Boating Articles 1993-1996

In Whangarei, Northern New Zealand, as the boating columnist for a local weekly, I produced 150 articles on various aspects of marine activity.  Whangarei is home to the Town Basin, a popular port for international cruisers to hide from the hurricane season in the Pacific. Further upstream Ports of Whangarei and Marsden Point make Whangarei Harbour a busy marine environment and the region is home to boat-mad people of all persuasions. Here are samples of a few of those articles which are all approximately 450 – 500 words and written between 1993-96. A list of potentially interesting articles in the same series follows the samples.

An old salt recalls his seafaring ways – 1 June 1993
He’s one of those blokes we fondly call “an old salt”.  Uncle John ran away from his Northland home in the late 1930s.

He was 14 when he signed onto a cargo ship in Auckland.  As cabin boy, Uncle John’s job was to clean up after the bosun, the lamp trimmer, and the ship’s carpenter.  When he reached the UK, he joined other cargo ships plying between USA or South America and the UK. The Royal Navy thought they could make a radio telegraphist out of him when he joined them in 1943. He passed the first part of the study but while learning the second portion, he developed the notion that the war would be over before he would get a chance to serve.  He began to play up.  The Navy sent him back for reclassification.  They made a stoker out of him.  The job entailed controlling oil-fired burners and boilers.

“In really heavy weather, if you were in No.2 boiler, you couldn’t change watches because you couldn’t get along the deck down to the boiler, Uncle John said…..
Continues – Time on trawlers in Grimsby, Hogarths in Workington, UK – Image John Rudolf


Hard to part with 77 year old launch – 8 June 1993
Te Whara is John Wright’s other boat.  She’s a 32’ launch built by Bailey & Lowe in Auckland in 1916 – beam 8’6”, draught 2’10”.  She has a double-skinned hull built from full length kauri and she’s finished in teak.

A beam of 8’6” was wide for the day and she was jeeringly called a ‘banana boat’ in the early years.  John bought Te Whara in 1967 from Roy Drummond whose father had her built as a gift for his sons in the hope they would return from World War I.  They both came back but Norman was the one interested in boating and he owned her until he died.

Originally flush-decked, the Drummonds took Te Whara back to Bailey & Lowe in 1932 and added a plank in height to the stern, built the current wheelhouse and the companionway to the top deck.
Continues –  Subsequent refits, rigging – Image Te Whara


Reprint of Pickmere’s Atlas available soon – 22 June 1993
Ask a Northland boatie about Pickmere’s Atlas and his ears prick up, his face glows hopefully, and he asks, “Where can I get one?  If he doesn’t ask this question, he tells you smugly instead that he has one and he’s guarding his copy with utmost zeal.

The information for the Atlas was collected over the years by Herewood Pickmere (Pick) who, when he died, left hundreds of bits of information on an equal number of scraps of paper or whatever happened to be handy when he was making notes. Herewood was a registered surveyor and keen yachtsman who mapped the Northland coastline for the military during the war.
Continues – History of the Atlas, daughter NZ’s first woman surveyor


Kia Ora one of the last Patiki – 19 April 1994

The Maori name ‘Patiki’ which means ‘flat fish’ was given to New Zealand’s first unballasted centerboard racing class, designed by Arch Logan around the turn of the century.  The new design was originally commissioned by the Parnell Yacht Club, and it differed from other racing classes of the day in that it was flatter in the floors than usual and shallow-draughted.

The low wooden hull with minimum overhangs was half decked and the rig was carried well forward with a stem headed jib.  The lack of bowsprit, in that day, was especially remarkable. Early Patiki were 18’6” LOA but later, larger much quicker vessels were produced.

Continues – History of Patiki as mullet boats – Kia Ora last one – Image Kia Ora


Sculpture difficult aboard – 13 September 1994

Newly off watch at 4am, artist, Sandra Storey, on board ‘September’ in the vast Pacific, sits in the cockpit watching morning rise and sips at a glass of wine. Alcohol this early in the morning?

“Why not? Why any rules? In her shipboard journal Sandra writes, “the only rules are those conditions imposed on you. Be alert to danger, work when work is needed, don’t neglect your vessel. Wash when you feel, wear what you please (but beware the sun).  Eat when you want from whatever’s available.  Think whatever thoughts enter your mind but be ready for them to be eaten by the sea, digested by the moment.”

Sandra and husband, Chris Carey are both working sculptors.  Sandra’s clay sculptures, well known in Canada, are bought sight unseen by a Vancouver dealer gallery. Her work explores themes of mythology, sometimes combining human and animal forms.

