THE ANTIQUE & CLASSIC BOAT HOBBY IS ALIVE AND WELL IN NEW ZEALAND, and here at Woody Boater we always look forward to the receiving the report from their annual summer boat show at Lake Rotoiti.
On Monday we featured a few live-ish shots from the show courtesy of fellow Woody Boater Philip Andrew – and the response was “show us more” – so not only do we have one full report, we have two full reports from the 17th annual NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show, along with a ton of great photos courtesy of long time contributor Alan Doak.
We decided to combine the two reports in one “blockbuster” story, as each report offers a differing perspective, delivering some great content. You asked for more, and (thanks to our great contributors) we delivered. So grab a fresh coffee, pull up a chair, and let’s get started! – Texx (by the way, you can click on the images today to enlarge them)
17th Annual NZ Antique and Classic Boat Show
Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park
Jacquetta Bell, Nelson Media Agency – Nelson, NZ
A boat that set a world speed record in 1968 was back on the water to take the top prize at this year’s NZ Antique & Classic Boat Show, held at Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park over the weekend. (March 5 and 6, 2016).
Around 120 clinkers, steam launches, classic motorboats, sailing dinghies and their owners enjoyed two days of boating and chatting about boats, with the Jens Hansen trophy for best vessel overall going to Bel Air III, owned by the Knight family of Christchurch.
Peter Knight Snr built the 13ft 8in hydroplane from plywood and white pine in 1965. Powered by a Ford V6 Essex (Mark 4 Zephyr), Bel Air achieved several Australasian records in the late ‘60s and set a world record at Lake Ruataniwha in 1968 with a speed of 177.36mph. Bel Air was retired from racing in 1970 and ‘sat in the garage’ until it was restored in 2015 by Peter Knight Jr.
Boat show organiser Pete Rainey said he is thrilled to announce that the Knights have decided to leave Bel Air III on display in the Classic Boat Museum at St Arnaud.
“To have a world record holding hydroplane as part of the display will give the museum a boost as year round attraction,” he said. “The Knights’ generosity is typical of the spirit of sharing of know-how and experience that this boat show is all about. It’s been another fantastic weekend of sunny weather, happy crowds, excellent sailing conditions and great boating.”
Judges’ spokesman John Harris said the standard of boats at the 17th annual boat show was making his job difficult.
“It’s becoming very hard to judge when there are three or four boats in each category worthy of winning,” he said. “But people are not in it for the prizes, they’re in it for a great day of boating and I’d like to commend them all for their effort and enthusiasm for classic boats.”
Other award winning boats were:
Best New Craft: 30ft replica ‘bootlegger’, Baby Thunder, owned by Bruce Judge of Wellington
Best Restoration: 18ft 1933 clinker Classy Lady, Wellington, restored in 2015 by Ian Stevens of Christchurch
Port Nelson House Parts best rowed craft: Four replica classic dories built for the youth of Marlborough, owned and entered by the Picton Maritime Committee and shown by the Picton Girl Guides
CWF Hamilton trophy for best jet propelled boat: 19ft 1960’s jet boat Taranui owned by Newton King and Nicky Murdoch of Nelson
Mathieson/Jeffcott trophy for best motor powered craft: In-board clinker Quadrille owned by James Carr of Blenheim
Best outboard motor boat: 14ft 1961 De Havilland Playboy, Zippa owned by Lance Tighe
Eventiac best themed display: Model boat display, by Tony Rutledge of Wellington
Ron Culley trophy for best steamboat: 24ft steamboat Shona, owned by James Dyer of Nelson
People’s Choice: 14ft 1946 ply runabout Mooski owned by Nelson and Bev North of Blenheim
Jacquetta Bell, Nelson Media Agency
“Two Days of Warm Sunshine and Friendship on the Crystal Clean Waters of Rotoiti.”
Story by Philip Andrew
Hi Matt & Texx,
The 17th NZ Antique and Classic Boat Show was held at St Arnaud on Lake Rotoiti over the weekend. Lake Rotoiti is an alpine lake nestled in the folds of the South Islands St Arnaud Mountain range.
