Spring Splash 2017 Race Results & Event Report


This winter has been 150% wetter than tens of preceding winters.

This Spring Splash was 150% windier than most if not all of preceding Spring Splashes.

Never mind the rain and gale, Bon Accord Harbour was packed with yachts and launches. Iva from Achernar reported that she counted up to 94 craft. Spring Splash racers anchored alongside the hospitable Kawau Boating Club, where Robin, Davo and their shore crew provided once again everything a wet and thirsty sea soul could ask for. The proximity of the showers to the bar worked miracles. I am aware of one case, where the middle-aged gentleman mixed drinks with a hot shower in a steady ratio of 4 to 1. He had five showers and felt thoroughly clean and warm both in and out. He repeated the exercise the following day and got the same excellent outcome.

Our Spring Splash is about splash. Various people have various preferences, when it comes to splashing. Some prefer splashing just before sailing into Bon Accord, or just after arriving or at regular intervals no matter where. I am aware of one boatie, who was asked to bring a pair of pliers and a shackle to the front deck, when he was suddenly obsessed with a playful mood and decided to check the “Man overboard” preparedness of the crew, by jumping overboard – on portside – to be precise. A couple of minutes later, he was thrown a rope, which he tied around himself producing a bowline knot using only one of his upper limbs. The rest (of his limbs) were busy – two kicking under the water, while the one above the water was holding the pliers and the shackle. He did not inflate the life jacket and he delivered the goods to the foredeck once he was hoisted on board. Real seamanship in action. Well done!

An immaculate 40-ft plus, elegant, sexy classic yacht with wooden spars was the preferred splashing platform for an equally impressive lady. The otherwise scattered attention of all those who were not short-sighted like me, was thoroughly attracted and fixed on that bearing. I learned that I had missed a lot. I should wear my spectacles at future Spring Splash events.

A 90-year-old member of the Mahurangi Cruising Club applied his personal formula. Five small drinks to one big splash – an intentional one I swear, a planned one. Ian Free, founder and first editor of the Mahurangi Yearbook, a writer, a good friend, a truly free and mighty soul, never misses a good swim. The grey skies and gusty winds did not make him hesitate. He splashed and he swam and he performed water pirouettes and we saw a bevvy of mermaids escorting his tour around the harbour. No wonder – everyone loves Ian.

There was a red modified steel Van de Stadt-40, Sahula (meaning Australia) in the harbour. Her owner and skipper, David, was on his 10-year circumnavigation. Judging by the presence of two horizontally mounted rope-holding drums packed with about half a mile of heavy nylon rod each, David had explored some deep Patagonian-like waters and fiords. We learned that he had even visited the Black Sea and its pearl – Bulgaria. In return, he was surprised – pleasantly or otherwise – to learn that his boat was surrounded not by one, not even by two, but by three boats owned and sailed by local Bulgarians.

The fourth to finish – Achernar – owned and skippered by the MCC Vice Commodore James Buttle had four Bulgarians on board, all new to boating, but not anymore. They admitted that this experience had the effect of a boating blood transfusion and now they are contaminated with the obsession which we all share and love. Good things happen at Kawau.

Lin Pardey brought a replica of the America’s Cup to the KBC and the RNZYS’s Vice Commodore – Ian Cook – spoke about the challenge facing the nation, Auckland in particular, at the 2021 contest. If we want to call the America’s Cup, ‘The New Zealand Cup’ we have to support the campaign and give our lepta (dosh) as clubs and as individuals. Let’s keep this conversation alive and add fuel to the movement.

The recently launched Mahurangi Cruising Club website – www.mahurangicruisingclub.org – facilitated the organisation of the Spring Splash Mark Foy Race. Most boats submitted entries online – thank you all Stewart-34s, Katalina-34s, Townson-32s, Achernar and Gypsy. The Mahurangi Cruising Club wants to promote pre-regatta online registration and to make it a norm for all our future events both on the water and on land. Our club will provide feedback with allocated divisions and handicaps and will be open to questions and amendments to ensure fair race conditions.

For this 21st Spring Splash, the handicapping was calculated by Hugh Gladwell. Victor and Ngaire Hopwood, our Admiral and his wife, on board the Committee Boat the 37-bridge-decker Tiromoana, skippered by John and Caroline Caukwell ensured close race monitoring and processing of the race results. This year, there were twelve boats ranging from a S&S-24, Weoux to a Stewart-44, Achernar. The course was the usual one: KBC-Rabbit Island-Blanche Channel- around Motuketekete Island – back to Bon Accord Harbour.

The weather conditions allowed for a record time to complete the course. The time saved, however, was utilised at the bar not long after the finish. Boats were close-hauled to Rabbit Island and from there onwards much less so, reaching an average speed of 7 knots, perhaps more. All twelve boats arrived within a stone’s throw of each other which was a testimony to the skill of the handicapper. The gun was taken by Psyche skippered by Paul Groom, a Stewart 34, which is becoming a habit
for these guys. The good Stewart-34 fraternity will doubtless be planning their own handicapping in order to penalise these regular winners. The Stewarts took a couple of Rums, Bill Falconer was unanimously named the Wisest and got a bottle of good red wine and the two boxes of chocolates were shared by children and adults alike.

For me personally, this might have been the first race ever during which not a single beer was opened by our crew until after the finish. At the same time, it was not the first one which we did not win. However, Gypsy completed the race seconds after Achernar, which is notoriously fast. We learned a few things – do watch us next year.

The hero of the event, in my opinion, was Hugh Gladwell. He sailed single-handed through gale to Kawau on a Townson 32 – Khadine, went around the course and finished in the middle of the fleet, then turned around and through a full gale headed straight back to Mahurangi to see his mother, who was sick that day. We missed him at the prize giving.

Most well-deserved thanks and greetings to Davo & Robin. They make the KBC cosy, friendly and a very desirable destination.

Join us for the Mahurangi Regatta 2018.

Boris Penchev on behalf of the Mahurangi Cruising club


Spring Splash Race Results

Prince Hal4113:05:30

3 thoughts on “Spring Splash 2017 Race Results & Event Report

  1. Borislav Penchev
    Borislav Penchev Reply

    Dear Carolyn and John,

    your classic bridge-deck launch Tiromoana is a fine example of superb NZ design and craftsmanship (Bill Coldrey 1937) , meticulously maintained and handled. It matches philosophically and aesthetically the aspirations of the Mahurangi Cruising Club in promoting the preservation and restoration of classic wooden boats. We hope to have you and Tiromoana performing a Committee boat duties for many years to come. Thanks, hugs and very best wishes.


  2. Stephen Horsley Reply

    Dear Boris, what a throughally entertaining and comprihensive report. I fell I have lived the event through your words. Well done on your best efforts and website.
    Whilst you were gripping the tiller to avoid being blown overboard I was gripping the wheel of a very large and sparkly super yacht doing a whopping 2.4 knots on the opposite side of the world. Poles apart you could say.
    You have now cemented yourself to position of Commodore for ever more.

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