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Hokianga Raid January 2010

Page history last edited by paul.lis.bowker@... 14 years, 5 months ago

New Zealand



The event has been held.....


Hokianga Raid 2010 ..Report and Reflections

What  is a raid??





Eight boats with a total of 14 crew left Opononi at midday on Jan 9th. Low water 1157

From Hokianga:-

Two Seabirds (3.2 metre una rig whaler types) 2 crew each. Les Read/Chris Todd  Daniel Curtis/Claire Todd

One Sunburst sailing dinghy, 2 crew. Jovan Mokaraka-Harris, Whono Wharerau

One Oceanic rigged proa , Paul Bowker

From New Plymouth:-

One Tacking outrigger, Paul Wilson

From Auckland:-

One Junk rigged proa, James Brett

From Doubtless Bay:-

One Whitehall type carvel 12 ft dinghy, gaff rig, Simon Millichamp

One Seascout Whaler 17ft sloop rig, 4 crew. Murray & Sue Young, Colin & Libby Price

Wind conditions were fresh Southwesterly, 15 knots gusting 20, and rising later to 20 knots plus.

James Brett in “Free Radical” lead the fleet all the way to Horeke, a straight line distance of 18 miles. We had no time keeper, so I cannot give times. Paul Bowker in Te Wheke trailed the fleet.

Some people had an ice-cream break at Rawene on the 12 mile mark.

The Whitehall dinghy capsized at Motu Kauri (1 mile East of Te Karaka), then lost it’s buoyancy bag, so was assisted by a support launch., but sailed on afterwards. The Tacking outrigger’s rudder broke at the start, so was then steered by oar., until Motu Kauri when condition were at their worst. This is basically the lee shore area of the stretch fom the harbour mouth with the SW wind. So the waves have about a 14 mile fetch to build up. Paul Wilson got the outrigger on a nice patch of Hokianga mud then wisely took a tow to Rawene, where he changed from sail power to outboard motor.

Our evening at Horeke was very sociable, cold beer, good food and company. The boats sat quietly at the high water mark.

Sunday morning at 7 am, it was mirror calm, so it was oars and paddles. It had been agreed to all meet at Rawene. Paul Bowker took a tow from Kohukohu as he can only paddle in circles. There was no breeze at Rawene so all boats finished there., On this leg the Whitehall easily outpaced all the other boats, James Brett paddled Free Radical and was the next to Rawene.

Photos on Proa_file 7   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/proafile7/

Paul Bowker



Overall, it was a fantastic weekend, our local sailers who took part were mainly novices, sailing pretty old and tired boats. The two outriggers who joined our fleet can comment for themselves, they didn’t catch fish so?

As the organiser I under-estimated the logistics of getting food and camping gear around the place, luckily I got some good help on the day. I also had our novice sailers to encourage and supervise.

Boat moving on the Friday was interesting, as I left Rawene at dawn in my 10ft dinghy, to tow Te Wheke accompanied by the Sunburst with a 6hp seahorse on the back and the 2 young fellows Jovan and Whono. It went really well until at Te Karaka the Seahorse overheated and the 8hp Yamaha I had borrowed, ceased putting out much cooling water. I was going to have to move all 3 boats with a 2hp yamaha I brought for “emergency”. Anyway I put the 2hp on the sunburst and that was fine, I then rang the owner of the 8hp and he said, “no, the water only dribbles”…me “it put a good flow out at the start”… owner “no sweat, it’s under warranty!!” … me “when did you use it last?” ..owner “12 months ago in Vanuatu, just give it a good run”. So I left the cover off and went very quietly, luckily all the salt deposits must have dissolved as it now squirts out a powerful flow of coolant. The Seahorse will need stripping!


Could we have sailed back to Opononi? Only if we had waited for the wind, it came in at about 1pm but was from the SW about 10-14 knots, so it would have been a close hauled beat against the tide. Perhaps if the rowers had kept going and reached Te Karaka by Midday then they could have sailed the last 6 miles. Wisely they quit.. At 5pm at Opononi there was a nice 10 knot breeze from the NW. For me on Te Wheke I could have drifted further down harbour, then waited for the breeze, shunted for hours against the tide, then late evening used the NW breeze and out-going tide to get to Opononi late in the day. As it was I dried and packed tents, sorted gear out, flushed outboards, had fish and chips on the beach with the grandchildren, did a load of washing and chilled out at home.

I think it will take an easily rowed dory type with  very good windward ability to complete the  whole course.

NEXT YEAR!                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Proa Thoughts:-

I should have reefed at the start, the whole of Saturday was wind from behind, I had good spells of keeping straight, sat at the stern using the steering oar, but was always frightened of going aback, so tended to broad reach. So I shunted at least 7 times to get to Te Karaka, then I lost it ..got aback and had to lower the sail. Put a reef in then, had a battle to paddle the ama round, took 3 goes to get him around, and was being blown towards the boulder bank at Onoke and was in rapidly shallowing water. The reefed sail made a big difference and I needed only 5 more shunts for the next 12 miles. I should have scandalized the sail as well with a lashing around the head of the luff spar. I would have stayed with the fleet if I hadn’t covered 50% more distance!

I took the reef out at Kohukohu as a Seabird (Daniel and Clare) were catching me up after an Icecream break. Had a very short reach at that time.

