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World Jet Boat Marathon Committee Report



February 2014 No 203

INSIDE Jet Tales Nearly There Start to Finish Bay Park Sprint Return to Irishman Creek

Jet Boating New Zealand


42 54



Start to Finish

Following the 2013 World Jet Boat Marathon

28 Nearly There

Kayaking the Whanganui River


Return to Irishman Creek


“Billy” Hamilton


Bay Park Sprint


2013 Stuart Blanchard Race

Trip to the birth place of the Jetboat

Sir William Hamilton - the legend

Jetsprinting in a Stadium - World first!

The annual Waimakariri River race




38 40 72 74 85 90 92

Proposed Constitution Changes Jet Tales National Executive Nominations 2014 Conference Branch AGM Dates Fire!!! 2013 World Marathon Committee

REGULARS 5 6 7 9 13 14 98 100 103

Producer’s Report President’s Report Membership Report Safety Report Admin Manager’s Report Rivers Report Submitting Articles New Members List Classifieds Jet Boating New Zealand



Official Publication of Jet Boating New Zealand Inc. Website: MAGAZINE PRODUCER:

Clark Marshall e: Cell: +61 487 395 745 Postal Address: 42 Woodard Terrace, Somerfield, ChCh 8024 Deadline for next magazine: 15 April 2014 CONTRIBUTORS: Ross Denton, Graeme and Kate Patterson, Julian Bee, Brian Eccles, Paul and Robyn Mullan, David (Rusty) Wright, Duke Dixon, George Davison, Jim Sawers, Jo Lewis, Neil Jones, Tim Scott, Mike Smith, Wayne Duffy MEMBERSHIP ENQUIRIES: JBNZ Administration Manager Bev Owen-Cooper Ph: 03 315 6694 Fax: 03 315 6693 P.O. Box 313, Rangiora 7440, NZ Email: While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of any content published in this magazine, the producers accept no responsibility for any published content or effects arising therefrom. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the producers. All content is protected by copyright. No part of this publication shall be reproduced without the prior consent of Jet Boating New Zealand Inc. Cover Image: Irishman Creek - the birth place of Jet Boating.


elcome to the new layout of Jet Boating Magazine. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have producing it! We wanted to ‘lift’ the magazine to another level, add value to the JBNZ membership and, most of all, provide you, the members with a quality publication that we can all be proud to display in our homes and workplaces. Also under going a revamp is the JBNZ website. This has aged well and although only 6 years old, in the digital age this equates to 3 or 4 life times! The new version will provide a much better user experience and become the platform for growth of our great organisation. You will be able to login and renew your membership online, eliminating much of the admin work that is currently taking up a lot of Bev’s time. In this edition we have a exciting combination of historic articles, including the recent trip to the birth place of the jet boat, Irishman Creek, and a fascinating insight into the late Sir ‘Billy’ Hamilton. Republished with the kind permission of the Rolls Royce and Bentley Care Club which I’m sure you will enjoy. Until next time, safe boating and enjoy your magazine. CLARK MARSHALL

Jet Boating New Zealand




e are now well into the New Year and I hope you all had a chance to take a break from the grind over Christmas. Our weather has been a bit average around the country which would have given some of you the opportunity to get out boating rivers that carried good water flows. It was sad news to hear of the boating fatality claiming one of our members in Hawkes Bay on the Ngaruroro River. Our thoughts go out to Dale Baker’s family and friends. An incident like this hits home and highlights to us all the risks involved in simply enjoying ourselves in recreational activities. 2013 was a busy year for us all with plenty of opportunity for all members to take advantage of club runs and social events. Highlights for me would be the Mark Cromie’ Holden/Heli Otago World Jet boat Marathon, attending the National Rally in Taranaki, National Conference and a visit to Bill Hamilton’s Workshop at Irishman Creek Station - the birth place of the Hamilton Jet. If you get the chance to visit the station take up the offer; it is not open to the general public, only to interested groups by appointment. Make sure you read the report in this magazine.

If you get the chance to visit the station take up the offer, it is not open to the general public, only to interested groups by appointment


Jet Boating New Zealand

It was great to get around as many of the branches as possible to meet the committees and members and once again our AGMs are coming up so I hope to get to visit a few more. Last year we invited all the vice-chairs along to the half yearly as an introduction to National, something I feel was well worthwhile and well received. Our Website is currently getting a full update and I’m sure you’ll welcome the fresh new look. Our focus is to make it more informative and user friendly, if there is ever such a thing! Technology is moving at a great rate of knots and we need to move with it without losing touch with our traditional values. I must admit to feeling a bit intimidated by digital technology – oh to have youth on your side!

History is still a hot topic at present as well as safety, which you will see by the reports in this magazine so I hope you enjoy what you read. There has been a variety of articles in our past few magazines which make interesting reading. It is your magazine, so if you have something to share with us all - do so. That’s all from me this month. I hope we can catch up with you on the river somewhere. GARTH MCMASTER JBNZ NATIONAL PRESIDENT



he membership is currently sitting at 1667 members and growing. Bev has done a great job and the number of write-offs has been steadily decreasing over the past two years at subscription time.

There are a lot of boat projects going on at the moment around the countryside so don’t forget to share them on the Web board

The Website project is underway with Clark, the design proposal is due any day. Then the new website and web board will be built following up with the membership data base and eCommerce package. This is a big undertaking, but it will bring everything on to the one platform. Conference this year is being held in Blenheim and a great programme is being put together. There are a lot of boat projects going on at the moment around the countryside so don’t forget to share them on the web board under the projects section. Members love to learn from what they see and enjoy sharing ideas. We finally have a summer so be safe with your boating. RICHARD ANDERSON MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT OFFICER

Jet Boating New Zealand




The characteristic you are looking for in your lifejacket and clothing combined is to maximize the buoyancy around your chest and minimize it around your legs. The aim is to be vertical and upright in the water

esearching Lifejackets has exposed quite a few myths and misunderstandings and the subject is not helped when different countries use different labels and specifications for similar lifejackets. So I will start not by discussing these problems but with a clear recommendation as to what is “Best for Purpose” for our sport of Jet boating. Most of you recreational boaters will already have a Type 402 Personal flotation device (PFD); please note that these must always have a collar. PROVIDING you add a $10 crotch strap then you already have the most suitable lifejacket available for recreational boating. River-racers already have mandatory crotch straps and “Best for Purpose” jackets need to meet the 406 specialised PFD standards previously known as 408. The photos with this article are the easiest way to explain just what 402, 406 and 408 mean or viewing http:// Lifejackets/Types-of-lifejacket-and-PFD.asp, which will set out adequate further detail if required. Fitting crotch straps to all your lifejackets is indisputably the simplest and cheapest way by which you can greatly improve your safety and that of your passengers. Because gravity usually holds jackets comfortably around our body they feel well fitting, but if you are tipped into the water everything is reversed. Your arms drop to the bottom of the armholes and the jacket wants to ride up around your ears. I know of cases where people have slid out of their ill-fitting PFD and deaths have occurred. Some of you may be unaware that it is already mandatory for all Child Small and Child Extra Small lifejackets to have crotch straps (that’s up to 25kg) and that crotch straps are also mandatory for some offshore yacht races. The evidence for their value is quite clear. Jet Boating New Zealand


You may note that I use the PFD and lifejacket terminology interchangeably in this article. At one time it was argued that only the open seas 401 could be called a lifejacket, with everything else a PFD. Certainly this large bulky foam 401 is the only jacket I would want if exiting the Wahine or Titanic in open seas, since its design and 100 newtons of lift is guaranteed to support you for extended periods in rough seas and even if you become unconscious. Industry and legislators now accept the terms lifejacket and PFD will continue to be used interchangeably. Whichever term you prefer, the characteristic you are looking for in your lifejacket and clothing combined is to maximize the buoyancy around your chest and minimize it around your legs. The aim is to be vertical and upright in the water, with a second consideration to have more buoyancy on your chest than your back such that there is no tendency to tip forwards. To better understand the next section you need to understand the Industries “Roll over test”. This is an accepted test for all PFD’s performance and is conducted in a fresh water pool. After swimming a few strokes to get flat on their tummy the lifejacket wearer brings their arms close to their side and goes as limp and floppy as they can, this mimics an unconscious person as far as possible, and a jacket which repeatedly rolls them onto their back with face above water passes. Now if you read your 402 jacket label it can be somewhat unnerving to find they must be marked “May not be suitable for all conditions” and indeed this reflects that they cannot be 100% guaranteed to support every unconscious person in every 10