Continues – Practical realities of life for artists on boats – Image Sandra Storey sculpture


Romp revives the days of steam – 17 October 1995

If you were at the Town Basin for the official opening of the development on Saturday September 30, you may have seen a 25ft steam launch tooting up and down, steam snorting impressively from its funnel.Romp, owned by Percy Ginders of Kiripaka was built in the mid-1880s in Auckland by Robert Logan Snr.

The tiny steamboat is of two skin diagonal construction.  With a round bilge, straight stem, and counter stern, the vessel is 25ft overall with a beam of 7’6” and draught of 2’3”.

Continues – History of vessel and its specifications – No image


More articles available in the Whangarei Boating series follows, all approximately 400-450 words:

Susan Hiscock sails on in Shrimp – Susan today – 9 March 1993

Japanese sailing distinctive – visiting Japanese yachtsman and comparison of Japanese conditions – 16 March 1993

Barneys Barrel keenly contested – traditional fun local race – 23 March 1993

Robin Wilkinson sailing to 85th – brief history of local yachting legend – 6 April 1993

Visiting Swedes impressed – Swedish cruising sailors visiting Whangarei – 13 April 1994

Breum’s mission to save Tonga’s birds -Danish trawler used as ornithology research vessel – 20 April 1994

Many aspects to Customs operation – run down of Customs job in Whangarei relating to ports – 27 April 1993

Boating – Visiting Americans, the Hohmans, on their yacht, Hasty – 4 May 1993

Pirates no deterrent for cruisers – Visiting English cruising sailors, the Landons, aboard Chezzetook – 11 May 1993

Wanderer III set to resume her travels – Visiting Danish cruisers, owners of the Hiscock’s old vessel – 18 May 1993

MAF vigilant on disease protection – Border security cruising yachts – 25 May 1993

Correspondence school renowned – Cruising children’s education by correspondence – 15 June 1993

Regrets over loss of Gunnica IV – A Swedish cruising couple abandon ship and a freighter attempts to pick the vessel up – 29 June 1993

Yachtsman throws up odd tidbits – Excerpts from early 1900’s yachting magazines – 6 July 1993

Traditional Small Craft Society preserves small boat lore – What the Society does – 13 July 1993

Tonga Travel the other way – NZ to Tonga in a 45’ cruising launch – 20 July 1993

New guide will help visitors in discovery of New Zealand – Destination New Zealand – all the cruising yachtsman needs to know – 27 June 1993

Pressure is mounting for on-shore disposal – the holding tanks discussion in NZ – 3 August 1993

Nude leap saves September’s dinghy – A cruising sailor stops the theft of his tender – 10 August 1993

Bulk Carriers transport marine ‘AIDS’ to our coastal waters – Cargo shipping ballast water debate – 17 August 1993

Museum good insight into heritage – the NZ Maritime Museum in Auckland  –  31 August 1993

Smiths failed to sail on after 1951 arrival aboard Joy – Cruising yachties who swallow the anchor and become boat builders in Whangarei – 14 August 1993

Boat move positive – Slykermans move aboard Marosa II with three children – 21 September 1993

Rowing a muddle of activities – a novice learns to row, sort of – 28 September 1993

Reminder to check moorings – Foul weather warnings in Northland – 5 October 1993

Resolution reached on entry issue – resolution of entry for foreign cruising craft into Whangarei – 12 October 1993

Foot of the Moon down under – An English/French cruising couple visit Whangarei on board Pied de Lune – 19 October 1993

Robin says he’s made last crossing – 85 year old Robin Wilkinson’s trip to Australia from Whangarei aboard Halcyon 1 – 2 November 1993

Blue Moon regains blue water – brief history Bert Woollacott – NZ boat designer, and relaunch of one of his design’s, Blue Moon – 9 November 1993

Berna Maree ends voyage – Involuntary racing cruisers bring their vessel, Berna-Maree into her final port – 16 November 93

Vertue outstanding performerVertue of Kent – 163rd Vertue class vessel, designed by Laurent Giles visits Whangarei – 23 November 1993

Whangarei welcome like South Africa’sDream Reach makes port in Whangarei – brief information on South African regulations and coastal sailing – 7 December 1993

Plea reaches God’s good earKayos II helped out at sea by Noridiam in health emergency – 14 December 1993

Kids happy with cruising life – Opinions from eight cruising youngsters about living the cruising lifestyle – 21 December 1993

The Pacific the other way – American vessel, Iris, circumnavigates in the opposite direction to 99% of cruisers, allowing them to make port at Truk in the Nomwins Group – 18 January 1994

