I note with interest from the December issue of
Boating NZ that your National and World champ's are being held in New Plymouth,
Feb 2004, and thought you might be interested in a bit of history.
In the mid 60's, whilst living in Taupo and
after a number of years in Kitty Class (Kool Kat), I purchased the
state-of-the-art KZ 54, "HUSTLER", from one Ron Given for the enormous
sum of $500; the most anybody had ever paid for an A! She was of cold moulded
ply construction with aluminium mast, as they all were at that time and had all
the go-fast gadgets such as circular traveller track, compasses in each hull and
highfield levers to burn. She was probably the first A Class to have the Ron
Given designed shock cord dagger board rudders as fitted to the Paper Tiger. If
my memory serves me correctly, Ron had at that time recently campaigned the boat
in Aus., but needed the money to develop the Tiger Shark, which was to be the 18
foot version of the highly successful Paper Tiger. I clearly remember seeing the
prototype under his house.
HUSTLER was referred to by Ron as a GTF design,
being Mr Given, Mr Tennant and you guessed it, Mr. Farr. I owned HUSTLER for a
couple of years and enjoyed excellent local success, but pretty average at a
national level against a very quick South Island design. I eventually sold the
boat to a Mr Wiig from Hawkes Bay for, I believe $500.
As a matter of interest, The Lake Taupo Y C had
about 9 A's and during that time started the North Island Fresh Water Catamaran
Champs, consisting of Kitty Class, A and B Class and Paper Tigers, (and one 16'
Shearwater) with 2 races sailed in Taupo and 2 in Turangi. Such personalities as
Kieth McKinven in his wing masted B Class BOADECIA and a most entertaining pipe
smoking guitar playing character, (who's name unfortunately escapes me), sailing
his beloved BETTINA. He was/is a landscape designer from Titirangi who, during
one Taupo regatta, had this huge agricultural alarm clock taped to his mast on
the pretext that it was a starting timer. The joke was on the rest of the fleet
after his crew, very loudly, counted down the seconds and started the rest of
the fleet about 10 seconds early!
The regattas were an absolute riot, but the
sailing was deadly.
I then purchased my second A Class,
"CHRISTOPHER J" from Robin McMaster of Boyd and McMaster fame. She too
was of cold moulded ply construction but had been neglected and was wet. She
spent the winter up-side-down, full of light bulbs to dry her out and was
repainted light blue, the same colour as Hustler. CHRISTOPHER J, named after
Robin's young (very young) son, was fitted with a tiny pocket hankerchief jib in
an endeavour to assist tacking. The penalty of a reduced main was too great and
the jib was abandoned, a new main was purchased and 'tacking on trapeze' was
perfected to overcome the problem.
While I'm now elligible for the veteran
division of your regatta, I'm still sailing my keel boat around the Gulf and
often wonder what happened to my two A Class. If any of your members know I
would be gratefull to hear from them.
I wish you well for the National and World
championship regattas in