Jet Boating New Zealand

situation. I spoke at length with Bernard Orme about this. Not only is Bernard the Operations Manager for Hutchwilco but he was also a member of the most recent NZ Standards Committee for lifejackets and also the Australian Standards committee. Based on this conversation you can be reassured the 402 will actually work in the VAST majority of cases even if you were unconscious, but with the recommendation that you also have crotch straps because of the tendency for lifejackets, including the 402, to ride up on the wearer. One of the rare examples of failure they found was with air trapping in particular types of trousers such that leg position prevented rollover. Be reassured the failures are rare and only in unusual circumstances. Let’s briefly and for completeness cover and dismiss Buoyancy Vests and SkiVests 403/404/405 as almost everything without collars should not be considered as “Best for Purpose”. Inflatable jackets are also not considered as ”Best for purpose” for jet boating since their disadvantages outweigh their advantages. Alistair Thomson, a Maritime officer and member of the National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum with Maritime New Zealand listed four reasons that make inflatables less than ideal for jet boating use; these are impact protection, thermal, servicing and deployment delay. Impact protection, which is sometimes rather important in jet boating, is not just a matter of having that nice foam barrier right around your chest, it’s also that the inflatable being a sausage shape would tend to concentrate any impact at one point on the ribs increasing the injury risk. A well-fitting jacket forms one more reliable layer for wind and


Type 406/408

Crotch Strap

Type 402

RIGHT! Crotch Strap



Type 406


Buoyancy Aids (ski vests) Are Not Life Jackets They Must Have A Buoyancy Collar Jet Boating New Zealand

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rain protection. Inflatables only operate successfully if the CO2 canister is engaged firmly with no rust on the join and the units will need regular servicing. Failures are known and considering the hassle factor to keep fire extinguishers certified, I personally wonder why anyone would want that extra servicing hassle? Finally, the accepted design specifications mean it can be 5 seconds before an inflatable jacket actually has inflated and this significant time delay increases, for example, your risk of being snagged on underwater objects. JBNZ policy is to not recommend inflatables.

of a compromise. Overcoming those macho reactions and making jackets that people would accept as comfortable and actually wear has competed with the need for ultra-reliability. Surprisingly, market research even ruled out routinely adding crotch straps because this made PFD’s even less acceptable to many macho male. JBNZ can be proud of its longstanding stance which requires the use of lifejackets with a collar at all times. Clear evidence suggests it is time to include a recommendation to add and use crotch straps at all times.

Time and again in researching this PFD column, I was made aware that the design of lifejackets has become something


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ust a reminder that your registration letters are required to be visible on your boat. This is especially important in the areas specified by various regional councils. If you need additional or new letters please give me a call. The labels are printed for us as required, so there is a waiting time of a couple of weeks. If you require them for an event do not leave it until the week before to order. Just a timely reminder to complete a report after an incident. These can be found on the JBNZ web site or contact me. These reports are for JBNZ to help us for informational and training purposes. I have been chasing up any memberships overdue and only have a small number outstanding. Thanks to those who have paid their subscription. If your boating buddies envy your magazine, just encourage them to join or pay their overdue subscriptions.

If your boating buddies envy your magazine, just encourage them to join or pay their overdue subscriptions

Out of work we have started our project restoring our Jet 42. This project was brought forward after a minor oops in the Waiau River earlier in the summer. After stripping her out she has just returned from having the bottom repaired and when time and space in the man shed permits, we will turn her upside down and start the sanding and painting. Hope your summer holidays and boating were enjoyable. Let’s hope we have a long warm autumn and can continue our outdoor pursuits for a few more months. Safe boating. BEV OWEN-COOPER ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

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here has been little happening over the Christmas period on the rivers front. Rob Gerard has been working on the La Fontaine [West Coast] and Tekapo [South Canterbury] Rivers but to date has nothing to report as they are still works in progress.

Eddie McKenzie [Southland] forwarded a link showing the huge slip that blocked the Dart River and formed a large lake behind. Last reports were that the authorities were to leave Mother Nature to take its course. The report can be seen at Paul Vernal [Canterbury] reports that there are concrete blocks in the Waiau River. These are near the slip by Gabrielle’s Gully, also known as Sputniks, in the main stream and hard to see. It is hoped action will be taken by ECAN to have them removed or placed back into their correct position.

The huge slip that blocked the Dart River and formed a large lake behind. Last reports were that the authorities were to leave Mother Nature to take its course


Ed Wicken met with CPW on a field trip to discuss the intake structure for the Rakaia opposite the High bank power station. In this area there will also be an over river pipe bridge that can take water from either side of the river. The New Year was to bring a more detailed design for us to study. We did not have any issues with this as long as the bridge was high enough and the piles and pillars were wide enough apart. Allen Meredith [Northern Districts] reports that their branch Christmas run on the Tarawera River managed to get on the front page of the local newsletter after a mob of dairy cows stampeded when confronted by their boats on the downstream run. The farmer complained to the police, the local Harbour Master and the local paper. No action was taken as the river has an uplifting on it and the boats were not acting in an offensive way but nevertheless this was not good publicity for us. We need to be aware to look out for stock on river edges and if necessary drop off the plane and idle past them if at all possible to avoid causing a disturbance. They are still waiting for the outcome of the hearing with BOP Regional Council regarding the speed uplifting on the Kaituna River by the commercial Jet Boat operation. CLIVE WORKMAN NATIONAL RIVERS ADVOCATE

Jet Boating New Zealand



or some time we had said that we would one day, take our boat and follow a full jet boat marathon on each of the rivers they were racing. The World Jet Boat Marathon 2013 was to be in held in New Zealand and raced on a selection of six Southland Rivers. This, we decided would be the one to follow. As well as watching the racing we would get to boat rivers that we had not previously boated. The schedule of racing was available on the NZJBRRA web site, so after printing out the programme I proceeded to work out our own itinerary and book the accommodation we would need. The first river was the Waitaki. This was to be raced from the State Highway Bridge to Kurow and back comprising of three legs, two upstream and one down, totalling approximately 120kms of racing. We headed to Oamaru on Thursday 10th October for two nights so we could go to the boat show on the Friday and find where to launch the boat for the first day of racing on Saturday.

Start to 16


Jet Boating New Zealand

o Finish Following the 2013 World Jetboat Marathon

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A very early morning start on Saturday morning saw us headed north, back over the bridge to Glenavy then down Te Maiharoa Road out into the riverbed to get our boat launched and out of the way before the racers started arriving. We were first there, but only just. We soon had the boat in the water and parked up out of the way. It didn’t take long before the riverbed was covered with boats on trailers behind a wide variety of vehicles, although it did look a bit like a Bathurst race meet (Holden versus Ford). One boat was being transported behind a large Mack truck with a container work shop on the back - talk about bringing the kitchen sink! They had travelled from the North Island so were covering their bases in case of any mishaps.


Jet Boating New Zealand

This boat, U511 (Pist In Charge) proved to be a very entertaining boat to watch throughout the marathon. When the racers were called to the prerace briefing we headed up the river to find a good spot to watch them go through. The Waitaki is a big river but we found a spot that looked good and hoped the boats would be racing through or near to us. About 10 minutes after race start (9.00am) we heard and saw the first helicopter in the air and then heard the turbine of ‘Going Places’ heading our way. It seemed only seconds and he was on us, a very spectacular sight watching a jet boat doing over 100 miles an hour, roar past about two metres from you. The rest of the boats followed,

spread out as per the minute starting order, all taking different lines but very close to us. It was a great start to the day’s racing that set the pace for the rest of the trip and marathon.

amount of didymo floating down the river, a real shame to see such a pristine river with this infection, but I guess there are not many rivers in the South Island that are didymo free now.

After the tail end Charlie Patrol boat had passed we headed upstream for a bit of boating and exploring the Waitaki. There were groups of people dotted at various spots on the river watching the racing. We boated for about 20 miles, then turned and went back down stream to find another spot from where to watch the boats return from Kurow on the second leg. We parked up in our new location, had some smoko and a bit of a go at fishing, catching one small trout. I was quite surprised by the

The boats came from everywhere on the downward leg, obviously above us there were many choices of streams to take, some better than others but they all got through. When the boats had gone past we followed them down back to the start near the bridge and had some lunch, a couple of boats were towed back in as we sat and watched. About 1.45pm thunder began to echo around us along with huge streaks of lightning, soon followed by hail. Well “we are here to watch the racing” so

It seemed only seconds and he was on us, a very spectacular sight watching a jet boat doing over 100 miles an hour, roar past about two metres from you

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This, we decided would be the one to follow



Jet Boating New Zealand

about 30 minutes before the third leg was to start we headed back up to the spot where we had watched the first run. This proved to be a good spot, nice and close to the action. When the last boat had gone past we headed back down, put the boat on the trailer and headed to Milton for the night. Some racers were also staying at the same motel and late into the night there was much grinding and banging going on as boats were prepared for the next day’s racing on the Clutha. The second river was the Clutha. A criterium followed by two legs up and down. Balclutha to Beaumont and back, approximately 170kms of racing in total. Again we were up early and on the road to Balclutha where we launched at the public ramp below the road bridge. The race boats were launching downstream below the rail bridge. We boated up the river to the island the boats would circuit around on the criterium, then back down to have a look at the race boats launching and preparing for the day’s racing. A spot at the top of the island had looked a good position to watch the circuit racing so we headed back and parked up ready to watch. It was a good site as the boats were close and came from around the willows and were on top of you as they cornered around the island to return to the bottom. I was using the Go Pro to film them and felt it was like a boat magnet as they seemed to beam in on the camera - it was close. Going Places spun out close to us but got the turbine going again and they were soon back around. Sometimes there would be three boats together coming from out of the willows and into the corner. It was great spectator viewing.

