Why No Wooden Boat Regatta Today


Today we should have been floating around the Mahurangi Harbour enjoying what has become the biggest one day, on-the-water boating event in New Zealand – the annual Mahurangi Regatta. I have posted a link below to a previous regatta to remind us all how good it can be.

Sadly the weather gods dealt us a crap hand and we all get to stay at home. I understand and support not going ahead with the event this weekend (Auckland’s 3 day Anniversary Day holiday weekend) BUT what I can not understand is why wasn’t there a back up plan in place to run the regatta the following weekend, which is also a 3 day holiday weekend. The organisers of the regatta should have just made the call to run with next weekend. 

This lack of forward thinking means the wooden boating movement misses out on the fun, friendship and fraternity that is acquired rubbing up against like minded woody enthusiasts. We need this to maintain our passion for another 12 months.

As I type this I can imagine the team of volunteers at the Mahurangi Cruising Club and other groups involved – thinking “bloody smart ass, why doesn’t he put his hand up to help” – short answer – ‘already too busy with WW’ BUT at your next committee meeting how about adding to the agenda – How Do We Future Proof The Regatta’ and ‘Is It Time To Appoint A Paid Event Organiser’. If the regatta isn’t already as big as the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta it must be very close – be brave and pull on the big boys pants.

ENJOY THE FLASH BACK   https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/01/29/mahurangi-regatta-2019-the-biggest-best-classic-wooden-boat-regatta-in-nz-90-photos/

Great early morning video of some of the fleet at anchor in Sullivan Bay. Cameraman/’pilot’ is Neil Lawton

Mokoia – Sailing Sunday

MOKOIA- Sailing Sunday

Todays woody – the yacht MOKOIA (spelling?) was spotted by Barbara Cooke during the week in the Bay of Islands.

Looks like she is set up for some serious cruising.

Can we learn more about Mokoia?

UPDATE ex owner – Jim Loft – MOKOIA, 39′ Bob Stewart design (Camelot). Woody built c.1965 by Max Carter.

INPUT EX ROBIN ELLIOTT – Mokoia was one of 3 Bob Stewart design Camelots under construction simultaneously at Max Carters in 1965. Photo on page 63, Sea Spray Sept. 1965.

Mokoia for I. Falconbridge, Camelot for I. Broadfoot and Ilex for W. Macky.

She was registered in 1965 as B-54, taking NZYF number 154 in 1969.
Dimensions at time of her 1965 registration were:
39ft x 34ft x 10ft 6in x 5ft, 324 sqft sail area, ballast 3 ton, engine Ruston rover.

Mokoia was raced and cruised by Falconbridge up to at least 1971 and was still registered to him in 1976. ………. but ???

According to Sea Spray April 1973, Mokoia was entered by ‘H. Vega owner/skipper’ of Mokoia in the Auckland Suva race. She was eventually registered to H. Vega in 1978.

As usual, NZYF registration details are plagued by conundrums and obsolete data.

From 1980 through to 2000, she had no registered owners with any of the published NZYF registers. My last recorded details are owners J.& K. Lott 2014-2021+

All details are subject to change 🙂




Earlier this month WW was contacted by Greg Philpott in regard to a comment on WW back in March 2018, concerning a gent named Ron Morgan who was trying to locate his old 24’ mullet boat named Echo. Echo had been at Whitianga but was taken to Beachlands to be rebuilt by a painter from the marina who Ron thinks went overseas before it was completed. Ron commented that the boat had a long history and was raced early last century. When Ron had it she was configured as a launch. Before selling it she had its cabin stripped off so could be just a hull.  Enter Greg Philpott who recently posted the picture above on the ex RNZN Facebook page with the primary interest being the Naval Base and the warships HMS Diomede and HMS Dunedin. The photo came from the British Museum files. On the fb posting there was a comment added by a William Ohealy as below. 

