Murrays Bay has a proud history and enviable track record of producing performance sailors. This tradition is continuing. The clubs history is rich with names of sailors recognized through National and World Championships, Americas cup, and the Olympics. It is hard to quantify exactly why so many of our sailors do well. Clearly there is a tremendous amount of work put into training. It may also have something to do with the early training in excellent sailing waters found off the bay. We would like to think it is also a result of the friendly environment and companionship found at the club, and the hours of work that our members and volunteers contribute.
This collection of stories relates our heritage. If you have a story to contribute, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
50 Years of Murrays Bay's 24 Hour Race celebrated in 2017 at Lake Pupuke
With the Clubs new space and the increased rigging areas on the reserve, it was now deemed possible to hold an Optimist ranking regatta. The old public toilets had been removed by now, and the area in front of the club (above) grassed over just in time. After months of planning by Amy Mulcahy and her team, Auckland Anniversary weekend, January 2017 saw a successful event. 163 Optimists and 63 Starlings. So far the event website still exists. The event was supported by Bayleys Real Estate and the Giltrap Group.
Julian Beavis was the person behind the founding of the Murrays Bay Alumni, first general meeting 1st December 2016. Social and fundraising events is the aim, an early event being this Americas Cup talk held in the bunker in 2017. Click the picture above to visit the Alumni page.
The old clubhouse comes down in March 2016
People and companies made significant contributions both financial and product to the building of the new Clubhouse through 2014/2015.
They are recognised in the Club foyer.
The Club Burgee was changed in 2015, returning to the black and yellow of the original. The lettering is different though - the original had a single M (for Murrays Bay Boating Club). The new version spells it out.
Gary Hassall supervised a complete refit of Brin Wilson - she had reached the grand age of 32 Years.. Brin spent the winter of 2014 in Gary's factory while he and club members gave her a total overhaul. The yellow was retained, but there was a new floor, new seats, new electronics, new canopy, steering, and anchor winch, to ensure she gives many more years of service. The Club is indebted to funders and product sponsors: New Zealand Community Trust, Hall Spars, Hella Marine, The Lion Foundation, Maxwell and of course Gary and his team. She was relaunched 3rd October 2014.
In April 2014, the house swap transaction was done, where Auckland Council purchased the old clubhouse at 513 Beach Rd, and the Club purchased 511 Beach Rd. The Property Committee was led by David Gunn, and he reported to the August AGM:
Projected Budget for Boat Shed and Club House Refurbishment: $1.5million
Funds raised to date: 1.25million
As you will have seen we have a big muddy hole in the ground. Unfortunately due to the later than ideal start of the project we have had some weather delays. David Barnes is expecting to have the balance of the foundations, walls and boat shed slab completed by the end of September.
John Adair took on the Webmasters role in 2012 and in November launched a new club website. It enabled much faster distribution of news, photos and results, and featured weekly newsletters and letters from the Commodore. It operated until a new site with more flexible content management was introduced at the end of 2017.
One thing that keeps Murrays Bay great is the unwavering generosity of past members who continue to return to the club and contribute. Often, as in this example, sailors that learnt to sail at MBSC and rose through the ranks to become top international stars, will graciously come to prizegivings and share their experiences. The positive effect this has on the young sailors can not be underestimated.
This is the Stack 2012 P Class Tauranga Cup Prizegiving, January 2012, and Peter Montgomery is interviewing Dean Barker and Ray Davies, watched on by John Jennings, the club P Class aficionado. Ray is taking credit for the current state of the wiring in the Murrays Bay kitchen. (Photo: John Adair)
The club turns 50.....more to come!
The 1999-2000 season was to be a celebration of Yachting. Team New Zealand defended the Americas Cup in the waters off Murrays Bay and won. Never had the sight of so many boats watching yachts racing been seen just out from the headland. Fleets up to 3000 spectator boats stationed round the race track on the popular days.
Just up the coast at Waiake, Murrays Bay SC joined forces with four other Auckland clubs under the general control of the AYBA in running the Tanner and Tauranga Cups and the Starling Nationals and match racing. All preceded by an Optimist regatta. 17 days of dinghy racing.