After the criterium we boated back to the public ramp and had our lunch. While yarning to some of the patrol boat guys we got a bit of information on the river upstream and where it may be a good place to watch from. We set off after lunch and boated up to the first set of rocks, about 20 miles up river. A patrol boat was anchored up there so we pulled in and parked with them. Soon the boats started to power past. Spencer King had not long gone past when next minute the Patrol boat was off. Spencer had broken a drive shaft and needed rescuing. Just below us was an island and at one stage there were two boats coming up alternate sides, both reaching the top and into the one channel at the same time. Keeping a good look out must be paramount for both the drivers and navigators; they merged with no problems and raced each other through the rapids and rock garden alongside us. Another boat ignored the warning buoy in the river and bounced over a rock but continued on unconcerned. Seeing the last boat go up we decided to get back a bit closer to town, so boated down to find a different spot to watch the return leg. On the way up we had seen people standing on what looked like a ferry crossing on each side of the river. We stopped to look on the way back at what they called the Tuapeka pontoon ferry bridge. We parked up and watched the returning boats from the pontoon, had a good yarn with the locals and in particular an old jet boater who had done a lot of boating, including some rivers that don’t exist anymore. One bloke told us about a regular user of the ferry who had shot off the end of the pontoon and into the river. Apparently there used to be a large rock just below the bridge and the car got caught on the rock saving the Jet Boating New Zealand

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You have got to give these racers a lot of credit for the conditions that they will race in and the skills they exhibit driving these huge boats at a speed that allows for only the smallest margin of error

occupants’ lives. The rock has since been blown up and removed, you would wonder why? I was bloody near rolling my rrrr’s by the time we left to head back to the ramp. It was a good spot to watch from as there were some pressure waves just up from the bridge and the boats looked good going full song, getting some air time and on down to the finish. Day three was the Waiau, two legs, one up to Redcliff’s, one back down to Tuatapere, approximately 140km of racing. We left Invercargill very early to get over to Tuatapere as we had no idea where the launch spot was. On arrival we followed our noses and soon found the public ramp, a single launch ramp, so we wanted to get in the water and out of the way quickly. It was a terrible day both raining and blowing. We got into the water and set off to find a spot, travelling for about half an hour finding a spot not far below the Cliffden bridge, parked in a back water and got up onto the bank under some willows to try and keep out of the rain and wind. Below us on a bend was a set of pressure waves that the boats would have to negotiate. For the first three or four 22

Jet Boating New Zealand

boats the conditions were not so bad but as the race proceeded the wind and rain worsened. The following boats were met by gusts of wind and blinding rain causing some to hesitate slightly before choosing their boating lines. Pist In Charge chose an interesting line and bumped and flew its way through. All of the boats got past us ok and charged on up the river. Because of the conditions we decided to head back down to the trailer. What an interesting bit of boating! With driving rain and wind accompanied with fogged up glasses, it was a bit of hit and miss as to where to direct the boat safely. Thank goodness the river is basically only one channel although you still had to be in the right place to avoid shelves and such. Safely back on the trailer we learnt that the return leg had been called off because of the dangerous conditions, although I understand that some racers were prepared

to give it a go. We headed into Tuatapere and had a coffee before heading back to Invercargill. Next was the Oreti River, Viner Rd to Lumsden and back - approximately 160 kms. We fed Viner Rd into our helpful lady (GPS) for directions and set off to get into the water. I had been looking forward to this river as it was small and looked tricky, so it was a bit of a disappointment to see it in flood and still rising. We launched the boat and on advice from some locals parked the vehicle well up and out of the way in case the riverbed flooded. There was some doubt as to whether the boats would be able to get under the last bridge on the way up to Lumsden. Unbeknown to us this turned out to be the case and the race was changed to four shortened legs. We had headed up the river, passing some nasty looking railway irons sticking out of the water on the way. We were then flagged down by a Patrol

boat looking for the irons to put a marker buoy on. We gave him a rough idea where we had seen them and carried on up again. The river bank was lined with spectators at various vantage points. After passing under a couple of bridges we found a spot that looked interesting and parked up to watch the race go through. The boats were grabbing plenty of air going through the pressure waves, as they shot past on their way to Lumsden. Some locals had driven into where we were and watched the race. One explained what the river was like when not in flood and where the channel was normally; sounds a great wee river in normal flow. Thinking that we would go back, trailer the boat, and head up to Lumsden to watch them start the 2nd leg back, we shot down a much higher and dirtier river and on to the trailer. It wasn’t until we were nearly into Lumsden that we found out from one of the Canadian support crew that the boats had been pulled out

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back down stream and were to race four shortened legs. We decided to carry on into Queenstown for the next three nights. It was a shame that we missed the legs but the bad conditions dictated and the decision was made because of the high water. Wednesday was a lay day. The next race day was to be on the Thursday, the Dart River. Four legs up and down the Dart, Glenorchy to Beanburn and back, approximately 140kms of racing. It was another marginal day weather wise as we launched at Glenorchy. A few of the racers were setting off up the river for a pre run in their support boats to have a look at the condition of the river. We boated across the lake and into the entrance of the Dart, which was in flood and the colour of the water and shingle bars merged making it very difficult to read the river and rain also added to the problem. Several times we scrunched across soft shingle and



Jet Boating New Zealand

sand hidden under the murky water. After passing under the bridge we carried on for about a kilometre and parked up for the first run of the day. The weather didn’t improve and by the time the boats had come back down on the 2nd leg we were getting cold so decided to head back, trailer the boat and go and watch the last two legs from under the bridge. Having the VHF radio in the boat as well as a hand held helped keep us informed as to what was happening on the river. The patrol boats were talking and advising of a problem of the race boats heading down a particular channel below the bridge and starting to stack up high and dry. As we negotiated our way back to Glenorchy we came across the problem area. There were boats and helicopters spread out over the spot and one helicopter was helping to get a boat off the hard. Throughout the racing the patrol boat guys were busy and were doing a great job; they were a well organised

bunch. Getting back to the lake was not easy and we came to a halt trying to boat a channel that was more shingle than water. After getting the boat up and away again we shot down the rest of the way out into the lake. The engine was getting warm so we stopped and sure enough the sand trap was chocker full of the Dart riverbed. Starting up again the temperature settled and we continued back across the lake and the trailer where we drained the sand trap. You have got to give these racers a lot of credit for the conditions they race in and the skills they exhibit driving these huge boats at a speed that allows for only the smallest margin of error before things turn to custard. The bridge proved to be a good spot to park the vehicle and have some lunch in comfort out of the cold. One boat on the upward leg 3 must have started over

heating and immediately after passing under the bridge decided to park up on the hard by the bridge. We stayed at the bridge for the final run back then headed off back into Queenstown for the night. Friday the 18th October was the last day and the racing was on two rivers, first the Matukituki River, and then the Clutha River, approximately 160kms of racing. Boy was this a terrible day. The start for the Matukituki was shifted to the West Wanaka Bridge, so we called in to have a look at the boats - “ours was staying on the trailer today�. After trying to get a photo we headed up the Mt Aspiring road to look for a good vantage point to watch the boats go past. Some distance up the road we could see the river and at what looked like a good spot, there were a couple of farm workers so we asked if it would be ok to drive through their gate out to the river. They were more than happy

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Jet Boating New Zealand

for us to do this but asked that we don’t go near the stock as they were lambing which was fair enough. We listened to the VHF radio whilst sitting in the vehicle and soon heard that the boats were on their way. The sound of the boats coming up the river always got you excited and soon enough they started to appear out of the fog and rain. The whole river bed merged sky and water into one colour, so how they saw where they were going was anyone’s guess but on and past they went, some two and three abreast. Not all the boats made it up and because of the appalling conditions the downstream leg was cancelled. We, along with the numerous other spectators that had accumulated on the river bank, packed up and headed for warmer climes. We didn’t watch the start of the Clutha leg at the Lake Wanaka outlet but instead

went through to Cromwell, got booked into our Motel, had some lunch and then went to watch the finish at Old Cromwell Town. It must have been a relief for these guys to come over the finish line in Cromwell after such a gruelling six days of racing. We were only spectators and found the early morning starts, the boating in adverse weather and river conditions, the long relocation drives and long days ‘bloody’ tiring, but all in all very enjoyable. We boated in excess of 300 kilometres and drove I don’t know how many kilometres following the marathon. The whole experience was tremendous and was topped off by attending the prize giving function in the Golden Gate Lodge Cromwell on the Friday night. There were that many prizes given out that we couldn’t keep up with them but along with all of the others in attendance enjoyed our conclusion to a great trip. “Thanks Guys”

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Nearly There


Whanganui support team


Jet Boating New Zealand


hortly before Christmas 2013, a selfless group of Central Districts Club members generously donated their time and experience to a gutsy adventure in the name of charity, providing invaluable support to one man’s mad attempt to kayak and run the entire 140km Whanganui River Great Walk in a single day.

