Lizzie was built in 1909 in Balaena Bay here in Wellington.
Somewhat later I grew up above Weka Bay one bay south of Balaena Bay, with a view out over Balaena, Evans Bay and the harbour.
Our family had Ruawaka a 41 ft yacht moored in the boat harbour, that had been a top boat in the 50’s before my time. As a young fella I hung out at the boat harbour with my father, between day sails cruising on the harbour in the weekend and down the sounds in the summer with family.
Later more sailing beckoned crewing on a one year south pacific cruise, followed by more sailing adventures and other seatime.
More recently the Wellington Classic Yacht Trust was formed in 2010 and Gavin led the restoration of Lizzie over the. next few years. I joined the trust after their acquisition of Atalanta and got more involved with Lizzie, both sailing and maintenance and became her regular skipper.
Lizzie measures 22 feet long on deck (6.7m), and is nimble for her age. She loves it when we can ease the sheets onto a reach. There are no winches on board consistent with her age, and while she has low freeboard she’s not that wet under sail.
On last Friday the 3rd, the earlier forecast for ’northerly 20 knots for a time’ held into the race, so with Lizzie’s big main, that called for the first reef and a smaller jib. Mike on the helm got us away to a good start. It was a bit sloppy after rounding mark number 16 on the first beat to number 4 by Ngauranga but we could make the mark on one board which was great, and the slop settled down as we headed upwind. Relieved the fleet couldn’t use spinnakers we settled into the run down to Shoal pile. The wind eased as we got down to the top of Evans Bay by which time it was clear we needed the number 1 headsail and reef shaken out which were sorted in time to overtake Overdraft on the way to Shoal pile. With a steady northerly without the earlier gusts we just had the lee rail under and a good beat back up the bay holding off Overdraft to the finish, and the Rum on handicap which was a bonus. We’d welcome more smaller yachts joining us in the Friday night fleet.
The trusts next big project is to restore Atalanta which will soon be the oldest yacht in Wellington. We’d love to have Atalanta sailing on Wellington harbour again, and would value your support in any way.