Take care with moorings – advice on secure moorings – what to use and not to use – 25 January 1994

Vodka sailor’s friend – would be sailing suitor discovers vodka on water tap – used to keep lines ice free – 1 February 1994

Nancy Griffith at home on trader – famous for their circumnavigation of the Antartic in Awahnee and for their book, Blue Water, Nancy, now widowed, talks about skippering the 208 tonne MV Avatapu in Rarotonga – 15 February 1994

Fred and Fearless get off the beaten track – Sailing through the Bass Strait and around the bottom of Australia – 15 March 1994

Jim conquers his fears – 60 yr Jim Hagan sails Joshua H single-handed to Whangarei from Santa Cruz with virtually no sailing experience – 29 March 1994

Pilgrim likely to keep some of Nick Villard’s character – well-known NZ folk musician’s vessel, Pilgrim, a Falmouth Punt built in 1931, brief history – 12 April 1994

Sailing experience has dual benefits – adult sailing lessons and info on Whangarei Cruising Club – 10 May 1994

Insurance at sea expensive – Deyal & Dilys Mckenzie sell their house and move onto a boat without insurance – 17 May 1994

Navy experience inspires cruise around Americas – Submariner, John Garrey and wife talk about their experiences sailing in South America aboard, Subtle – 25 May 1994

Yacht’s history colourfulNikita, no longer recognizable as, Spirit of Peace, companion vessel to the Fri at Mururoa – 14 June 1994

A head start on navigation rules – basic  sea traffic rules – 21 June 1994

One yacht has to go – Valhalla, a Val class 1930’s NZ design – brief history – 28 June 1994

Sail technology astounds – various sail fabric construction processes – 5 July 1994

Yachties enjoy our health system – German sailors aboard Kick’em Jenny compare briefly German health system after giving birth in NZ – 12 July 1994

Sharing keeps sailmakers up with technology – brief run-down of most popular sail cuts  – 19 July 1994

Markers show safe channels – navigation buoys, beacons, markers, and lights – 26 July 1994

Crème de la crème production yacht – Swan 57, Tindora, built by Nautor, Helsinki discussion – 2 August 1994

Charts simple safety feature – brief run down on reading charts and where to get more info – 9 August 1994

Boat beats a bush hut – a Great Barrier Island family moves aboard Syreeta when their youngsters needed more opportunities – 16 August 1994

Know how to recover the man overboard – brief description of what to do to save a man overboard) – 23 August 1994

Aloha part of local colour – Dick Lang design built in Auckland in 1933 – brief history  – 30 August 1994

Boat means small works – German cruising sailor and artist, Petra Scotese, discussion on being an artist on a boat – 6 September 1994

Yacht designed around artistic needs – Leo & Karen Cappel, artists and ancient musical instrument specialists designed their yacht, Claes Compaen around their art – including a kiln – 20 September 1994

Quid Non leads in the fleet – (Ganley September 32 design returns after three year circumnavigation) – 4 October 1994

Long history of live-aboards – stories of live-aboard life in Whangarei Town Basin in the ‘50s aboard Logan designed, Sea Knight – 18 October 1994

Mangroves earn respect -Hone and Kaka, two lighters, or barges built circa 1911 in Dargaville and used as houseboats in Whangarei – 25 October 1994

Advertisement leads to adventure – Swedish steel vessel Monsun af Ekero, built by skipper Lindblom to Colin Archer design – traditional block & tackle – Diane sails as crew – 1 November 1994

Beautiful lines of graceful Aumoe attract lot of attention – LeHuquet designed launch built in 1913 in Auckland – brief history – 8 November 1994

A boat for the ice –  Brian Donovan’s last design built for the ice – brief history Solstice, also Donovan – 15 November 1994

Sea Witch’s gaff rig has advantages – launched in 1939 and designed by American, Hugh Angleman – brief history of class and vessel and discussion gaff rig/bowsprit – 22 November 1994

Lone Wolf typical super seiner – tuna vessel launched in Texas in 1980, owned by Zolezzi family, vessel specs, info tuna fishing – 29 November 1994

Port Corp tugs sturdy tractors – Reinga and sister ship, Waitangi, tug specs, bringing in large logging freighter – 13 December 1994

Crimson Tide accomplishes goal – Wallises’ completed and launch steel van de Stadt design at Whakapirau and sail round to Whangarei with the aid of a chart dated 1878, then to Yasawas – 20 December 1994