The attempt, one of nine that make up the ‘Cure Kids Great Runs’ charity running project on New Zealand’s Great Walks, had been in the planning for some 8 months and was scheduled to take place on December 14th, a few days before the longest day of the year. As the Great Walk is in reality a 140km 3-5 day paddle, I was planning on paddling only the first and last sections (100km), and running the 40km Mangapurua Track from Whakahoro to the Bridge to Nowhere. I was into the final stages of finalising plans for the day in late November, when quite suddenly a major part of my safety and support plan fell apart - my jet boat support crew were forced to pull out. Talk about being up a creek without a paddle! I was buggered - or I would have been, if not for what happened next.

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It was clear I was in safe hands, and we were going to have some laughs along the way.



Jet Boating New Zealand

Taumaranui Start at Dawn

A quick bit of Googling found me on the JBNZ website, and a bit of a poke around the Event Calendar some recent Central District club trips on the Whanganui. Things were looking up. I eventually found a single email contact (Ross Denton) for the CD club and sent a very desperate email appealing for someone (anyone!) to give us a hand.   I literally could not have hoped for a better response. Within a day I had half a dozen emails from Ross with offers of assistance, volunteers, advice, you name it. The attempt was back on! Over the course of the next few weeks, Ross helped coordinate an amazing crew of drivers and support crew, and collectively we all pulled together a solid plan for the day to keep everyone safe and on top of the water.   We all assembled in Taumaranui the night before the big day, just down the road from Cherry Grove where we’d be starting the next morning at 5am, and I got to meet the good bunch of buggers that would be such a huge part of my attempt on the river. We had Brian and Carol Eccles in one boat, with Darren Judd and Marty Davenport in the other - and within just a few minutes of chatting to them that night it was clear I was in safe hands, and we were going to have some laughs along the way.   We all assembled at Cherry Grove in the pre-dawn light, head-torches and headlights the order of the day as we launched the boats and prepared the kayak for a sunrise start. Despite being a clear sky, the river had gathered a moody blanket of mist and wasn’t letting it go, so the first section was going to be something special. A few quick photos in the half-light, then as the light finally appeared I jumped in the kayak and got underway. I’m a fairly competitive guy, so as I knew the guys in the jetboats were going to wait for a bit more light before they got started, I was determined to try and put as much distance on as I could before they caught me up. Nothing like a cheeky race at 5.30 in the morning, especially when you’re the only one racing.  

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We made great time through that first section from Taumaranui to Whakahoro having stopped a couple of times for leg stretches, the odd chip race, and to catch a few minties unleashed from Carol’s slingshot.

It wasn’t too long though before I heard that gutteral growl of the Hamilton Jets over my shoulder, and truth be told it was a comforting sound. As beautiful as it is on a river at that time of the day, alone but for a few jumping fish and surprised ducks, it was nice to know I had friends nearby. The river was in fine form that day, a decent flow of maybe 6-7kph in those early sections, and slightly up on normal height, so there was plenty of water where we needed it, though I hear Darren still managed to get stuck once or twice (sorry Juddy). Brian and Darren quickly had a system in place whereby one would shoot ahead and wait for me to catchup, while the other would wait behind (and try for the odd fish) before catching up again and shadowing me for a while. It was a great system - meant there was always a boat nearby, but gave me plenty of time where it was just me and river - and what a river it is. I’ve not spent any time on the Whanganui before, so was thoroughly blown away at the sheer beauty of the place. So much variation along those first 60km - open farmland, deep gullies, sheer 32

Jet Boating New Zealand

Darren Judds 152 on glass heading to Pipiriki

cliffs, rapids, and more wildlife than you can shake a paddle at. Stunning. We made great time through that first section from Taumaranui to Whakahoro, completing the 60km in a whisker over six hours which was at the short-end of my estimate, having stopped a couple of times for leg stretches, the odd chip race, and to catch a few minties unleashed from Carol’s slingshot. We made our way up the Retaruke River to the Whakahoro landing site, where we pulled in and prepared for the transition. I changed into running kit and had a feed while the guys loaded the

kayak onto Bruce’s boat, and we waited a few minutes for the ground crews to come through. My running mate, Chris, who had spent the first leg in Darren’s boat, was ready and raring to go, and was about to tackle his own massive adventure - running the 40km with me over to the Bridge to Nowhere would be the longest and toughest run of his life. So without further ado, we said our brief goodbyes to the boat crews, and started our long ascent up the old pioneer road to the summit, some 16km distant. Unfortunately, when I’d got out

of the boat, I’d found part of my right foot had gone completely numb, and this had catastrophic consequences for the rest of the run. By the time we got to the summit, I was in a really bad way - the numbness in my foot prevented my foot striking the ground properly, instead slapping the ground hard with every step. This became excruciating early into the 25km descent down to the bridge, and with my foot’s ability to absorb any impact effectively non-existent, I soon felt like I was running in a shoe full of broken glass (an x-ray some days later would confirm a stressfracture had occurred during this run). Jet Boating New Zealand

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Suffice to say, we weren’t making good time with me in this condition. Ironically, the running section of this massive challenge was never meant to be the hard bit, the kayaking was the bigger unknown and where I expected to have a tougher time, so it was with a bit of shock and plenty of disappointment that I watched the hours slip away, and with them the daylight that we so desperately needed to complete the final kayak leg before nightfall. The final 10km took far too long, and by the time we reached the

Julian Bee


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Bridge to Nowhere, it was less than an hour from sunset, and I needed at least 3 hours to complete the final paddle. It was on the Bridge, over a quick energy gel with Chris, that I made the call to abandon the attempt and pull the pin on this grand adventure. That decision left me feeling utterly empty, but I knew it was the right call. Brilliantly, just as we left the Bridge, Marty sauntered around the corner with half a can of flat coke, which to an ultra-runner is liquid gold, and I gladly took him up on

the offer. Sharing my decision with Marty to abandon the kayak leg, the three of us walked out to the track end where the boats were waiting. I have to pay a special mention to the guys in the boat crew at this point – they’d been tracking our position via satellite for the last few hours, constantly re-factoring our likely arrival as our pace continued to slow, and had recognised time was getting very very short to complete the mission. So to help speed me on my way, everything was laid out perfectly for a fast transition

– kayak, paddle, lifejacket, drink, gels, you-name-it – everything was so well laid out I could very nearly have jumped feetfirst into the kayak as I ran down the hill, and gravity would have launched me into the river, gel and paddle in-hand, ready to bust out the last leg. And they were totally ready for me to do it, even though it would have meant they would be navigating 20-odd kilometre of river in the dark by torchlight. Whether they were thinking it or not, no-one suggested I pull the pin, instead waiting for me to announce my decision, and for that they all have my utmost respect. Putting yourself through a big challenge like this is bloody hard, physically and mentally, and when things go wrong, having a decision made for you is the worst way to finish, so making my own call to pull the pin was the best way it could have gone down. So with a little less of a spring in our steps, we re-packed the boats, lashed the kayak on again, and this time all of us boarded the boats for the sprint to Pipiriki. I must admit, despite being pretty disappointed in the result of the day, speeding down those last 30kms in Juddy’s cruise-missile jetboat was a fantastic way to spend the end of an extraordinary day. The moon rose into a clear sky ahead of us as the light faded, and looking back at a few of those rapids I couldn’t help thinking what an unpleasant time I could have been having trying to navigate them by kayak in the dark some hours later.   We all arrived into Pipirikri within a few minutes of our ground crews, and after giving the kids a quick spin in Darren’s boat, we packed up and shared a brew on the boatramp to digest the day. Not Jet Boating New Zealand

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It may not have gone quite to plan. The aim of the game was to set a huge goal and in the process raise awareness and funds for Cure Kids, who do amazing work researching cures for childhood illnesses.

quite the finish I was hoping for, but then it was never meant to have been easy, and everything had to click on the day for it to come off, so it was always a possibility. And at that, our day was done, and we all parted ways, though not before talking about a second attempt, and exchanging contact details to maybe do it all again someday. That’s the kiwi way right?   To Brian, Carol, Darren, Marty, Brenda, and Ross - my sincere thanks for getting behind one guy and his crazy idea. The aim of the game was to set a huge goal, something that has never been done before, and give it our best shot. And in the process, raise awareness and funds for Cure Kids, who do amazing work researching cures for childhood illnesses. It may not have gone quite to plan, but you guys were all an amazing part of an extraordinary adventure, and I will be forever in your debt. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE GREAT RUNS PROJECT THAT SEEKS TO RAISE FUNDS FOR CURE KIDS WHILE INSPIRING OTHERS TO GET OUT AND CHALLENGE THEMSELVES, PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT WWW.GREATRUNS.CO.NZ. DONATIONS TO CURE KIDS CAN ALSO BE MADE DIRECTLY FROM THE WEBSITE. 36

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Julian Paddles to Whakahoro

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JBNZ CONSTITUTION Proposed Constitutional Changes

automatic rather than by Branch request.


