Old newsletter bits
Below is some of interesting write up’s from Club news letters
Hi Peter , introductions first I guess, I was a member of the club in the early and late 1960’s. My Father ( Nelson Cullen ) was also a member. ( I think I dragged him along.) The clubhouse was originally over the other side of the lake among the trees. The club when I first joined was operating out of that clubhouse, I remember it well.. The history of the club recalls that there was some disquiet among members re: the piles at construction. I remember the piles being absolutely shot and the floor about to cave in plus the walls had holes in them. My yachts were the 4’6″ Dolphin and the marble head class was the “nautical” .. my dad’s Yachts were the 4’6″ Marlin and the Marble head class Victory.. There was of course no radio controlled nonsense in those days , it was all done by sail settings and off you go.. I was a helper at the construction of the new clubhouse .. although the roof was a different design.. the members built the roof with the sides done by a friendly brickie. I see that the roof is now a standard roof .. how did this occur ?? was there a fire ?? And what happened to all the old 4’6″ boats and the marble heads as well. In the history I read of two of the old members .. Jack Spencer and Burt George.. Both lovely Gentlemen .. long deceased sadly. Burt was an Englishman from Cornwall .. I think he was in the Royal Navy in World War 1 .. and came out here in the 20’s .. He had no car just riding a bicycle around.. I remember him telling me that he got the wood to construct his boats from the local dump.. He was a very talented craftsman.. May he rest in Peace.. I can remember spending many hours in the lake with it drained cutting weed.. we never got on top of it .. and don’t expect anyone ever will.
Prior to the closure of the lake due to the earthquakes, the only other time that we did not have use of the lake [apart from maintenance], was during the International Exhibition held in Hagley Park from November 1906 til il 1907. The same site that is now used for the Ellerslie Flower Show and mos of the city’s events now. Prior to the exhibition the lake did not have the section by the wharf at the end of the petanque club grounds. This was excavated for the waterchute in the funfare [an early form of a theme park.] Boats ran in tracks when they were released from the top and plunged into the water at the bottom.
LAKE VICTORIA UPDATE
The loss of Lake Victoria due to the earthquake last season, has been disruptive to our activities, but a vastly improved lake will result from this, – something that would never have happened for a long time under normal circumstances. An update from Kevin Williams [Project Manager – Greenspace; Christchurch City Council]. rejoined. ‘Unfortunately the snow slowed things down a bit but we are now back into it. There is a bit of water in patches to deal with but we are sorting that out as we go. We have finally reached the point where we are not removing material and are now bringing material in for the new liner. It is bentonite clay, sourced from View Hill. At this stage about 5,000 tonnes is to be delivered,- An interesting material to work with. No more significant rain would be a bonus. The stabilising additive for the clay is also ordered and on its’ way. The timber for the repairs to the edging is due any day, along with its’ installation. All in all we are still progressing quite well considering the time of year. As for a completion date, we have been aiming for the d of November. At this point this is still achievable, but is entirely dependant on the weather.’
Rod Liddy has provided the committee with further progress reports; ‘Bentonite clay has now started to arrive and several have already been stockpiled in the car park area nearest the golf club, a large front end loader is also now in residence so work is continuing with repairs to “OUR LAKE” …it can’t happen soon enough for I along with many others. Inci tally probably in preparation for this clay to be spread a pump has been deployed to remove accumulated rain/snow water from the eastern end of the lake.’
‘..I can now add that the process of spreading the clay over the lakebed has begun. It appears that as of this afternoon [1/9/11] a grader possibly or the front end loader has been levelling the bed followed now by the dumping of loads of clay starting in the “bay” and working around from there. There is still a number of weeks work in front of the contractors to complete, BUT it is underway’
The work is being supervised by a team of experts – [the last of the summer wine?]
This section of my blurb is being written 15 days after the 7.1 earthquake that caused much damage to the homes and infrastructure of our city. Problems that will directly affect the operation of the CMYC are now becoming clearer. Victoria in its present state is no longer viable as a sailing venue, there are a lot of repairs needed to the timber edging, leaking that has been evident since an earthmoving machine disturbed the puddled clay bottom and the leak in one of the wells that feed the lake. The City Council have assured that all these problems will be remedied but rightly so, there are much more urgent and pressing needs that must be attended to first. Please be patient. We are very lucky to have sailing rights at the Groynes after Waimairi Model Yacht Club amalgamated with the CMYC, this venue, undamaged by the quake is available to us and it looks as if these will be our home waters for some months to come! The CMYC had its first Committee meeting since the Club AGM and a number of other venues are being researched, meanwhile we have a building at the Groynes, the Ranger has built an excellent jetty, the launching area and the lake looks good with just a small amount of weed. We sailed there yesterday and it was fine except for the strong Nor‟wester that made things difficult in the latter part of the day.
