Wednesday, February 3, 2016

________________ Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta 2016 _______________

 There she was in all her red splendour in the early morning light. She looked exactly as she did one year ago.

Once on board I took a quick tour of the boat and this is the only thing I noticed that was different from last year - one hell of a bend in the stock of the CQR / Plough anchor - it must have been one hell of a jolt to have bent that!

I sailed the harbour race with my brother Christopher this year. That's him in the foreground in the striped T - Shirt  working on the coffee - grinder winch hauling up the mainsail.

The days events began with the annual Tug Boat race which kicked up quite a lot of choppy water.  The huge wake made any yachts that were too close, pitch and roll, as this little H28 is doing.

The launch 'Te Hauraki' is owned by Steinlagers skipper Alastair Deaves father. We all gave a big cheer as she raced past in the Tug - Boat race. She was small fry compared to some of the massive Tugs racing, but she seemed to be keeping up with the big fat fellas.

The 'William C Daldy' was the only coal fired steam driven Tug in the race.

One of two old Americas Cup yachts that are now in use on Auckland harbour as daily charter yachts. These boats are very fast and quite a match for Steinlager 2.

These are the two flag choices that the New Zealand public will vote on later this year. We will either retain the old flag which combines the Union Jack on a dark blue background with four red stars (The Southern Cross) or we will have a new flag which combines a white silver fern boarded at the top with black and the red stars of the Southern Cross on a light blue background.

Visually from a distance the old flag stood out the best of the two. From a distance the new flag looked a bit washed out in comparison. Closer up (We sailed under the Auckland Harbour bridge) the new flag looked good.

The scow 'Ted Ashby' being put through her paces. One hundred years ago the Auckland coast was full of these coastal trading scows. Before the development of roads and railways these were New Zealands equivalent of the Thames Trading Barge.

The famous amateur built 'Innismara' hoisting her mainsail. She was built as a 'Ranger Beater';  Ranger being an A Class racing yacht designed by Knud Reimers that was unbeatable for decades on Aucklands Waitemata Harbour.

 A Dragon Class yacht, one of the prettiest little boats ever designed, getting the spinnaker pole down.

Traditional Polynesian catamaran heading towards Auckland Harbour bridge.

There were a number of old traditional gaff riggers sailing in the regatta.

Off we go heading for North Head in the distance and then up harbour to the windward buoy.

As we were sailing on the wind at 12 knots the trimaran Vodaphone flew past as if we were standing still. She must have been doing well over 25 knots. This is the trimaran that beat the 80 foot Maxi Lion NZ  that I raced on, by 14 hours in the Auckland to the Bay of Islands Coastal Classic race in 2015.
Speeding back up harbour to a line honours win in the big monohull division.

It was great to share the experience with my brother Chris who I think is now a starter for this years Coastal Classic aboard Steinlager 2 ....... Great!!


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Lovely pictures... love that America's Cup boat; as much as I love/like the AC45/foiling cat's the old style boats sure were pretty...

Ben said...

Hi Alden,
What a great day and what a spectacle to look at. Beautiful pictures, full of action. Beautiful weather too. We just returned from the snow.
I like the new flag design even better if the background would be pitch dark and darker blue. Off Corse as a Dutchman I do not have patriotic sentiments with the old design.

Alden Smith said...

Steve - The best of these boats is in the Auckland Nautical Museum just across from where Steinlager is moored. You can see this boat (NZL 7) close up - She's an awesome racing machine complete with all the go fast gear that won NZ the Americas Cup back in 1995 in San Diego. Personally I am not as keen on the foiling cats - but they do make interesting spectator sport.

Alden Smith said...

Ben, it was a great day with plenty to see, although there were not as many yachts out as there were last year. Apparently the Bay of Islands 'Sailing Week' is now in competition with Auckland Anniversary Day and many yachts were still up North. Also, many yachts were coming back from the overnight race to Kawau Island just up the coast and weren't there for the days racing.

The changing of our flag has been a bit of a divisive issue. Many have strong emotional ties to the old flag, many think the time to change would be if we become a Republic. Many want a flag that is instantly recognisable internationally (Like Canadas Maple Leaf). We get to vote on one or other of these two flags later this year. I like the red, white and blue version of this new flag - not so much the black, white and blue. So I am not so sure whether I will vote for change, I'll have to think about it.

Alden Smith said...

A post script to the issue of the flag:

In this Blog post I commented on the washed out appearance of the proposed new flag. Apparently I am not the only one who noticed. The flag has been pulled from the bridge with the Governments Flag Change committee blaming the flag manufacturer for printing incorrect shades of blue, black and red on the wrong type of fabric.

This has led to critics of the flag change process to re state their opinion that the whole process of choosing a new flag has been prejudiced and a shambles right from the beginning.

I would like to see the proposed new flag with the correct colours / hues / tones / shades, proportions etc flying alongside the current flag from the Auckland Harbour Bridge so that when I drive across this weekend I can see a legitimate comparison.

Dan Gurney said...

Looks like a really fun day out on the water. You and Chris look like brothers for sure.

I watched some of the Americas Cup in foiling cats on San Francisco Bay which is not far from where I live. Like you, I am not fond of those boats. They seem almost a boat/sailplane hybrid. Sea level aviation. And while they do succeed in making sailboat racing something closer to a spectator sport, they relinquish all the grace, glory, and tradition of yacht racing. I loved the photo of the 12 meter.

Alden Smith said...

Hi Dan. I agree with your sentiments regarding foiling boats, your description is spot on, I couldn't have put it better myself.

There is a foiling Moth that races occasionally with the Tuesday night fleet I race with. The Moth is very, very fast but is as high out of the water as she is long - to my old traditional sailing eyes she looks decidedly odd and strangely disconnected from the immediate environment or as you so put aptly put it "sea level aviation" !!