A Brief History of Titahi Bay Boating Club
Researched and written by Nicholas Cree
Edited by Nick Vause
1933: Titahi Bay Talk
This year saw the first recorded talk of forming a Titahi Bay Boating Club with the claim that “our waters are superior for cruising and racing…” Plimmerton and Paremata sailors frequently raced in our waters and we wanted to be facing the elements with them. Locals summed it up by saying, “There is no asset at a port as a means of entertainment and amusement, mental and physical, greater than the white wings of a graceful yacht club.”
1952: A Club is Formed!
However, it took 19 years for talk to be put into action. A group of men met one cold winter day, at the RSA hall in Titahi Bay, to discuss boating and fishing….. and from there the Titahi Bay Boating Club was formed!
The founding members were mainly boatshed owners, not yachties, hence the name Boating Club.
Two sheds at the northern end of Titahi Bay beach were purchased, through the sale of debentures, to be the new Boating Clubrooms.
Boatshed rents were skyrocketing at this time and the combined voice of the newly formed club was loud enough that the Makara County Council (Coastal Authority) had to take notice.
The boating fraternity now had its own place to socialise and drink. A place with a far better view than the RSA!
1954: Sailing on the up
Sailors now occupied a large part of the membership roll so organised races were started. Neighbouring clubs were invited to compete.
1956: On the move
As Titahi Bay’s open sea beach was subject to sudden wind changes and strong tidal currents, it was deemed unsafe for small yachts and therefore placed crews in danger.
As a result, some of the Boating Club activities were moved to Onepoto and plans were drawn up (by John Creagh) to develop a foreshore site which the Club had already secured.
At this time, a wooden shed was built the full length of the present day wooden decking. It included a kitchen with a serving hatch to the outside world.
1957: Ladies get involved
Mrs K.J. Hart convened a meeting of mothers of the sailing boys and with that, the Ladies Committee was formed. The sole aim of this committee was to fund raise for the General Committee, which they did with enthusiasm, achieving great results.
Even though their efforts were appreciated, the ladies were given no voting rights or privileges within the club!
The Boating Club at this time was expanding in more ways than one.
Membership was increasing and so there was a need to increase the land. With the help of the council, land was reclaimed to make launching and retrieval of boats easier.
A new start box was built on top of the Onepoto clubrooms at a cost of 50 pounds.
1962: Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Like many modern day sailors Mr. Morton stressed the importance of developing Onepoto with the requirements of older members in mind, namely to ensure that a bar was included in the extension plans!
1964: On the sailing map
The club decided to get itself known by applying to hold a national event on our waters the following year! Worser Bay applies by advertising 20 showers, 5 toilets, 2 bars and 1 restaurant. Titahi Bay applies by advertising 1 hose and 20 happy sailors!
1965: Our first national event!
The prestigious national event known as the Cornwell Cup was held on Porirua Harbour. This was an event sailed in Z class yachts with one representative from each port.
The committee spent many hours preparing for any situation arising from weather conditions or hot headed sailors.
The event ran smoothly without any problems and gained our small club (the smallest in New Zealand) a great reputation.
The 141 pound profit was an unexpected but welcome bonus with which we reclaimed 10 metres of foreshore and built a slipway.
1966: Slipway too slippery!
The slipway certainly lived up to its name, so a way to remove the green slime was sought. Hydrated lime was tried, with poor results.
We wrote to the DSIR who suggested copper sulphate. Better results this time! However, today this substance is regarded as environmentally unfriendly and should not be used.
The Sea Cadets wanted to amalgamate with the Boating Club but the idea was rejected. They set themselves up at Mana.
The boatshed owners decided to split from the Boating Club as too much emphasis was being placed on yachting and their needs were not being met. They formed the Fisherman’s Club, which continued at the beach premises.
Marine radio equipment was purchased for the Boating Club.
Adjacent boatsheds at Onepoto were bought. The Club “…agreed to pay Mr. Blacktop not more than 170 pounds” and Mr. Williamson agreed to sell also. The money from Mrs. Bradey’s estate was well spent.
A heated discussion was entered into at a meeting with the Porirua Rowing Club. It was resolved in our favour. They will keep out of our way while we are sailing!
1968: Wahine storm
10th April 1968 saw the club boat ‘Shirley Dee’ break her moorings, taking with her the ‘Narwhal’, another moored boat. Both boats crashed into the wooden slipway.
Insurance companies were reluctant to part with much money as the boat had been illegally moored. Our bank balance took a major dive along with spirits (both emotional and alcoholic).
Horrors! The TBBC did not have a liquor licence. “Our present system of dispensing drinks in our club is not to continue and G. Fussell is to investigate a way of dispensing liquor in a legal way.”
1969: Labour intensive
A large retaining wall was required to contain the roadway and to be the basis of a large elaborate clubrooms. Work began in earnest!
Blacktopp’s and Williamson’s sheds were demolished. Major reclamation work was completed and plans for the building were approved.
“No members, or their families, are too young or too old to labour for the good of the club.”
1970-72: New clubrooms
The new Titahi Bay Club rooms were at last completed, thanks to numerous hours of work by volunteer labour and many discounted goods.
