The Future of Classic Wooden Boating

I Think I’ve Just Seen Future of Classic Wooden Boating?

A pretty bold headline but what I saw on Saturday at Whangateau was special – have a good look at the photos & you’ll see –

1. A collection of very cool small boats (sail, oar,motor) some restored to concours condition, so just managing to stay afloat.

2. A group of boating enthusiasts of all ages & gender that just wanted to have some fun in classic wooden boats.

3. Everyone helping each other unload & rig up.

4. No macho, bump bump racing, just folks mucking about in boats.

5. Crusty old salts showing grand-kids how to sail.

6. BBQ’ed sausages in white bread.

7. Yachties that had become launchies that were now having to use their iPhone to Google “How to rig a Frostbite”

8. A classic dinghy that had been gifted to the next generation of yachtie that was now sitting on a state-of-the-art carbon-fiber beach trailer.

A lot of people help make the above happen but none of it happens without Pam Cundy & George Emtage, these two are the guardians of today’s venue – The Whangateau Traditional Boat yard.

They might not know it, but they are at the leading edge of the next stage of the classic wooden boating movement.

It was a great day, we need more of these 🙂 in the mean time – enjoy the photos. Remember click on any photo to enlarge it & on forward the link to today’s post to all your friends & tell them to cut that boat down from the garage rafters 🙂

Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard – Small Boat Regatta

Whangateau Small Boat Regatta Invitation – Saturday 28th March

Once again the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard is throwing its doors open & hosting one of their legendary regatta’s.
These events are a great low key opportunity to combine a beach picnic with a fun sail, row or chug around the bay/ harbour.

Bring your own wooden boat or take a turn in one of the boat yards (if you are an experienced skipper). Remember to bring a life jacket.

BBQs and sausages will be available from 12.30pm onwards or bring a picnic lunch.
HIGH TIDE at 3.00 pm  – Sailing starts just as soon as the tide is in far enough, around 1.00pm.
Do stay away from entrance of the harbour.

It takes a lot of time & money to keep the old boats afloat so please pop a few gold coins in the pocket for the BBQ & boat use.

REMEMBER: its a working boat yard so please mind yourself around the yard and out on the water.

If you have not been before click this link to view past visits

A Day At One Of My Favorite Boating Spots – Whangateau – Sailing Sunday



And a visit to Whangateau would not be completer without a Laughing Lady work-in-process photo

A Day At One Of My Favorite Boating Spots – Whangateau

Yesterday (Saturday 29/11/2014) saw an informal (is there ever a formal one) gathering of young & old salts at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard. The objective being to launch as many of the classic yachts as possible & hold a race. Unfortunately Hughie had other plans & the wind was just too much for the old bodies & boats. Saying that, the brave did go out & had a blast, our hostess had a wee swim & a tow back……….., relax Pam the photos are safe with me 😉

One of my reasons for rocking up today was to see Harold Kidd’s just restored ‘Retaliation’, fresh from a Pam & George restoration. Retaliation was built by Rex Rix in 1933 to beat the Idle Alongs in Wellingtron, but didn’t. She carrys the same rig. Today she looked stunning & Pauline and Harold Kidd + Hugh Gladwell braved the conditions & had a very quick blast up & down the harbour.

To quote Russell Ward – you know it is blowing when a Zeddie takes a reef in! refer photo of Hugh Gladwell  in Olive (Z9).
Russell took the youngest woody boaters out for a lap of the harbour, things started a little ‘loud’ but the arrival of mum helped & as you’ll see from the photos from in the creek, bliss and happiness was achieved on board.

As always it was a great family day & to a foodie like me , the lunch was a big bonus –  the fresh hot smoked snapper just perfect.

