Some great video by Paul Groom (Pavo) of a boisterous Rum Race on Thursday the 13th and the start of a Monday night race on February 17th.
One of the highlights of the summer calendar and for most of us the end of the cruising season is the regatta held by the Mahurangi cruising club over anniversary weekend. Patronised by the Auckland Classic fleet including well over 100 race entries from all the Auckland Clubs, and at least that again of cruising boats, it’s a celebration of sail and a fantastic chance to see a huge variety of crack racing boats from the 1800′s onwards, and did we mention the party on Saturday night? Most clubs run a Friday evening race to Mahurangi harbour and this Friday was the best in years with a forecast for 10-15 kts from the south.
Princess Heading To Tiri On Their Way Home
There were plenty of brightly coloured spinnakers running up to to Tiri and some even carrying them to the finish with Pia, Palmyra, Pavo, Princess, Pizzacato and Pamoana waving the Stewart flag over the weekend.
After the shore events including all time favourites such as egg and spoon, three legged races, tug of war plus the rowing on Saturday morning, the wind picked up to a good 18 knots from the NE and the racing fleet set of for a couple of laps of Saddle Island. Pia, Palmyra, Pavo, Princess competed, with Princess beating the Stewarts home and coming second overall on line to a 60 footer in the Modern classics, sadly it was not enough to collect the silverware. The big band, excellent music and a great party at Scotts landing, plus few rums help console Charles and all was forgotten ready for the trip home.
Sunday dawned to a grey blustery Northerly and a Mark Foy start back to town. Princess and Pavo giving Palmyra and Pia 10 minutes lead which held almost to Rangitoto. Princess looking slick with Cherry on the helm leading Pavo to Tiri, their coordinated crew work getting them ahead with a quick kite hoist, Pavo dealt with vomiting kids, (no sympathy from Princess!) but eventually set their spinnaker and with a few luckily wind shifts, ran Princess down to take the lead and third place overall on handicap to Paramour (37 ft and 40 minutes head start!) and Serene.
With opportunity for three fun races when a few Stewarts get together, it’s a great destination for the family, a chance to catch up with old friends and well worth pencilling in for next year.
Rangitoto Cruising Race
The Rangitoto Cruising Race followed on from the success last year of the Stewart 34 ‘s “Old Fox” cruising race and Summer get together which is primarily aimed and getting cruisers involved with the class. Geoff from Panacea kindly offered his family’s batch at Rangitoto to the Stewart 34 Association so we could have a BBQ and prize giving event after a casual race.
Jan 18 was decided on as probably the only weekend were something else was not on and fortunately the weather played ball for us.
Being early after the Christmas holidays the sailing instructions come out a few days before the race and there was some confusion about the format, it does help if you read them properly, but being a cruising race they did not get the attention they deserved, only a few boats showed up at the start line and no one was sure how many boats had decided to enter.
Geoff from Panacea set off early with the dinghy in tow ( complete with Gas BBQ tied in ) to get the Reception area setup. The crew from Precedent choose to take out Trevor Morris’s newly acquired “Polaris” for a spin as the boat has been in Cruising trim for a number of years, Trevor was still working out what all the ropes do and he was keen to see how she went.
Princess and Polaris turned up at the start line, guns went off and flags were raised so Polaris took off, Phonecian appeared from under the harbour bridge at exactly the right time and joined the race, Bill Falconer who was in the Tower and not competing due to some poor excuse promptly got on the phone to the Precedent crew to inform them they had started 30 mins too early but could only get hold of Barry who was also not competing….confusion still reigned.
Phantasy then showed up at the start line and started with Princess at about the right time and the race was now in full swing
Only Phonecian, Polaris and Princess decided to go around Rangitoto while Phantasy and Panacea went straight to Izzy bay in to complete the cruise aspect of the race
About North Head the slight SW breeze allowed a Spinnaker to be flown so the crew on Polaris decided to test one of the 2 onboard that come with the boat. One was selected ( turned out to be the No. 2 ) and as the bag seemed in order promptly connected and hoisted to the top. The previous owners were obviously a very careful bunch and had taken the time to tie up the spinnaker with woollen ties ( not sure how long ago ) but due to their age and the slight breeze they did not want to become untied. It took some serious pulling and tugging from the foredeck to eventually break them and get the Spinnaker flying, but up she went and all was well.