I can’t but help to think back to the days when the club numbered two score or so and I would meet up with Euan Sarginson on my way home from school on a Wednesday for a little sail on the lake. This combined with Dave Henley, the owner of J 1 was the beginning of Wednesday Windling on Victoria Lake. Gradually others joined in and Dave came in the mornings to sail (“to keep clear of that race mad crowd…”) and it just took off with the retired and self employed !
Both Malcolm and Gavin were prime movers in the 1970’s in the creation of the New Zealand Model Yachting Association, indeed, in the early years of the Association, Canterbury was it’s home. Subsequently the Association moved to Auckland where it still resides.
Newsletter Editor Ian Scott
Member, Robert Duns has brought to light some fascinating information on the origins of the Lifeboat Pennant which has been one of the CMYCís more sought after trophies for many years. I have done some research on the Pennantís origins and with the help of information from Robert, Gavin Britt and Malcolm Scott, have managed to piece together itís history. Early stalwart of the Club, S.V.Sarelius, who came to Christchurch from Finland was a keen sailor in both full size and model yachts, he was also a strong supporter of the Sumner Lifeboat Institute His Grandson, Gavin Britt tells of Sarelius having been born inside the Arctic Circle in Finland. In 1930, even after the final payment of 1,989 pounds for the new displacement lifeboat Rescue 11 had been made, the Institute still had a 700 pound overdraft which had been guaranteed by a number of individual supporters from Christchurch, Sumner, Timaru and Banks Peninsula. Appeals were made to local bodies and the Dept of Internal Affairs approved the raffle of a model yacht built by H.V.Sarelius which he named Ultima Thule. Tickets were sold for one shilling and the raffle realised nearly one hundred pounds, a very helpful addition considering that these were depression times. Sarelius also built a second yacht about the same time, this one, called Sans Atout (no trumps) was the crack 4í6î for many years and is still owned by Gavin. In the 1960ís Gavin felt that a trophy that commerated his Grandfatherís interest in the Lifeboat Institute would be appropriate, He approached the then Institute Chairman, Walter Bagley and hence the Lifeboat Trophy came about. Several years ago the CMYC Committee decided to retire all the cups and trophies to the display cabinet in the clubhouse and to sail for pennants that would be inscribed with winners names. The name Lifeboat Pennant was retained so as keep the original concept.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY (extracted for the Clubís photo album). A Press report in 1967 says that many Christchurch people think that Victoria Lake was created for the water chute at the South Seas Exhibition in 1908 but it was made earlier in 1897, after a public appeal, for the purpose of model yachting. Before that it was a swampy area with a cycle race track built up around it. All that was needed was a few horse and cart loads of clay lining and it was ready for filling in 1897. The Christchurch Model Yacht Club was born the year after. Having a club house was an early priority for the new club members and this was to prove to be quite a hurdle because of the lack of funds. The eminent Christchurch architect of the time Mr Hurst Seager was commissioned by a Mr Humphries to: ìÖdesign a shed, 24 X 12 X 8 feet, with a 4 foot rise in the roof, weatherboards, iron roof (lining under roof) and floored, a single sash in each gable, and a double door 7 X 5 feet.î To these Seager added fancy bargeboards, a verandah, an increase in the roof rise and diagonal boards. The plans were presented to the committee in September 1898 whom in the meantime had obtained the temporary use of the Christchurch Football Clubís shed for the storage of boats, presumably only for the summer period. The club then set about fund raising for the £47.10/- tendered by the builder, Mr Calder. Four brass bands were invited to play by the lake on four Sundays and subscriptions or donations obtained while they played. The site of the clubhouse is on the rise in the middle of the pine trees on the eastern end of the lake. An ideal location in those days with respect to the direction of the sun – the proximity to a car park was not a factor. (Whatís a car?)
This is a blast from the past; Malcolm tells me that these pics were taken the last time the lake was drained. Maugers were the contractors and I believe the idea was to clean out all the rubbish and get down to the top of the clay bed that had been formed when the lake was constructed. Unfortunately the dozer got bogged and broke through the clay pan that waterproofed the bottom and as a consequence the lake has leaked ever since. This snap was part of the late Clarrie Gorrieís collection and as far as I know it and a few others are the only ones that show the lake empty
BOB WING ???
