An Arrow fleet developed in the mid fifties and ten years later 34 Arrows were racing regularly in two divisions.Numbers started to decline in the mid-seventies with the advent of newer designs such as the Sunbursts, Mustangs and Lasers, but a fleet of six boats were still competing in 1975.
While most of the Club were arguing about stay heights in Arrows, a new, young breed in the early 1960's were building boats that had no stays, the “OK”. The boat was quite easy to build for the amateur, practically unsinkable, and an ideal trainer boat for the Olympic Finns, both having similar characteristics with rotating masts. By the mid sixties the Club fleet numbered 12.
In the 1960's John Spencer designed a junior training boat that became known as the Flying Ant. These craft were sailed by a crew of two youngsters who quickly learnt all the basics of sailing as the boats carried jib, mainsail and spinnaker. Club fleets of more than a dozen were racing in the bay early in the seventies and well known Club sailors who were to graduate from this class were, Andrew Taylor, Grant Turnbull and Rohan Lord.
A character named Jack Taylor was the crusader for NZ Moths at Howick in the mid-sixties. He called it “the one true faith”. In the fleet were long-in-the-tooth members like Jack and several young guys on the way up, but they found it very tough to knock over the oldies.An over-canvassed beast with one square foot of sail for every pound of hull weight, the "Mark II" was a gut-busting boat to sail and not at all tolerant of handling errors. The early wave of owners included Paul Rudling, Don Baverstock, Colin Beavis and Pat Thompson.
When the World International Champs were held at Napier in 1970, many "butter box" owners changed over to the unrestricted boat and had a flutter, but the Australians dominated the contest. Subsequently the class built up again and the Howick fleet in 1980 was still the one to beat. Rick Bishop, Viv Wright, Dave Schmidt and Ian Harvey were the big guns of this era and the racing was hard and mean.
In the early 1970's, several club members who had competed in Arrows for a period, began to look for an alternative boat to sail. This group settled on the Sunburst, a two man boat designed by Jack Brooke in 1963. A team of enthusiasts joined forces in 1973 and organised a building programme. By the 1973/74 season, a fleet of about eight boats was on the water and a number of handsome trophies had been arranged. The class continued to grow and within a couple of years eleven boats regularly took to the water. A feature of the development of the class at this stage was the interest of wives who formed a group known as "Mums Navy" and practised sailing on Saturday mornings.
The presence of the Sunburst class had obvious benefits for the build-up of junior membership in the Club. Not only did it provide a training ground for forward hands (a role previously provided by the Arrow class), but many of the youngsters involved moved onto the Starling class once they had learned the basics of sailing.
In parallel with the introduction of the Sunburst in the early 1970's another group of ex-Arrow skippers proposed that a crewed class should be introduced that provided more exciting sailing for experienced members. After considering a number of options, a boat called "Willenpoof" was selected in 1973. This had been designed by John Spencer in 1957, but only a few hulls had been built. Discussions were initiated with the designer to introduce trapezes and spinnakers, and the name "Mustang" was settled on for the class.
As well as the boats produced by John Spencer, Jack Taylor, a professional boat builder who had supported several classes in the Club, built boats for Club members at reasonable cost and by 1975 there were sufficient boats on the water to hold a class championship. New boats were appearing on the scene continually, and Barry Olliff had a Champagne launching of Holy Grail during the 1975/76 season. This was a successful boat that won the class championships three times, once in the hands of Willie Webster, and twice in the hands of Bevin and Scott Cornwall. Another simply rigged and attractively finished boat "Footslogger" built by Taylor was top boat in 1980 when sailed bv Andrew Taylor and in 1983 when campaigned by Stuart and Roger Mudford.
Howick Beach, Beach Road, PO Box 38 099, Howick 2145