6.4 Family Membership Renumber to 6.5 to allow a new rule 6.4 (see below) and reword

hese proposed changes are printed here to give members advance notice in order that they can be properly considered before we ask you to vote on them later this year – if you have any questions please give David Street (Vice President JBNZ) a call on (Home) 03 3376319 or (Cell) 027 2299762.

Proposed Changes to Rule 6. Special Provisions 6.2 Honorary Life Membership Current Wording: “Holders of some years of Branch Service should be considered primary candidates for this honour. Proposed Wording: “Holders of some years of Branch Service or National Service Awards should be considered primary candidates for this Honour”. Rationale To extend purpose of award recognising the proposed new National Service award proposed under new rule 6.4 below. 6.3 Branch Service Award Current wording: “…save suggesting Branch can request National to waive subscription in 1st year of the award.” Proposed wording: Change to “ … except that the JBNZ Subscription, if a member, shall be waived for one financial year” Rationale To confirm the waiving of subscription as 38

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Current Rule: 6.4.(a) Family Membership: Family membership shall be available to – (a) the wife (or husband) of a member Proposed Rule: Family Membership: Family membership shall be available to – 6.5(a) the spouse or de facto partner of a member. Rationale The current rule is written using outdated terminology and also fails to acknowledge that many couples choose not to get married instead living in relationships which are recognised by New Zealand law. JBNZ also needs to recognise the partners of our members and welcome them as members with all of the associated rights and privileges we offer. 6.4 National Service Award – A Branch Committee or National Executive may nominate a candidate for consideration by the National Executive Management Committee who will confirm the award by secret ballot. The award is to recognise extraordinary service or assistance to JBNZ on a National basis. Could be awarded to a member or non member. The JBNZ Subscription, if a member shall be waived for one financial year.

Rationale To provide a step in the awards system between Branch Service Awards and Honorary Life Membership in order to recognise extraordinary service or assistance to JBNZ on a National basis.

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Jet Tales


t’s been a special summer for me, back in New Zealand for the first time in several years. But it’s been extra special because a few things came together jet boating wise.

A group of 25 enthusiastic jet boaters including George Davison and Duke Dickson made a pilgrimage back to Irishman Creek in what someone described as akin to returning to Mecca. Our hosts, Justin and Gillian Wills made us very welcome and it was certainly made very special with George’s quips and stories about his early days on the station working on a fledgling and relatively unknown propulsion system. His view and that of first timer to Irishman, David (Rusty) Wright is worth a read.

Another great read is Jim Sawers account of Bill Hamilton written for the Rolls Royce and Bently Magazine of New Zealand. Here you’ll discover that the man who perfected jet propulsion for the world was actually a dab hand behind the wheel of a motorcar, long before he could boat upstream. It’s a fascinating insight into a man and his contribution to more than things nautical.

At a time when preserving our history has become more important (certainly for me anyway) it was a shock to run into stalwart Otago JBNZ member Carol MacFarlane in Cromwell where she recounted the story of a 19 year old jetboater who was shoehorned into the secretary’s position within

Duke Dixon farewells his ‘old friend’ for the last time after four decades at Holton

The young lad couldn’t believe the amount of useless paperwork he was inheriting from the preceding ten years that Otago had been running and promptly dispatched it to the trash

days of joining the then NZJBA. Seemed the young lad couldn’t believe the amount of useless paperwork he was inheriting from the preceding ten years that Otago had been running and promptly dispatched it to the trash. Fortunately Carol rescued much of the important branch history for which I am particularly grateful. It was all rather amusing except that the new secretary was one Paul Mullan. I can’t recall being so cavalier about such matters but age does tend to dull the memory. I guess we can all be guilty of not really understanding how important something might be in the spur of the moment but it was a timely reminder and I am grateful that some of our pioneering jet boaters like Guy Mannering and Duke Dixon had a much better appreciation about just what might become of the jet boat. Their records, both written and photographic, have provided the perfect beginning of our history. I also bought a new boat. Well not so much new as old. Our first Jet Boat President, Duke Dixon is relocating to Wanaka

after a lifetime at the family farm ‘Holton’ on the northern banks of the Waimakariri River. Duke didn’t buy the 1965 Jet30 until the early 70’s but it’s been his ‘daily driver’ till he farewelled it last month to embark on a new phase in his life in Central Otago without a jet boat. Still he was happy his ‘old friend had found a good home’ and was content he could visit it anytime he wanted at Lake Hood near Ashburton. The topic of a jet boat museum is well and truly alive and while it will not be a quick process to bring to fruition, there are moves afoot at various levels including the association to ensure we protect and provide access to our history. If you have an old boat that you think might be important, drop me a line ( and we’ll begin to draw up a database of who owns them and where they are located…. In the meantime don’t be like that (once) young Otago Secretary and throw it out just because you think it’s taking up space! PAUL MULLAN - JBNZ HISTORY Jet Boating New Zealand

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Irishman Creek Station



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Return to

Irishman Creek

Rusty Wright’s first view of were it all began


Irishman Creek – My First View fter spending plenty of time restoring an old Jet Boat and trying to gather as much of the written History of Jet Boating (magazines and books), I had the ultimate privilege to be able to visit the Historic Irishman Creek workshops for the first time, thanks to the generosity of Justin and Gillian Wills.


Irishman Creek Station Layout

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Not only was the trip to the old workshops a dream of mine but to have George Davison and Duke Dixon along with us was really special for me

Not only was the trip to the old workshops a dream of mine but to have George Davison and Duke Dixon along with us was really special for me and I’m sure for the rest of the group. We gathered at the old cook shop where Justin’s family provided us with afternoon tea during introductions. At that point George pointed out it was almost 60 years to the day (1954) that he first went to Irishman Creek to work for Bill Hamilton. He worked there for 5 years before being shifted back to Christchurch to continue his work. In the main workshop Justin gave us the background of the workshops and also the family history and what other things they had been involved in. As we moved through the buildings the old tales were told as if George had only left the year before. ‘The explosion in the forge’ … ‘The shocks from 44

Jet Boating New Zealand

The dam used for testing early jet units

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the lathe courtesy of the hydro plant’ to name two. There were stories to tell at every stop! The history of the 32Kw power scheme commissioned in 1926 and is still running and supplying power to the station to this day. It is supplied by diverting Irishman Creek into a large pond which was dug by another of Bill Hamilton’s inventions ‘the scoop’ and was also used for testing early jet units. George’s Draughtsman Hut


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Irishman Creek’s Hydro Power

Afternoon Tea at the ‘Old Cookhouse’

Fire Pump that sparked the theory of blasting the jet flow out above the water level

George in the old workshop Jet Boating New Zealand

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Then it was on to George’s old draftsman’s hut which still contains some old drawings, photos and plans, one being the original plan for the J30 which incidentally George admitted was not officially drawn up until after the boat was built! He even had his old wage book (13 pounds a week with a bit of overtime) and the working book that holds lots of his design work and sketches.

ton’s History and inventions will live on for generations to come.

The stories and atmosphere of this trip cannot all be explained fully here but it is hoped that some time in the future with the help of a dedicated few, Bill Hamil-

I believe the trip to Irishman Creek on the 19th January organised by Paul Mullan was nothing but positive. My thanks go to Paul and Robyn for organising the day.

Great turn out of jetboat enthusiasts 48

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Hopefully a Museum or similar to display (on a site yet to be determined) can be found to preserve this history and with the cooperation of Justin Wills and his family, the Workshops at Irishman Creek will live on as an important part of that.


L-R George Davison, Paul Mullan sharing a moment with Justin Wills


t took me back near enough 60 years to 1954 when I started a new job working with “The Boss”, Bill Hamilton deep in the Mackenzie Country.  I was driving up the gravel dusty drive off the main road into the trees and houses of the settlement.  Not much change there, except one of the bridges across the Irishman Creek was a bit different.  Our group gathered at the Cook shop, greeted by a friendly Justin to discuss the changes that had occurred to the Station over the years.  Some of the staff houses were gone, including my little hut at the cattle stop, but the remaining buildings were completely

Duke Dixon, Geroge Davison and Justin Wills Jet Boating New Zealand

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familiar. The Workshop was unchanged although some of the machinery had gone. The steel scrapheap was still there, where I had poked around to find a bit of pipe (6 inch) to make my original jet unit. A partly machined Quinnat gear housing was on a bench - I remembered it well - seen in that photo of Bluey Stringer and Hans Schiffer busy at lathes. Also the wooden patterns for the early Chinook intake gathering dust.

it helped to stop the governor hunting. No change there either.  The power generated was still being used for Station requirements, after nearly 90 years. A short walk up the penstock path to the “Dam” revealed the lake reservoir.  We had an 88-yard straight along one bank where we would test the speed of early jetboats…a handy facility, this lake.  We could

