After Shenandoah was launched in December 1929, Harry Jenkins had little time to enjoy his wonderful new launch peacefully. Two months before, the world had been thrown upside down in the New York stock market crash.

Harry’s business interests were in Gane Milking Machine Company and Gane Engineering Ltd, sound businesses but highly exposed to downturns in the farming and engineering sectors. Run by Noel Paton and his son Eric Paton, Gane Engineering was getting a great reputation for high quality engineering. In 1926 the company designed, built, and installed the clock in the tower of the new university in Princes Street.

Harry’s business and political career suffered major setbacks once the Depression bit deeper into the community. The growth of the Gane company was tied to the farming industry. Butterfat had been 2/6d (25c) a pound in 1920. It was now down to 11 ½d, less than the cost of production. Dairy farmers were beginning to walk off their farms. They were unable to invest in the new milking machinery which could have lifted their profits.

Now renamed New Golden Hind, stretching her sails in October 1939.

In November 1928 Harry won his election as MP for Parnell in Sir Joseph Ward’s United Party on a Free Trade ticket and as spokesman for railways. In February 1930, just out of hospital after his near-death experience in Mechanics Bay (Vintage Viewpoint, February), and possibly because of it, Harry found himself disenchanted with the politicians around him. He declared himself an Independent, unable to continue as a United Party member, declaring his preference for the policies of Gordon Coates’ Reform Party. He was looking towards a National coalition government to get the country through the Depression. In the political turmoil that followed, Harry resigned his seat in Parliament, forcing a by-election in May 1930. While Harry put his name forward as a candidate for the Reform Party, he was beaten by Bill Endean, who took the seat.

From this time Harry’s life appeared to change. His political views had hardened. He joined the Squadron for the first time. With his family he cruised the Hauraki Gulf in Shenandoah during most of the Christmases, often in company with the Guthrie family in their Alcestis and the Wiles family in Lady Margaret II.

Harry Jenkins at the wheel of his Golden Hind.

Alcestis was a 45ft double-ender, built as Mollie in 1919 by Joe Slattery in Judges’ Bay for P.R. Colebrook and bought by H.D. Guthrie of Guthrie Bowron in 1928. Guthrie commissioned Colin Wild to raise the cabin top, remove its Auckland-built Twigg engine and replace it with the four-cylinder 100hp Stearns petrol marine engine out of H.O. Wiles’ first Lady Margaret. She is still afloat in excellent condition as Raiona.

Harold Wiles started in business as a pharmacist in Queen Street but branched out in the 1920s by importing from the US everything from automotive-related merchandise to Kellogg’s cornflakes. By July 1924 H.O. Wiles Ltd of 65 Fort Street was the local importer of the ‘hot’ American-built Stearns petrol marine engines which had become the top choice for the new run of bridgedeckers then pouring out of Auckland boatbuilding yards and for re-powering the bigger launches like Romance II. Prices started at £300 for the four-cylinder 20hp, the price of a new house in a suburb like Westmere. The 1929 Lady Margaret was Wiles’ second launch of that name, a superb 42-footer designed and built by Colin Wild and powered by a sixcylinder 160hp Stearns.

Chas Bailey’s drawing of Golden Hind’s eventual ketch rig

As in many other matters Harry Jenkins had been way ahead of his time in specifying the high-powered, high-speed Cummins diesel for Shenandoah. The petrol engine was on its way out for marine applications for reasons of first cost, operating economy and security against the petrol fires which made many launches death traps, some disappearing on coastal passages with no trace except for an offshore flash of light at night.

In 1930 Harry put a lot of his resources into a tung oil, olive and tropical fruit plantation on 40,000 acres at Paeranga in the Far North. The Depression made failure inevitable. Again, it was too far ahead of its time. Harry survived this setback, selling the home in Remuera and moving the family to their bach at Kerikeri. Their elderly Rolls-Royce was next to go. All commitments were met; no staff were put off at Gane Milking Machine Company or at Gane Engineering Company.

Shenandoah continued to provide the Jenkins family of one son and three daughters with a strong focus. But one of Harry’s final trips in Shenandoah nearly ended in tragedy. In late December 1936 she was moored at Deemings yard in Opua. The Cummins diesel’s engine governor had been overhauled by Gane Engineering. Harry and his son Graham were driving it north at night when they ran into a car fixing a puncture in the middle of the road just before Kaiwaka. Harry’s car rolled several times down a hill and the governor was damaged. They got themselves to Opua and asked Deeming Bros to help, but they could not make it function.

Shenandoah at Mansion House.

On 25th December, despite the fact that he had only full throttle, Harry made the decision to sail Shenandoah south to pick up the family for their summer cruise. As crew he had his son Graham and two skilled yachtsmen, Brian Donovan and Phil Aldred. In calm conditions and perfect moonlight visibility, but motoring at full speed of about 12 knots, he suddenly struck fog off Cape Brett around 1:00am. He turned away and set a compass course to avoid Piercy Island.

Within minutes, Shenandoah piled up on a rock pinnacle off Piercy Island and nearly capsized. The heavy swell lifted her onto an even keel on a rock shelf. Graham and the two crewmembers jumped ashore. Harry cut the engine but had been thrown against the wheel and broken a rib. He stayed on board assessing the situation. Another large swell lifted Shenandoah clear and she was drifting off. Gritting his teeth, he released the dinghy from its chocks and swung it outboard. He found he could not anchor because both anchors had gone overboard with their warps in the crash.

Harry Jenkins (right) in the bush behind Opua getting a kauri log out.

Shenandoah was sinking from a hole forward. Harry had the task of getting the engine running with the compressed air start indicating low pressure, getting the bilge pumps working and then picking up his crew from the rocks with an ungoverned engine and near zero visibility. The petrol engine which drove the compressor was partially under water and out of action. Fortunately, the Cummins was warm and started with the remaining pressure in the tank.

The fog lifted a little. With his bow down two feet and Shenandoah down to six knots as a result, Harry was able to run past the crew and throw them a sinker attached to a light line bent on to the dinghy’s painter. They hauled in the dinghy and then judged the heavy swells to enable Graham to set out sculling her, half swamped, to the launch. With a four-gallon tin as a bailer Graham went back twice, dragging Brian and Phil back, hanging on to the stern. They frantically bailed Shenandoah out with four-gallon tins and got her up almost to her marks. Harry beached the launch at Urupukapuka Island where the crew patched the hole forward when the tide went out. She was towed up to Deemings at Opua for a permanent repair.

Later in 1937 Harry sold Shenandoah to Fred Chamberlin of Ponui Island. He had been well under way with an even more spectacular craft than Shenandoah, a yacht that could take him and his family all over the Pacific. He employed Chas Bailey Jr as designer and Deeming Bros as builders as they had shown their mettle with Shenandoah. The new boat was a very large ketch, 94ft long, 22ft beam and 10ft draught. Harry called it Golden Hind.

The Wiles on Lady Margaret.

He embarked on the project with enormous energy. Chas. Bailey was retired from daily work at his yard and this was his last major design commission, a companion piece to Shenandoah. Deemings were in the North near the source of the kauri and pohutukawa needed for construction. There was then no shed in the country big enough to build her inside, so construction in the open on the foreshore at Opua was not an issue. Harry searched out kauri trees in the bush behind Opua, cut them down and towed the logs with Shenandoah to Deemings for milling for the triple diagonal construction. He selected the pohutukawa knees from inland trees and the fine native timbers for the interior panelling and furnishing. Deemings started construction in early 1937.

Her hull finally went into the water at high tide, 10am on July 20, 1939. She was then towed across to Opua Wharf to have fitted her 66hp Kelvin G3 diesel auxiliary, supplied by Walsh Bros, together with a 7hp Kelvin to power the lighting set and refrigeration. She arrived in Auckland on August 21, 1939 under power to have her spars fitted and her Boyd & McMaster sails bent on.

Harry told the press that he planned a voyage to England starting in early 1940. But Hitler had other plans. BNZ


I gratefully acknowledge use of the Jenkins family history, And Not To Yield, by Thora Parker, Bateman, 1987.

A little consideration

A boatie’s dream summer is full of swimming, sunshine, fishing, great food and adventure – as well as relaxation.

After many weeks locked away, like most Aucklanders we were ready to escape, so by December 27, 2021, we were on our way to Great Barrier Island.

We had plans to go to the Mercury Islands, but the wind had other ideas for us. Two weeks away from the city was the main objective though, as the frustration of being locked away from the sea for so long had been hard to bear at times.