“That launch in photo is the Echo . We rebuilt her into a fine fishing boat / charter boat. But me dad got to old so was sold. We put a 6LW Gardner. Dam she was fast, 11 knots at 1100 rpm – sad to see her go. Last I saw her at Herald Island in the upper Auckland Harbour, sorry no photo. Put a forward wheel house on her. aft cockpit cabin and walk around deck. When first built was a 28 ft. mullet boat steamed up to Whangarei Harbour and added 7 ft. to the stern and made into a motor sailer. With a whole new keel. As a racing mullet was the fastest on the Auckland Harbour.”

So woodys, after digesting the above (some what convoluted) intel – can we ID the actual launch in the photo and possible join the dots to a Mullet boat link?

13-01-2023 Input ex Chris McMullen – Refer page below out of the 1945 Book  “Little Ships” by Ronald Carter.  It shows an early photograph of a Mullet Boat called “Echo”  (top left). Mullet Boats have built down aft sections (no deadwood)  Difficult to fit a propeller and make into a launch, but it has been done.  The design weakness in Wooden  Mullet Boats was the Centre board case.  Once Toredo worm got in the case and keel the damage was a big job to fix.  Enthusiast owners have done these repairs them selves. To have it done professionally would cost more than the boat was worth. So mullet boats were sold cheap. The new owner blocked off the centreboard slot, strengthened the keel, installed a motor and went fishing. 

The 26 foot Mullet Boat  “Corona”(now extensively rebuilt) almost suffered that fate. She disappeared for many years. As far as I know and fortunately the owners never worked out how to fit a propeller. Her hull was saved by some Mullet Boat Enthusiasts. Her Spars and Sails were long gone.   

INPUT EX HAROLD KIDD – There was an ECHO launch, 29ft, originally with a 10hp Lozier built by James Reid and domiciled in Devonport around this time. She was hauled out on the Devonport Ferry slip in 1919 and took part in the first race run by the Milford Cruising Club in 1924. I reckon this is the boat. As for the 1900 Clare 24ft mullet boat ECHO, she went to Thames in 1904 and was still in existence at Whitianga in a terrible state in 1989. NOT this boat.


WW has been contacted by Kerry Lilley, owner of the Woolley launch – Awariki asking for owners of Woolley designed/built classic launches attending this years Mahurangi Regatta (Jan 28th) to join Awariki in Saturday mornings launch parade – Kerry’s contact details are below, so drop him an email or call and he will explain in detail the plan to celebrate the Woolley marque. If you don’t own a Woolley but know someone who does – be nice and pass the message on 🙂

CONTACT DETAILS       kerrylilley1947@gmail.com   –   027 292 3823

Shipwright Boat Builder Yachtsman – Woody Summer Reading Suggestions


#1 Summer Woody Read

I was contacted by Chris McMullen during the week with a suggestion that I make contact with noted kiwi yachtie and boat builder – Gilbert (Gil) Littler. Now when Mr McMuMullen ’suggests’ something I normally respond pretty quickly, second only to suggestions from Robert Brooke 🙂 24hrs later I’m having coffee with Gil and his wife Susan – why am I telling you this? Because Gil has just penned an amazing book titled – SHIPWRIGHT BOAT BUILDER YACHTSMAN 1962-1992. The 100+ page book is split into 3 sections:

Part One – A brief history of the Bailey Family 

Part Two – My Apprenticeship Years

Part Three – My Yacht Racing Years

I have squirreled away a copy for summer boat reading but I did do a quick dive into some of the pages and its a wonderfully refreshing read, more like sitting in a comfortable spot afloat and listening to Gil entertain you with his life story. Lots of photos and illustrations also to view. In CMcM’s words – This book is a gold mine of history and information. Written by a guy on the floor in the boatshop and a foredeck hand on a very famous Kiwi Yacht. By winning the One Ton Cup put New Zealand on the yachting map.

The $40 – + P&P – 100+ page book is self published so obtaining a copy is not as easy as walking down to your nearest book store but it is worth the effort. So to order a copy:

Email Gil at gil@littlerfamilyresearch.com or go to www.littlerfamilyresearch.com (the website is being set up, so if you are in a hurry – use email) 

Gil & Susan are currently traveling so do not expect an instant reply 🙂

My 2nd Pick Is The Mahurangi Cruising Club Year Book

Now the title may sound a little boring but the contents certainly are not. Always a fantastic publication pulled together by design guru Steve Horsley. This year the theme is restorations and of interest to all woody boaties is an article on electrolysis. Plus a 16 page photo gallery of the 2022 regatta – all that for $20. As we speak its at the printers – so to secure / order a copy either email BOAT BOOKS   crew@boatbooks.co.nz or call 09 358 5691 (Boot Books 22 Westhaven Drive)

Copies will be available at the normal random outlets but BB is the safest bet.

