Please select your home edition
Edition
Newport Boat Show 728x90

Mullet Boats 90th Lipton Cup - 19 March 2011

by wendy Muir on 8 Feb 2011
Alt DSC01003 edited-1 - 90th lipton Cup .. .

Mullet boats originated in Auckland around the 1880’s. They were shallow draft centreboard yachts of various lengths, specifically designed for fishing the waters of the Hauraki Gulf.

They targeted mullet which were found in large numbers in the shallow bays and inlets of the inner gulf. They also fished for snapper. These original mullet boats were designed for easy handling by a man and a boy with a rig that could easily be reduced to cope with the ever changeable Auckland weather. The crew cooked on a wood stove and slept aboard under the small foredeck. Their racing history began with the competition to be first to get their catch of fresh mullet to the market and thus get the best prices.

This soon developed into organised competitive racing with the newly formed Ponsonby Crusing Club. These racing mullet boats, codified and structured by the restrictions of the Ponsonby Regatta Committee suddenly took off and have been a big part of Ponsonby Crusing Club ever since. One reason for the longevity of the 22ft L Class is the exciting racing, with skippers and crew motivated to win the prestigious Lipton Cup.

The mullet boat is as much a part of Auckland’s waterfront heritage as the buildings we so carefully register and regulate. The present owners are enthusiasts both for the history of the class and the challenging sailing. It is encouraging to see a growing number of young people involved with the class.

The Lipton Cup

In 1904 the PCC first made contact with Sir Thomas Lipton, honouring him by electing him vice president which he accepted. He was the son of impoverished Irish parents who emigrated to America, where he eventually started work in a New York Grocery Store. At 19 he returned to Scotland and opened his own grocery store which became an international success. The Glasgow grocer turned millionaire tea merchant became a persistent competitor in the Americas Cup. He funded and participated in five challenges for the Auld Mug representing the Royal Ulster Yacht Club between 1899 and 1920. He named each of his yachts 'Shamrock'.


Lipton also became a benefactor of yachting around the world by donating ornate silver trophies to various clubs. There are many stories about how the Ponsonby Cruising Club became a benefactor, but maybe part of it was that he recognised something of himself in the working class membership of the club compared to the 'Royal' Clubs.

In a letter dated 29 April 1920 he offered the PCC a silver cup that he had commissioned the 'Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Co of Regent Street London' (makers of the Americas Cup) to produce according to 'a special design which would be typical of New Zealand and also embodying the burgee of the PCC, its general character to be appropriate to yachting.'

He left the allocation of the competition for the cup to the club.

The Lipton Cup has since been a hotly contested interclub challenge administered by the PCC and has served to preserve this historic class.

The hull form of the mullet boat has remained largely unchanged from the original restrictions, so much so that Valeria, the first winner in 1922 is still competitive today (after painstaking restoration).

The rigs were always way out of proportion to the hull, dating back to their original design and purpose. However they have continued to evolve to the present standard Marconi rig with an enormous mainsail and spinnaker. It is little wonder that mullet boats in full sail never fail to catch the eye of the public. Little wonder also that they have been the making of many of New Zealand’s top sailors and that the Lipton Cup is one of Auckland's most coveted yachting trophies.

It is our fervent hope that the mullet boat will be perpetuated as part of Auckland’s waterfront heritage and the L class mullet boats colourful history and association with the Lipton Cup survives and strengthens, towards the 100th Lipton Cup and beyond.

upffront 660x82NaiadZhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

Comanche sets new trans-Atlantic Record - Video of the Finish
Video of Comanche crossing the virtual finish line off the Lizard to set a new monohull trans-Atlantic record. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s supermaxi, Comanche designed by Verdier Design/VPLP has set a new, provisional world record across the Atlantic for a monohull, manually powered sailing vessel of 5 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes 25 seconds. In this video we show the supermaxi, who also holds the record for the longest distance sailed by a monohull in 24 hours, crossing the virtual finish line off
Posted today at 1:06 am
Close fight around Wight on Day 6 of Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
20-25 knot winds and glorious sunshine made for one of the most memorable races around the Isle of Wight on record With a win for Eric de Turkheim's A13, Teasing Machine (despite destroying a kite), and a second for Daniel Andrieu's Sun Fast 3200, Cifraline 4, France Blue have leapt ahead in the overall results, now holding a 35.5 lead margin over the second placed Flanders North Sea Team.
Posted on 29 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Azzurra concludes with a win
Azzurra closes PPSW, the third event in the series with a win that feels like a wish for good luck in the events to come Azzurra closes the PPSW in Mallorca, the third event in the series, with a win that feels like a wish for good luck in the events to come. Quantum is the Series’ current leader, followed by Azzurra.
Posted on 29 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Quantum Racing takes the prize
Quantum Racing wrapped up their third regatta title of the season with a race to spare on the Bay of Palma Quantum Racing wrapped up their third regatta title of the season with a race to spare on the Bay of Palma, winning 2016 Puerto Portals Sailing Week, Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec completed a notable comeback after a disappointing ninth at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted on 29 Jul
Oman Air faces some infamous challenges at Extreme Sailing Series
All teams made it onto the podium at some stage during the seven race programme, reflecting the degree of difficulty All seven teams made it onto the podium at some stage during the seven race programme, reflecting the degree of difficulty in achieving any sort of consistency in a very shifty and unstable breeze that topped out at a bracing 14 knots when all the GC32s catamarans took off on their foils and flew around the race course.
Posted on 29 Jul
Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy – 2 months to go to the 6th edition
The regatta is reserved to boats that are one hundred or more years old and in 2016 will celebrate its sixth edition. The regatta, unique in its genre, is reserved to boats that are one hundred or more years old and in 2016 will celebrate its sixth edition anniversary. Over the years, the Centenary trophy has gathered some of the most gorgeous and best performing classic yachts from the past century.
Posted on 29 Jul
Vendée Globe – Sébastien Destremau – Simplicity as a credo + Video
A native of Toulon in the south of France, Sébastien Destremau can lay claim to one of the smallest budgets of the fleet A native of Toulon in the south of France, Sébastien Destremau can lay claim to one of the smallest budgets of the fleet. His credo is to keep it simple, inexpensive and effective. Interview with the skipper of faceOcean, winner of the Calero Solo Transat back in the spring.
Posted on 29 Jul
The Vendée Globe – 100 days and counting
With some 100 days until the start, the first thing to note is that the fleet of participants is stronger than ever With some 100 days until the start, the first thing to note is that the fleet of participants is stronger than ever, since there are some twenty-eight skippers, registered and qualified, whilst ‘just’ twenty sailors took the start in 2012. As a result, we’re set to be close to or equal to the 2008 record (thirty skippers at the start)!
Posted on 29 Jul
Clipper Race – Constant trimming and little sleep in the North Sea
There is little opportunity for tactical moves and the timings of tacks are crucial if teams want to make vital gains. After a downwind start with spinnakers trimmed in light airs against the tide off Den Helder on the Dutch coast yesterday, the fleet has been match racing across the North Sea towards the Thames Estuary.
Posted on 29 Jul
Edgartown Race Week - Overall report
Four races were held today, in nine - twelve knots from the southwest for the IRC fleet. This is the third leg of the east coast IRC summer series. Four races were held today, in nine - twelve knots from the southwest for the IRC fleet. The three TP52’s had hard fought battles as usual.
Posted on 29 Jul