During the Tauranga cup while racing was delayed through lack of wind Team NZ brought their black boats alongside the becalmed P class fleet and allowed the sailors on board. Old P class sailors like Craig Monk spotted their old boats and swapped. Children were hoisted to the masthead by fellow P class sailors. Since Louis Vuitton racing was postponed too, the Television cameras including those on the helicopter were focussed on the fleet for about half an hour beaming the pictures Worldwide.
The year 2000 was the year all the sailing world came to Auckland for New Zealand's first defense of the Americas Cup. It presented this unique opportunity to capture all but two of Murrays Bay's World and Olympic Champions in a single shot.
In March 1998 the club celebrated its fortieth birthday with a party. 100 people, mainly past members, came to re-live those memories. Amongst those present were founder or early members Harold Bennett, Peter Oxborough, Derek Blount, Ted Miller, Keith Martin, Geoff Smale, Phil Menzies, John Stallard and even the original owner of the house, which became the clubhouse, Ray Skyrme. I know this was a great occasion for many of those ex-members who had put in so much effort into the club’s early days. In May the club was honoured by the Council with a Civic Award for Voluntary Service to the Community.
Pictured - the 2013 STACK Winter Champs
The Murrays Bay Winter Championship first ran in August 1997. The school year at this time was divided into 3 terms, so the break between 2nd and third term was earlier in the year. Hence the regatta was named the Winter Champs.An entry of 256 boats across an incredible 17 classes reflecting the changing face of yachting:
|12' Skiff||3||Laser Radial||7|
|Farr 3.7||4||P Class||60|
The regatta still runs annually, with the biggest fleet recorded being 295 in 2007. A key component of the regatta is the Winter Champs Coaching days, where sailors from around the country get to take advantage of a top coaching environment for the first two days of the school holidays, followed by the regatta. Of course now it's a 4 term year which means the regatta has moved to later in the year. Still called the Winter Champs, but the weather a bit warmer than it used to be! It remains a popular regatta to shake out those winter cobwebs.
The P Class was at the peak of its powers in 1996, when MBSC conducted the Tanner and Tauranga Cups in January, the organising team led by Murray Thom. Knowing it was going to be huge, the plan was to base the event on the reserve at Rothesay Bay. Long story short, the Resource Management Act put paid to that as sailing was not an 'existing use' at Rothesay Bay and would take months to approve. The biggest fleet ever - 168 yachts - squeezed into Murrays Bay and sailed the contest in near perfect conditions. See the length of the start line in the photo above! The Tanner Cup was won by 12 year old Mike Bassett of Torbay BC, with Murrays Bays' Kevin Borrows winning the Tauranga Cup with a 1,5,1,17,9,1 record. Scott Pierce and Carl Peters, also of MBSC, finished 3rd and 4th respectively. See the story from the March 1996 Sailing New Zealand Magazine. Page 1 Page 2 List of equipment used by top 10 placegetters.
Early in 1994 a sponsorship was arranged with Yamaha. In return for a very good deal on outboard motors the club agreed to change the name of its boats from R1, R2 etc standing for Rescue 1, to Yamaha 1, Yamaha 2 and so on, thus ending a long tradition stretching back almost to the formation of the club.
The 24 hour race was starting to run into a few problems. It was still far and away the clubs major fundraiser and even this was not considered to be enough. Expenses were also escalating and it was felt an urgent review of the financial side of the event was needed.
Comworth Systems came on board with their OKI brand and it was given the name The OKI 24 hour race. With commodore to be, Murray Thoms in charge, the event had a new vigour and in the season 1990 –91 it raised over $45000. From this had to be taken the expenses but nevertheless the cash input was substantial. The 1991 race was won by Hamish Pepper and Dean Barker. The club was in the happy position to be able to give significant grants to sailors who were travelling overseas and this was channeled through a special fund known as the International Travel Fund which was set up under the guidance of Glenys MacKinlay the chairperson of the Ladies committee.
Due to the now poor state of the Phoenix class (ex Rothmans Father & Son), the December 1987 24 hour race was changed to Lasers. This was a move which was to inject a new lease of life into the contest as many of the Nation’s top sailors now sailed lasers. It was also decided to have special sails made and a tender of $11352 for 40 sails was awarded to Lidgard Sails. These sails were to be signwritten in the logo of the sponsor.
