NEW ZEALAND DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES
WELLINGTON TO LYTTELTON CENTENNIAL YACHT RACE
23 - 29 JANUARY 1951
On the 23 January 1951 twenty yachts left Wellington for Lyttelton to celebrate Canterbury's centennial. A sever southerly storm with gale force winds and heavy seas began on the 24 January and many of the yachts withdrew and took shelter.
The Tawhiri arrived in Lyttelton at 6.55 a.m. on 26 January, three days after the start of the race. The vessel had also won the race from Lyttelton to Wellington to celebrate Wellington’s centennial in 1940.
The wreckage of the Husky was found near Wellington and its four crew members were presumed lost.
The other missing yacht was the Argo with six crew members. An extensive search was launched but the yacht was never found.
See also - WELLINGTON TO LYTTELTON YACHT RACE TRAGEDY
Those who died in New Zealand's worst yachting disaster were: -
The following is from the Coroner's Report - thanks to John Wilson for this.
John McDonald COX been duly sworn saith …
I reside at 56 Lavaud Street, Wellington. I am a member of the executive of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club. My club assisted and co-operated with the Banks Peninsula Cruising Club in the running of a yacht race from Wellington to Lyttelton on the 23rd January 1951.
The race started at 10am on the 23rd January 1951. On that morning I was present at the Boat Harbour, Wellington on that morning and assisted at the start of the race by towing yachts out to the starting line. I actually towed the yacht HUSKY to the starting line. On my way back to the boat harbour I passed ARGO. I saw all the members of her crew and spoke to Messrs Henderson and Mace as we passed. I knew the members of her crew personally and those who sailed in her on this race were: -
John Bunyan YOUNG, skipper - 29 Breaker Bay Road, Seatoun, Wellington, master builder, 41 years of age, owner and skipper of yacht
Clarence Leigh PICKERING - York Street, Picton, labourer, 57 years of age
Malcolm Gordon MACE - 199 Barnard Street, Wadestown, Wellington, insurance clerk, 23 years of age
Allan Mowbray HENDERSON - 44 Ellice Street, Wellington, plumber, 23 years of age
Alan Glynn BAKER - 54 Sunshine Avenue, Wellington, marine electrician, 18 years of age
Robert William FIELDING - 45 Matai Road, Wellington, radio technician, 30 years
I knew the members of the crew of the HUSKY as well by sight and associated them in our Club House during the regatta that had preceded the race to Lyttelton. I did not know them by name then but subsequently learnt their names. I also saw photos of the crew of the HUSKY with their names appended. I was thus able to identify those who sailed in her both by name and appearance as: -
Arthur Charles CLEMENTS, skipper - 44 Britan Terrace, Lyttelton, harbour board career, 64 years of age, owner and skipper of yacht
Kevin George CLARK - 22 Bridle Path, Lyttelton, chairmaker, 21 years of year
Kelvin Ross HOPKINSON - 7 Francis Avenue, Christchurch, clerk, 23 years of age
Harvey Ivan MASON [also noted as Harry MASON] - 14 Fairfield Ave, Christchurch, engineer, 23 years of age
Taken and sworn this 28th day of September 1951 at Wellington in the Dominion of New Zealand before me — Coroner.
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