Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2017

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.

North Technology - Southern SparsMariners Museum 660x82C-Tech Emirates TNZ

Related Articles

Clipper RTW - Simon Spiers washed overboard on way to Australia
We are extremely saddened today to report the fatality of Simon Speirs, a crew member on board CV30 We are extremely saddened today to report the fatality of Simon Speirs, a crew member on board CV30, (GREAT Britain). Simon, 60, from Bristol, UK, was on the foredeck assisting with a headsail change from Yankee 3 when he was washed overboard.
Posted today at 12:00 am
Transat Jacques Vabre – Dick coasting to record win
Victory will make Dick the only person in the history of this double-handed race, in any class, to have won four times A 19:30 UTC finish would also mean that Dick and Eliès will set a new record for the Transat Jacques Vabre to Salvador, with Dick beating his own record, of 13 days 09 hours 19 minutes and 2 seconds set with Loïck Peyron on Virbac-Paprec in 2005.
Posted on 18 Nov
Volvo Ocean Race – Weekend warriors prepare for battle
Leaderboard is undergoing a shake-up, reflective at the moment almost entirely by how far east a team is positioned As the fleet approaches the latitude of the finish line in Cape Town, this is hardly surprising. Any progress to the east is a direct mile off the 2,500 or so miles left to the finishing line.
Posted on 18 Nov
Clipper Race – Day 18 – Race leaders begin Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint
Unlike Scoring Gate, the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint bonus points are awarded to the three teams with the quickest times Other teams will continue to cross the start gate of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint throughout the day and Visit Seattle is currently in third place with Dare To Lead and Qingdao in close proximity to each other in fourth and fifth place.
Posted on 18 Nov
11th Yisunsin Cup International Yacht Race – Day 1
It is one of the biggest Regattas in Korea with 50 entries this year, hosted at Gyeong-Nam province and Tongyeong City. The event started with the on-water parade followed by the first warning signal of the offshore race of the day. The 50 boats sailed fast downwind to reach the buoy close to the Soji island. The light breeze dropped down during the day making it harder for most of the boats to finish the race.
Posted on 18 Nov
Volvo Ocean Race - No clear leader as fleet dives south before turn
According to Predictwind.com the fleet leaders are expected to finish within a few days of each other According to the weather routing function of Predictwind.com the fleet leaders are expected to finish within a few days of each other when Leg 2 finishes in five and a half or six days time in Cape Town, South Africa. Winds are still moderate in strength with the sleigh ride just two days away once the boats reach the latitude of Cape Town and make the turn for the finish line.
Posted on 18 Nov
Garmin to prepare for non-emergency medevac of Erik Hellstrom
Skipper Gaëtan Thomas and his Garmin team are making preparations for a non-emergency medevac of Erik Hellstrom Skipper Gaëtan Thomas and his Garmin team are making preparations for a non-emergency medevac of round the world crew member Erik Hellstrom who is suffering from an ongoing abdominal condition.
Posted on 18 Nov
Fundraising dinner - Total sum released by Sail Aid UK
The Trustees of Sail Aid UK drive to help victims of Caribbean Islands most severely impacted by September hurricanes, The Trustees of Sail Aid UK, the organisation that is uniting the UK sailing community in a long-term fundraising drive to help the victims of the Caribbean Islands most severely impacted by the September hurricanes, are overjoyed with the results of their first big fundraising event, the Black Tie/Loud Shirt Dinner held on Saturday night 11th November 2017, which has raised an incredible £46,000.
Posted on 18 Nov
Storm hits, sailing persists
North U and St Thomas Sailing Center teamed up once again to host two mid-winter clinics at the St Thomas Yacht Club North U and St Thomas Sailing Center have teamed up once again to host two mid-winter clinics at the St Thomas Yacht Club. With the storms gone, St Thomas is ready and eager to host visiting sailors.
Posted on 17 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre – Dick eyes record books
It would be record-breaking victory for Dick, who would become the only person in the history of this double-handed race The podium places look take but behind Des Voiles et Vous!, Three other Imoca finally emerged from the Doldrums last night and have started to accelerate again: Malizia II, Bastide Otio and Initiatives Cœur. They were positioned east and were the big winners.
Posted on 17 Nov