In general Te Wheke is hard physical work to sail, there is a lot of heaving on the mainsheet with no multi-part purchases, shunting is physically demanding as well. Down wind is the only time the steering oar is needed, but is hard work, it has to be applied quickly and forcibly when the bow starts to turn too far round. I did find jamming it flat on the surface of water, holding it there with my leg under it, gave a turning effect and left two hands for the sheet at times. Paul Wilson sailed up my windward side at one stage, just as a gust hit me and and I swung round to windward and bounced off his stern in an out of control reach. Paul was going straighter and faster than me

At the end of the 14 mile fetch around Te Karaka the water is shallowing apart from one very deep channel and the seas had built quite up and we were surfing along, down one wave into the back of another. The land effect in the harbour is that the wind always funnels down the valleys.

I like the junk rig on Free Radical, balanced reefable and powerful, we still didn’t get an opportunity to compare windward ability. James’s proa also paddles well!!! James needs to report for himself, but he now has a masthead float. Free Radical was well reefed at the start. He appeared to be broad reaching and criss-crossing the harbour before I lost sight of him at Te Karaka.










A Raid involves a scheduled gathering of small boats traveling more or less in company from Point A to Point B over a period of several days, camping along the way. Some involve severe tests of endurance.


Events are held in Many parts of the World..,,Texas, Finland, Florida, Scotland, Canada


Follow the link below



 http://www.texas200.com/index.htm  To see how Texans do it...


Then click on this link for the Map of the area






Overlooking Opononi


Book some accommodation at Opononi just by start beach

www.opononiholidaypark.co.nz  They are keen to help us in any way.

Or Harmen has a cottage in Waima email.. info@waimalodge.co.nz


The Event

Saturday January 9th 2010 

Safety Briefing and inspection at 11am

Midday. Start from beach opposite Opononi Holiday Park


Sail/Row/Paddle up the harbour to Horeke, camp overnight,

Sunday January 10th Raid restarts at 8am

Finish at Opononi Beach.


Further Details 

Sailing Waaka race Proa/Tacker Small Sail Boats Beach Cats welcome etc>

Omapere to Horeke,stay overnight then return next day.

Needs 7am high water. Depart Omapere at low water..1200, use tide and prevailing southwesterly summer breeze to go to Horeke. Camp overnight. Leave Horeke at 8am to use falling tide.

 Check point at Rawene. Bail-out points at Koutu point, Rawene, and Kohukohu.

Dangers: rough water when wind against tide at Koutu, Te Karaka, Matawhera and especially Rangiora.

Oysters on rocks. Isolated area,limited cellphone and radio coverage.

Each vessel to have a Skipper who shall decide whether the boat is fit to sail in the conditions in which it will find itself. By launching or setting out for the race/rally area or by starting or continuing in any part of Hokianga Raid the Skipper confirms that the boat is fit for those conditions and that the crew has sufficient equipment, experience and fitness to participate safely in the respective part of the Hokianga Raid. Conformity with NZ Maritime Regulations will be the responsibilty of the skipper.

Boats need excellent buoyancy and be able to be righted by the crew. Personal floation devices are compulsory. There will be fast tidal flows and anchoring may be needed. 


Fresh water available ..Opononi,Rawene,Kohukohu,Horeke

Sandy beaches end at Matawhera then deep deep mud.

Good boat ramps at Opononi, Rawene. Support crew can drive to Horeke.


Recovery of the boat is the responsibility of the owner. Use of motors will disqualify the vessels.



Paul Bowker 094057793  email paul.lis.bowker@actrix.co.nz





Stunned Mullet ..Paul Wilson 5.4 metre Sailing Outrigger

Te Wheke  .. Paul Bowker 5.6m Proa

Free Radical .. James Brett  5.4m Proa

Seabird ..  Mark Carey 3.8m Whaler type sailboat

SeaScout Whaler No1.. Mangonui Cruising Club

SeaScout Whaler No 2.. Mangonui Cruising Club

Whitehall Dinghy.. Mangonui Cruising Club

Sunburst.. Dave Williams

Seabird Annora Gollop Les Read





20/12/2009 ...I have arranged a launch to help stragglers between Rawene and Horeke. The local Coastguard will also be on the lookout.


The Horeke Hotel is expecting us on the Saturday night, they have a barbeque and showers for us to use. Their lawn is available for tents.


I have been contacted by Simon from Mangonui Cruising Club, who is busy organising some more entries.



The Hokianga Raid will be good test of sailing skills and boats. Anyone who completes the whole course un-assisted will have something to be proud of.


I think of the course as 4 distinct legs. (Assuming summer SW seabreezes)

Saturday.. Opononi to Rawene. Good downwind reach with tide in favour. 2nd Easiest leg.


Rawene to Horeke. If late starting will have adverse tide, and if wind drops, could be a long night. (or a tow) Easiest leg if breeze good.



Horeke to Rawene, good use of tide flow and any breeze that comes up should ensure success. Paddling or rowing could be essential.

Rawene to Opononi, this is the tough one, wind on the nose then an adverse tide after 2pm.. I can see some crews turning tail at Te Karaka and running back to Rawene. Not a leg for the faint-hearted.


If you can bring a handheld VHF radio it would be very useful, as we will make good use of a communications net. Cell phones work some places only.




Upper Harbour


Travel via Dargaville and Waipoua to see Tane Mahouta (Tourism NZ Photo)

Largest known Kauri Tree

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