P69, Mintie, still light blue, here being sailed by Alice Haslett in the 2015 Stack Winter Champs
Late in 1987 two hard working members Bev and Phil Davies were made life members. This couple who are the only married members to be made life members in their own right had been involved in just about every aspect of Murrays Bay sailing club over the last 20 years They had no fewer than four sons, Len, Mike, Phil and Ramon each of whom was a brilliant sailor, pass through the club. Their P class was Mintie P69 which was always painted light blue and was passed from son to son with continuing excellent results. In January of that year their youngest son Ramon winning both the Tanner and Tauranga Cups. In fact the minutes show that Murrays Bay Sailors occupied the top 10 places in the Tauranga Cup.
On our High Achievers page you'll see Ramon, now more commonly known as Ray Davies, pictured bringing the Americas Cup home from Bermuda, 2017.
The 1985/86 season was the first year that an official club photo was to be taken at the prizegiving and that years picture shows, amongst others, a very young Nik Burfoot and Dean Barker already making their mark. It also shows Geoff Senior who was the first sailor, to put Murrays Bay on the Tauranga Cup. They were part of the team that helped Murrays Bay win both the Tanner and Tauranga cups, the Wihau Shield and every available P class trophy in Auckland as well as having 5 in the top 10 of the Starling Nationals that year.
At the start of 1986 Geoff Senior gained second in the Tanner Cup and 7 of the top 10 boats in the Tauranga Cup were from Murrays Bay. Conscious of the successes the club was having it decided to have some honours boards made. These were made by Bob Senior and were to record past Commodores, Life members, winners of the 24hr race and those who had achieved high awards in Yachting. It was not until 1998 that in fact the latter was sign written due to the huge amount of research needed to make sure no-one was left out. The criteria were set that those mentioned should either be current members of the club or sailing under the club’s name in a class sailed at the club and become either World Champions, as recognised by the International body (ISAF) or Olympic medal winners. By the year 2000 this amounted to 13 names representing 17 events in 7 different classes.
In 1984 pressure came on cigarette advertising and Rothmans were unable to continue their support of yachting. This also meant the Rothmans Father and Son class changed its name to the Phoenix but it also meant a loss of income to the club. This was not a problem at this stage because the club was financially comfortable, indeed the club was stretched to overflowing.
All the female entrants at the 1983 Tauranga Cup at Murrays Bay.
The Tanner and Tauranga Cups involved a fleet of 108 P class and the list of helpers included Alan Sayers, a long time supporter of junior yachting, Steve Moses with the Torbay Boating club patrol boat, and even the RNZYS who loaned their Scott Colville committee boat. The Tanner Cup was won by Craig Monk representing Auckland East with Murrays Bay’s Scott Adam second. The Tauranga Cup was won by Steve Cotton from RNZYS which must have produced some excitement on board Scott Colville, with Scott Adam and Nik Burfoot of Murrays Bay 3rd and 4th, which was not a bad result with only two entrants per club allowed. First girl was Nicole Stevens of Herald Island, (later Nicole Harden of Torbay BC), second place Barbara Kendall and Harold Bennett’s daughter Carla third. Fourth was Jenny Egnot of Christchurch, who returned to MBSC in 2014 for her two sons to learn to sail.
See all the Tanner and Tauranga results on our P Class Nationals page.
December 1982 and the 24 Hour Race is still as popular as ever, as outlined here in Sea Spray Magazine. It was won for the third year in a row by Paul Meo, this time with Bruce Watt.
Over the winter the old Rescue 1 which was built in 1965 was replaced by a brand new purpose built launch which was donated by Wilson Boats in memory of Brin Wilson. Brin and his sons Bob and Richard were behind one of New Zealands first major international offshore successes when they built Pathfinder and won the 1971 Sydney-Hobart race, helping the NZ team to win the Southern Cross Cup with Runaway and Wai Aniwa. Sadly Brin died in October 1974 aged just 50.