Across the powerhouse tailrace the office of the shop foreman Les Irving, and my old drawing office were intact and unchanged. Many of my old drawings and even my setsquare were still there as was the nail on the wall where I had hung a sketch of a possible 2-stage axial-flow jet unit. I recall The Boss coming in one morning, asking about the sketch, and after a few puffs on his pipe, saying “Well, let’s build one and try it.” Well, that started something. . . . Outside, the hydro powerhouse nearby was steaming away smoothly, the only change being from the original 230v DC generator to an AC alternator.  Still happily drawing water from the nearby lake made by The Boss with his own-built earth-moving machinery in the 1920’s. The belts driving the governor had a lot of slack in them as they did when I was there. The Boss said

Some of the staff houses were gone, including my little hut at the cattle stop, but the remaining buildings were completely familiar 50

Jet Boating New Zealand

Time to clock off... 60 years later

build experimental parts for a jet unit in the workshop, put them in a boat, test them on the Dam, decide modifications in the afternoon and be ready for further tests the next day.  High-speed development if ever there was. No TV, computers, etc. to slow one down. Hardly even a phone. Over the beautiful clear clean Irishman Creek mountain water of the lake, through the now larger trees, I could view Merino

sheep, the familiar tussocks and in the distance, the bulk of Mt Cook. No change there either. I think the only difference was me  - I was 85, not 25.     FOOTNOTE: A FEW DAYS LATER IN WANAKA I WAS PRIVILEGED TO INSPECT LES IRVING’S OLD JET BOAT BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED BY DAVID WRIGHT.  THANKS, RUSTY. IT IS COMFORTING TO KNOW THAT ENTHUSIASM FOR JETBOATS IS ALIVE AND WELL.

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“BILLY” HAMILTON An alternative perspective of the great Sir William Hamilton’s story

Republished with the kind permission of the Rolls Royce and Bentley Car Club



arly photographs dated 1910 show Billy Hamilton aged 11 returning from a successful goose shoot or messing about with boats, his first being a galvanized wash tub powered by a double ended paddle. Later he produced a light weight bamboo/calico canoe in which he used to shoot down the flooded Opuha River. The problem of how to transport the canoe back to the point of entry was easily solved, by training the family’s brown retriever to tow a boat trailer Billy built from old bicycle wheels, so as a young boy he was clearly an innovator.

Billy: “Do have a ride in my canoe. I’ll hold it while you get in.”

Born at Ashwick Station, near Fairlie, South Canterbury, on 26 July 1899, Charles William Fielden Hamilton grew up with a love for all the outdoor activities which were so freely available on a large sheep station, and boating was one of them. At this stage of his life Billy began to dream of a boat which could carry him both up and down the swift flowing shallow rivers of his homeland, a dream which would one day come true. Ashwick Station, which had been owned by the Hamiltons from 1899, was subdivided in 1912, so from then on the family remained on the smaller Ashwick Farm. Because his mother believed that formal schooling was better delayed until 7 years of age, Bill had ample opportunity to begin to develop his quite unique interests on the Station. Educated at Waihi Preparatory School, Winchester, South Canterbury, he found the world


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Always so modest, Bill Hamilton once said, “I do not claim to have invented marine jet propulsion. The honour belongs to a gentleman named Archimedes, who lived some years ago.”

of academia not to his liking, especially history which he loathed. However, when obliged to spend a few weeks in isolation due to measles, his non academic skills were certainly appreciated, when Bill repaired not only the Headmaster’s bicycle but also his watch. While still at Waihi School at age 13 he built a dam on the Station, from which a water wheel produced sufficient power to provide electric lights in the homestead, as well as for his lathe in his newly built workshop. Mounted on the veranda of the homestead was a tennis net reel, which, when wound slowly each evening, released water to activate the water wheel and provide lighting. Slowly being the active word, to avoid a sudden surge of power to blow all the light bulbs. Bill was later educated at Christ’s College, but was obliged to leave to help manage Ashwick Farm when his older brother Cyril was killed in action in WW1.

Billy at the Middle Hut, Ashwick, 1910.

In 1921, with borrowed funds, Bill purchased the 25,000 acre Irishman Creek Station near Tekapo for £16,000, so from then on was fully occupied developing it to meet his own high standards. At that time the Station ran 6,000 ewes and countless wild cattle. At the same time Bill bought a Bugatti with funds advanced to him by Pyne Gould Guinness, who had financed the purchase of the Station. The Bugatti was sold in 1923. Because Bill’s father was stricken with cancer he was taken to England in 1923 for an operation not then available in New Zealand. Sadly he died there. While in UK with his parents, Bill purchased a 1913 4 cylinder 3.3 litre Isle of Man Sunbeam, one of only four cars specially built in 1913 for the 1914 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. More importantly, while in UK in Oct 1923 he married Peggy Wills, who during WW1 had Jet Boating New Zealand

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worked in a munitions factory and was the older sister of profoundly deaf Lucy Wills. In due course Bill and Peggy returned with the Sunbeam, to begin their life together at Irishman Creek Station. Sadly each had lost an older brother killed in WW1. Until the Sunbeam arrived Bill used the family Hudson, which he often described as a ‘gutless wonder’. In spite of its lack of power, under Bill’s capable control it astounded many of the locals by the way it could cross flooded rivers when no others would take the risk. By picking a down stream course Bill made good use of the current to push the ‘old girl’ to the other side. Once the Sunbeam arrived, Bill with the help of Stan Jones of Jones Motors, Fairlie, 56

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set about maximising its performance and using the local roads as a test track, much to the disapproval of many locals who were genuinely perturbed. Some said, “He will break his neck, that car was built for the track, not New Zealand roads.” One local lady remarked, “Ever since Billy brought that car out here I daren’t go on the road, and I don’t know what I would do if I met him on a bridge.” Quite soon, while at Irishman Creek, Bill began his engineering career by designing a water pump, sand yacht, saw bench and a water wheel which generated enough electric power to supply lights as well as some electric heating in the homestead, in addition to later powering his workshop, which he built with timber from Ashwick

The impact was so violent that it caused major damage to the boat but not to Bill, who remarked in his usual droll fashion, “A bit too fast I think.”

Farm. A major undertaking was the building of a dam to provide an adequate water supply for the Station and feed the water wheel as required. Clearly an innovator, Bill developed a highly efficient scoop, which in addition to a home built excavator proved its worth in the construction of the dam. 1n 1927 his sister in law Lucy Wills who was staying at Tekapo, was one of many who operated such machinery in the construction of the dam. Bill’s scoop was so successful he later took it to England in 1936, where it was used in the construction of the Chingford Reservoir near London. In order to further develop the scoop’s use, Bill bought four International crawler tractors and was soon a very busy contractor involved in the

construction of aerodromes at Wigram in Christchurch, Gore, Haast, Okuru, Wainakarua, Keri Keri, and Great Barrier Island. Later he built the four mile stopbank at Karamea. Not surprisingly Bill became interested in racing his Sunbeam, the first car in Australasia to reach 100 mph, so a few days before the 1925 Muriwai Car Races, he with Stan Jones in the Sunbeam, together with Stan’s partner Andy Irving in the Brescia Bugatti, set off for Auckland. Camped in the scrub beside the beach they worked hard on the cars. Bill won by a quarter mile the 50 mile NZ Motor Racing Cup at Muriwai at 81.5mph, as well as the one mile Australasian Speed Record at 100mph, in each case beating the favourite, Jet Boating New Zealand

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an Australian owned 30/98 Vauxhall. That same day Andy Irving won the 50 miles Light Car Cup in his 1.5L Bugatti. Little wonder the spectators were so impressed with two winners from a far away small town called Fairlie. In 1926 at Muriwai Bill had to retire his Sunbeam with a collapsed bearing and in 1927 was similarly unsuccessful, but in 1928 ran second in the NZMRC, and later that year won the 24 mile and fifteen turns Dominion Speed Cup at Oreti Beach, as well as the Flying Mile there at 109.09 mph. A few days later he won the Waikouaiti Beach Race. During that time Bill’s brother-in-law Matthew Wills, who came to New Zealand in 1925 and bought Opawa Station, Albury, raced a straight 8 Sunbeam at Muriwai in 1926 and 1927. In 1927 came the big freeze at Irishman with a massive snow fall, when daytime temperatures were as low as -15 degrees. As the power supply dam froze to below the intake level, there was no power generated. A bottle of lime water which burst in the kitchen was still there in the perfect shape of the bottle three weeks later. A four ton lorry loaded with coal crossed Irishman Creek without breaking the ice. The steam from the kettle froze on the ceiling and looked like rivets. Peggy’s sister Lucy Wills who was staying at Tekapo House, arrived on skis hoping for a bath. “A bath?” said Peggy, “You may clean your teeth if you like.” So the first job for Bill was to lower the intake pipe in the power supply dam.
In 1929 when they visited UK, Peggy purchased a near new 1928 4.5L Bentley tourer HF3198, which Bill raced very successfully at Brooklands, to win the fastest lap time for an unsupercharged Bentley at 109mph. In one day there he 58

