Waitemata swim

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Gary Baigent, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Gary Baigent
    Joined: Jul 2005
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    Thought you people might be interested in this "taster" from Jim Young's upcoming biography relating to sailing when the Waitemata was a little different than it is today.
    "One time on a Sunday afternoon it was blowing a half a gale with thunder and lightning and we ended up being positioned close to where the sewer was being discharged off Orakei. People would have no idea what that was like. They had holding tanks where the aquarium is now and they used to fill up, because Auckland was continually growing and when they discharged the tanks with an outgoing tide, sometimes the tide would run out and there would still be sewage in the tanks - so at low tide they just had to keep on discharging …. and it would go up the harbour. I was racing with Roy and Frank Dixon and we had solids floating in the bilge, came aboard with the spray. Another time I raced with Bill Herald as his mainsheet hand on his 18 footer Ajax; it was blowing hard from the north-east with the race starting off Orakei Wharf and they always arranged the course so that half way through the race the fleet would sail past the wharf where a crowd of people would be watching. I hadn’t been out in the 18’s much and they were all using trapezes by then with six guys out to weather on this boat, The only guy who wasn’t trapezing was Bill on the helm and we’re over canvassed and were concentrating more on keeping the bloody boat afloat than thinking about tactics. And we’d gone through the starting line off Orakei Wharf and we were just thinking about tacking and next thing the centreboard bumped the sewer pipe and the boat stopped dead, put her nose down, and these guys on trapezes all kept going and went right around the bow, around the forestay, the five of them there on their wires all dangling in the tide pulling the boat over. I’m the only one that’s left because the mainsheet stopped me from going and I let the mainsheet go but with only me on the rail it wasn’t even enough to allow for the rope to run out between the blocks. And I had time to contemplate my fate that here are these guys in the water struggling through sewage and trying to get out from under the sail as it floated down onto the water, and the boat went over so far and the next thing I’m going to have to jump in. And at the time thoughts flash through your mind, if you drop the sail in that water you might cut it away and not get it back. And I’m going to be in this defecation and I can’t boil myself to sterilize myself, I just going to have to, I’m in it, you know. And of course I wasn’t thinking about the other guys, I’m thinking about myself. I suppose they were only thinking about themselves too. And nobody would come near to pick us up. There was no salt water for about a quarter of a mile in any direction. And the tide was coming in and we gradually got carried up until the boat got stuck underneath Orakei Wharf – where it was shallow enough for us to be able to touch the bottom. And every now and again you could feel the glass. Somebody pulled the boat out from there and we took it into Orakei to the slipway, pulled the boat out, and left. And somehow we got home, don’t know how, might have been by bus. And of course once I got home I was immediately into the bath, had three baths in an hour. And every now and again I run into the guys and say, “Why don’t we have a reunion about this?” And you know Bill’s so bloody embarrassed about it he doesn’t want to talk about it."
     
  2. TADAMS
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    TADAMS Junior Member

    Thanks for sharing this story - can't wait to read more of the book.

    Also a big thanks for sharing your book "Light Brigade" I read it cover to cover in two days - just could not put it down.

    Cheers
    Tim
    Farr design #54 owner - built by Apha Marine in your part of the world
     

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  3. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    I can see you're a kiwiphile Tim - nice Farr, is that a stock 1104 or is it a breathed on sister to Jiminy Cricket?
    Jim has literally hundreds of stories like the one above, well not quite the same, but all fascinating.
     
  4. TADAMS
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    TADAMS Junior Member

    1/2 ton design from 1975? The Farr website shows pictures on one called Gitchy Goomy. They are great boats light years ahead of their time in 1975. Mine is undergoing a partial refit - redid the deck paint and nonskid (kiwigrip great stuff) - awesome build quality - not a single soft spot in the Balsa core after 33 years of hard sailing!
     
  5. Gary Baigent
    Joined: Jul 2005
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    My dopey mistake - realized straight after I'd sent it, too small for 1104.
     
  6. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Nice story: reminds me -when I was a kid I would be taken to "the seaside" which for a Londoner meant Southend. The last time I ventured into the water someone's well-digested meal remnant floated past a few feet away. That was it for me and my folk as far as that place was concerned.

