Time to banish the cabin fever!
Welcome to the December issue of Boating New Zealand. As I write this on a sunny spring morning, another month living in Covid-19 purgatory has slipped by. The good news is that restrictions in Auckland are about to ease slightly, with the Government taking a more pragmatic approach in preparation for ‘living with the virus’. Kiwis should again be free to go boating anywhere in Aotearoa by Christmas.
And aren’t we ready for it! There is so much pent-up demand! Last weekend great weather and ‘permission to picnic’ brought Aucklanders out in droves. Boaties were no exception – the Hauraki Gulf was awash with boats of every description.
At my usual lightly used, minor boat ramp on the Puhoi River, there was a long line-up to launch and an even longer wait to retrieve later in the day, compounded by thousands of visitors crowding the Regional Park. It had been crazy-busy on the water as well – I have never seen anything like it in 30 years’ boating and fishing in Auckland.
Frustrations aside (and there were a few!), it was great to see so many people enjoying the sunshine outdoors. I can only imagine what it will be like this summer.
Among the many, many boats on the water, I noticed several ‘vintage’ or ‘classic’ examples. Not just launches and yachts, but also veteran fibreglass trailer boats and various small wooden craft.
As with classic cars, old boats – to restore, preserve or simply enjoy – have surged in popularity. Retro-fitting older boats with modern engines and electronic navigation aids is breathing new life into many a veteran craft. But for some classic and vintage boat enthusiasts, authenticity is key – and their restorations are simply stunning.
And just like classic car enthusiasts, classic boat owners quite like to show off their prizes.
This summer will see at least two celebrations of classic and vintage boats: The Classic Wooden Boat Association’s 25th annual boat parade on the Okere arm of Lake Rotoiti (near Rotorua) on Waitangi Weekend (Feb 4), featured on our cover, and the NZ Antiques and Classic Boat Show at Lake Rotoiti (Nelson Lakes), March 6–7. Both events are wonderful family occasions and great showcases for New Zealand’s classic boat fleet.
Boating New Zealand is a sponsor of the Nelson Lakes event and this year the magazine’s publisher, Tim Porter, will display his 1987 Donzi Minx sport boat, perhaps the only one in the country, which Tim describes as “a time capsule”. It will be one among hundreds of unique craft on show.
These classic boat displays are two among many diverse on-water events planned for this summer – let’s put the last few months behind us, get out of the house and enjoy them.