Category Archives: Classic Boating

The Rudder Cup

The Rudder cup was first run in 1908 and again on its 100th anniversary in 2008. The race involves some of NZ’s finest Classic launches racing overnight up to Sail Rock and back. This is the third time the full length race has been held.

Sail Rock is just over 100 nautical miles from Auckland and is just off the coast by Pakiri. north of Auckland.

At the visitors berth

In 2008, I was keen to run but Rorqual had an overheating problem and it would have been too risky but now that my son Drew has spent the last year going over the boat completely and has largely sorted out all these issues, we’re getting much closer but its great that he’s basically beaten it.

Because so much has been done on Rorqual recently and it has literally only just been put back together with so many changes, it was deemed to risky to go the whole distance but we thought we would show up on the start line and join in the fun and then peel off.

Click on an image for Hi Res

Jason’s boat My Girl with Rorqual and Meola behind

We left Milford on the tide around lunch time and headed down to Westhaven marina to the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron (Home of the Americas Cup for those overseas) which is a bout 40 minutes by water. There we were to join up with some of the other boats who were going to start the race.

Rorqual and My Girl at the visitors berth

We had a great afternoon at the Squadrons visitors berth catching up with everyone and checking out different boats.

Catch up time at the visitors berth. Drew in the white shirt next to Rorqual with My Girl behind.

With us at the visitors berth was Jason with his boat My Girl that he has been restoring over the last couple of years and she looks fabulous. It has a big Turbo charged Volvo in her so she was one of the race favorites for her class. Behind us was an old work boat owned by Ian called Meola. Ian invited us on board and and showed us around. He has repowered it with a 4 cylinder Gardner and she looks a picture.

Meola under the bridge waiting for the start.

Not long after we arrived, old friends Barb and Dave arrived with their old Salthouse classic Trinidad. It was nice to see them too.

David bringing Trinidad into the Squadron base from Bayswater

About 6:30, everyone started to head out towards the startline under the bridge. There were 14 boats racing and they were all ready to go. While we waiting there, race official Baden motored around in a tender and checked all the boats had all their safety gear.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slide show

The weather forecast for the race was a little grim with heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted for most of the race area and Auckland and while we bobbed around waiting for the start time at 7pm, the patchy showers were heading across Auckland.

The Cannon sounded at 7pm and Drew opened up the noise and we were off. With a puff of black smoke we were heading off down to North Head at the entrance to Auckland Harbour. As there is a 12 knot limit in the harbour until you get to North Head, Drew kept Rorqual’s speed down until we got well past Devonport and then opened her up to 16 knots.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slide show

By the time we got to Devonport Wharf which is about half way down the harbour, we were well ahead of most of the fleet and only one of Drew’s mates in a Thundercat with a 50HP Yamaha on the back was with us. He spent 10 minutes or so playing in our wake which provided some entertainment for us.

Our entertainment for the day.. the Thundercat with the big Yamaha

We got about half way across to Rangitoto light when Drew decided to withdraw from the race and we headed back sedately at around 15 knots.

Sterling won the Veteran Division and the Rudder Cup

Rorqual performed amazingly and I was really pleased that Drew has managed to crack the heating issue with only some small things to be done to finish things off.

Heading off towards the Tiri channel

They dropped me off in Viaduct Harbour and I caught the ferry home to Devonport. They went on to Islington Bay for a boys night away. A fun day!

Kumi and Meloa heading north

I was watching the race on my phone on a tracking app and I noticed some of the Rudder racers had returned back to the Squadron base in Westhaven by 3am in the morning which is great timing.

Classic Boats on Lake Rotoiti – Lots of images

Every year at Waitangi weekend for the last 4 years , Alan and I have hit the road in Rafe and headed down to Lake Rotoiti and joined the Lake Rotoiti Classic Boat Association, who have a parade with their lovely boats and a picnic day out on the beach. Its a great occasion where the public can watch from the shore or any other vantage point they can find and enjoy the spectacle.

Click on any image for Hi Res or a slideshow

Rafe with Tim and Pams Chev and boat on behind.
Rafe with Tim and Pams Chev and boat on behind.

