Chamberlains Bay Classic Launches  – Golden Hour

Bottom end of Waiheke Island
Chamberlains Bay
Summer Wine
Sea Fever
Tuna
Isle of Arran
Awariki
Lucille
Summer Wine & Takahoa

Chamberlains Bay Classic Launches  – Golden Hour

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

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)

THE FLEET

AWARIKI – 1967 – Owen Woolley
MARORO – c.1905 – tba
NGARIMU – 1945 – Fred Goldboro
KAIKOURA – 1951 – Percy Vos
SUMMER WINE- Noel May – 1992
CINDY JANE – 1975 – Pelin Empress
MY GIRL – 1925- W H Hand Jr
RAINDANCE – 1928 – Lane Motor Boat Company
LUCILLE – Logan 33
LUCINDA – 1930 – L Coulthard

Woodys Clevedon River Overnight BBQ Cruise – 35+ photos & video’s

Meloa’s 60th Birthday

Photos below ex MV Buccaneer (Michelle Bostock & Tim Ord

Woodys Clevedon River Overnight BBQ Cruise

The weekend forecast for the woodys classic cruise up the Wairoa River to the Clevedon Cruising Club was a mixed bag, but as almost always is the case with woody events, it all came good and other a few light showers the 15 launches and one yacht had a ball. We were meet by CCC member Barrie Abel in his classic Sea Craft run-about who piloted the fleet up the river, only one oops that I know of, they were following Raindance and clipped a maker pole, but blamed me as I was taking photos and ‘diverting’ a tad.

Big thanks to all the CCC members that turn out to lend a hand with the berthing, no easy task with a mix of craft and ’skills’ 😉

The afternoon was spent catching up with old and new friends via a spot of boat hopping, followed by a BBQ dinner at our hosts club house.The chef, Bazza was the best, how he remembers which food on the BBQ belongs to who and how you want it cooked is beyond me. A few of us watched the All Black v Australia rugby test (on an iPhone) so the AB’s big win capped of a great night.

Sunday dawned with a perfect day, but the sun might have been a little too bright for one of two of the revellers but conditions were agreeable for the trip home.

Again many thanks to the CCC members for the hospitality and friendship extended to us – we will be back.
(Make sure you view the videos, some great dockside footage + thank you those that emailed in photos from the weekend – and as always click on photos to enlarge)

READ THE BACK STORY HERE https://waitematawoodys.com/2021/08/04/why-you-should-hold-off-paying-your-classic-yacht-association-subscription/

Classic Woody Weekend At Patio Bay – 60+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos

The Big Winner On The Day – the Duder Family on Spray – 1st Across the Line
A visitor from Hawkes Bay

Classic Woody Weekend At Patio Bay – 60+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos


As you will have come to expect, the first weekend in December sees the CYA hosting the annual Patio Bay weekend, for some reason in recent years its morphed into a potpourri of events – these days its – the CYA Xmas party, a cake competition, a motor boat poker rally and what it always was – a yacht race down to the bay for a old school waterfront BBQ. A little busy these days but it seems to work 🙂

This year was the first visit since the ownership of the property changed hands from the Woolicott family (100+ years) to Mike Mahoney. It was comforting to hear Mike talk of their feature plans that include continuing the event.


New to the programme this year was a poker run rally for the CYA launches. Skippers collect a playing card from 5 collection on route and then play a round of poker ashore to determine the winner. The event was sponsored by The Slipway Milford. Winners below:

First Across The Line – Gay Dawn – Mark & Pricilla MacDuff – Burnsco voucher + wine

Poker Run Winner- Kumi – Hayden & Linda Afford – COMPLIMENTARY SLIPWAY MILFORD HAULOUT + 4L ANTIFOUL PAINT + WW T-SHIRT

Biggest Oops (involuntary swim) – Lucinda – Jason Davies – WW T-shirt

Shoddy Boat Handling Skills – Lucille – Alan Good (wife name withheld as she was innocent) WW T-shirt
A great time was had by all and special thanks must go to everyone that helps pull the weekend together. To me it always signals the start of summer boating.

Yacht Race Results https://classicyacht.org.nz/patio-bay-mark-foy-race-results-2020/


Mahurangi Cruising Club Year Book

Most WW readers will be very familiar with the annual Mahurangi Regatta – the biggest gathering of wooden boats in NZ. The MCC also put together a year book that is a one of the best boating reads each year and perfect for on the boat over xmas. So woodys, if your looking for a self present (always the best) or being asked what you want from the kids – at $20 for 108 pages it’s a steal.

Pre-order a copy here  ngairehopwood@gmail.com Or pick up a copy in store or on-line at BoatBooks