    Southend was a thriving place in those far-off days, no longer. You'd think they'd protect their trade by running the sewer pipe a bit further out to sea. It would have had to go a long way though, being a tidal estuary.
     
  7. terrnz
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    terrnz Junior Member

    Easy mistake to make, Farr 1104 and 920 have same half model I was told. I built an 1104. Both brilliant designs before IOR changed the rule to stop cheap boats like the afore mentioned blitzing the expensive dogs.
     
  8. CT249
    Joined: May 2003
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    CT249 Senior Member

    It wasn't to stop cheap boats beating expensive dogs - it was so people didn't have to junk 10,400 of the world's 10,500 IOR boats and to give them a chance to sail other types if they wanted to. I don't just love the Kiwi lightweights - I own one and the family had one of the most famous of them - but the changes to the IOR didn't stop light boats from winning - it just gave more types a chance. Look at what happened in Oz and NZ just after the rule change - lightweight one tonners won the Southern Cross Cup, Police Car was the fastest boat in the Admiral's Cup, Pendragon, Waverider and Swuzzlebubble kept on winning, Ceramco came out. The light boats kept on doing well. The rule changes just meant that the people who already had boats, or who just happened to prefer a different type, could keep on sailing with a chance to win. What's wrong about giving people the chance to choose the sort of boat they like? How much would it have hurt ocean racing if 99% of the boats became uncompetitive and had to be sold at a huge loss? How many of those owners would have stayed with the sport?

    The IOR was always being modified to stop one type dominating for too long. Look what would have happened if they didn't change the rule - about 1971, everyone would have had to get expensive engine and prop installations. About 1972, everyone would have had to junk their boats and get hard chine types. In 1972, everyone would have had to junk their boats again and buy boats like Cascade - a 37 footer that went like a 33 footer but rated like a 30 footer and would have made Tituscanby look like a slow half tonner. In 1974, everyone would may had to scrap their boats again to get leeboards fitted after Terrorist showed how they could go. In 1975, everyone may have had to burn their new boats to get things shaped like Ace of Spades, the never-built Quarter Tonner that was about 34' long or something.

    If they didn't change the rule the 1104 was going to be uncompetitive anyway against the stripped-out centreboarders which were created by a rule glitch. The centreboarders would then have been beaten by the long-stern boats like Bullitt, which were another rule glitch.

    I love the 1104s and could own one today if I didn't pick up a 36'er that rated even higher under IOR than the 1104 did, but if the conventional one tonner were such "dogs" then the 1104s should have been able to beat them even under the Mk111A penalty.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
  9. terrnz
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    terrnz Junior Member

    The 1104 was a great boat, relatively easy to sail, with a modified rudder, simple rigs good sea boats you could cruise with the family. under the mark 3A and with the age allowance they could be competitive.
     
  10. CT249
    Joined: May 2003
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    Location: Sydney Australia

    CT249 Senior Member

    Yep, it's a great boat. The competition weren't dogs, though - just different. I was a kid at the time and at our club the "grand prix" boats were two Farr 1104s, two Kaufman one tonners and a Kaufman two ton. The two Kaufman one tonners were built by their owners, the two tonner had been Ted Kaufman's own boat. They were fun in the light stuff, interesting and challenging downwind in a blow, had a really nice feeling of power, and were well balanced upwind. The two Farrs were fantastic, in different ways, and we all had lots of good racing and appreciated each others' boat.

    As a teenage Farr fan I was livid at the rule changes, but it quickly became apparent that they were helping to keep people in the sport and racing the boats they loved. I preferred the Farrs but the other boats were not dogs and their owners were not reactionaries as sometimes painted - they were just different in the same way that fine white wine is different from good scotch.
     

  11. gggGuest
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    gggGuest ...

    It was all an example of the fundamental contradiction at the heart of that rule. There seems to have been an aim both to rate every boat fairly so the best crew won, and to encourage innovation and development. Trouble is you can't have both. The new lightweights were great innovations, and a big performance improvement. But in a handicap rule the whole idea is that the rating should be changed so that equal crews have equal chance in new flyers and old clunkers. Trouble is human nature is that the folks with new flyers don't see it like that.
     
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