Category Archives: Events

Raffle October 5- Great prizes

This where you can make a significant contribution to the Kate restoration project by buying tickets for yourself and selling more to friends and family.

Please ring Bill (3728724) or Bernard (3725621) for tickets. Please do so – every ticket sold helps the  project advance.

We are currently printing 1000 tickets which will sell for $5 each and we have the month of September to sell them.

1st Prize: Trip for two to Coromandel. Travel by 360 Discovery ferry, ride on Driving Creek Railway and lunch at Umu Cafe
2nd Prize: Return trip for two foot passengers to Great Barrier Island on  Sealink.
3rd Prize: Lunch for two at Casita Miro
4th Prize: America’s Cup sailing experience for two plus travel to the city with Explore Group
5th Prize: A trip for two to Rangitoto with Fullers

Prizes will be drawn under supervision of a JP or Police on 5 October and the results published in Gulf News 8 October 2015


Fund-raiser: Moruroa ’73 and the Fri Peace Odyssey

Friday 25th September 2015, 7pm at Artworks Theatre

A slide show and fund-raiser for Waiheke Working Sail, restoring the “Kate”.


Radioactive isotopes were being detected in New Zealand cow’s milk and sheep’s thyroids, and the French government had declared a 120-mile radius Forbidden Zone around Moruroa while they tested their bombs. Islanders nearby were being herded into a fallout shelter. The nuclear arms race had become a global madness.
Outrage was growing, and it led to the 1973 Peace Flotilla, a multiple adventure of epic proportions on the part of several yachts and a frigate.
Bernard sailed as skipper of the ferrocement ketch ‘Spirit of Peace’. After 75 days at sea she called in to Rarotonga for supplies, homeward bound, but had proved so effective she was turned round and sent back with a new crew. He then joined the former Baltic trader ‘Fri’,  just released from captivity by the French, leaking badly and with the engine out of action due to a fire.
As a French warship escorted the sea-weary ‘Fri’ into harbour near Tahiti for urgent repairs after 150 days of protest, the Gendarmes asked, ‘Why pick on us? What about the Americans, the British, Russia and China?’
This sowed the seeds of the Fri Peace Odyssey, a 10,000 mile voyage through the Pacific Islands under sail carrying thousands of messages of peace from ordinary citizens. For this voyage, supported by the newly formed Greenpeace New Zealand, Bernard was appointed  skipper.
Informing and networking between communities, publicising untold stories, Fri survived a typhoon to join the anti-nuclear movement in Japan.
Bernard shows his colour slides while spinning a salty yarn of sailing and seamanship in adventures that helped change the world.

Newsletter March 2015


The re-launch party was an enjoyable celebration on the beach. Old friends met and new friendships were made in the shade of the gazebos, with the Royal Fortune band singing sea shanties, a sausage sizzle, cakes and ginger beer.

As the tide rose around the old ship Tom and Joe hopped aboard and reported she wasn’t leaking at all! Quite an achievement considering the extensiveness of repairs.

A fanfare on trombone greeted her as she floated off, and was warped in to the beach.

This means the project to get her sailing and licensed as a Sail Training Ship is about 20% complete. The worst is behind us, the rot has been dealt with, from now on it’s mostly new construction – re-building the stern to its original, elegant shape, then new bulwarks, aft cabin with a binnacle for the wheel, onwards and upwards to the spars,rigging and sails, downwards to the ballast keel, engine, rudder and accommodation, and sideways to the paperwork for complying with Maritime NZ regulations.


Our supporters list now numbers over 100, and many of you have asked how you can help. The short answer is – MONEY! The coffers are empty, and we urgently need donations to keep up the momentum. Please think seriously about this investment in the Island’s future, and donate what you can.

Progress to date has demonstrated the competence of the project; we have also undertaken peer reviews to support our case for fund-raising, and these are now on our website. They are:

  • A report by Robin Williams, one of NZ’s leading marine surveyors. Download report here.
  • A report by David Waters, who has twice sailed round the world in boats he built himself, and for 11 years owned the “Kate” ‘s sister-ship “Rewa”. Download report here.
  • A letter of support from Mike Birdsall, field officer for NZ Marine, who supervises the apprentice training programme. Download letter here.

These reviews have also been useful in seeking advice on some of the gnarlier repair problems.

The Waiheke Boating Club have been very supportive, and we thank them for the free use of the hardstand and tent. The hardstand will be closed on 20th April for about 2 months while a wash-down facility is installed and the electrical supply upgraded. The green shed behind the clubhouse has to be re-clad with plywood to replace the old asbestos-based Fibrolite, and we desperately need premises for storage, so I have arranged with the Committee for us to help with this, and put some clear panels in the roof, to make a small workshop we can use, and share with club members when we’re there and it’s open. I’ll let you know when there’s a working bee.

So, plenty still to do, but with your help step by step we’ll get there.