The day had a sad element – we were buzzed by the Westpac Rescue chopper & advised that they were searching for a missing fisherman. It a appears he & a friend were fishing in a small RIB in the entrance to the harbour (actually tied off the channel marker) when an oar was lost overboard & one of the fisherman dived in (fully clothed & sans a life jacket) to attempt to retrieve the oar. The current can be very savage in the area & he disappeared below the surface.
Not long after, I left the boat yard to visit Shane Anderson & the chopper was doing repeat sweeps of the coastline in front of his place. It appears the fisherman has drowned, so lets not let this life be wasted i.e. lets use this incident to remind us to wear our vests, particularly when we are in small boats.

As always a special thank you to Pam & George 🙂


The Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard

An insight into the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard

There has been a lot of great photos posted this week from last Sundays regatta & reviewing them I wondered how many of the ww readers knew the background to Pam & George & the yard. So I asked Pam to tell us a little about themselves & the yard.  So read Pam’s reply below. Alan H

First I have to say thank you to everyone for the wonderful support we had on Sunday welcoming the Dreyer family, the new owners of MV Laughing Lady, our newest arrival at the yard. We attribute this support to a mix of Alan’s awesome website and Jane High’s enthusiasm for bringing everyone together. Special big thanks also to all those that brought boats along, to all the sailors, to the helpers who lent a hand with the rigging and the young pirate that made it such a fun time.
Way back
When George was a little boy he would build small Woollacott type model boats in the back shed. Then under his older brother Jim’s watchful eye he built a Cherub design and then a Zepher. He didn’t sail them on the tranquil Tamaki River but preferred to race them with other keen sailors out and about with the Kawau Yacht Club. Then he built thirty and forty foot trimarans and sailed away to the Solomon Islands… and beyond.
When I was a youngster Mum and Dad would bundle up my two older brothers and oldest sister (youngest sister was still just a twinkle) along with our short legged, black and white dog, Boy, and we would – with great excitement and anticipation, be taken night-time fishing. Under the cloak of darkness and the drone of the seagull outboard, we would motor the short distance from our bay in Chelsea, into the reflection of the city’s lights and towards the Auckland Harbour bridge.
Dad would anchor our little Mullety, Terina, between two of the huge concrete columns, under the far side of the harbour bridge. Under the light from the Tilly lamp hung in the rigging, the big kids were allowed to sit on the front deck, we would take up our make shift wooden fishing poles with string line and a small piece of torn white rag, sometimes with a ball of dough attached and dangle it into the water until one of the frenzied yellow tail below took a hold.
Then the four fishing poles would be flung simultaneously into the air. Boy dog barking, four kids squealing in delight, flashings of silver and yellow, fish catapulted through the air. Some would fall on the decks, some flung too far – falling back into the water on the other side of the boat.
There was much scrambling to untangle lines and re-launch them once again. All under the long dark shadows and echoes of the large concrete structure of the harbour bridge above. Slimy and stinky and into the bucket they went, where they could be retrieved later. Some fish were lucky and flipped back into the sea. This went on ’til we had exhausted ourselves, and Mum and Dad, or we splashed the vulnerable Tilly lamp breaking the lens. Plunged into semi-darkness we would have to go home.
I don’t remember walking up the track from the beach to home. I think Dad had probably carried me since I was the youngest at that time.
The here & now
As time ticks by, George and I are fast approaching ten years at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard. We have been quietly and diligently taking our turn at caring for the yard and maintaining it to its original state.  

Many of the photos featured by Alan are familiar to some already, but for the “newbies”, George and I, just the two of us, restore small wooden craft, up to thirty plus feet. Well that is between maintaining the slipway for the local fishing fleet and other recreational boats. I also take on paid boat building work. The money made from this is quickly dissolved back into the boat yard and the project boats we maintain and restore on site.
Many folk driving past the boatyard on the nearby road, see the wooden spars in the creek, they appear at our door in pure delight at what they have found. It is a “living maritime museum” some say or it takes them back to the smells of their grandfather’s sheds. The smells of linseed, oil based paints and freshly cut timber, linger in the old building.
For a long time I felt a need to protect the little yard, as most know it was at threat of being demolished. However the yard, boathouse, workshop and the wooden craft that have refuge here, have found their own way out there and all who stumble upon it endears the yard.
George’s wonderful fleet of restored planked Z’dys is indeed special and the other restored wooden craft are a hit with ever-popular Regattas. Many thanks go to Bud Nalder for donating a sewing machine and the materials and time for schooling and personally making sails for the small craft we have restored.
Russell Ward, the skipper of the steamboat SV Romany still has a berth here for Romany and sometimes the boat yard is graced by steam.
Visitors are welcome to the yard. We do ask that you mind your footing as you move about both in the shed and surrounds, as this is still a functioning, traditional boat yard.
I’m sorry there are not a lot of Laughing Lady photos but its a tight fit in the shed 🙂 but as work progresses I’ll send more to Alan.
Keep checking in here at waitematawoodys as we will be posting more news from the around the yard soon.”