But Brin’s name lives on, not only on the patrol boat, but also in the boat’s radio call sign, heard just about every weekend in the summer. Launched by Wensley Willcox, wife of Commodore Peter Willcox, to an audience of 500 members she was dressed overall with flags and it made for a proud occasion.
Read the Brin Wilson boat building story here.
Harold Bennett (left) founding member of MBSC and the first professional yachting coach in New Zealand. Taken about 1977, with the original clubhouse in the background - before it was converted from its house origins.
With the club operating out of the basement of the old Outram Hall, in the late 1960's and early 1970's, positive efforts were made to secure a clubhouse. A proposal for reclamation at the point, construction of a groyne and a clubhouse on the Portal Place reserve was made but after considerable work over a two year period was abandoned due to local opposition.
In the meantime, a Mr Skyreme had sold his 3 bedroom house on the beach front to a Mr McGlashen for $19,000. One year later the club approached the new owner to see if he would sell - yes for $30,000. Keith Martin was Treasurer, and he negotiated to buy for $28,000. The RFS account had reasonable funds, and a transfer of mortgage was arranged, so Murrays Bay Boating Club became the proud new owners of a club house on the beach. It was converted just in time for the OK Interdominion Championships in 1975.
Amongst those on the House Committee doing this work were Harold Bennett, Gordon Gilberd, and Stu Brentnall.
In October of 1968, the clubs first Olympian Geoff Smale with Ralph Roberts took part in the Flying Dutchman class in the Mexico Olympics. They finished 8th out of 30.
In the NZ Olympic Trials it was Smale and Roberts who got the nod from the Selectors after a convincing win in the trials conducted at Pakatoa Island, which was then a holiday resort.
The eighth in the Olympics at Mexico did not reflect their true ability, as many expected the duo to take a medal at least. However it was the year of Rodney Pattison and crew Iain Macdonald-Smith (GBR) who came onto the FD scene in the super-boat Superdocious and were a level above the rest of the fleet.
In 1968, Smale was awarded the Sir Bernard Fergusson Trophy as New Zealand Sailor of the Year for his win in the Olympic Trials and for his development of the Rothmans Father and Son class.
To help promote the class, the Rothmans 24 hour race was initiated in 1967, This continues today as the OKI 24 Hour, raced in Lasers.
Murrays Bay Boating Club was looking for a new class of boat - one that was light and manageable, easily built at home, and targeted at Father and Son sailing. The result was the Rothmans Father and Son, with the hull designed by Brin Wilson, and the rig by Olympian to be, Geoff Smale.
We haven't dated this photo yet, but clearly taken off the Murrays Bay wharf at race start. Q2 is likely the Q Class Ada sailed by John Lasher and John Sharp. She may have been the first Q to have a trapeze, and ended up owned by Ian McRobie, going to Australia to race the interdominions. #55 is a Kitty Kat - a 12 foot catamaran designed by Jim Young. A Cherub in behind G79, and a collection of NZ Moths - the 11 foot Scow.
By September of 1961 enough money had been raised to purchase the Miss Nance, a kauri, carvel built 16 footer with 5 ft 6 inch beam and powered by a fully marinised Ford 10 motor. She needed painting and this was to proceed each weekend until the official launching day which was set as 11.45 on Sunday October 22nd. The boat was to be painted in the club colours but there was some disagreement as to what this entailed.
Eventually she had a white hull with a lemon cabin with a black band and pastel blue inside.
In 1958 Whilst the majority of the action had gone to Browns Bay the local lads, amongst them, Keith Martin, Peter Oxborough and Eddie Miller with their two Zeddies and an Idle Along, continued to sail from Murrays Bay and it was Mrs. Nina Smith, joint owner of the corner store which stood where the carpark is now located, who suggested that the boys form a sailing club. Founding members included Bill and Nina Smith, Harold Bennett, Ron Pook, Dan Mason, Cyril Francis, Ted Miller, Bryan Smith and Graham Smith and they held their first meeting at the Smiths house. A further meeting was held at the home of Ray Skyrme the original owner of what is now the clubhouse and between 30 and 35 people turned up. This was clearly enough to start a proper club, The Murrays Bay Boating Club, and at the third meeting a full committee was elected.
