Triumph, trials and tragedy in centennial yacht race (1951)


The Peninsula Cruising Club’s Canterbury centennial race from Wellington to Lyttelton, set off on this day in 1951.

Only one yacht finished the race and two were lost with all their crew.

Thirteen of the 24 starters were from the South Island including these three:

They were the Aurora, from Dunedin, the Galatea from Lyttelton and the Caplin  from Oamaru.

One of those crewing the Caplin,  was my father.

He kept a log of the voyage which recorded worsening weather.

Tuesday 23rd Jan, 1500 hours: Big jib tore when wind freshened . . . Heavy swell.

Wednesday 245h Jan, 1200 hours: Reefed mainsail again. Seas really mountainous . . . Caplin will not come about in heavy seas when under short sail. . .

1800 hrs: Wind gale force, seas breaching fully . Taking heavy pounding. In past 60 miles sailing have not gained any distance . . . Hove…

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