We left Auckland in the middle of the day on the Friday to try and avoid some traffic.  We were half successful and we arrived around 4pm and set Rafe up at the Lake Rotoiti Holiday Park. We were given a park right next to our friends from Taupo Shawn and Cathy. Just around the corner were Tim and Pam with their Chev and Miss Belair which they parked right next to us.

Shawn and Cathy's car on the left with Tim and Pams boat in the middle with Rafe
Shawn and Cathy’s car on the left with Tim and Pams boat in the middle with Rafe

After registration, a few drinks and a meal at the Pikiao Rugby League club we returned back to Rafe for a few drinks with our friends and neighbours, Tim, Pam, Shawn and Cathy.

Fraser showing Alan around the boat.
Fraser showing Alan around the boat.

The next morning, we were up early as it was parade day. The previous Commodore of the Classic boats, Fraser had offered us the use of his Tender as a platform for taking some images from the water. Alan was driving so I could concentrate on getting the images and we could use them both here and on his blog, 

Alan on the helm with Frasers house behind
Alan on the helm with Frasers house and boat behind

Fraser came and picked us up from the campground and after a look around his amazing waterfront house on the lake, we went and got settled with the boat.

Enjoy the images.. Click on an image below for a slideshow.

It was a great day with lots of the Classic crews ready to show off their lovely boats and most were dressed in period costumes for the occasion. The winner of the costume award went to the crew of Alberta.

Winners of the costume awards
Winners of the costume award

After the parade, everyone headed over to Wairau Bay for a picnic and catchup. It was great to catchup with old friends and meet some new people and see their boats.

One of the things about the lakes is there are no tides so they run their boats up in the sand and step off their bows with ladders onto the beach. Some choose to anchor and get picked up by the barge.

A tough day at the office 🙂

A great day on the water finished off with a beer at a bar which was accessible by boat and then back to the camp.

There are lots and lots of pictures duplicated on taken by me with Alan on the helm.

Rafes Track back from Lake Rotoiti.


The Classic Yacht Christmas invasion at Patio Bay, Waiheke Island

Every year at this time, the Classic Yachts and Launches of the CYA race down and anchor at Patio Bay and enjoy a great knees up for Christmas.

The old girls (Wooden boats !) and their owners enjoy a few cold ones on their boats together before heading to shore to Bert and Margaret Woollicotts family Bach.  Several Barbeques are setup(with wood) and everyone does their own thing.

Click on the images for hi res or a slideshow

Alan and I are both ex Launch Captains of the CYA and have been on the committee and helped organise different parts of this great annual event.  My old boat Rorqual was still in bits in mid restoration by my son Andrew, so I was really pleased to be able to go down with Alan on his 1928 Lanes launch, Raindance.

Raindance ready to go
Raindance ready to go

After getting things ready at Bayswater marina, we headed off to the start line of the yacht race at Orakei Wharf. It was going to be a long day as there was absolutely no wind. The sea was flat calm.

We hung around for 20 minutes or so to get some pictures and then handed down towards Waiheke. After a couple of hours or so so later, we arrived at the bottom end of Waiheke with quite a few boats already there, mostly from the day before making a weekend of it. The weather was just stunning even a little too hot.. Everyone was looking for shade and there was no wind at all.

Brian and Roseanne on their boat Silens
Brian and Roseanne on their boat Silens

We visited Roseanne and Brian on their boat Silens which as anchored just behind us and later were visited by our friend Richard from the Devonport Yacht Club.

imageAround 5, the yachts had finally arrived and we headed into shore to enjoy a meal from heaven that Alan had already prepared. …Alan’s a great cook and is legendary for his skills in the galley 😀

imageA great night of catching up with old friends and we later headed back to Raindance.

imageIn the morning, we were visited by Steve who had sailed down from Mahurangi for the event.  Alan cooked up a great feed of Baked Beans on toast and several cups of tea to blow the cobwebs out for all three of us.

Patio Bay behind .. Heading to Bayswater

By 9ish, we were under way for the 3hr trip back to Bayswater.  A great couple of days and nice to see everyone.

See Alan’s blog for more.

