Museum volunteer master Bob Hawkins tells us something of the early days of Breeze, from his own experience. Continued from part three.

By Bob Hawkins | 19 April 2022


Having recounted the years since her launching at Tiki Landing, Coromandel in 1981, it really doesn’t seem like it was 40 years ago - but then I’m not counting the years either, so let's just say it's been an interesting period and hopefully the good ship will have a few more good years left in her bones.

But before we move on, I thought we should recount something of the many voyages that Breeze has done and more especially the crew members (volunteers) that have passed through the sometimes rigorous training and enjoyed the comradery and the experiences of sailing a little square rigger. The aft cabin/engine space/galley was always the space for lots of ‘tall stories’ and the enjoyable home-cooked meals on our very limited facilities. I can mostly recall Barry Thorn’s homemade curries, which seemed not to hang around for seconds!

Arguably the most experience has been gained on the longer voyages to the Bay of Islands, which were an annual event up until 2016 when the ‘wheels’ came off after springing planks when lifting out on the travel lift at Orams. The second most enjoyable event attended on a regular basis must be the Mahurangi Race day, followed by the Auckland Anniversary Regatta. All these events showcased not only the vessel, but enabled us to ‘wave the Maritime Museum flag’.

Breeze has been used for many and varied events over the years. One which comes to mind as I was searching through the photo collection was an event held at the museum to celebrate Nobilo vineyard's 50th anniversary on 18th February 1994! Our crew all dressed in the blue and white stripped shirts of the day, assisting Nobilo elders ashore with a celebratory case of plonk!

The haul-outs each year, more especially after the problems in 2016, became the only chance for a ‘sail’ on the vessel for a couple of years. Various slipway locations at least meant some ‘steaming time’ for the available and restless crew. Finally back in action again in early 2020, prior to Covid-19 lockdown, the vessel was newly-certified for use once more. 

So that’s us up to date. Now for ‘party time’ and hopefully a bit more freedom to once again enjoy the company and good times onboard Breeze as she enters another decade.

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