Boating holidays are a great way to meet up with old friends and make new ones. This year we packed our Genesis ProFish with all the essentials, including the dog, and did just that. It was great to see our friends and family enjoying themselves and we met some fantastic Barrier locals and visitors along the way too.

We saw the very best of boating behaviour where people showed total respect for one another, but at times we experienced the very worst of boating behaviour too.

The worst boating behaviour is ignorance – ignorance of the rules, of etiquette and of the rights of other boats/people.

With the post-Covid boom in boat purchases, many of the new boaties on the water may not be aware, or choose not to be aware, of how their behaviour and the way they operate their boats affects others.

We were subject to skippers entering bays at a high speed and dropping anchor with no regard to the proximity of other boats or how far they might swing in different conditions. Waking up a skipper late at night to advise them their boat is about to collide with ours is no fun for anyone.

Another time, the towering wake of a large vessel screaming past with people sitting on the bow enjoying the ride left us holding on tight and shaking our heads in disbelief.

These are just a couple of examples of poor boating etiquette, but not the worst we saw this summer cruise. The worst was a blatant disregard for rules and safety.

The dog and us in our happy places.

The Catherine Bay entrance is a popular place for diving and fishing and this summer was no exception. With a 35ft launch anchored close to the rocks and displaying its diving flag, we decided to drift-fish approximately 75m away from them, constantly monitoring our distance but confident we were all good with our sea anchor out. We could see two decent-sized boats coming our way and thought that, surely, they would not go between us… Surely, they knew to stay a minimum of 50m away from boats displaying a dive flag? And they must know to reduce speed to less than five knots when passing that close to us, right?

But they clearly didn’t! The wake they left was very uncomfortable for us, but it was shocking to see how close they came to the dive boat.

Another instance: when entering Man of War Passage after an average day of fishing at approximately 6pm one afternoon, we were subjected to a newish 72ft motoryacht coming in from our starboard side, cutting us off from the entrance. It left us rocking and rolling while scrambling to get out of its way, hanging on to ride out the wake and just managing to save the dog falling over the side. The saying “all the gear, but no idea” came to mind!

A glorious sunset from the boat.

These examples are just a few of the incidents that left us shaking our heads and wondering how on earth boat owners think this is okay. Having a boat brings a responsibility to consider others and adhere to the rules. And the larger and more powerful the boat, the greater the impact it has on others.

The next time you want to moor in a bay, consider how far other boats will swing and what impact your anchoring will have on their enjoyment – remember, they were there first.

The next time you are in a hurry to get somewhere, or just feel like burning fuel at a great rate, consider the smaller boats and the impact your wake will have on them. Other boaties have just as much right to enjoy the marine environment as you do.

Most importantly, LEARN THE RULES! Rules are not there to limit your enjoyment but to save lives. Owning an expensive, powerful boat does not give anyone the right to disregard the rules and put others at risk.

Maybe Australia has got it right in ensuring all skippers have a licence before they can operate a boat. You are not allowed to drive a car without one. BNZ


Alex & Lesley Stone discover a boatie’s paradise, the Catherine Cove Wilderness Resort on D’Urville Island, while cruising the South Island.

Imagine grilling and serving platters of fresh crayfish, 20, 30 at a time! This is a regular occurrence and just part of the work at the Catherine Cove Wilderness Resort on D’Urville Island in the outer Marlborough Sounds.

Imagine running an accommodation business, with restaurant, where your nearest supply store is two-and-a-half hours away by car over winding dirt roads. And that’s only after a half-hour boat trip across one of the most notorious bits of water in New Zealand – the remarkable French Pass, where the tide can run at up to nine knots in a kind of horizontal waterfall across a line of rocks.

Craig Tatnell with bags belonging to guests who elected to be dropped off at Kapowai Point so they could walk the last few kilometres to the resort.

Imagine being part of a semi-community of only 60 souls in one of the most remote, most splendid locations in New Zealand. And remember too, that even in such a small community, social get-togethers are only possible a few times a year. One is a famous Christmas bash at the lodge.

And imagine doing all of this through the Covid years, which struck only a year after you bought the business.

This is the life of Cathy George and Craig Tatnell, proprietors of the Lodge in the eponymous cove.

It’s a good thing their combined skill set is well-suited to the tasks: Cathy is an experienced chef, while Craig is a mechanic able to figure out and fix just about any practical problem. She’s no-nonsense, straight-talking; they both have a fine sense of humour.

The couple bought the business from old friends, the Andressons, as well as a powerful aluminium boat, Manta Ray, which does service as a supply ship, water taxi and rescue boat. It’s fast and seaworthy enough to negotiate French Pass in most tides – for Craig, there’s no need to wait for the exact moment of slack tide, as all cruising yachts should do.

Manta Ray on Craig’s mooring in the cove

On occasions when they must both go to Nelson, one of three towns equidistant from them (Picton and Blenheim are the others), Cathy can see the small dot of Manta Ray moving SW along Current Basin from her vantage on the road that runs along the ridge of Saddle Hill. Craig, in the boat, beats her into town by half an hour. They usually spend a night in Nelson with whanau before stocking up for the return journey. Otherwise, they’re effectively working seven days a week. All recycling is taken off-island on Manta Ray.

Cathy does an amazing job at this. The menu at The Lodge’s restaurant is surprisingly diverse and affordable. A mains meal for $25. The same amount also buys a ‘cook your catch’ deal, served as a smorgasbord with salads and chips supplied.

The night we were there, that was the case with the big platters of crayfish. The clients were a group from a Wellington-based fishing charter company. The skippers of their boats are regular at Catherine Cove, and they know the operation well enough to help Cathy and Craig in the kitchen. We mistakenly thought they had a bunch of staff, but it was the fishing guides helping out! Still, Cathy and Craig were flat-tack. Which is why she wasn’t answering the cellphone or VHF when we called ahead.

Alex Stone.

No matter: she immediately offered us the safety of one of their moorings in the bay (the cove can throw up contrary winds for anchoring) and went back to grilling trays of crays amid the superlative aroma of her kitchen.

We had more time to talk the next morning, when the extraordinary circumstance and challenges of their working life were further revealed.

Cathy said that in the first year of Covid restrictions, they lost $65,000 worth of bookings through cancellations. But since the lockdowns have eased, they have been “really busy.”

“This is the closest thing to an overseas destination,” Cathy says. And looking around, I reckon she’s right. It’s a different world. D’Urville is New Zealand’s eighth-largest island and crossing Cook Strait on your own or a charter vessel, or leaving from the little village at French Pass on Manta Ray, gives it the special edge of arrival.

My Happiness anchored off Catherine Cove’s Wilderness Resort. The Knysna 50 catamaran was part of the Island Cruising Club's South Island Rally.

There’s a lot of native bush around the lodge, with streams and waterfalls, so some guests ask Craig to drop them off at Kapowai Point so they can walk the last few miles in. As we were chatting with Cathy, Craig arrived after doing exactly that, bearing bags. Then he flopped down with a grin for a self-made coffee, and a brief moment’s respite.

This is a boatie’s best stop. With the Marlborough Sounds just there, Tasman Bay on the other side of French Pass, good fishing, superlative sailing, it’s an all-round perfect package for cruising – or just chillin’ at the Cove.

Cathy’s info that the winter is the busy time for fishing charter groups surprised us. Their ‘downtime’ is September-October, before the summer sets in and visiting yachties and family groups arrive. And when we were there, a Russian couple had come on impulse and jumped aboard Manta Ray when she was loading others at French Pass. Craig obliged.

The lodge can accommodate 50 people in a variety of separate units. It also has camping sites. Though Cathy and Craig are careful not to take too many campers, relying on the safety factor of always being able to put them indoors should the weather turn crook, Cathy says the campers “bring a good vibe. They’re laid back.”

Catherine Cove at dusk.

She also praises the fishing folk on the charters. “We meet a lot of really interesting people. Well-read, not a stereotype at all. Mostly they’re smart people. They’re fishing because they love it. They love the outdoors.

“Most of our guests are already pretty capable and self reliant people.”

Speaking of reading, there’s a fascinating book displayed on a restaurant table. Angelina, by Kiwi author Gerald Hindmarsh, is the epic tale of his grandmother, who came all the way from the Italian island of Stromboli to marry her love, who was working as a farmhand on D’Urville.

“The film rights have been sold for the book,” says Cathy with gleam in her eye, thinking naturally of accommodating a film crew for the duration of the shoot. But that’s all in the future. Perhaps.

