Newsletter August 2020
From the Vice Commodore
Bring on the warmer weather, as apparently spring is just around the corner.
Our Club Commodore is doing stuff for the Queen (point of grammar, should that be a capital The, I must check that with him, as I'm sure it would be taught in Naval School?)
Kirsty and I have been in the Club for 4 years just after we bought our yacht Te Kawana. We entered the club with some trepidation, having little experience of sailing around the Gulf, and expecting the patrons to be using a foreign language that we wouldn't understand. However, everyone was so welcoming and helpful, taking us out on their boats, joining us on ours, we were truly living the dream, going where the wind took us.
And then the son of a previous owner of Te Kawana saw her during the Classic Yacht Regatta in Maharangi earlier this year and cutting a long story short bought her from us.
Oh no, that was never our plan, what now? Great we thought, we can go boat shopping. Do you know how many shapes and sizes of vessels there are to play with? Old/new, wood/grp/aluminium/steel/ferro, cruising/racing/passage makers, and so on and so on.and then the big call..yacht or motor launch.
We started a spread sheet (we are kinda sad that way), to help focus down our choice.
Eventually we made the big decision to look for a motor launch, because we felt it would suit our current lifestyle. (And Kirsty had slipped into conversation one day, that she wanted a boat "she could take out with the girls").
Expected to be mocked for jumping ship, I couldn't have been more wrong, with a huge amount of interest in our new way of being on the water. Luckily, no one has mentioned about a Zimmer frame yet, and that's just as well, because who now has the job of taking the BBQ to the next beach party.
I would be keen to see and mix and mingle with more launch owners in the Club, and so maybe we'll throw out an invite to find out what would work best for everyone. Because quite frankly we are going to spend more time on the beach together, than those who go zig-zagging their way there.
And finally, don't worry I'll post on FB when Kirsty heads out with "the girls". It'll be raucous and you may want to be in a different bay.
It's fantastic to have well attended functions during the winter, perhaps the up-side of current travel restrictions. We strive to offer a range of activities but always welcome fresh ideas, particularly backed up by volunteers to make the events happen.
QUIZ NIGHT Another full house with over 80 quizzers enjoying a delicious buffet before getting down to the mental challenges set by volunteer quizmaster Howard. The dingbats were frustrating, Howard took some flack for the sheet of anchor identifications, and many obscure questions infiltrated the general knowledge round. Our thanks to Howard for his efforts and congratulations to winning team Francee.
PHOTO COMPETITION - 'ANIMALS'
ON THE WATER
Two Hibiscus Marine Coatings Winter Series races were contested in July. After 4 races, Stark Raven sits second in the Gold Division, holding off strong challenges from most of the WBC boats, whilst Glory Days and Azure lead the White Division.
You Travel Winter Cruising Race 3 was postponed due to unfavourable weather conditions and has now been rescheduled for Sunday 23 August. (NOR/SI Amendment 3)
SSANZ Lewmar Triple Series
We had six starters and finishers in Race 1, the Lewmar 60, with Shine On placed 6 from 17 in her division and Enigma I placed 12 out of 36 starters.
Race 2 was game on with only two GHYC boats brave enough to battle the elements. Racing in the same division, well done to Glory Days who earned first place with Shine On placed ninth.
Youth Sailing Programme and Whangaparaoa College Sailing Club
We are delighted to have 5 very enthusiastic students keen to get into keelboat sailing. In July they attended 4 x 1.5 hr workshops, delivered by Mike Pignéguy, entitled 'Introduction to Keelboat Sailing', focussing on safety and basic yacht know-how-to skills. Next are some practical sessions afloat for them to gain useful experience in a controlled situation. Two have lived aboard yachts and are willing supporters of those with little or no previous experience.
Little Barrier Island
It's an island that we all know but very few of us have landed on. Captain Cook named the island in November 1769 while exploring the Hauraki Gulf as he saw it as giving some protection to the Inner Hauraki Gulf. In my experience of cruising the Hauraki Gulf over many years, the only protection the island can offer is if you tuck in closely on the leeward side in a blow, but even then, the wind and swell will chase you around from both sides! Hence the island's Maori name of Hauturu meaning 'the resting place of lingering breezes'. Still, on a voyage from Kawau to Port FitzRoy, it's enough of a respite to have a relatively quiet cuppa and lunch before tackling the open waters again!
While Dee and I were operating the old 'Te Aroha' between 1984 to 1999, we had the good fortune to be able to land on the island many times with our passengers. Because we were, at that time, the only company that was operating trips that included landing on Little barrier with permits obtained from the Dept of Conservation.
Prior to permits being required, during the 1980's we would land our passengers with the permission of the island's ranger and have our lunch sitting on the grass in their wonderful garden while being entertained by kakas walking amongst us and numerous tuis chasing each other around us and through the branches of the surrounding trees. We definitely felt we were in a slice of heaven!
The 'Te Aroha' was built in Totara North in 1909 as an auxiliary trading schooner, but after running cargo with her out to Great Barrier Island until 1986, we converted her cargo hold into cabins to accommodate 20 passengers for 3 to 5 day voyages. Over the following 14 seasons, our 'soft' adventure cruises included landing on islands such as Little and Great Barrier, Arid, the Mokohinaus, islands in the Bay of Plenty, Bay of Islands, and the Cavalli's. But it was the landings on Little Barrier that were the most challenging as were limited to using the boulder beach at Ti Titoki Point, on the island's SW side. It's a very treacherous beach to land on with a swell running, especially at low water and having to negotiate the round slippery boulders to make it up to dry land.
After anchoring for the night in the calmness of Bon Accord, I had to decide at 0530 whether a landing on Little Barrier was going to be a viable proposition at around 0830, and then, more importantly, if we could get people off at 1630. If we were unable to take our passengers off the island due to the weather, the deal was with DoC that we had to helicopter them off before nightfall. You can imagine what that would do to our budget! Luckily it never came to that, but we did have some very exciting beach lift-offs with our trusty Stabi-Craft over the years!
Like a number of land dealings between the government of the day and the original Maori owners, the transition of the island's ownership to the government is not an example to be followed. Unfortunately, after 1872 there were disputes between Maori factions contesting ownership of Hauturu. After numerous court hearings ownership was found in favour of Ngati Wai who later entered into negotiations with the Government to sell the island. But the sale was conditional, and the Government procrastinated for so long that the deal lapsed. The Government then started buying out individual part-owners, but one (Ngati Manuhuri) remained and refused to leave. In 1895 the Government conveniently enacted the Purchase Act (1894) and issued an ejection order. In January 1896 armed troops landed and forcibly removed Ngati Manuhuri in chains and installed them in Auckland Prison.
The sale deal was complicated by the fact that some of the owners had started allowing logging of kauri by pakeha, thus starting to destroy the island's magnificent original habitat. The Purchase Act (1894) was passed to prevent this happening so that the island could become a sanctuary for flora and fauna.
The island is now often named as the 'jewel in the crown' of conservation estates within New Zealand, and indeed of the world. Its fortress like cliffs that surround most of its perimeter make a formidable deterrent for anyone wishing to land, although a few years back a marijuana plantation was found that was being tended by a visitor from the mainland!
You now require a permit from DoC to land, but it is an absolute unique experience if you are able to do so as you will be entering the home of some 40 rare and endangered birds, 14 reptile and 2 bat species, and 400 native plants. It's still very much a slice of heaven.
Just don't try and land in a fresh south westerly!
Mystery Photo Answer: Landing Bay, Burgess Island , Mokohinau Islands
Last updated 06:30 on 9 April 2021