Woody Classic Gatherings

Time to get the pencil out and circle a few dates in the calendar. Our 2022 > 2023 classic woody events focus equally on the boats and the people – its all about getting off the marina and meeting up with like minded people.
As always, some dates may change and the weather is always a factor – but as the dates approach we will be in touch with more details.

Please feel free to share the calendar with your classic friendly boating enthusiasts. Where tide and draft permits – woody cruising yachts are always welcome to join in, so also share with the stick and rag woodys 🙂

AND TO ENSURE YOU GET A WOODY FIX TODAY – CLICK THE LINK BELOW  Video footage from the 2022 Moreton Bay Classic (thank you Andrew Christie)

Mahurangi Regatta 2022 – 150+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos


2022 will be remembered as the no frills regatta – no small boats, no beach activity, no beach party (band, bbq’s), no prize giving – but woodys it still rocked. Great turn out of both launches and yachts, and the weather gods delivered a breeze that provided some of the best racing we have seen in a long time.

I was told by someone that should know – that the budget for previous regatta’s is knocking on the door of $50,000 – maybe CV-19 has been a relativity check and maybe – less is more 🙂

I’m told Peter Brookes has Rawhiti in the groove, she is smoking the rest of the fleet – well done skipper and the grey haired crew 😉 for taking out the A division + Little Jim backing up last years Logan Trophy win with another win.

Tomorrow we will have a look at Mondays launch drag race for the quicks – conditions were below average on the inner harbour – correction, bad everywhere, I had the 2nd worst passage back from Kawau yesterday – 4.5 hours of my life I’ll never get back 🙂 . If I ever see the prick in a very large Riviera that went past me at full chat less than 50m away in the Rangi Channel and almost rolled me – he will get a bottle of Thai Fish Sauce in his air-con intake. 

No real story today, just a photo gallery from the weekend – sit back and enjoy. Remember click photos to enlarge. No photos from the Scotts Landing casual gathering – no need for a record ;-).

Special thanks to Murray Deeble and Glen Keeper for sending in photos 🙂

Update 02-02-22 Mahurangi weekend photo gallery below sent in by Graeme Finch

In Case You Are Hiding At Home, Wearing 2 Masks And Wondering What You’re Missing This Weekend – Check Out the 2019 Mahurangi Regatta

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, https://www.offcenterharbor.com
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   waitematawoodys@gmail.com
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.



Amuri + Mahurangi Regatta


One of the woody spotters sent in the above photos of the launch – Amuri, hauled out at Gulf Harbour for some TLC. She falls into to the ‘great unknown’ category to me, and I’m told isn’t a local GH boat. Can anyone tell us more about Amuri?


Each year the amazing club behind the biggest one day wooden boating event in New Zealand – the Mahurangi Cruising Club, publish a year book, which is eagerly awaited by anyone with sawdust in their veins. Chatting with the editor and design guru – Steve Horsley, the 2022 edition was a challenge to pull together, little things like CV-19 got the way. But if you know Steve, you will know he is not one to let a wee flu bug stop the MCC producing the booklet. Always a great read and good value for money at $20.  If you are Auckland based, grab a copy at Boat Books in Westhaven – or for the out-of-towners contact Victor at ngairehopwood@gmail.com

Reading the programme for the 2022 event I see that CV-19 has been the death of the shore / beach based activity at Sullivans Bay – with no audience there, the Classic Woody Launch Parade would be a fizzer – might have to create something else for us woodys to do. Unfortunately the tide is all wrong for a trip up the river to Warkworth. Will put the thinking cap on. But do put a pencil around Sunday (30th) night in the diary – a gathering at the Kawau Boating Club is always popular.

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