Craig Tatnell and Cathy George, owners of Catherine Cove Wilderness Resort, D’Urville Island

She has less time for sailing folk on tight budgets. “Wind-bludgers” she calls them and decries their habit of expecting to use the loos and toilet paper, without stopping to buy a drink or a meal. Be warned.

Another type of guest are the ones who come with tour groups who board vans that tour the island, using the lodge as a base. They usually come in May-June and spend three to five days on the island. But they were mostly international visitors. “Covid has put everyone in a holding pattern,” Cathy observes. Though the uptake in local visitors appears a boon right now.

One of their big challenges in the business, says Cathy, is compliance. “Although just about everything is different here, we still must comply with all New Zealand standards – serving alcohol, food, gas, safe workplace. We employ Johnson’s Barges to service the moorings. Otherwise, we do everything ourselves.”

My Happiness makes it way through French Pass.

Across the way, looking out from the lodge between Anatakapu and Stewart (Takuru Kuru) Islands, there’s the incongruous sight of a giant oil rig temporarily parked in Admiralty Bay. Complete with an escort of coppers, in case of a threatened Greenpeace action – which hadn’t yet happened. Cathy is happy to take their business, serving meals and drinks, but loathe to venture into the political controversy of it all.

Cathy spends much time working on the D’Urville Island Wilderness Resort Facebook page. “I like to keep it real.”

And she sure succeeds at that. The fishing group, heading out again, tummies full of fresh-grilled crayfish, the family group playing soccer on the lawn, or the Russian couple trying out the stand-up paddleboards, would all agree. So did we. BNZ

Fitting a steering indicator

One of the useful, but not necessarily essential, gauges on the helm of a boat is an indicator showing which way the rudder is pointing.

This is of course more important on a yacht with an underslung rudder, or a launch where either the rudder or sternlegs are not visible from the helm position. Without some sort of direction indicator, you have no idea which way the boat will steer when you apply power. This could have disastrous consequences if the boat suddenly moves the wrong way.

Such an indicator is usually not required on boats powered by an outboard motor, since a quick glance backwards at the powerhead will indicate which direction it is pointing. However, if the helm position is located too far forward, if the skipper is steering from a flybridge, or even if the cockpit has an overly high transom wall, then the outboard may not be easily visible from the helm station. Another issue is a skipper with restricted neck mobility, who may find it hard to repeatedly swivel his head through 180° while manoeuvring.

A steering indicator on the dashboard may be a good option in these cases as well.

My friend struggled to see which way his outboard engine’s thrust was directing from the helm, so we decided on a steering indicator at the helm.

Conventional solutions have a direction sensor with an arm that is attached to the rudder. As that arm pivots a variable resistor inside the base of the unit detects the angle of the rudder and displays the position on the dash gauge. Inboard propulsion systems such as a waterjet or an IPS pod will have a similar mechanism, although it will most likely be swung by a steering rod instead of the rudder. In both cases, however, the relatively fragile mechanism is usually hidden behind a bulkhead or below decks where there is space for things to move around freely without risk of snagging.

It is not so simple on an outboard-powered vessel. The motor generally sits in an open well or on the transom, and there is usually very limited space around it for things to swing around. Worse, the entire outboard tilts up, so any mechanism needs to be able to move up and down with the motor. And lastly, because of their position, you cannot install a flimsy rod and swivel arm that will get snagged up on gear, stub toes etc. Hence a conventional direction sensor is generally not a viable solution.

The sender is relatively simple, with a collar that slides along the tube. The IP68 fully immersible connector, bottom, is necesary for a join in the wiring that sits out on the boarding platform.

The solution is a sealed, tube-style sender, similar to the sender unit we fitted to our water tank a few months ago. This is a slim design that is clamped to the outside of the steering cylinder. It then has a moving magnetic collar, clamped to the steering ram, that slides over the sealed tube as the outboard moves. The magnet operates a series of reed switches inside the sealed tube, which detect the position and translate that into the direction that the motor is pointing. These units are made by KUS, and although the outboard steering indicator model is not readily available in New Zealand, it can be ordered through most outlets that sell other KUS units.

The installation of the sender unit is fairly simple: a fixed clamp goes around the steering cylinder and holds the tube, and a sliding magnet is clamped to the end of the steering arm. Suitable clamps are provided for both, but it takes a bit of headscratching to work out the best position that won’t impede the steering action and will also not be in the way when the motor is fully tilted up.

The tube clamps onto the hydraulic cylinder, and the collar clamps onto the steering extension.

In our case the steering rod itself was almost flush with the end of the cylinder at either end when the steering was at full lock, so we had no place to clamp the magnetic collar. There were a couple of ways we could have solved this but the simplest seemed to be to make a short extension to the steering ram. A piece of stainless tube with the same diameter as the rod was sourced, and a 10mm slot cut into it. A bit of judicious grinding ensued, and to fit it we unscrewed the steering arm and replaced the two existing washers with the extension tube. As can be seen from the photos, the end result is a tidy solution that looks like it was part of the original steering.

After fitting the clamps, we tried a few tilt-and-trim motions of the motor to ensure nothing was jamming. This resulted in a few slight changes to the position of the unit, after which we securely tightened up the clamps. The last part of this job was to cut off the extra bolt length and ensure there were no sharp edges for unwary feet to find when standing on the boarding platform.

Tilt the motor up and down a couple of times to check everything swings without jamming or catching anything.

The second part of the job involved the electrical connections up to the gauge on the helm. The only frustrating part of the kit was that the tail end of wire on the sender was far too short to reach across the boarding platform into the relatively dry area inside the cockpit. This meant a join in the wire was required, outside on the boarding platform where it will regularly get soaking wet. We needed a solution which was not just waterproof but fully immersible. The meant an IP68 connector, rated fully waterproof for up to 30 minutes at 1.5m of depth. Back to the chandlers!

It is important when planning a watertight connection that the gland on the connector correctly matches the cable. Unfortunately, current global supply chain issues mean that the most readily available twin-core marine cable is flat, but the Amphenol branded IP68 waterproof connectors that are available are only suitable for round cable of between 6 and 8mm in diameter. It took a bit of scurrying around to source marine-grade cable of the right diameter, after which the actual connection was a simple process.

We definitely do not want any clutter on the boarding platform.

In our boat there was an existing conduit that we could use to pass the cable up through the transom, by threading it down the same tube as the outboard control cables. If this was not available, then a further watertight joint would have been required to safely allow the cable to pass through the transom without allowing any water ingress. Products such as the Scanstrut Deck Seal could have been used to provide a fully waterproof seal. We did not require it since we were able to feed enough cable through the outboard cable duct to reach the helm.

Having sorted out the wiring path, the second half of the installation took about an hour. This included fitting the IP68

connector, feeding the cable through the wiring duct from the transom up to the helm, cutting a suitable hole in the dash and fitting the gauge, and then connecting it all up. A quick test showed everything was working.

The gauge snugly fitted into the dash.

Now for the proof of the pudding. I had installed this on my buddy’s boat since he has challenges whenever he manoeuvres his boat around the marina. His boat is not particularly responsive to the steering, and he sometimes turns the motor the wrong way when he is looking behind him. However, with the new indicator he can simply keep his head facing forward, either looking at the marina ahead or at the helm. The indicator will tell him which way the stern will travel when he puts the motor into gear, so he should find it a lot easier to move her in and out of her berth.

Just as I was finishing the job, my OCD tendencies kicked in and told me the overall layout of the dash was now a mess. Time to make a new helm faceplate and reposition everything. But that is another project for another day… BNZ

Unfortunately there was no space to fit the sender when the steering was at full lock.


When Roger Hughes first started sailing years ago, it didn’t take him long to realise that it was much better to anchor securely the first time, rather than to be stumbling on deck at 3:00am on a blustery, rainy, pitch-black night, attempting to haul-in and re-set a dragging anchor.

Anchoring is a very important boating skill, since it’s just as important to be able to prevent a boat moving as it is to make it move. Whilst different boats react differently when anchored, there are still some

common tenets that apply to all attempts at anchoring. The main worry is always that the anchor will not dig into the seabed, or else uproot completely for whatever reason, leaving the boat to float away, sometimes with catastrophic and life-threatening results.

