Canoeing and Boating

Jim has always been keen on water adventures. As a teenager, he could be seen each Saturday racing his 12-foot Z-class (Zeddie) “Kestrel Z17” off Devonport. He earned enough in prize money to pay for his next boat, the 18 foot stretched X-class gaff-rigged “Matangi V55”.

As a student, he founded the Auckland University Canoe Club and the Auckland Canoe Club, both of which are alive and thriving today. Many people have fond memories of canoe trips, lead by Jim, including on the Wanganui, Waikato and Clutha rivers; as well as mountaineering trips.

An early club member, Gordon Andreassend has kindly written up his recollections of the Club’s early days, and also their trip to Fiordland in 1954/55.

Jim’s canoeing activities took him to the Crater Lake on Mt Ruapehu. He became alarmed at the rising lake levels, and repeatedly tried to warn the government about the risk of a lahar. Unfortunately, nobody listened. When the lahar finally came, 151 people lost their lives in the Tangiwai Disaster. In 2013, The NZ Herald wrote an article that describes Jim’s efforts to avoid this.

The Herne Bay Cruising Club, which Jim founded, at Sloanes Beach, Herne Bay, in the old Richmond Cruising Club boathouse, is also still active today.

In the 1950’s Jim was also active in the Youth Hostel Association, organising a chain of cabins across the Coromandel Pensinsula. This was the start of his life-long association with Tairua and Opoutere.

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