this & enlighten us further.

Update 01-12-2015 The photos below were sent in by harold Kidd ex Robin Elliott’s 1994 book ‘ Emmie – 70 Years of M-Class Yachting’

The first photo below shows Mermerus broaching, at this stage she was heading straight for the photographers boat & everyone (including the photographer) was in trouble. With skill (luck?) she passed inches from where the photographer was standing, prior to dropping flat onto the deck 🙂

The 2nd two photos shows Mermerus safely through the gap – Maui was not so lucky.

02-12-2015 Input from Robin Elliott

OK ….Opening Day 1946 – in a hard westerly.
Maui, in her first race and flying, had already capsized, and Manaia had broken her mast, had tidied up her broken spars and sails and was anchored awaiting a tow. Mermerus, sailed by 16-year old Phillip Jackson, has started about 10 minutes late and was miles behind the fleet. She had blundered into all this this carnage, got hit by a puff and bore away, but too far, because the Sandspit off Devonport was dead ahead – it was low tide and running aground at speed was not a good thing.

Their crew would appear to have been all over the place because the sudden course correction to starboard to avoid the Sandspit made the spinnaker sheet hand slip to leeward, still holding the sheet, where, so I was told, he got his fingers jammed in the spinnaker block. The extra few metres of sheet allowed the spinnaker pole to sky and lift the bow. Control is absent at this point. And …. Phillip’s older brother Gainor, has just spotted a Blue Boat dead ahead !!!

Max Frommherz of Marine Photos, standing on the foredeck of the Blue Boat, takes this one iconic photograph. The only one he took in the entire sequence, but what a photo!

Mermerus is now heading straight for the Blueboat. The crew are at sixes and sevens and all over each other as the sheet hand releases his fingers from the spinnaker block, lets go the sheet and the kite flogs like crazy.

Ian Mason, photographer for the NZ Herald, standing next to Max takes this next photo.

Mermerus now has major problems and very little time to fix them. Both photographers go flat to the deck as Mermerus’ spinnaker pole flies off the mast and arcs around the forestay, zipping over their heads (Ian Mason told me he still remembered the ‘woosh’ 🙂 ) as Mermerus rounds the bow of the Blue boat and head for a very narrow gap between the disabled yachts.

Ian Mason has a snazzy fast German camera and gets the next two shots away as Mermerus threads the needle between Maui and Manaia.

Note the first of these last images: the crew of Maui have ducked for cover as Mermerus slaloms through the gap, the man on the stern just can’t get far enough away from the flailing kite pole, and you can just see the fingers of the crewman amidships flat to the top planking and clinging on to the deck. In the second image, they surface, safe and relieved, after the mad flailing beast has gone through.



Remember to get your order in – limited print run, full details here


The Sail ‘v’ Power Relationship

The Sail ‘v’ Power Relationship

In a ww post back in August 2013, I (tongue in cheek) stated that I had found photographic evidence of the exact day & event when the relationship between power & sail soured– 29 January 1953, Auckland Anniversary Regatta. View photo & story here

Well folks I got it wrong, it was much earlier than that – it was early December 1930. In the above photo ex Peter Loughlin’s (current owner) facebook page, we see Lady Margaret (1928 Colin Wild), described in the NZ Herald, 11th Dec 1930, article as a fast cruising launch ‘passing’ some of the M-Class sailing fleet. Passing was a rather polite term for ‘going thru at full chat’ 🙂

For the train spotters Maratea is in the lead (& won) followed by Mercer?? & Manu

Thankfully most classic motorboat owners are a wee bit more considerate these days, can not say the say about the average Riviera owner & a remarkable number are flying a RNZYS burgee 😦