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1922 Sunbeam GP

won three races. Having noticed how the roughness of the track was the biggest factor limiting the performance of the cars, and having been granted the use of the Bentley workshop, Bill spent many hours improving the suspension of his Bentley, thus ensuring his success over the other competitors, who worked frantically instead to squeeze more power from their engines, but to no avail.
On that occasion a bystander was heard to comment, “That man has won three races today hasn’t he?” “Yes.” replied a nearby New Zealander. “Australian isn’t he?” said the bystander. “No.” Shouted the New Zealander, “He’s a New Zealander.” The following extract from the Georgeson/Wilson book ‘The Leading Edge’ A life in Gliding, provides a fascinating view of the scene at Brooklands on that famous occasion. ‘He and Peg went to England in 1929. Bill wanted to see how he would get on racing against the top English drivers, and they carefully selected a second hand 4.5L unsupercharged Bentley, which Peg bought. This would be a good car to

race, as well as a fine touring car for New Zealand conditions. With characteristic colonial insouciance, Bill decided to hazard his luck at the great Brooklands Easter Open Meeting. Here he’d be lined up against Sir Malcolm Campbell, Sir Henry Birkin and all the great names of motor racing. He prepared the engine himself at

Bill Hamilton in the Sunbeam in England 1923

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Earthmoving equipment in action. circa 1927

the Bentley garage, grinding the valves to his own specification with infinite care. “That’ll do,” said a mechanic looking over his shoulder, “they look pretty good to me.” It wasn’t good enough for Bill. He increased the clearance of the pistons so that they were looser in the cylinders, preparing the engine well beyond Bentley recommendations. He entered the car for three races, The Bentley Handicap, The Sussex Long Handicap and the Bedford Long Handicap. ‘The day came. Sir Malcolm Campbell called out to Bill in the pit with scornful 60

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amusement, “You won’t do any good in that thing!” Bill quietly carried on, draining all the oil from the gearbox and differential and replacing it with separator oil, a low viscosity extreme pressure lubricant. Then, so that the engine would be performancehot to start the race, he covered the radiator to bring the water to the boil. Onlookers fell about with laughter and jeers as he steamed and bubbled out of the pit. “Here comes the Stanley Steamer car!” Unperturbed, Bill lined up. The cover was snatched off the split second before the flag fell.

Bill driving the Bentley at Brooklands, 1930

‘For the first time at Brooklands and to the astonishment of the organizers, participants and crowd, Bill and his Bentley won every race he entered; the first time that all three races on the one day had been won by the same driver. Moreover his name was completely unknown. There must have been some dismay at the prospect of one magnificent sterling silver trophy after another disappearing to the colonies with this stranger. Bill’s Bentley was the fastest unsupercharged Bentley ever to race at Brooklands, but it wasn’t just the car; he was a driver of rare judgement and ability and knew with the instinct of a true engineer how to handle it. Coming off the Byfleet banking on the final straight of the last race, he could see he’d just pip Campbell before the finish and shot past him with satisfaction. Offers, coveted in the racing world, came to Bill from European car makers to race for them. They must have been bewildered by his replies that he was just a sheep farmer in New Zealand, and that was his life.’ Once back in New Zealand, although he became well known to the local Traffic Officers on a few occasions, he was never actually prosecuted for any motoring

offence. On one occasion when Vyvian LeCren was stopped for speeding in his wife Marjorie’s 3 Litre Bentley CH1063 (later trucked), the Traffic Officer greeted him with, “Mr. Hamilton I presume.” On another occasion, seeing Bill speeding down the road in a cloud of dust, an elderly gentleman remarked to his son, “There goes that mad Billy Hamilton.” Another interest was flying, and Bill as passenger was fortunate indeed to survive, according to the following report of an accident at Rongotai Aerodrome in Wellington. C.W.F. Hamilton was involved in an air accident on 18 February 1936 when the Miles Falcon 6 of Union Airways, had been chartered to fly from Wellington to Hamilton and back. In view of the deteriorating weather on the return flight, the original pilot, S/O Jury, was replaced at Palmerston North by a more experienced pilot, Union Airways Service Manager, Squadron Leader Malcolm McGregor, MC, DFC and Bar, who had served in the Great War with distinction. As Rongotai Aerodrome was approached, the southerly wind was gusting to over 30 knots, and Jet Boating New Zealand

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The workshop at Irishman during WW2

visibility was no more than 100 yards. The aircraft’s starboard wing clipped the anemometer mast and sheared off, causing the aeroplane to flip on to its back. S/L McGregor, a tall man, suffered head injuries and died later in Wellington Hospital, while C.W.F. Hamilton, being of much smaller build, was dazed but unhurt. This is based on the account Scott Thomson noticed in Union Airways by J.W. Johnston, Christchurch 1985, and New Zealand Aviation Tragedies by John King (Grantham House Wellington 1994.) After such a narrow escape from this accident Bill was ever aware of the hazards of flying in small planes. Although always interested in flying, Bill later resisted the temptation to buy a plane for his frequent trips back and forth between Christchurch and Irishman, mainly due to the constantly tricky flying conditions at the Station. At Irishman Creek Bill established an engineering workshop which in 1939 62

Jet Boating New Zealand

was very busy making bulldozers for ‘International Harvester’, but when war was declared began manufacturing munitions. In conjunction with Jones Motors of Fairlie he built a small factory in Fairlie where they made 2 inch mortar bomb casings. At its height the workshop at Irishman employed seventeen people producing weapon components etc, Later ‘Hamilton Engineering’ was established in Christchurch in 1945, but for some time Bill remained at the Station, where he ultimately developed and perfected the Hamilton Jet unit. Dick Georgeson, an orphaned nephew of Bill Hamilton, was nurtured and brought up with the Hamilton children by the ever caring Peggy and Bill at Irishman Creek, and spent his very happy working lifetime with CWF Hamilton Ltd. Later Dick and Bill became heavily involved in Gliding. For some years Bill and son Jon drove the Bentley to tow gliders at Christchurch Aero Club, a highly skilled operation, as it

required the driver to first of all accelerate hard to get the glider airborne, but once a certain altitude was achieved he needed to ease up to avoid restricting the climb of the glider. Capable of 0-100 kph in nine seconds the Bentley was ideally suited to the task. In 1949 Bill bought a Ford “Fortyniner” which represented a huge breakthrough for Ford cars, being the first produced without cross springs front and rear. With that well tried and tested flat head V8 engine the “Fortyniner’s” acceleration was ideal for towing gliders. With Peggy a gifted pianist and Bill a fine piper, there was music aplenty at Irishman. In fact the family, together with a few workers on the station, formed the Irishman Creek Pipe Band which performed

nine married couple units plus the single men’s quarters. Other inventions were a shingle loader, water sprinkler, hay-lift, air compressor, an air conditioning plant, an ice hockey rink and an ice scraper to produce smooth ice for skating. Although at times he approached problems in an unconventional manner, he always followed the best engineering practices in developing and building his many and varied machines. A self taught engineer, Bill taught many unskilled men how to do highly precision work. Some of the workers at Irishman were Jews whom Bill had assisted to leave Germany before WW2. When visiting England he was always saddened to see how tradesmen there were so reluctant to

On another occasion, seeing Bill speeding down the road in a cloud of dust, an elderly gentleman remarked to his son, “There goes that mad Billy Hamilton.” enthusiastically for visitors. Dick Georgeson appreciated Peggy’s fine touch on the piano. “She played the piano well; I loved the sense of encompassing security at night drifting off to sleep to the strains of ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’ and other favourite Bach pieces, Beethoven and folk songs.” One of Bill’s first inventions at Irishman was a type of rotary engine. Amazingly the hydroelectric plant he had built earlier was of sufficient capacity to supply all purpose power for the homestead (including heaters), and the expanded workshop, in addition to supplying lighting for the

impart their skills to others, an attitude so foreign to Bill Hamilton, who all his working life had taught so many others the skills he had learned himself. Always so calm, he became a great tutor to his staff. If he saw one of his men using an incorrect technique he would say quietly, “I think you may have a problem if you do it that way.” One of his best pupils was his profoundly deaf sister in law Lucy Wills then living at Tekapo Station, and whom Bill had tutored so well she managed on her own to overhaul the engine of her 4.5L Bentley. “You can do it Lucy.” A rabbiter became a well trained welder. Alf Dick a fifteen year old cow boy on the Station was trained Jet Boating New Zealand

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by Bill to become a highly competent engineer, who later became manager with responsibility for 350 staff. Only one qualified engineer George Davison was ever employed at Irishman. Bill’s staff were all trained on the job, and the workshop was always available after hours for any of them to use for private work. Naturally he was held in high regard by all staff members, who had absolute faith in his unique ability to deal with any problem at all. On one occasion when a staff member had a fish hook stuck in his back, Bill was the only person the victim would allow to ‘operate’. If there was one characteristic of Bill Hamilton which stood out it had to be his calmness under all circumstances. When being driven by his engineering student son Jon, Bill’s 4,5L Bentley was badly damaged in an accident in Christchurch. Bill Hamilton’s daughter recalls the phone conversation at Irishman Creek, when Jon phoned to advise his very placid father of the accident.
Bill, “Hello Jon how are you?” Pause.
Bill, “Oh not so bad.”
Bill, “What happened?”
Very long pause.
Bill, “Anyone hurt?”
Bill, “What’s the weather like?”