Phonecian was taking things a lot more easily and were 2 sailing along at about the same speed. Princess could now be seen coming up from behind and were soon they were flying their no. 1 spinnaker.
Smooth sailing ensured until the boats got around Motutapu and the breeze died away in the wind shadow, the tide was going out and the windward work began. Polaris’s main had obviously not done any windward work in awhile and was shaped like a spinnaker, in an effort to try and get the shape a little flatter a reef and then 2nd were put in. Although this did succeed in unblocking the slot
the sail power was severely reduced and progress was painfully slow. Phonecian was also struggling due to the lack of wind but Princess who knew the right people had a breeze of their own and sailed along the shore out of the tide and into the lead. The Polaris crew had a short conference and decided the best course of action in this situation was to throw the anchor overboard and get the fishing rods out, this was duly done and undersized snapper were soon leaping aboard.
Phonecian and then Pizzacato floated past us while we endeavoured to add to the BBQ sausages but as the snapper were playing as tough as the wind that day we gave up and motored around the point into Izzy Bay. It was great to see a few more Stewarts had decided to make the trip and we ended up with 10 boats altogether, which was a solid turnout.
The tide being low made the trip ashore a bit tricky with the Oysters and rocks but as there were plenty of hands about all were soon ashore.
The BBQ was fired up and everyone settled in for the evening
Princess took out the Spinnaker Division and Phonecian the non Spinnaker but the focus was really on a get together and it was great to see the families out and enjoying themselves
Thanks to Geoff who made the family batch available to us, it was interesting to learn about the history of the place, it felt like a step back in time but it was a great day out and something I think we could make a permanent fixture in our calendar
A total of 220 great pics were taken by Photographer Chris Traill on the second race night. Most are posted in the “Gallery” section of this web site. He has offered prints 10X8 at $25 or full res files at $30. They will be on screen again after racing on Monday. More info then on how to order.
Rules Night was attended by only 10 people! Do we think we all know the rules, and need not attend? John Rountree clarified several common right of way issues on the night. If you were not there, be very sure of yourself next time if it gets busy at the top mark! A reminder that an annual rules night is stipulated in our association rules.
16thLast Monday night racing before christmas, can we make it a record fleet out there? Results and Prize giving 1.5 hours after last finish. 6 bottles to be claimed by the best performed yachts on the night, plus- Spot Prize- ‘SLAM’ SUMMER SAILING JACKET, Kindly donated by SAILORS CORNER.
19th Thursday Rum Race, We plan a post race dock BBQ. Paul Groom will be collecting contributions tomorrow or on the day, $5 each.
18th January 2014,The very first Round Rangi Cruise Race A Stewart 34 class event. Fetching up at Jeffs’ in Islington bay for a BBQ ashore. Sailing Instructions later, no point now, you will only lose them. But there will be long and short course options, Note the date in your diary now.
Class Sponsorship. Your committee is on the job, seeking a replacement for Hyundai, and although we have had several good leads and some low level interest. We have yet to find the right match. We have a smart presentation ready to show, so if you have any contacts that you think may suit, and need more details of the package, please let me know. A flyer is attached alongside this newsletter , for you to use to break the ice.
Steinlager2, Rum race Any starters for a rum race aboard Steinlager2 ? She is back in the water, and looking great after a complete refit, in original racing trim, and set up for charter. We need 25 or more to make it a starter, there will be a cost, but probably no more than you might spend on a good bottle of rum. Contact Charles if interested, we will try and get the numbers for sometime in the new year.
Patiki needs a spinnaker pole, also reasonable no2 and no3 headsails. Can anyone help? Willing to pay a fair price, contact Chris 021 405 703
That’s enough from me,
PS. If this newsletter is repeated,or no longer wanted, please let me know, I have tried to merge two mailing lists. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.’