A Classic trip to the Riverhead Pub

With the All Blacks losing to Ireland and the weather forecast looking miserable, you could have easily flagged the day as one for the slippers and the fireplace but when the call goes out for the Classic Launches Riverhead trip, it is one not to be missed!

Trinidad under way with the Bridge and City behind
Trinidad under way with the Bridge and City behind

Fiona and I have done this for years, usually twice a year and it never disappoints.  See a previous trip here.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

riverheadClassic boat owners Paula and Stephen Pepperill sold their Classic Yacht to renovate their newly purchased Riverhead Hotel and have done a stunning job in rescuing it after years of being run down and neglected. These days, ferry loads of passengers make the day trip from Auckland to have a great lunch with a few drinks and to enjoy the river trip. It has also become one of the more popular trips for the Classic Yacht Launches too.

Where we went.. From Bayswater to Riverhead and back.
Where we went.. From Bayswater to Riverhead and back.

Its always a fun event and can be quite nerve racking for the novices as the channel is quite narrow in places and can be only a 1 metre or so deep in places so its a great event for confidence building and to join in with a new adventure.

At Lucas Creek .. half way. Dani, Grant, Robyn and Fiona with Trinidad behind.
At Lucas Creek .. half way.
Dani, Grant, Robyn and Fiona with Trinidad behind.

Fiona and I decided to take Rafe down to the marina carpark and stay two nights so we could get away early and stay the night after.

Juanita with Rangitoto behind
Juanita with Rangitoto behind

We were meeting Alan and his wife Robyn on their 28ft 1928 Lanes tramtop at the marina at 9.00am. Friends Dani and Grant were going to be there too.  Alan was Launch Captain of the CYA (Classic Yacht Association) for 4 years after my 2 years as LC, and Alan, Grant and I have done lots of boating together when I had Rorqual.

Launch captain, Angus Rogers Mahunui
Launch captain, Angus Rogers Mahunui

We met under the centre span of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and at 09:30, Alan led the way up to the first meeting point at Lucas creek, about half way where we were meeting several other boats and their crews.

On the way to Riverhead
On the way to Riverhead
Raindance at the wahrdf with others jostling for a park
Raindance at the wharf with others jostling for a park

In the well sheltered upper harbour, the water was calm and there was very little wind. About an hour later, everyone was jockeying for a parking spot, some rafting with friends and the Tino Rawa Trust tender Whistleblower was on hand to ferry people into the Pub’s jetty.

About 100 people turned up, some by car as well. There was a band playing, the sun made an appearance and it was a great few hours of catching up with old friends and meeting a few new people too.

About 2pm (1.5hrs after full tide), many started to leave before the creek ran out of water 🙂  We had a fun trip back with a couple of drinks, some Sausage Rolls and some chocolates and strawberries which Fiona had prepared.

Time to go, Grant stand and Fiona sitting waiting to go.
Time to go, Grant standing and Fiona sitting waiting to go.

We stepped off the boat to a hot shower and a cup of coffee after a neat day out. Thanks for a great day out on the water Robyn and Alan,  and its always fun to see Grant and Dani too.

There are more images on Alans blog

Motorhoming with the boats

The old post office building and the Paeroa racecourse ticket office.

On the way back from Waihi, we stopped in at the Paeroa Maritime Museum.
With my past involvement with Classic Launches, I was keen to see what was there. The main building is the ex Paeroa Post Office and is chocker with relics from the area. Apparently Captain Cook sailed up the Waihou and checked it out for Spars.

Paeroa didn’t see roads until the mid 1940’s and the main transportation method was ships up the streams to where the Maritime Museum is today.

Visitors going up the river
Visitors going up the river

They also provide overnight Motorhome parking with power for $15 and there are toilets and plenty to see and do.
You can also go for a ride in one of their two vessels up the Waihou river.

The Show must go on

After the torrential rain on Saturday morning, the organisers of the Rotoiti Classic boats decided to postpone it until Sunday.

We left the camp early and after a quick breakfast, we took Rafe around to the top of the “viewing platform” which is a park and parking area just along the road from Okere Falls Store.

Rafe overseeing things

As a lot of my last years images were in the Rotoiti Classic Boat Associations 2016 calendar, we were welcomed by commodore Grant and past commodore Fraser down by the water and offered several options to help with pictures.