The first committee
Patron W Ward JP
President Dan Mason
Commodore Bill Lambert
Vice Commodores Rangi Temple
Mrs. Megan Biss
Secretary Peter Oxborough
Committee I Hammond
L and N Behrant
J and J Stallard
H Bennett (Junior committeeman)
Several of these names are still with us on some of the older trophies sailed for each year, with most of the recipients being totally unaware of their origin.
Meanwhile in the bay great progress was being made. Such was the density of the traffic that road safety had become an issue. Car speeds were excessive and “Watch for Children” signs were contemplated and it was even envisaged to build a new road. The old searchlight base which was the original site of the Tai O Tea starting box had been tidied up and the Progressive Association was considering building another shop in front of the Hall to boost income.
The Murrays Bay Boating Club’s (MBBC) activities included yacht racing, motor boating and fishing competitions. Gala days were held to raise funds although the club’s first one was rather poorly attended due to the lateness in the year.
Murrays Bay was a scattered collection of houses gathered round a rather untidy beachfront in 1949, when at a December meeting of the Murrays Bay Progressive Association (MBPA) a Mr. Bennett first suggested a carnival and regatta. The MBPA which was formed in 1941 was the residents and ratepayers organisation and as such was responsible for running many community events.
Whether the regatta took place is not recorded but by March the next year a boating club was being formed and the area behind the beach where the playground now stands had been taken for reserve and was the intended land base for the boating activities.
The MBPA had a hall known as Outram Hall which they had built through public subscription and this was used for a formation meeting of the new boating club. Unfortunately only 16 people turned up and this was considered insufficient, but an arrangement was made for boat races at Easter.
From this activity a boat club was eventually formed. The records show it was called the Tai O Tea Boating Club which seems strange as that is the name of the stream at Waiake further up the coast. With the support of the MBPA, a small starting shed was erected on the disused base of an old searchlight turret which stood in the corner of the beach. The base is still there today, but is largely covered by grass since the bank was re-landscaped in 1999. It can sometimes be seen just peeping out from the top of the bank right in the NW corner of the beach.
Clearly the Tai O Tea Boating Club proved popular straight away because by December 1951 the MBPA was moved to write a letter of complaint, about the boats cluttering the beach. The beach area was very different since the trees which dominate the scene today, were nowhere near as prominent and the wall at the back of the beach was not yet built.
The Tai O Tea Boating Club wrote to the MBPA suggesting a conference to resolve the issue and clearly this resolution was achieved because by July the MBPA had donated to the boat club their old water tank.
Dances were the highlight of the social scene and could also prove to be great fundraisers and so it was that in the July of 1951 the boating club applied to the MBPA to hold a dance in the Outram Hall. Once this had been considered by the “Dance sub committee” permission was granted.
The AGM of 1952 was held in the Outram Hall at a cost to hire of 7/6d without the use of the kitchen. A Mr. England suggested building a boat ramp. These things are so common place today that it is hard to imagine them not being there. The boatramp became almost a story in itself over the years.
Use of the Outram Hall was limited by the amount of electricity you were allowed to have. This appears to have been rationed and sometimes you had to do without hot water. The North Shore was still very undeveloped and it was still the era of the night soil cart which came round each morning to take its contents to where Rangitoto College now stands.
Even in those early days the provision of yachting facilities was of sufficient interest for the club to approach the MBPA, which acted as the spokesman to the Council, to discuss the provision of “a safe anchorage on this shore”. The MBPAs thinking was at a somewhat lower level however and a “diplomatic” letter was written to the club asking them to remove two small boats from the lawn.
No doubt the lawn was very attractive in this otherwise rather wild environment. The area, which is now the rigging area and playground, was bush, and the rest of the reserve was a rough sandy bank with a few small phoenix palms on it. The large Norfolk pine at the Northern end was about 5m high. Some of the large trees on the waterfront were only planted on June the 2nd 1953 to celebrate the Coronation and gorse had to be removed from the side of the unsealed road to improve visibility. There were vacant sections through from Bournemouth Tce to the beach although the little cottage belonging to the Robin