Monday, March 21, 2016

Ngataki Classic Yacht Race

My good friend Ben emailed me this Utube video of the famous yacht Ngataki sailing on Aucklands beautiful Waitamata Harbour. Thanks Ben.

Ngataki is an important part of New Zealands growing yachting hertitage. Ngataki and her builder  are also a symbol of the 'Can Do' or 'Number 8 Wire' Kiwi attitude to life. I have posted extensively about Johnny Wray and his yacht Ngataki before. You will find some of these posts here:


Dan Gurney said...

Really enjoyed this video, Alden. What elegant yachts. It's great to see those grand vessels still sailing today.

Alden Smith said...

Thanks for your comment Dan. It is great to see our yachting heritage actually sailing, rather than being simply housed in a Museum. Of course keeping them sailing costs money, so it is good that a number of 'Trusts' have been formed to maintain and sail these great old boats.

Dan Gurney said...

The yachts of the gilded age (from approximately 1890s - 1920s) were grand indeed. Very nice to look at, but really they were playthings for the wealthy and powerful.

Much more appealing to me is the sailing culture of the 50's and 60's, little boats for the middle classes that popularized sailing for average income families. That's what we had when I came of age. My first major purchases were a state-of-the art Laser and a Fiat to carry it around, bought with disposable income as a beginning teacher. Those times seem so far away now. Sad.

With the redistribution of wealth upwards and the attendant loss of the middle classes, yachting has gone back to its former ways: toys for the wealthy. (Think of the Americas Cup in San Francisco.)

Here in the US even small sailboats like Lasers are well out of reach for most Millennials who in this economy struggle to have steady jobs that would pay for cars, never mind a sailboat or a place to store one. A beginning teacher in America today could not even allow himself to dream of affording to sail a Laser competitively.

Alden Smith said...

Dan, you are right in that yachting has its origins in wealth and privilege, but if you look between the lines of yachting history there have always been people who have been able to 'beat the system'. I am thinking here of the designers Albert Strange and George Holmes (Book: Holmes of the Humber) who formed the Humber Yawl Club in the UK in the late 1890s and who had wonderful adventures along the coast and as far away as the waterways of Europe sailing their very small 'Canoe Yawls'. There are a number of examples such as this in the maritime literature.

We both share the working class experiences of that golden age of centreboard sailing of the 1950s and 60s. But to get a larger yacht during those days meant that as a beginning teacher myself I had to build my own 30 foot keel boat at home in my parents back yard. Today the banks would lend me the money or I could go the less wise route (but doable) and put the cost of a keeler on the house mortgage.

I don't support what really is an obscenity when it comes to the whole Americas Cup fiasco and I resent the fact that the NZ tax payer puts money into this (The benefits to the country are I think over rated and under researched).

I agree that working people are up against it when it comes to being able to purchase state of the art competitive yachts. An Olympic Finn - $40,000+, Ok Dinghy - $27,000, Laser - $10,000, NZ Starling - $9000 ..... and what is worse is that with the way employment law has gone in New Zealand a lot of young people don't have adequate time off to compete seriously in any sport.... don't get me started!!!!!!

But one of the ironies of all this is that entry level can be easily made (whether Keeler or centreboard yacht) because there is now a wealth of good boats available on the second hand market...

... With a bit of work and effort you can make a boat competitive again... yesterday in my restored Starling I won all three races in the OYCs Tuesday evening events, and last weekend (8 races over 2 days) I was placed 2nd overall : > )