Whangateau Traditional Boat Regatta & Yard Open Day – Part 2

Whangateau Traditional Boat Regatta & Yard Open Day – Part 2

Scroll down to previous post to view Part 1 (42 photos)

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click photos to enlarge

Whangateau Traditional Boat Regatta & Yard Open Day – Part 1

Whangateau Traditional Boat Regatta & Yard Open Day

The Whangateau crew of Pam & George once again threw their yard open to lovers of classic wooden boats on Sunday (May 4th 2014). The regatta also served as a welcome to ‘Laughing Lady’ the new motorboat arrival from the USA that will be receiving some WTB love.
The autumn day was perfect – sun,wind & great boats. The food & people were pretty good as well 🙂
The regatta follows a well rehearsed format – boats out on the beach, sailors & crew arrive, boats rigged, wait for the tide (&wind), race begins/ends, lunch, prize giving. Now if that sounds like any old regatta – I can assure you Whangateau is not that. The fun & ‘games’ as people secure a boat, select sails & rudders etc & rig up is hilarious & the old salts on hand prove invaluable, in fact it wouldn’t happen with out them. No problem if something does not fit, its into the workshop & onto to the saw bench for some adjustments. Thanks to Jason Prew & Nathan Herbert for the ride aboard Otira, the 1902 Logan motorboat.
Your own Steve Horsley won the race (again) , chased / followed very closely by launch owner Shane Anderson, who had to draw on his past yachting days to keep Steve honest & win a waitematawoodys t-shirt.

A lot of the crew got into the spirit of the day & dressed as pirates.

I’m not going to attempt to caption all the photos, there are just too many – I post today a selection to give you a gander of what makes the people & the place so special.
Tomorrow I’ll post another selection – there is just too many for one day 😉

click photos to enlarge

Click the blue link below to read Jane High’s post regatta newsletter

Whangateau Article 2014

laughing lady regatta

Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard Open Day / Regatta

If you are out & about this Sunday & looking for a nice drive, the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard is throwing the doors open for people to view the newest arrival – Laughing Lady to the boat yard and New Zealand. The American and NZ flags will be flying & the theme for the day is red, white & blue or even just something nautical e.g. a boat hat.
And as is always the way – a selection of small craft will be out for inspection & visitors are welcome (encouraged) to bring their own craft.

For the newbies that have not been to one of the regattas before , its a very casual day where you make your own fun and are responsible for yourself i.e. if you are boating, bring and wear your own life jacket.

Bring a picnic lunch or have one of our sausages or bring your own sausages for the BBQ.

There will be a donation box for the sausages and the days events and for up-keep on the small craft on offer.

A course will be set to sail, motor or paddle around, out from the bay.This is open for all to join in

The boat yard is open to view Laughing Lady till 4.00pm

Please mind your footing around the yard, this is a traditional working boat yard.!

How do you get there?

Drive past Matakana aprox 9.1 km to 397 Leigh Road, Tramcar Bay & look for the one way bridge, park on the other side of the bridge please.

Launching of boats can be done from the reserve access by the boat yard, but be early to do this.

High tide is at 11.00 am – so 9.30 for setting up the boats – then as soon as the tide allows, hit the water & we shall signal you back for the start of the race 10.30-11.30 start of race.
Confused ? it will be all clear on the day 🙂