Newsletter February 2015

Greetings to all our supporters,

Work on the “Kate” has been ongoing since we hauled her out on 24th November, making best use of the white tent, for which we are very grateful to the Boating Club.

The rot behind the stem was serious as expected, also around the rudder, but all is now repaired with a fine new pohutukawa stem piece, and at the stern the new planks extended to form a basis for re-building the stern.

There were some daunting days when we discovered more deterioration between the two layers of planking, posing some challenging repair jobs, but Tom and Joe soldiered on, with constructive suggestions on how to tackle the repairs.

This means the the projected 2 months haul-out has turned into 3 months, and we are now very low on money! Also the planking is drying out and shrinking, so it’s high time to put her back in the water. All the rot that we could find has been repaired, and the decks made watertight so the rain can’t get in.

So, you are invited to the RE-LAUNCH PARTY on Saturday 28th Feb. The “Kate” will be trundled out of the tent and down the launching ramp starting at 10am. High tide is around 4, we expect her to float off about 2, The sausage sizzle will start about 11.30, then festivities start about 1.30 with sea shanties, afternoon tea, and cakes, home-made ginger beer and BYO something stronger.

Once she floats we’ll warp her in to the beach nearby, and you’re invited to come aboard by dinghy, look around and if necessary help to pump her out! We’re expecting some leaking, which should ‘take up’ over a few days as the planks swell.

To FUNDRAISING – money, the essential ingredient we hope you can supply to enable re-building the stern to its original beautiful shape, the new bulwarks, onwards and upwards…The donations box will be there for cash or cheques, or you can use your credit card via our website Our  account is 38-9014-0889139-00 for direct credits.

We are a registered charity, so please email for a receipt for a tax refund.

So far most of our funding has come from private donations of all sizes from $2 upwards, and we appreciate this as the idea is for the whole Island to own this little ship, in service to the community. Several people have committed to monthly Automatic Payments ranging from $10 to $30, and this is greatly appreciated, perhaps something you could consider?

We have formed a fund-raising committee to share the work of applying to the various donor organizations, and hope to take this to a professional level soon.

I hold fast to the vision of this handsome cutter working her way into the inlet under sail, responding to every puff of wind, her crew a bunch of youngsters handling her expertly using their new-found skills, high on life after the adventure of a lifetime. We’re about 20% of the way there.

Cheers, Bernard.

Newsletter December 2014

Greetings to all our supporters.

The Haul-out.

On the slipwayA milestone was reached with the hauling out of the “Kate” on 24th November. After some anxious moments positioning her on the trolley the specially built cradle fitted perfectly, and all went well as the old Club tractor trundled her across the Causeway to back her into the white tent.

Kate crossing CausewayWe have 2 months free hardstand courtesy of the Boating Club; should be enough time to get the underwater work done, but not so long that the planking dries out, so we have to keep moving.

Repairs are started.

Remains of apron & kneeThe lower part of the stem has been removed, and as suspected there was serious rot behind it. Part of the apron will have to be replaced, and a new stem knee made before the new stem can be fitted. Tricky stuff, but we can make it stronger than before.

The rudder gland was removed and found to be poorly engineered, the source of the mystery leak. Various options for a new rudder design are being considered.

A survey of the rest of the hull finds the planking in remarkably good condition, but all of the old iron nails are suspect, so an extensive program of re-fastening is needed. The lower planks inside are so saturated with old engine oil and diesel that no rot spores or other greebies will grow in them!

Apprentices Tom and Joe have been working part-time pulling her apart while finishing other work commitments, and we’re looking forward to fitting the new frames that have been prepared.

Come and see – or help.

As a supporter, you are welcome to stop by and have a look at progress. We are planning a roster of volunteers to show visitors around and help with odd jobs, with some opportunities to learn boatbuilding skills. Ken Branch is co-ordinating the roster, please contact him , email mob. 0274 361 116 or 372 3396.


To the essential ingredient – money!

Can you afford to make a donation at this time? Any amount is gratefully received, we want this lovely little ship to belong to the whole community, a part of our heritage sailing in the service of youth.

Several supporters have committed to monthly automatic payments, which is especially welcome as we’re in this for the long haul. The dream is to be able to employ a manager / secretary to look after the administration and fund-raising while I concentrate on the restoration and plans, thus greatly speeding up progress.

Our KiwiBank account number is 38-9014-0889139-00 or cheques can be made out to Waiheke Working Sail. We are a registered charity, and a receipt will be given so donations are eligible for a tax refund.


The essential drawings for Plan Approval have been completed and sent off to Naval Architect Mike Hudson, who has agreed to do the calculations for stability pro bono, and can advise us on navigating the new Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS).

Well-known surveyor Robin Williams has offered a free survey in January, despite a very busy schedule. By then we should have something to show him.

Best wishes

We wish our supporters all the best for the festive season, and good sailing.

Cheers, Bernard.