Loads of excellent photos taken of the November 18 Windward/Leeward races are posted in the “Gallery” section of the web site. Enjoy!
Pavo and Psychic rounding a mark in the Championship Series (Paul Groom photo)
With the America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay done and dusted, and the Auld Mug safely locked away in the Golden Gate Yacht Club for another four years, Auckland yachties have finally exhaled and escaped from behind TV screens to start their “Summer of Sailing.”
The AC 72‘s are clearly “breakthrough” yachts which illustrates just how far the sport of sailing has progressed in the last half-century. Fifty four years ago this month, the breakthrough yacht of the day was Patiki, a light displacement 34 foot racer-cruiser designed by the late Bob Stewart, which tore up the local racetracks and led yacht design into the era of semi-planing hulls.
The Stewart 34 has gracefully aged into the “modern classic” category. Nonetheless the 60 boat fleet still performs yeoman’s duties in both racing and cruising. Stewarts that have been passed through two or three family generations still race weekly and take the family out on the Hauraki Gulf for a summer holiday cruise. A younger generation of sailors keen to partake in some fiercely competitive one-design racing see value not only in the quality of the yachts, but the cohesiveness and camaraderie of the Stewart 34 owners and crew.
A renaissance of sorts has taken place within the class in the past few years. New owners of older wooden Stewarts that have been beautifully restored, Palmyra, Panacea, Pavo and Pim, have joined the fleet of yachts that compete in the annual Championship Series. This summer, a record 23 yachts hit the start line on Monday evenings in the 25 race series of short windward/leeward or “sprint” races in both spinnaker and non-spinnaker categories. Patiki, Pia and Pimpernel have been showing up for Rum Races and various Stewart 34 Association cruising events.
In the Championship Series, veteran Guy Pilkington’s Playbuoy has featured well in the 13 strong Spinnaker Division while Charles Scoones’ and his mostly female crew of Princess have captured multiple line honours in the 10 boat Non-Spinnaker Division.
There are some new names at the top of the standings as well. Class newbie Paul Groom of Pavo has been the “most improved” and has had numerous podium finishes on handicap in Spinnaker Division. Jeff Crooks, who recently purchased Panacea and has crewed her up with mostly family members, is also handicapping well in Spinnaker division.
The Stewart 34’s continue to hold their own against similar sized yachts of much younger vintage in local mixed fleet racing events. They usually account for 50% to 75% of the fleet in the Ponsonby Cruising Club Thursday Rum Races, with nine Stewarts hitting the start line in a recent race. It a blow however, the race often becomes a one-design race for the die-hard Stewart crews.
Stewart 34 also feature in the Classic Yacht Association Summer Series. One or two Stewarts are usually on the podium, sailing in the Modern Classic Division.
Kurt Boyle, owner and crew Matt Burkhardt put Pelagian II to the ultimate test in last year’s SSANZ Two Handed Round New Zealand Race. They not only survived hurricane force winds and monstrous seas during a storm off the west coast, they went on to finish a lap around Aotearoa with no major damage or injury.
With more than one-third of the Stewart 34 fleet actively racing, and some boats in the restoration process, it looks like the class will continue to be an iconic part of the Auckland sailing scene for many years to come.
Neil Heath from Precedent writes:
Had a good Regatta down at the Mercs over labour weekend.
Princess, Phoenician, Prince Hal and Precedent went down to represent the Stewart Fleet.
Good racing ensued over the weekend with Princess taking out the round Island races and Precedent taking out the passage races.
Thanks to Neil for the great photos!
A good line up of Stewart 34s in the Viaduct on the first weekend of October.
The show was part of the Auckland Waterfront Heritage Festival and acknowledged the contributions of Bob Stewart and Jack Brooke to Auckland yachting.
A few yarns were spun by past S34 crews who just ‘happened to be passing.’
The second race of the Collinson Forex series on Saturday April 20th marked the end of the Stewart 34 Championships for the 2012-2013 summer racing season. A warm and blustery northerly served up some spirited sailing conditions for the fleet of 20 P-Boats sailing a long course on the Waitemata Harbour. The odd shower throughout the day washed off some of the salt from the boat’s decks and crew’s foulies which haven’t seen much fresh water during the past long and dry NZ summer. The fleet crossed the finish line in Westhaven mid-afternoon, leaving plenty of time for post race beers/rums on board before the prizegiving, hosted by the Ponsonby Cruising Club, kicked off at 6:30 that evening.
The band Royal Fortune played sea shanteys while the sailors enjoyed beer and burgers.
Peter Lester, two-time NZ Yachtsman of the Year, former High Performance Director for Yachting NZ and TVNZ Yachting Commentator commented on the state of yachting in NZ and his perspectives on the upcoming America’s Cup in San Francisco this September.
Mark Bond, helmsman of “Pionnier” accepts the Collinson Cup for Line Honours in the Spinnaker Division of the Collinson Forex Series from Peter Lester.
Brett Henshaw, owner and skipper of “Panacea” accepts the prize for 1st on Handicap, Spinnaker Division in the Collinson Forex Series from Peter Lester.
Kurt Boyle, owner and Skipper of Pelagian II, accepts the trophy for 1st on line, Non-Spinnaker Division in the Collinson Forex Series from Peter Lester.
Paul Groom, owner of “Pavo” accepts the prize for 1st on handicap, Non-Spinnaker Division of the Collinson Forex series from Peter Lester.
Terry Ward accepts the Forward Hand award from Daniel Carrol of Hyundai New Zealand for his excellent work on the foredeck of “Pionnier.”
Helen Henshaw, Katie Northfield, Cherry McIvor and Jacqui Perillo of “Patiko” accept the award for Most Improved from Daniel Carrol. Their excellent crew work also landed them first place on handicap in the Non-Spinnaker Division.
Mark Bond, helmsman, and Bill Miller, owner and skipper of “Pionnier” accept the Stewart 34 Challenge Cup for Line Honours in the Hyundai Championship Series from Daniel Carrol.
Wayne Boburg, owner and skipper of “Phlyer” accepts the prize for Line Honours in the Non-Spinnaker Division in the Hyundai Championship Series from Daniel Carrol.
Matt Burkhardt, first mate and Kurt Boyle, skipper of Pelagian II celebrate a successful racing season which included a lap around New Zealand.
The girls from “Patiko” sip rum and coke from the Stewart 34 Challenge Cup to celebrate an excellent season of racing.
Pahi and Pelagian have both had podium finishes in the 2012 Coastal Classic, according to the Coastal Classic Web site results posted.
Pahi, compteting in Division 3 finished third on line with an elapsed time of 15:19:47 and corrected to third on handicap.
Pelagian, skippered by Roy Dickson, finished first on line in Division 5 with an elapsed time of 15:25:19 and corrected to first on handicap as well.
Congratulations and well done to the skippers and crew!
for the Stewart Association president to present a copy of ‘The first 50 years’ to the RORC library.
member, put the meeting together after having a yarn with Eddie Warden Owen at
the London Clubrooms.
to Charles over a beer in the Fastnet Room, he remembered well representing the
UK in the ’87 and ’88 Citizen Watch Match Racing series, sailing Playtime (then Pink Panther) and Psychic. He was delighted to learn that the class is still thriving, and given
the opportunity would enjoy another ride next time he is in Auckland. He said
that the Stewarts were “testing” to sail, and no surprise that top Kiwi sailors
emerged from the class. Neil had also ensured that the book was signed by the
author, George Backhus.
Check out David Parillo’s excellent video on the rebuild of Pavo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=806JqLVh4kM
We look forward to seeing her out on the water!