A Class: Bob Wing has launched another “Highlander” previously owned by Euan Sarginson. The history of boat this is quite interesting — just after Euan and Hugh had completed the Cook Strait crossing withthe William Fraser in 1998, I happened to see another of the same design in Moore Models for sale on behalf. It was just the bare hull and deck, no rig, winch or lead so I offered the owner sixty dollars but was told I was well below the mark. I mentioned the boat to Euan who ended up making a successful bid and was going to finish the required work, unfortunately his illness prevented him from doing much to it and it was unfinished at the time of his death. Bob took the project over for Min, Euan’s wife and has made a great job of completing it. This gives the club three Highlanders, maybe we could organise a special race just for them (and get them out of the J fleet’s hair). 2006
The four foot six ‘Defiance’ was built and sailed by the legendary Bert George about sixty seven years ago. Throughout its remarkable career the boat has had only four owners. Bert George, Malcolm Scott, Euan Sarginson and Aussie Bob Wing. Bob was given the boat by Euan Sarginson before he died, I think because he recognized in Bob a safe pair of hands that were worthy and capable of the restoration of such a historic craft. Bob has really done Euan proud, the restoration work carefully and sensitively carried out is both a credit to Bob’s abilities and does great justice to such a historic craft. I was fortunate to able to be present for ‘Defiance’s’ first sail after the refit and even more fortunately I had my camera with me so I was able to capture a few good shots of the launching. ‘Defiance’ is in the Clubhouse at the moment, have a look at her and see what a fourfoot six freesailer really looked like, dug out from a well seasoned willow log to produce a hull thickness of approximately 8mm it really is a work of art. 2005
Defiance. In his editorial Ian has mentioned this boat so I guess that I should write a bit about her too. – I purchased Defiance when I joined the club back in 1940. Bert George, an old Cornishman had built it. Bert was a real character, didn’t usually have a lot to say but built lots of yachts. They were all four foot sixes except for later years when he built his own version of Marbleheads and an ‘A’ class. Bert would just take a look at a boat and decide, yes I could build that.. And he would. They were all very practical but just functional with tobacco tin lids for the hatch covers and No8 wire for the main and jib ‘horses’. Bert would select a log of willow, let it season for a year and then carve (well chop) it to shape with an axe finishing with planing and sanding. They were then painted with any paint that happened to lying around. Actually using an axe is not as rough as it sounds. 19 I actually built two smaller yachts starting them off like that. Bert’s boats were always very fast and won more than their share of races. His first yachts were all ‘dugouts’ and later went to combined dugout and planked (the top half was planked) and later they were all planked. Defiance was not the first name the boat had. Apparently when he took the boat to the lake some asked what is it’s name? . He said I don’t know and that stuck. Well I wasn’t going to stay with that and named it Defiance after a two-seater fighter in the R.A.F. Don’t forget, there was a war on The day I first sailed it was a bit hectic. There was no lead on it when I bought it, so we had to bike to Bert’s place at Church Corner get the lead on, carry it back to the lake where Bert hunted out a set of sails, and then I finally got to sail my first yacht ever. Naturally I had a lot to learn but after I got the hang of it Defiance won many races. You can read about one of these in Euan Sarginson’s bookî Victoria Water.. If you do not have one already, contact Commodore Hugh Hobden and I feel sure that he will treat you kindly. Bob Wing has made a fantastic job of restoring ‘Defiance’ and she looks really good. It also looks very complicated with the servos and winches that Bob has used. He kindly let me have a sail with her on the launching day and it really was a great thrill being to sail the courses that we used to sail without having to run after her. Not possible now anyway. Years later I bought another Bert George boat which I named Quest, it was also very fast. See you, Malcolm 2005
FROM THE SECRETARY’S DESK One has to comment and congratulate five members for their commitment to the Club and their own commitment to their promises. Of course one could say they were stupid but then, a promise is a promise. What is this leading to? Well, you will I am sure, remember the battering that that the city received on the night of April 23 with thunder, lightning, hail and rain not to mention the wind. Sunday morning was really rough also, but these intrepid members still went down to the lake at 8am and sailed their yachts for about an hour as a supposed background for the channel 2 TV programme “What Now”. It was freezing and it the wind was coming in heavy gusts which flattened everything except the “A” Class “William Fraser”.. .Actually, I feel sure that Euan would have been quite proud of it . After about an hour it was decided that enough was enough and everyone went home. Many thanks to those brave souls, it shows the enthusiasm and commitment of the members which is why the club continues to grow while some other clubs struggle to survive