An objective is to get the anchor to lie flat along the seabed, where it has the best chance of scooping its way into the bottom. The way to achieve this to lay a good length of rode, about five or six times the anchoring depth (the rode being the total length of chain, or anchor line and chain, from the boat to the anchor). This is the reason for using a heavy chain with a good catenary (catenary being the curve or hang of the rode between the bow of the boat and the seabed).

Plenty of rode by itself doesn’t guarantee an anchor won’t drag but hauling in 200 feet (61m) or so of chain to do it again – especially in the above-mentioned conditions – quickly makes most people want to learn to do it right the first time.

In especially deep anchorages or strong winds, even a long rode can straighten out and lift, with a chance that the anchor will break free and drag. An age-old method to minimise this is to weight the chain about halfway along its length with what is generically called a kellet.

The kellet is a heavy weight, usually with a pulley attached so it can be slid down the anchor line and chain, helps to keep the whole rode flat on the seabed. Unfortunately, such a device offers no actual grip, so even when it touches the seabed it will not embed itself. A kellet, being heavy, unwieldy and often very dirty, is also devilishly difficult to store on a small boat. However, using a second anchor instead of a kellet would help the main anchor to hold, especially if it could be persuaded to dig itself into the bottom as well. But how to achieve this ideal state…?

Through much trial and error, I devised a simple method of using my second bow anchor in conjunction with the main anchor, which has proven to be drag-free, even in the most severe conditions.

Before explaining the method, I would say that I firmly believe any main bower anchor should be as heavy as the anchorman, or woman, can reasonably handle, irrespective of the boat size – within reason of course. Having said that, it is possible that some of the many, many different shaped anchors that have appeared in recent years may not need to be as heavy as the old styles. But for me, heavier will always be better.

Holding to the first anchor, top, and then to the second anchor off the bridle, bottom, after a 90° wind shift. The first anchor’s chain maintains the caternary angle.

An all-chain rode is likewise better than a chain and line combination, if only because of the extra weight. Most boats drag their anchors due to wind, and my schooner Britannia has above-average windage, with two masts, three rollerfurled sails, and a square sail yard, along with a large cockpit bimini. She also weighs 23 tons and when that lot gets moving, it takes some stopping.

Britannia has two CQR anchors on rollers, one on either side of the bowsprit. The main bower weighs 60 pounds (27kg) and the other anchor 35 pounds (16kg). I actually wish I had two 60-pounders, this being the heaviest I can handle safely.

The 60-pounder is attached to 250 feet (76m) of 3/8” (9.5mm) chain, with a further 200 feet (61m) of 5/8” (16mm) line for deep anchorages. The ‘little anchor’ is used in conjunction with the main bower and the idea is to shackle it to the rode in such a way that it not only works like a kellet as a weight, but also digs into the seabed.

I use a strong rope bridle, made of 16mm diameter nylon line, with stainless thimbles spliced and whipped on each end. One end is permanently shackled to the stock of the 16kg CQR, then passes around the underside of the bowsprit and bobstay, and up the roller of the main anchor on the other side of the bowsprit. On my boat the bridle is 2.13m long, but the length will vary with different bow configurations. Boats without a ‘sprit and with an easy to reach bow roller can use a shorter bridle.

Having set up this simple arrangement, here’s how I anchor – every single time for an overnight stay without exception – irrespective of the weather forecast!

The stainless-steel carabiner shackle.

After letting go the main anchor and paying out about two times the depth, I then allow the boat to fall back with the wind, or drive it back with the engine, until it feels like the anchor has begun to hold. I then shackle the rope bridle to the chain, using a galvanized steel oval carabiner quick-link shackle with a screw sleeve that is passed through a chain link and secured by the screw. (Steel carabiner shackles of this type carry greater loads than stainless varieties). The other end of the bridle remains attached to the shank of the smaller anchor. I then shackle a length of strong line to the shank of the second anchor, which needs to be at least as long as the length of extra chain I finally intend to pay out.

The second anchor is then released from its bowsprit roller, where it hangs by the bridle on the chain. I then let out more chain and allow the boat to fall back further. This is usually about two or three times the depth. When the second anchor touches bottom, which can be felt with the line attached to it, a hefty burst on the engine drags both anchors backwards and hopefully beds them both in.

I now have my main anchor well dug-in at the head of a good length of chain, with the second anchor attached to it by the bridle, now also bedded in, then another length of chain up to the boat. This gives Britannia a total anchor weight of 95lbs (43kg), complimented by a load of heavy chain. Is there any wonder we never drag?

Attaching the carabiner to the chain.

All this might sound a bit of a rigmarole to deploy, but it’s really very easy when organised properly beforehand. I can anchor using this method almost as quickly as any boat using a single anchor – but with much more peace of mind if the wind pipes up. This anchoring method can be adapted to any boat using two anchors – and who does not have two anchors on their boat?

There are other benefits in making the effort: If for any reason, whether wind or tide, the pull on the boat becomes strong enough, (always at around 3am, of course), the rode will straighten until the bridle becomes tight and tries to lift the second anchor. If this was well bedded in it will resist the chain trying to lift it off the bottom, dampening the effect of whatever is causing the rode to tighten, whilst also ensuring the chain leading to the main anchor remains flat on the bottom (Fig 1).

If the wind shifts or the tide turns, the boat might initially swing to the second anchor (Fig 2). If the wind or current is so strong that it dislodges the second anchor and drags it and the chain around, it will invariably dig in again. If it continues to slip, the whole rode will eventually straighten out in the new direction and the boat will lie to the first anchor, and most likely also the second. This has never happened in its entirety, but I have found the boat in the morning lying to the second smaller anchor, yet with the confidence of knowing there is also a load of chain out there somewhere, with another whopping great anchor on the end.

Both anchors laid out on the dock showing the bridle and the second anchor’s all rope rode – no chain attached.

If you normally anchor with chain and rope, you could simply shackle the bridle of the second anchor to the chain, to achieve almost the same degree of security.

Weighing anchor(s) with or without a windlass, is only slightly more work than a single anchor on chain. The rode is hauled in like normal, along with the rope on the second anchor until it appears on its bridle. At this point it can be hauled over its bow roller (or simply lifted on deck if no second roller is used), using the line attached to its stock. The bridle can then be unshackled from the chain and the end secured to where it normally sits. At this point, the boat remains securely anchored by the first anchor, and I usually take a breather. The main anchor is then brought up in a normal way, and off we go.

For me, the main point of doing all this is because the system has never dragged on Britannia, or any other boat on which I have ever employed it. I wonder how many people can say that about their anchoring successes.

There are other benefits as well.

In rough conditions, it is comforting to know you are lying to two anchors with a sturdy rope attached to the second anchor, as a backup. Who has not worried, just a little, on a wild night, if the chain or line will hold or a single anchor will let go? It is also much easier and quicker to use my method instead of laying two separate anchors, say at 45.There is no manoeuvring to be done, like when trying to lay anchors in different positions, and no chance of their rode’s tangling if the boat swings.

For an epilogue, I will recount this true story:

We were once anchored by my method in Cala Portinatx, a beautiful rocky cove in northern Ibiza, in the Mediterranean Balearic Islands. A Mistral had been forecast from the north, but it arrived in the night much stronger than predicted, and the cove was soon awash with boats dragging their anchors and heading for the rocky shore, accompanied by the usual associated mayhem. But not us. My only concern was keeping watch in case other boats crashed into us.

One small craft drifted close, the exhausted occupants unable to re-set their tiny anchor or even motor against the wind. I heaved them a line and attached it to our aft cleats as they drifted astern. Then a second boat scudded by and I passed them a line as well. All three of us remained like this during a very blustery night, during which a substantial motor cruiser was driven hard up a sandy beach by its frantic occupants – an effective way to stop their boat, at least. Two boats were completely wrecked on rocks, and one person lost his life.

It is certainly worth anchoring well, even in a flat calm with a good forecast, because old Neptune is known to frequently change his mind. BNZ


Ignorance can be a blessing or a curse – or both if you’re learning to sail.

Last time we wrote about finding our 47-foot, four-cabin monohull sailing yacht Sauvage, a 1989 Jeanneau Sunkiss 47.

It’s now early summer 2020 and with SV Sauvage now in our possession, we invested time driving between Cambridge and Auckland for day-long sailing jaunts on the fine waters outside Gulf Harbour. Between us, my wife and I combine either over-confidence with under-planning or ridiculous over-caution and over-planning – well, that’s what I think anyway. It makes for some decent, robust discussions (an understatement!), but we always come to a happy agreement.