The crowd enjoying the Parade. Commentary boat on the right
The crowd enjoying the Parade. Commentary boat on the right

Alan took his from the back of the commentary boat which is where I took mine from last year but I set up my nice comfy deck chair and sat right by the waters edge and shot from there.

During the parade

Several hundred people materialised from everywhere quite quickly and made themselves comfortable on the grass.


At 10:30, the whistle sounded and the first boats started the parade. From Rowing boats right through to big launches. All meticulously maintained and most with oodles of history.

As always, click on the images to see them in hi res and the slideshow below. 

A great spectacle. A nice weekend.

After the parade finished, the boats all headed over to the other side of the lake and enjoyed their annual picnic on the beach.
We headed for home after stopping briefly at Tirau for lunch.

Classic Cars and Boats

The weather dealt to the Rotoiti Classic Boats parade today. It has been postponed until Sunday so this morning, we arranged to stay here another day.
Our friends Shawn and Kathy from Taupo arrived late yesterday from Taupo with their two children and despite the rain, people came out from under cover to admire their 1960 Dodge with their new Retro Chris Craft.

Shaun's replica Chris Craft
Shaun’s replica Chris Craft
Shawn and Kathys Dodge with onlookers in the rain
Shawn and Kathys Dodge with onlookers in the rain

Not long after that Tim and Pam arrived with their 2 door pillar less Chev Bel Air coupe with their custom made Miss Bel Air speed boat.

The 56 Chev with Miss BelAir
The 56 Chev with Miss BelAir

Russell Ward also arrived late with Steam Boat Romany and spent the morning getting her ready for the parade while kids were doing antics around with bikes in the rain.

The 56 Chev and the 1960 Dodge
The 56 Chev and the 1960 Dodge

This morning we were invited around to check out a boat Kereru that’s for sale so we went around in convoy in the Dodge and Chev and later to the Orere Point Store for lunch.

The store has a really nice outdoor area complete with a stage and has a great selection of food and wines.
One of the nice things about Lake Rotoiti and the boating setup here is their lakeside covered docks where they are used as vehicles to get about in. Backing out their boats just like the rest of us do with our cars. Fantastic.

The covered docks
The covered docks

The boat parade is on today so we are looking forward to that.

Rotoiti Classic boats, here we come.

For the last three years, Alan and I have been invited by the Classic and Wooden Boat Association to join in with the parade of classic boats on Rotoiti.  We also photographed their classic boat parade for their calendar and for and now this blog.
Alan and I are both ex launch captains of the Classic Yacht Association here in Auckland.
This is the second year we’ve come down in Rafe and it’s always a real hoot. They have a parade of all the boats on the lakes edge and then cross to a bay for a combined family picnic.

We left Takapuna around 10:30 this morning and after a brief stop for diesel and fresh water, our first stop was KFC Matamata where had lunch and got “provisions” for another meal for the boat parade cold.
Just out of Tirau, we had to stop for a cup of coffee to wash down the KFC!

Cup of tea time outside Tirau
Cup of tea time outside Tirau
Alan after a tea..!
Alan after a tea..!

Feeling much better, we were under way again for Rotoiti.
The Classic and Wooden boat associations opening do is always a barbecue at the camping ground on the lakes edge. We’re fortunate that their secretary Rachel and the committee look after us so well.
The Lake Rotoiti Holiday Park was once a fully fledged camping ground and caravan/Motorhome park. These days it’s unfortunately is set up for annual cabin rentals more than the conventional Motorcamp setup. The facilities are fantastic although now geared more for the cabins.


Fiona and I came here about 20 years or so ago with a jet ski and stayed in a cabin. After parking the JetSki on the jetty, we were able to just come and go without launching it from the trailer. Being a fresh water lake too meant we didn’t have to flush the motor! We stayed for the best part of a week exploring the hot pools and lake Rotoiti and through the weir to lake Rotorua too. I remember this being a great holiday and nice spot to stay.

Roll on the BBQ. This year unfortunately, the weather isn’t playing the game. It is forecast to be showery tomorrow so let’s wait and see. Boats are made to get wet after all!