Over one hundred boats came from around New Zealand to enjoy two days of warm sunshine and friendship on the crystal clean waters of Rotoiti.
With my three Century’s now resident at the St Arnaud Classic Boat Museum I am able to enjoy a short 25 minute flight from my home in Wellington to Nelson, then a rental car to the Lake. All up travel time a couple of hours.
This year Aimee and our daughter Isabella came with me to check out Dads ‘happy place‘ which they both enjoyed despite 4 year old Isabella saying, “I won’t come on your boat Dad, I’m a dry land kind of girl”.
Every sort of boat turns up at the show. Row boats, canoes, dingy’s, Sea Scouts cutters, yachts, jet boats, inboards, outboards, home built, factory built, new and old and even model r/c boats.
So many beautiful works of art to look at but two boats stole the show in my view.
The just completed ‘Baby Thunder‘ a New Zealand made replica of a 1920’s Bootlegger built by the super talented Harry Nordberg of Whangamata.
Harry built ‘Baby Thunder’ in just over a year for Wellington boat enthusiast Bruce Judge. Bruce had previously been awarded for his Chris-Craft 20-foot Custom runabout ‘Blondie’, this year winning Best New Craft with ‘Baby Thunder’.
The second boat was a real treat for the older people in the crowd. ‘Bel Air’ the World Record breaking Hydroplane owned by the Knight family.
Peter Knight Snr built the 13’8” Bel Air in 1965 from plywood and white pine and powered it with a Ford V6 Essex out of a Mark 4 Zephyr.
Bel Air set a world record in the 2 litre class in 1968 on Lake Ruataniwha with a speed of 177.36 mph.
‘Bel Air’ was retired in 1970 and the Knights went on to race other boats and cars. Recently Peter Knight Jnr pulled her from the shed and restored her back to her as raced condition.
Saturday was the first time she had been in the water since 1970. A fabulous hydro with a wonderful history that perfectly defines the inventiveness and talent of the Knight family.
The Knights have generously offered ‘Bel Air’ to The Classic Boat Museum so it will now be on display just a two minute walk from the waters edge.
The other first timer that caught my attention was ‘Mista Dolla’ a 1970’s hydro. This awesome little boat was originally powered by a Lotus 1.7 engine but now runs a 2.0 Ford.
We enjoyed running in the big boat race on Saturday in our ex Lapkin family Arabian ‘Miss Tahoe’ and on Sunday in our ex F Todd Warner Century Palomino ‘Sparkle Horse.’
Both boats ran flawlessly but I always breath a sigh of relief when I get them back on the trailer.
Next year we might just be able to show NZ the Blue Gray Arabian!
Cheers – Philip Andrew
Our friend Alan Doak has been granting us unlimited access to his annual boat show gallery for many years now, and we appreciate his unique style of photography. Alan also participates in the show with his cool Minimax race boat.
Alan noted: “Texx – This year my 14 year old son also drove our Minimax during the show which was great to experience.”
Alan went on to say – “Me on the other hand are driving it at speed – I won the under 10hp race. And, more importantly I drove the Minimax to the head-waters of Lake Rotoiti the on the Friday night, alone. It took me 30 minutes to get there, and 1h-6 minutes to get back. Had to refuel in the middle of a very choppy lake, but I made it! Been wanting to do that for about three years so can finally tick it off the list.”
Enjoy the pics and talk soon.
Cheers – Alan Doak (Skinny)
Thanks Alan. While we are on the subject of boat racing, I just wanted to share a few of Alan’s shots from one of the other slower races last weekend. This race appears to use a “Le Mans Style” of start.
And we close out our story today with a few great action shots from the cockpit of “Baby Thunder” courtesy of Alan Doak.
Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this story today, we truly appreciate the effort. A great team-effort by Jacquetta Bell, Philip Andrew & Alan Doak. Also thanks to organizer Pete Rainey for his tireless work.