Then one fine long weekend, with a little sailing experience under our belt, we headed out to Waiheke Island. The weather turned during the trip, so we ended up sailing in what we thought were strong winds. (What you learn with more experience!) Exhausted upon arrival at Matiatia Bay (where the passenger ferry from Auckland arrives), imagine our delight at finding a conveniently located, vacant mooring ball. After our third attempt, with much yelling and a few tantrums, we successfully moored, only to learn later from two old friends who we happened upon in the same bay that day, that we’d stolen the mooring ball! Unless you own it, don’t tie up! Lesson learned, but it had been such an undertaking to tie up that we decided to test our luck and stay for the night so we could explore Waiheke in the morning.

The next day, after having had a quick look around the closest parts of the Island, and already a bit stressed that we would be found out for using an illicit mooring ball, we packed up and shipped out. While on the way to Islington Bay – a very beautiful and shallow bay located where Motutapu Island meets Rangitoto Island – we re-watched a YouTube video on ‘How to Anchor’. As far as we were concerned, the key message was ‘drop anchor while slowly backing’. Easy, right?

Warned that it was a difficult passage at low tide (it was low when we arrived), we motored very carefully to ensure we came nowhere near the edges of the channel. Finding a spot to anchor in among the other yachts, we slowly backed while lowering the anchor. The anchor drove perfectly into the sandy seabed and the boat came to rest. According to YouTube we are sorted! We were very proud of our anchoring effort and settled in for the evening.

BUT – and you surely expected a BUT – we’d used a very simple formulation of three times the current water depth (low tide, remember.) And, you guessed it, at high tide (around midnight) our anchor quietly pulled out of the sand and Sauvage drifted off gracefully (and thankfully slowly) into the middle of the bay. Luckily, we missed the other yachts and only nudged a large, piratical-looking ship marooned in the middle of the bay. Our mast rigging made tap-tap-tapping sounds as it rested on the ship’s (very much higher) deck.


Smokehouse Bay on Great Barrier Island is a treasure – a paradise for visiting boaties. Facilities include a BBQ, firepit, wood-fired pizza oven (the results of our pizza baking are shown in the pictures), shower and a hot bath. Water is heated by a wood-fired pot- bellied stove. Of course, Smokehouse Bay also boasts a fish smoker, for which it is named – popular with those cruisers who also fish.

Dazed, confused and feeling like we were in some sort of eerie dream, we did what all other sailors have done before us: leapt out of bed at the speed of light, pulled the anchor in, drove forwards to our space (thank goodness the moon was out) and re-anchored, this time at high tide. No one else was any the wiser!

The adrenaline didn’t leave for quite a few hours and we spent the very early hours of the morning sitting on deck watching in case Sauvage drifted again. She did not – this time our anchoring attempt was a high tide success.

Had we chosen another, less protected anchorage (which we almost did on the way from Waiheke), this story would have ended in a much less happy way, maybe somewhere on the way to South America!

This outing forced us to learn about the risks of a poor anchor and/or poor anchoring skills. Now we always use an anchor monitoring app (with GPS that constantly monitors our location). On any occasion that our anchor lifts unexpectedly and we drift, or the length of the chain deployed is challenged, then the app lets out a deafening squawking alarm which we simply can’t ignore. I cannot stress enough the safety benefits this app brings the sailor, his family and his vessel.

Our anchor monitor app is Anchor Pro (both Android and iOS versions work a treat). Initially, we used it on our smart phone, but this proved inconvenient whenever we wanted to go ashore. Now we run our Anchor Pro app on a cheap tablet which we leave on Sauvage permanently. Should Sauvage ever move beyond our defined allowed distance from the anchor drop point, even if the boat is unmanned, the app sends us an email warning. It provides assurance both onboard and while we’re ashore.

Jump forward to mid-January 2022. We were lying at anchor in a protected spot at Great Barrier Island, taking 20 to 25 knots of wind from Tropical Cyclone Cody. Our anchoring, which we now have significantly more trust in than on those earlier trips, held the entire time, even during those strong gusts that spun us from side to side. We are very pleased with how far we have come!

Before and after Tropical Cyclone Cody, we spent quality time exploring Great Barrier Island. The island offers wonderful walks through almost untouched forests, including to the boatie’s dream destination of Smokehouse Bay, with its BBQ, firepit, pizza oven, hot shower and bath, the water heated by a pot-belly stove.

Travelling to Port Fitzroy, you can pull up to the dock (about 2.6m deep at low tide) and refuel and fill the water tanks. There is a great little dairy up the hill with a good range of supplies – we were there during the peak of summer and stocks were a little low – but the prices are not cheap (context – a pack of chicken nuggets which would sell for $5 on mainland sells for $20 on Great Barrier Island!).

The walks through the forest are amazing. Large parts are barely touched – almost like goat tracks – but good walkways have been cut in where needed.

The kids chucked the fishing rods in the water and were rewarded with a couple of kahawai – certainly nothing spectacular but pleasing all the same.

The swimming onshore is nice, with sandy beaches where stingrays quietly share the water (very exciting for the kids!). The whole family enjoyed a couple of ‘manus’ [‘bombs’] from the back of the boat, but after an hour or so of good play, we saw a few sharks and decided that swimming was best done in the clear, shallow waters closer to shore!

At Smokehouse Bay there is a reasonable anchorage. It is quite deep (8-10m about 30m out from the rocks at low tide), but the holding is okay – just beware of strong gusts as we saw a number of boats drag anchor a little. At this time of year there are many vessels in the anchorage (Kirsten counted nearly 50 on one night). During hard winds we moved just one nautical mile across the harbour to Kiwiriki Bay where shallower water and a muddy bottom provide a very strong hold, even in the midst of a cyclone! BNZ



• The depth of your boat below the water

• The distance between the anchor chain and the water

• Where you are in the tide cycle. Use the Tide Forecast at to know times and heights for tide In, Out, Half In/Out.

Calculate the depth of the water taking it from the waterline and not the depth reported by the depth sounder. On our boat the DST sensor (transducer) is located 1.6m below the waterline; so, if the reading is ‘2m’ then we are actually in 3.6m of water.

Now, let’s say we anchor at a low tide of ‘2m’ in quiet, stable conditions. Then we should let out 3 X multiple (between 3 and 5 multiple is the formula, 3 in stable conditions, more in more disturbed conditions) of chain, plus waterline to the DST sensor and then 1m for our anchor above the waterline.

(2+1.6) x 3 + 1 = 11.8m (let’s say 12) is the length of chain to let out.

In a slow reverse, move backwards and drop the chain. As the chain is extended the anchor will drive into the seabed providing a strong anchor point, the anchor chain will pull tight and your boat will stop or start to move off to the side.

Anchoring is easy. By following these simple rules and recommendations, you will anchor correctly every time.

Now we always use an anchor monitoring app. Tropical Cyclone Cody was delivering 25-plus-knots of wind to Great Barrier Island but we were securely anchored


Man overboard!

Every skipper and his/her crew should practice man overboard drills regularly, because you don’t want to be doing it for the first time when it’s for real.

There are two methods I’d like to explain – you can see them both demonstrated in the videos. One is the Drift Down technique, which is recommended for calm conditions without too much wind for vessels with steerage astern. The other is the Upwind technique, which should be used in windy/rough conditions.


• All crew to remain seated at all times, except the spotter who should hang on securely

• Skipper should drive the boat in a fashion that doesn’t unseat or destabilise any crew (go easy on the power!)

• Tide is not a consideration for either manoeuvre as the boat and man overboard (MOB) move at the same speed with the tide – only wind needs to be considered, which pushes the boat more than the MOB.


• “Man overboard!” is called. One person in a safe location should assume role of spotter and point at the MOB

• The skipper should press the MOB button on the GPS (where available)

• If MOB is unconscious or out of sight, broadcast a distress call on the VHF while the crew prepares boathook/lines

• For conscious casualties, a throw rope should be used.

“Man overboard!” One crew member assumes the role of spotter.


• The skipper should manoeuvre the vessel upwind and beamon to the MOB

• The skipper needs to keep the vessel’s side perpendicular to the wind using the engine’s forward and reverse gears

• Allow the vessel to drift down onto the MOB

• Crew should confirm when they are ready to retrieve MOB

• Crew contact MOB and call to confirm; skipper to engage neutral and turn engine off if safe to do so

• Retrieve MOB over stern.

Position the boat well downwind of the MOB before attempting the Upwind method.