The club was in a healthy situation with a new club room and a large boat storage shed holding around 20 yachts.
It was “…noticed that the buildings are well insured but what about the privately owned yachts?” This was deemed to be the responsibility of the owners.
The O.K Dinghy Class Trials were held on Porirua Harbour. This proved most successful both as an event and for our own sailors.
1973: Local success
David Barnes from the Paremata Boating Club won the Tanner Cup in his P class yacht ‘Scamper’.
Winter sailing was thriving thanks mainly to sailors from neighbouring clubs enjoying our inner harbour conditions.
However, our junior membership was dropping as the surf and rowing clubs became more popular.
1974: Vandals and home success
The Onepoto subdivision rapidly brought increased foot traffic past the club, with the result that windows were broken and decking was repeatedly ripped up. The loyal stalwarts of TBBC were losing heart.
TBBC member Gavin Auld won the Tanner Cup.
1980: Ladies are in!
Sailing was losing popularity! Membership dropped significantly and people wondered what would become of the TBBC.
In a bid to turn the tide, the rules of the club were changed.
Women were invited to become full members, to pay full membership and to have full voting rights.
Three local caucasian brothers were arrested and charged with arson at Boatshed 33, Onepoto Road, Titahi Bay on 25th August 1982.
One was discharged, another was gaoled and the last did PD. Unfortunately, compensation was not ordered by the court!
The shed was full of boats stored for the Winter Series, as well as the Titahi Bay Intermediate School (TBIS) fleet.
Fibreglass Optimists were reduced to 5mm high outlines. All yachts were lost!
Many were those lovingly built by fathers for their sons and daughters. Most were uninsured!
1983-87: A sad decline, but a resurgence is nigh!
TBBC almost shut up shop. Summer sailing had ceased. Winter sailing was just afloat. Membership was very small.
The Titahi Bay Intermediate School (TBIS) sailing elective erected a double garage on the site of our old shed.
They built up an Optimist fleet and we hoped that pupils they introduced to sailing would join our club and increase our numbers.
1987 however, saw a big resurgence in the popularity of sailing. With the KZ5 campaign in Australia, children were hyped up and enthusiastic. Membership increased and the club was basically reborn!
1988-89: The reclamation is made legal
On applying to the Council for permission to replace the slipway, the Club received a letter saying “...protect the reclamation on which the TBBC rooms stand. Due to the fact that its present form is unauthorised.”
Once the reclamation was finally made legal, we were able to replace the slipway.
This drama came about because at one time a local contractor had dumped an unsightly load of concrete on the reclamation. The Porirua council finally got sick of this mess and carted it all away. Our reclamation started to wash away, so we applied for permission to build a retaining wall.
Then came the exciting news that the land, legally did not exist.
We had to get heavy and it took an ‘Order in Council’ to make our land exist.
1990: Outboard Developments
The yacht rigging area was finally concreted, with the help of many volunteers. No more sore feet for sailors while rigging their boats!
TBI had their 8hp outboard motor stolen from their shed. We reinforced the door and doubled the locking system, before replacing the motor.
Even still, our persistent friends returned and came up through the floor once more. This time they took the boat as well! You have to give them credit for their ingenuity, it wasn't an easy feat to perform.
Only the following season in 1991, a third school motor was stored in the club while the TBIS shed was being completely lined with plywood.
Again, the Club itself was broken into, and again the motor was pinched. At this stage a burglar alarm system was installed, covering both sheds, and to this day the club has earned a greater respect in the community and hasn't seen a return .
Many years had passed since the club had been painted, so the time had come to do the job again. Grey with dark blue trim was chosen and the result looked very smart.
For the inside there was linoleum, carpet, a fridge, a microwave, tables and comfortable chairs.
Furnishings at the club were obtained through contacts of the current membership. Whereas we had been furnished by courtesy of various pub revamps, this time it was a defunct Ministry of Works who came to the party.
We ran the Wellington Yachting Association (WYA) P class trials successfully, followed by Laser match racing and pre Optisail!
The club had once again made a good impression, membership was on the increase again!
1993: The Wihau Shield
The prestigious Wihau Shield came to Wellington for the first time in about 20 years. This 60 year old shield is presented to New Zealand’s best P class sailor and we had it in the club for the year, a great talking piece.
1994: The proudest club in New Zealand!
TBBC is producing champions.
Nicholas Cree won the WYA Starling match racing contest and went on to sail in the Nationals at Picton, finishing a creditable 5th.
Stacey Cree is New Zealand’s top Optimist sailor receiving many medals and trophies.
Kirsty McFarlane was the top Sunburst sailor at the Sea Scout regatta.
Elliot Cree was a member of the NZ Optimist team which competed in Sardinia.
Plans are drawn up with the intention of extending the club to double the size of the existing building, and also to include toilets and showers.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS!
The above was compiled by Nicholas Cree as a project in 1994 when he was a student at Mana College.
Much of the information was taken from local booklets and club minutes.
We are very grateful to Nick for this work. It was a major effort of research and compiling!
If you're interested in contributing to this extensive document, please get in touch!