Roam not built in a day – Jim Young designed Roam, third off the blueprint, sandwiched fibreglass & foam hull, built and launched in Whangarei – 17 January 1995

Voyager races, cruises – John Alden adaptation of a Grand Banks fishing schooner, launched in 1929 at Thomastown, Maine and built by Morse & Son – Morrocan sailing experience and specs of vessel – 21 February 1995

Trawler yacht a live-aboard family liner – Pescadora, 73’ fishing trawler built and launched in Whangarei for live-aboard family, the Watsons – 31 January 1995

Crewing way to see the world – how luxury yacht, Interlude, got its hired help, Neil, and what the crewing is like – 7 February 1995

Magnetic tribute to ferro-cement – Ferro-cement vessel, Magnetic tumbles from a cradle with her skipper onboard in a blow – 21 February 1995

Supertankers call for team effort – cont…the experience of going out with the pilot, to board and pilot in a supertanker – 28 February 1995

Pilotage needs organisation and teamwork –  on the bridge of supertanker, British Success, with Pilot, Hugh Pevy, as the 857’ vessel is brought in alongside Marsden wharf – 7 March1995

Viking attracts attention – Viking trader replica, Bifrost, makes port – 21 March 1995

Volunteer communication service vital – Whangarei VHF Marine Repeater Association – 28 March 1995

Jacqueline defeats her freeboard phobia – Hawaiians, Jacqueline & Les Nagai talk about convincing Jacqueline to go sailing – 11 April 1995

Powles on third circumnavigation – Single-hander, Les Powles,  in Whangarei with vessel, Solitaire – 2 May 1995

Gunnica IV returns to sea – Relaunching after repairs to vessel which rolled, and was damaged by friendly freighter, and abandoned – 9 May 1995

Diario carries giggles to the world – Babs Dekker, German pantomimist, cruises and entertains in the islands where sophisticated theatre isn’t known – 16 May 1995

Charter hopes for Gulf Star – Built and launched by Bailey & Lowe in 1938, brief history of motor vessel, Gulf Star – 30 May 1995

Hiscock’s favourite stops over – Wanderer III, owned by Dane, Thies Matzen, visits Whangarei bare weeks after Susan Hiscock’s death – 6 June 1996

More bad moments than good – a first disastrous cruising trip – Wellington to Napier – 4 July 1995

Dolphins made world right again – continuation of disastrous cruising trip Wellington to Napier – 11 July 1995

Rocks nasty hazard in jet boating – a jet-boating disaster story – 25 July 1995

Sturdy Cara Mia charter identity – one of first Chris Craft built in NZ, designed by American J Murray Watts – brief history fishing launch Cara Mia – 1 August 1995

Crew difficulties not all one-sided – Vessel, Wet Behind the Ears, experience with supposedly knowledgeable ‘extra’ crew – 8 August 1995

Veteran still a popular charter – Launched in 1947,  Sou’East built in Auckland by Lanes Motor Boat Company, designed by Fred Wilkins, co-author Saltwater Game Fishing in NZ – 22 August 1995

Jellie class thrilling sailing – 1920 Glad Bailey design first X-Class was launched, became Jellie class named after Lord Jellicoe – brief history – 24 October 1995

Q-Class hero wrote name in history – 80ft wooden top sail schooners known as the Q-Class waged effective war against German submarines – X-Class sailing dinghy cup named after NZ skipper, Sanders,  of the Q-Class, The Prize – 31 October 1995

Sensation an utterly modern classic – Kees Kornstra, builder of Skutsjes in Holland, has a yacht built for his 6’7” height – specs and brief travel log – 21 November 1995

Nanette stands test of time – Built from an Herreschoff H28 design, launched in Northland, 1957 – 5 December 1995

Life simple on unspoilt Raivavae – Austral Islands 250 miles south of Tahiti – yacht Casimer’s experiences in the islands – 19 December 1995

Pooling leads to world voyage – seven Norwegian students purchase a 59 year old wooden fishing vessel, Hnoss – brief description travels and life on board – 13 February 1996

Trip to Great Barrier amazesSea Knight finds a crowded Port Fitzroy on Great Barrier – brief description of Barrier attractions – 20 February 1996

Glory is Susanne’s freedom – 35 year old German solo sailor, Susanne and dog on circumnavigation in 30’ Leisl – brief description of difficulties as a solo sailor – 27 February 1996

Barrel race keenly contested – the outrageous annual yachting race from Town Basin to Parua Bay – 19 March 1996

Tutukaka charters popular – Dive chartering out of Tutukaka and brief description of Poor Knights Islands – 26 March 1995