• Get vessel into a position downwind of MOB

• Approach at dead slow speed into the wind, bumping in and out of gear to maintain steerage and minimal speed

• Approach with MOB on driver’s side for visibility reasons

• Crew to confirm they are ready to retrieve

• Crew contact MOB

• Skipper should attempt to present boat’s shoulder to the wind on the MOB side, so the boat blows away from the MOB rather than drifting over him.

• Engage neutral and shut the engine off if safe to do so

• Retrieve MOB over the stern. BNZ

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Drifting down on the MOB, using the engine’s forward and reverse gears to hold the boat perpendicular to the wind. Retrieve the MOB over the stern with the engine turned off.



Adjoining the existing marina, the new North Pier marina’s 94 berths range from 14m to 30m. All were sold before construction began. In total the marina now boasts 580 berths – and it’s protected by a new breakwater.

Though it occupies the same footprint as before, the new boat yard has been reconfigured and is a vastly different facility. It’s now serviced by an additional, 85-tonne travel lift and offers an undercover work area for up to 24 vessels, in effect establishing the yard as a year-round operation.

The expansion, says marina general manager Mark Hollier, has been in years in the planning. “Large berths are particularly difficult to secure in Auckland. We had the space to add more berths. We were also aware that many of our ‘assets’ were getting a little long-in-the-tooth and needed upgrading.

“It made sense to tackle it all at the same time though we knew keeping the facility operational during construction wouldn’t be easy. Covid and lockdowns didn’t help – but I’m pleased to say we’ve come out the other end in great shape.”


The project began with the construction of a new breakwater, followed by the removal of its old wooden-pile panel predecessor.

The only one of its kind in the country, the new structure uses independent concrete panels hanging from a steel framework. Designed by Auckland’s McMillan Jacobs Associates (a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy) it’s not only a very effective wave attenuation structure but also allows the tides to ‘flush’ the entire marina much more naturally and efficiently.

“Having had the luxury of operating here for 50 years,” says Hollier, “we developed a good understanding of the weather patterns and tidal movements and were able to shape the breakwater very precisely to cater to the prevailing conditions. It offers maximum protection with excellent environmental characteristics – a vast improvement on the old breakwater.”


Given the larger size of the new marina’s berths, he adds, “we knew it would make sense to offer a full-service facility for bigger vessels – not only lifting them from the water and parking them on the hardstand for maintenance, but also, through covered work areas, to be able to offer all-year maintenance.”

The first part of that proposition was the addition of a new 85-tonne travel lift, operating in tandem with the existing 35-tonne machine. “Again, we had to think a little creatively to work within the constraints of the available land,” he says, “and it ultimately resulted in the building of two ‘runways’ around a single lifting bay. The wider runways (for the bigger machine and bigger/beamier vessels) extend out further.”

Having two machines gives the marina far greater flexibility around scheduling boat maintenance projects. “It means a faster turnaround and we’re now able to react very quickly to unscheduled jobs. This agility will be particularly appealing to boat owners who want to haul their boats for only a few hours – for a survey, for example, or to change a prop.”

But perhaps the greatest attraction for visitors interested in using the new boat yard is its covered work area. Previously, boats were parked along the edge of the open hardstand, in the teeth of the prevailing southwesterly weather patterns. The reconfigured yard now has a covered work area for 18 vessels, as well as six semicovered areas catering for yachts with standing rigging.

There were multiple drivers for the redesigned boat yard, says Hollier. “Firstly, New Zealand’s traditional DIY culture has changed. Boats are bigger and fitted with more complex technology, and the average boat owner doesn’t have the same ‘fix-it’ skills entrenched in his/her grandfather’s DNA. In addition, people are increasingly time-poor and no-one really wants to spend a weekend stripping old anti-foul from a boat’s hull. Our facility – with specialist services – caters for that shift.

“Secondly, the reconfiguration is based on a ‘high-throughput’ objective – one that sees boats serviced quickly and efficiently, where the yard can be operational all year round. Traditionally, around 60% of our business occurred over three months – September, October and November. After that it went quiet.

“With the facility’s covered work spaces we’re confident we can spread the load across the entire year. It gives boat owners much more flexibility when scheduling repairs or maintenance. They’re now able to secure a spot at any time – no longer forced to work around weather windows and they won’t be shoe-horned into restricted timeframes. And the added benefit is projects being completed more quickly.”

All the services that operated in the yard before the reconfiguration have remained – it’s business as usual. The full spectrum of specialists includes diesel mechanics, electrical/electronic contractors, fabrication specialists, boat painters, boatbuilders and a rigger.

Covered work areas have transformed the boat yard into an all-year operation.


The expanded marina and reconfigured boat yard have also benefitted from environmental improvements.

“The waste and fouling collected at our previous wash-down bay was filtered, with the residual water released into the sea,” says Hollier. “The new bay is fullycontained and captures everything. It’s all bagged and sent to a trade-waste facility.

“Similarly, we demolished the old fuel dock and built a new one (operated by Gull). The fuel was stored in underground tanks – these were removed and new, above-ground tanks erected. Refuelling is also a lot quicker now because boats can now use both sides of the new dock – only one side was available on the old dock and it often created bottlenecks.”

Though a significant development, the new marina/boatyard’s development is only the first phase of a multi-stage plan. “A high priority in the next stage is building more covered sheds to accommodate bigger (longer) vessels, to optimise the capacity of the new travel lift.”

Hollier is confident the changes have created a ‘next-level’ marina – one that will be good for another 50 years. “It’s the full package – the scope, quality and efficiency of the facilities, the on-site shopping centre, the brokerage and other marine-related services – we like to think Half Moon Bay is now an even more appealing proposition for boaties.”

It’s hard to argue – the marina doesn’t have a single berth for sale.

That half-moon is looking quite a lot fuller.

Half Moon Bay Marina:

KNOW YOUR BAITS PART 1 - You got to move it, move it!

Dead baits might not be quite as effective as live baits, but there are ways to impart an illusion of life to them that fish find hard to resist.

There’s no doubt about it, a small, obviously injured fish moving erratically and flashing crazily is hard to beat as bait. To a hungry predator it presses all the right buttons.

But live baits can be difficult to catch or in short supply, so you’d better have alternative tactics up your sleeve.

How about bringing dead baits ‘back to life’?

Imparting movement to your baits is often the key to attracting bites. That’s why it pays to hold your rod and ‘work’ dead baits rather than leaving the rod in the rod holder.

‘Working’ the bait can mean actively taking up slack line to maintain contact as the bait trundles back towards you in the current, or perhaps lifting and dropping the bait regularly to reposition it – a worthwhile ploy when fishing amongst weeds and rocks. Moving the bait not only attracts attention, your offering might also end up better positioned.


We will start with reanimating squid, as these cephalopods have plenty of natural wriggle, especially their tentacles. Indeed, take away the tentacles and the boxy squid body gets only a fraction of the bites.

Keep tentacles top of mind when cutting whole squid into smaller baits. For example, try pinning a tentacle clump on a single circle hook (diag 1), or if the tentacles are big, cut off one or two and hook them through the thick end. These baits can be used on ledger rigs or free-sliding sinker/stray-line rigs. Any movement imparted by either the angler or the current gets the tentacles undulating in a lifelike way.

Indeed, it’s possible to create an almost soft-bait-like presentation by placing a small, free-sliding ball or bean sinker directly on top of a single hook trailing a large squid or octopus tentacle. Cast it out, allow it to sink to the bottom, and then slowly jiggle it back to the boat or shore.

But what happens once all the tentacles are used up, leaving just a pile of bodies? No worries, just get a sharp knife and cut thin ‘tentacles’ into the squid mantles (diagrams 2a and 2b). In addition to creating a more attractive-looking bait with added wiggle, the knife exposes more squid flesh and releases extra scent. Change baits regularly as squid scent and flavour washes out relatively quickly.


Or you can use whole, dead baitfish such as mackerel, pilchard or piper. But to get these baits moving attractively requires good rigging. While whole fish baits offer more anchorage points for your hooks when rigged tail-first – useful for thawed, relatively soft baits – rigging baits head-first gives them a more natural presentation (diagram 3).

When rigging squid baits, it pays to incorporate the tentacles as they are by far the most attractive parts.

They move better, too, and natural streamlining means they don’t hold up in the current like tail-first baits. Headfirst baits snag less often in reefy areas and their more natural-looking presentation makes hooking a kingfish on the retrieve more likely – to deliberately target kingfish, try winding in the bait in a slower, more erratic manner.

