Picton Clinker & Classic Boat Club
The Picton Clinker Classic Boat Association was formed after a group of enthusiasts from Nelson were invited to participate in the Picton Long Boat Regatta at Shelley Beach, Picton Harbour in 1999. Several clinker boats were brought over from Nelson for the event. One of the founding members had his clinker dinghy there and started talking to people admiring the boats, and it soon became apparent that there was interest and enough people keen to form a club.
The inaugural meeting was held in April 1999, with seven persons present, and a group that was keen to get out on the water. This served only to increase interest, with the membership swelling.
Initially the club was a branch of the Nelson group, the World Clinker and Classic Boat Association. Unfortunately, they went into recess, latter disbanding, and the Picton group became a club in their own right.
We have boats of all shapes and sizes, ages, including new builds of traditional designs and styles, open boats, cabin boats, from 8ft, (2.4meters), to boats in excess of 20ft, (6m), powered by sail, outboard, inboard, oars, paddles and steam.
Membership is nationwide, with a small number living off shore.
Loosely based in Picton and around the Marlborough Sound the Clubs main interest is the smaller style clinker dinghies. With over 70 members, mostly retired, the Club has an outing every month to various locations throughout the Marlborough Sounds or local rivers.
Many members have larger yachts or launches and often several other classic boats. The social aspect and general fun of these outings ensures a good turnout each event.
Prior to the fifties, clinker dinghy's were the only type of craft available and if you required a small craft then clinker was the only choice. However with the recent development of modern materials and mass production, the old lapstrake form of boat building has virtually disappeared. Members of the Club each have a great love for these old clinkers and their aims are to restore these lovely treasures back to their former glory. Large or small, the members are justifiably proud of their various craft.
Most members are content to strip and repaint the older boats, but some of the more adventurous are building clinker craft from new in traditional methods in an effort to keep the skills alive for future generations.
It is humbling to observe the public when they see a well presented clinker, these lovely and unpretentious old craft are so tactile, people just want to touch them and often they have personal experiences to relate about clinker boats from their childhood.
The Club is often gifted a tired clinker by someone who doesn't have the ability to restore it themselves but wants to ensure it is saved by donating it to the Club for restoration. They are almost heirlooms handed down through a family and always have a considerable history.
When a craft is gifted, the Club, as stewards of the craft, ensure it is taken up by a member who can restore it with care and attention. There are conditions to it being taken on ie. it may not be sold but can be gifted back to the Club for another to use or continue with the restoration.
We have restored a 95 year old Clinker with West Coast lineage. This is Ruru owned by one of the sons of Mr William Brownlee the sawmiller from Havelock. Built in 1920 it is named after the Brownlee's West Coast sawmill located at Ruru. It has been completely re-planked and is fitted with a reconditioned 5hp Stuart Turner two stroke petrol engine of similar vintage. Although it is used in displays and events, it is always seen afloat on the Club runs wherever it is required. It is available for Members to use on Club trips whenever they wish.