A casting/free-spool reel outfit works better for this fishing style. Although mastering free-spool casting takes practice, the ability to leave the reel in free-spool while fishing offers a huge advantage.

By flicking the reel’s spool with a finger, you can impart jiggling movements to the bait while slowly retrieving it at the same time. Or lift the rod and then release line from the spool so the bait wafts back towards the sea floor in an enticing manner. To predators it looks just like a fish in its death throes.

Better still, when a snapper, kingfish or kahawai bites, it can run off with the bait with minimal resistance from the line – until, that is, you deem the time is right to engage the reel and strike!

Limbering up the bait can help, too, especially if it’s movement that is making fish commit to biting. Gently bend the bait back and forth to make it supple – that way it will have more action as it is moved. (Note: Don’t try this with pilchards as they don’t take the rough handling.)

It is very important to hook dead baits through the head centrally or they will spiral unattractively.

Kingfish are a prime target for this dead-bait fishing technique. It’s possible to target them using piper, mullet and mackerel – or kahawai, trevally and skipjack tuna. These firm baits (except for skipjack) are more effective if limbered up before rigging (diag 4).

But no matter how flexible, whole fish baits should be hooked through the middle of the head to ensure they move naturally – a baitfish descending through the water in a slow spiral doesn’t wag the tails of many predators.

So, take care when pushing a hook vertically through the top of the bait’s skull and out its chin, or horizontally across its bony ‘nose’. If the hook placement is off-centre, the bait will not move well.

To target kingfish with your well-rigged, limbered-up baits, try drifting over areas in 20-100 metres of water known or likely to hold kingfish.

Whether fishing for kingfish or snapper, the basic technique is the same. Drop your dead offering to the bottom, wind up three to five metres, flick the reel into free-spool and use light finger pressure to control the spool (with a spinning reel, open the bail arm and hold the line gently between your fingers).

Lifting and dropping a dead skipjack tuna saw the writer catch (and release) this chunky kingfish.

No bites? Slowly lift and drop the rod, or wind in a bit of line. Be prepared to release line, too, if you feel hard thumps or any extra pressure.

Unless they are especially hungry, kingfish (and snapper) typically grab and drop the bait a time or two before making up their minds to eat it (or not). If the initial grab isn’t followed by a stronger bite/run, lift the rod to give the bait some ‘life’– or try a short retrieve… or maybe drop the bait back a bit. Any of these tactics can encourage kingfish (and snapper) to eat a dead bait.


Still not having any joy? Try butterflying your snapper baits or turn your kingfish baits into ‘flappers’.

Both these baits are treated in a similar fashion, with both sides of the body filleted from the tail, leaving the flesh attached at the head end. Just how far up you go up the body is a personal choice.

Most anglers then remove the backbone and tail, leaving a head trailing a couple of scent-laden and very mobile fillets (diagram 5). They work really well! BNZ

Your summer cruising library / March 2022

Good books – they’re an essential part of the joys of cruising.



What an irresistible title! But beyond that, and beyond being the history of a single sailing club, this impressively designed and illustrated book is an important contribution to the maritime lore of all New Zealand.

For it balances the usual focus on Auckland and its yachties, setting the record straight to remind us of the many great sailors from Christchurch. Legends like Olympic gold medal winner Peter Mander, other Olympians Andrew Brown, Melinda Henshaw, Shelley Henson, OK dinghy world champions Peter Lester and Matt Stechmann, R-Class heroes Steve and Paul Macintosh, disabled world champion sailor Andrew May – and many more.


Beautifully photographed, as all Potton & Burton books are, this is a wider view of New Zealand seabirds and their evolution within their environment, rather than a field identification guide (though it does have a species list as an appendix). Still, from the photos you get to learn a lot about recognising seabirds, and from the text, learn why New Zealand is the ‘seabird capital of the world’, with more species of penguins for instance than anywhere else. And a wide variety of other magnificent birds. Just like the birds, a magnificent book.


This profoundly beautiful book about one man’s relationship with his Hauraki Gulf island habitat. Previously an experienced science writer, Tim’s prose here soars into the poetic realm, while at the same time displaying that discipline of restraint, and using exactly the right words and phrases for each special moment all other writers envy. It’s up there with all the nature classics you can name, and truly deserves its back cover accolade by Kennedy Warne, founder of New Zealand Geographic magazine: “Luminous. Touched with the divine.” For everyone planning to live more simply, in touch, and off the grid, Island Notes is your inspiration, working manual and vindication all in one.


The book saves itself from being a regular sailing yarn of a voyage from Auckland to Shoreham-on-Sea, England, taking in the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malacca Straits, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean and French canals, by dint of its insights into on-board human relationships, and role-modelling. For Dennis, the author, serves “as mate to Sally’s skipper, along with responsibilities of bosun, musician, chef and first engineer.” All “in no particular hurry” but with extra-ordinary good humour.




Achieves the rare feat of combining epic overview with intimate portraits of people affected by the Tasman. With opening chapters that delve into deep geological time, and explain the mysteries of ocean currents, to a natural and human history of the great sea between us and the Aussies, The Tasman really does tell the true story of this tempestuous bit of saltwater.




A true classic of the sea, hailed by National Geographic as “the number one greatest adventure book of all time.” “When I went South, I never meant to write a book” Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of the expedition, notes in the introduction, “I rather despised those who did so as being of an inferior brand to those who did things and said nothing about them.” But it’s a good thing he did finish the book (with the help of Bernard Shaw), for as the New York Review of Books said, ““The Worst Journey is to travel writing what War and Peace is to the novel... a masterpiece.”


A fearsome reputation

Sometimes when you meet someone famous you can be disappointed. They seem shorter, uglier, or not as nice as their public persona. It’s all down to reputation versus reality and the power of the media to make ordinary people look extraordinary. At other times it is because they have two personas – their stage faces and their normal selves.

When it comes to lighthouses there is none with a more fearsome reputation than the one at Puysegur Point. On mainland New Zealand’s southwestern extreme, it is the Kiwi equivalent of Cape Horn and most of the time it is all violent seas, gales and horizontal rain.

The name Puysegur, while hard to spell, has a quirky history. Lieutenant Dumont d’Urville, while on his first South Pacific expedition aboard the La Coquille (later to become the Astrolabe) is said to have bestowed the name in honour of AntoineHyacinthe-Anne de Chastenet de Puységur.

The beach at Otago Retreat hut with our cruise vessel at anchor in the bay and Coal Island behind it

Puységur was from an aristocratic French family which had funded the expedition and, as is the nature of these things, he never visited the fearsome location that had been bestowed with his name.

At the time, much of the scientific investigation and geographic exploration of the world was privately funded by aristocratic families. Along with his brothers, Puységur was one of the founding members of the ‘Society of Universal Harmony.’ While this sounds a bit New Age, it was notable for many discoveries, none more so than the invention of ‘Animal Magnetism,’ or hypnotism as we would refer to it today.

The brothers funded the works of Franz Anton Mesmer who gave demonstrations on their estates of his hypnotherapy. In one such experiment, Mesmer hypnotised a servant of one of the Puységur brothers named Victor Race. Among other features, the Puységur brothers noted when Victor was hypnotised, he “Displayed a far brighter mind than in his normal condition; he spoke about the ‘normal Victor’ as a third person.” This phenomenon was called “divided consciousness” and was the beginning of the profession we now know as psychology.

Cape Brett – site of another lonely, windswept lighthouse.

In 1879, 55 years after it was named by d’Urville, Puysegur Point became the site for one of New Zealand’s most important lighthouses. It provided one of the last points of navigation reference for ships heading from Sydney to Cape Horn and the markets of Europe. It also gave warning of a fearsome coastline that had claimed more lives than most.

Construction of the wooden lighthouse was difficult because no suitable landing area could be found near the site. All materials and equipment had to be landed some three kilometres away at a thin section of Preservation Inlet named Otago Retreat and a track cut through the heavy bush to transport the materials to Puysegur Point. The Otago Retreat hut is still there and it served as covered storage for supplies that were taken out to the lighthouse by horse-drawn dray for over a century before helicopters took over the role.

Puysegur Point Lighthouse was built in 1883.

Lighthouse keepers by their nature were a tough lot. After the first year of operation, there came a note from the resident keeper to the Marine Department management in Wellington: “I think that the climate at Puysegur Point is seriously endangering our health. Both my wife and I have developed a form of rheumatism which we attribute to the very damp climate here, together with the absence of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and meat.” He doubled down with, “We often have to work in very bad weather, besides being tormented with thousands of sandflies while working. Therefore I hope, Sir, you will grant us a rise in salary for each of us is doing our best to deserve it!” Then, as now, no good deed went unpunished in the bureaucratic world. All lighthouse keepers’ salaries were decreased shortly afterward.

There is nothing like poverty to focus the mind on other opportunities. Probationary assistant keeper Philip Payn noted the many gold prospectors that would visit on their way to and from Preservation Inlet claims. Payn started working a claim on nearby Coal Island in his spare time. By the end of 1887 he had become so consumed with prospecting that he was dismissed from the lighthouse service for dereliction of duty. Word got out and by late 1890 there were 120 miners camped on Coal Island.

At its peak, the lighthouse had three lighthouse keepers and their families on-site. It resembled a small village with the 12m tower of the light as its focal point. In 1942 all of this suburban paradise was thrown into turmoil when Lance Thomas, a psychiatric patient turned miner from Coal Island, decided that having the loom of the light flash through his window every 15 seconds at night was driving him mad. He set out to fix the problem by holding all the keepers hostage with a rifle, smashing the radiotelephone and setting fire to the timber lighthouse. It burnt to the ground and for nine months this section of the coast remained unlit.

Sunset in Preservation Inlet.

As you would expect, the lighthouse keepers found many distractions to while away the long hours off duty on the station. It was said that for a dose of adrenaline the younger keepers would crawl out to the cliff edge in one of the many raging gales and play a game of chicken, seeing who could lean out over the cliff the furthest before spreading their oilskin coats wide trusting the wind to sail them back to safety.

Technology showed its hand early at Puysegur Point. The Lighthouse boasted one of the most remote phone lines in the world. A single strand of Number 8 wire connected the lighthouse at Puysegur Point with the settlement of Orepuki in Southland. The line went live on July 20, 1908 and paid for itself handsomely 18 months later when the passenger steamer Waikare, on a cruise to the fiords, struck an uncharted rock near the entrance to Dusky Sound and began to sink. All 141 passengers and 85 crew were safely taken off the stricken vessel and landed on a nearby island.

To raise the alarm, second officer Appleyard set out in a lifeboat to Puysegur lighthouse, 60km to the south. Rather than land at Otago Retreat and make the long walk to the station, Appleyard beached his boat directly under the lighthouse and scaled the cliffs to send the mayday message over the telephone.

Now fully automated, Puysegur Point lighthouse is regularly visited by more adventurous tourists.

I had often listened to the marine weather forecast over VHF radio from the comfort of my bunk as the cold, automated voice had given a storm warning for Puysegur with a casual mention of 50 knots. I was intrigued to go there and when the opportunity came to guide a small group by boat to the southernmost fiords, I pounced on it.

We landed on the beach at Otago Retreat and chatted with the hunters staying in the hut that was redolent with the sweet smell of the cooked crayfish they’d eaten for every meal. We set out on the three-kilometre amble along the old bush-clad dray track. Puysegur Point Lighthouse was made automatic in 1980 and most of the houses and outbuildings were removed. As we emerged from the bush line it was the foundations of these buildings that led our eyes down to the stumpy lighthouse with its 35-watt tungsten halogen bulb and its entourage of solar panels.

I am braced for violent seas, 50-knot gales and horizontal rain. I have a vision of staggering to the last few hundred metres to the lighthouse like Captain Oates in a blizzard.

Instead, there is calm, blue skies, heat and a location that could have been a site for a well-appointed, high-end resort. The sandflies are out in force and our group talks in hushed tones, as though the place is in one of Puységur’s states of divided consciousness – hypnotised, perhaps, into a brighter, more reasonable version of itself. BNZ


Last month’s story on the restoration of Simon Ventura’s bridgedecker Altair prompted long-time Boating NZ subscriber Bryce Strong to get in touch and share with readers his personal memories of the boat.

I read this article with great interest and would like to add further information to it – and amend some small errors.

I believe I am qualified to comment as I had a very close relationship with a previous owner of Altair, and my brother Grant and myself served on board for the five years that she acted as a Coastguard cutter during their ownership. Additionally, I owned two boats (Apache and Matira) at separate times, both moored at Clevedon alongside Altair at this owner’s property.

Altair has certainly had more than four owners.

As per the article, she was built for Stan Horner, and while I do not know all the subsequent owners, she was at one stage owned by an airline pilot in the Picton/Nelson area (he had bought Altair in Auckland and moved her down there) and it was from him that Murray and Judy Inglis purchased her.

Murray and Judy Inglis. The couple loved and cared for Altair, using her regularly.

Murray and Judy were the owners of M & J Inglis Transport in Auckland, a mid-sized carrier transporting foodstuffs throughout New Zealand. I am not sure of the exact dates, but it was likely around 1986 when they bought Altair and they owned her until around 2007, so a period of about 21 years. Murray and Judy sold Altair to the son of a friend around 2007, and for some time she was moored at Westhaven. Later I heard that she had been on-sold to a cabinetmaker?

She has probably had 7-8 owners.

Of all the owners after Stan Horner, Murray and Judy probably carried out the most maintenance and improvements to Altair. When they bought her she had twin Ford six-cylinder engines that were getting tired, and after two or three years’ ownership Murray had them removed and replaced with the new Cummins engines and new gearboxes. And in later years he engaged a great boatbuilder, Wayne Avery, to construct the covered-in flybridge.

Altair at anchor before the enclosed flybridge was fitted.

Their home was alongside the Clevedon River, and Wayne and Murray mocked up full-sized panels in the silhouette shape of the flybridge, fixed them to the old flybridge, and then stood back on the adjoining main road to review and modify the shape until they were happy with the result. I believe that, while it altered the previous long and low shape of Altair, it proved to be a great safe and dry place from which to helm her!

Wayne Avery also carried out the replacement of a major section of the foredeck at a later stage. Murray also had the teak handrails and stainless-steel stanchions installed.

I first met the Inglises in Islington Bay in 1987, and we became friends and boated together a lot over the ensuing years. In the time when private boats were used as rescue vessels, they decide to offer Altair to Coastguard, and the four of us served aboard her about once every three or four weeks for five years. Murray was a very good skipper, handling Altair expertly.

Altair, then owned by Murray and Judy Inglis, with the enclosed flybridge built by Wayne Avery.

Murray and Judy loved Altair very much and used her very regularly. They were members of the Akarana Cruising Club and hosted some of a group of Americans who visited New Zealand. They took a couple on Altair for a cruise of the Hauraki Gulf. Later their hospitality was reciprocated in Seattle.

I am glad that the photo book of the tree and her construction have followed Altair, as it is indeed great provenance. However, I doubt if Altair is indeed 50 feet LOA. I understood that she was 42-43 feet at launch, and later four feet was added to the stern, to make the present stern cockpit. Perhaps a measure will show the actuality.

Jack Taylor must have been quite old and forgetful when he made his comments on Altair, as I remember him inspecting her on the hard at Murray’s home, so he certainly knew her – and he also socialised with Murray and Judy at their home on several occasions. He was a good surveyor and a nice chap.

It is great to see that Altair continues to be lucky – in the hands of owners who have the enthusiasm and the means to maintain and improve her, as these lovely classic wooden boats need and deserve. BNZ

Apache, Bryce’s first launch.


Apache was my first large launch, built in 1938 in Onehunga, reputedly used by American officers during the war for R&R, powered by a six-cylinder Ford Trader diesel. I owned her from 1987 to 1999 and sold her to a chap in Thames, where she still lives, very well looked after and I believe still owned by the same chap.

After selling Apache I bought Matira, a 43.5-foot ‘raised foc’sle’ launch designed and built by Collings & Bell in 1956. Single-skin kauri planked, she was powered by two four- cylinder, naturally-aspirated, 1976 Ford D Series, 75hp engines via Velvet Drive 71C hydraulic gearboxes with ‘V’ drive boxes.

She was a very attractive boat with an interesting history as a charter boat, variously running cruises in harbours down as far away as Gisborne and later dive trips from Tutukaka. I carried out much work on her during my stewardship, but that’s a story for another day. I always found her to be an excellent sea boat, never being concerned regardless of the sea state.

Since selling her she has had at least three owners. The first was a boatbuilder, who did a lovely restoration of her interior; the next owner installed new engines and gearboxes, and I last saw her swinging on a mooring in Kawau.

Matira, a very attractive and seaworthy ex-charter boat Bryce owned for many years.