When Alf suggested that if the jet stream were discharged above the water instead of into it, a gain in speed and steerage would be achieved, Bill was initially reluctant

Peggy and Bill in 1949

With Bill Hamilton’s wife being a sister to Lucy Wills there has always been a strong association between Bentleys, the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand, and Irishman Creek Station. Over many years the long established annual Queen’s Birthday Weekend Irishman Creek VCC Rally has attracted many enthusiastic participants from far and wide, who initially used to be accommodated on the Station. Although they still visit the Station they now stay at other venues such as Fairlie or Kimbell. A huge loader/dozer developed in 1943 was so successful it was manufactured under licence in UK and Canada. A crane to be used in the Middleton Works was another achievement of the Irishman Creek workshop, as were angle dozers, a full range of hydraulics and an excavator which won a gold medal in 1945. Most of the equipment items for the new factory, including two 5 ton bridge cranes, were made at Irishman.
After 64

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First CWF Hamilton & Co. board meeting, held at Irishman Creek, 1946

being established initially in a small rented building in Bath Street, Christchurch, in 1945, CWF Hamilton Engineering Works later moved to their 5,000 square metre factory on the 10 acre site at Middleton,

Bill and Jon working on the reverse of a jetboat

Christchurch. There they built the 90 feet long girders for the Kawarau Bridge (near Queenstown), which when assembled and erected on site had 1/8 inch clearance between the major components, the permitted tolerance being 1⁄2 inch. In 1947 they built the first rope tow at Coronet Peak for Harry Wigley of Mount Cook Company, and in 1949 completed a similar tow at Mount Ruapehu. Among

their many major projects was the supply of all the heavy machinery including intake gates, for the various Waitaki River hydroelectric schemes, as well as Manapouri. Some 40 feet long railway wagons were also built, as were chair lifts for various ski fields. After son Jon completed his training as an engineer, he became chief engineer and designed and built a 500 ton press for bending steel. The many apprentices trained at the factory included some from Holland, Australia, Austria, Italy, Samoa and Canada, in addition to many New Zealanders, including George Calder of Christchurch. Dick was by then assisting Bill in his design work, and when Alf suggested that if the jet stream were discharged above the water instead of into it, a gain in speed and steerage would be achieved, Bill was initially reluctant, but ultimately very happy indeed to accept his junior’s advice, which produced a huge gain in speed and steering. “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings--.” When being obliged to hold the high pressure fire hose during fire drill practice at Irishman, Alf had noticed the enormous power generated by a jet of water being discharged into the air. After this huge advance in design Bill then turned his mind to improving the power of the jet itself, without necessarily increasing the power of the driving engine. Instead of using the original centrifugal pump concept which required the water to actually change direction on its way to discharge, he switched to an axial flow unit which was so much more efficient. The final stage was refining and simplifying the axial flow unit for greater efficiency still, with reduced cost of production.

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With the development of a multi stage pumping system, the next boat, 14 feet long with a Ford Consul engine, was able to achieve the impossible in 1953, by travelling at speed either up or down stream in those shallow rivers into previously inaccessible areas. The ultimate test required the jet boat to turn in its own length. Many different rivers were used for testing and exploration purposes but the Waitaki was the main one. While the Benmore Dam was under construction they raced with two boats through the two diversion tunnels. In 1953 the first Jet Boat was sold. Later a tour up the Wanganui River to Taumarunui attracted wide publicity for Hamilton Jet boats, which were soon operating up and down the river. In 1954 George Davison, a newly fledged Engineering graduate from Canterbury University, became the first qualified engineer to be employed at Irishman. When he heard about the jet boat research he decided to spend six months working with Bill, and stayed for six years. Working day by day with Bill he frequently

presented a problem to him at the end of the day. Knowing how Bill spent so much time at night at the drawing board, it was never a surprise when Bill greeted him in the morning with, “I think I have the answer.” And invariably he did. George Davison spent the remainder of his working career at Hamilton’s and became Manager of Hamilton Marine. Gradually the large workshop at Irishman became a research operation for the Hamilton Jet Boat which would require a depth of only 4 inches of water. The first boat had a 12 feet plywood hull incorporating a centrifugal type jet pump powered by a 100E Ford 10 car engine. Before its initial trial on the Waitaki River in 1954 this first jet boat was tested on the Irishman Creek dam and water race. Although painfully slow it was a huge success, so Bill then set his mind to improving its speed, power and efficiency. While Bill was busy wracking his brain for an answer to the problem, it came from the ex 15 year old cow boy Alf.

Bill and the second jet boat in the willows on the Waitaki River


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With the first production jet unit being installed in the 4.8 metre wooden hulled boat of Matthew Wills, the Mk 1 Ford Zephyr engine produced a speed of 45mph. This was the Quinnat model of which seven were made in 1954. A year later came the Rainbow axial flow model of which 100 were made. Next came the Chinook, a two stage jet. In 1956 a three stage axial unit produced 50 mph so progress was rapid. Word of this wonderful newly designed jet boat proved to be spreading world wide, when a letter from overseas addressed to ‘The Hamilton jet boat inventor, New Zealand’ found its way to Bill. By 1957 fibreglass was being used for boat hulls, and later aluminium, so these materials constituted a further advance in the world of jet boat design.

The first boat had a 12 feet plywood hull incorporating a centrifugal type jet pump powered by a 100E Ford 10 car engine.

During a visit from England to NZ with her parents, brother Matthew and sister Lucy in 1919, Peggy had loved travelling by boat from Taumarunui to Wanganui, so when Bill suggested a three day jet boat expedition up the Wanganui River she was very excited indeed. Camping on the boat for two nights and spending three days travelling, they accomplished the 234 km journey to Taumarunui in only nine hours, so were welcomed there by a crowd of 250 very enthusiastic spectators, who squealed with delight when Bill suddenly turned the boat in its own length, shot under the bridge and disappeared up the Ongarue River. The crowd loved it. Bill was having a ball. When travelling down the Rangitata River at speed, Bill misjudged some shallow water and lost control of the boat which caught in the overhanging snowgrass. The impact was so violent that it caused major damage to the boat but not to Bill, who remarked in his usual droll fashion, “A bit too fast I think.” On another occasion when boating on the Matukituki

The camp site on the three day excursion on Wanganui River

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River he wrenched his arm badly when he scraped the boat along a cliff face, a seriously disabling injury which prevented his participating in the second and highly successful Colorado River expedition a few months later.
 From 1959 Hamilton Jet Boats were being made under licence in Indiana, USA, by Buehler Corporation, who persuaded Bill to try the boats in the Grand Canyon. Although the first such expedition experienced problems, a second using four boats and led by Jon Hamilton was highly successful, with boats not only negotiating up the rapids known as Vulcan Falls, but successfully negotiating them on the down river journey as well. This was a spectacular demonstration of Hamilton Jet Boat’s ability to operate successfully under such demanding conditions, where the temperatures can be as high as 120 degrees F, and signalled a dream come true for Bill Hamilton, whose boating career had begun in a galvanized wash tub powered by a double ended paddle. In 1962 at Irishman Creek a very late phone call woke Bill and Peggy. Following the completion of the call Peggy asked Bill, “What was that?”
“Telephone,” replied Bill. “I know that. Who was it?”
“Some chap, I forget his name, ringing from Dunedin.” “What for?”
“A jet boat.”
“Why at this time of the night?”
“The King of Thailand wants a jet boat.” Bill Hamilton was deservedly awarded an OBE in 1961 “For very valuable service in the field of engineering and especially in the design and construction of jet propelled 68

Jet Boating New Zealand

motor boats.” According to Guy Mannering, a close friend of Bill, “His real achievement was not so much that he gave us the jet boat, but that he showed us what to do with it.” In 1962 the NZ Jet Boat Association was formed with the Hamilton Trophy for annual competition and Bill Hamilton as Patron. When Bill died on 30 March 1978 his widow Peggy took over his role, and when she died in 1982 son Jon became

Alf Dick using a jetboat for rescue work in a Christchurch flood

Patron. Jet powered surf boats were in use for rescue work at Sydney, and in 1965 five 50mph Jet Boats equipped with Ford Falcon V8 engines were supplied to India for river rescue work. In USA they were used for rescue work and were also used by the Church of Nazarene, 600 miles up the Amazon River. In 1966 Jon Hamilton led a geothermal jet boat expedition in New Guinea and in 1968 Edmund Hillary used them for village communication and transportation in the Himalayas. These days jet boats of all sorts and breeds are commonly seen in action all over the world, and there seems no limit to the number of ways in which jet power can be applied

to boats of all sizes. Little wonder the name of C.W.F. Hamilton is so revered in New Zealand.

Bill with the Douglas Badcock painting of the Shotover River

Bill’s love of fast cars remained with
him throughout his life. About 1951
he purchased one of the first XK120
Jaguars to come to NZ. His old friend
Dick Georgeson recalls how much Bill
enjoyed his Mk 7 Jaguar, which was
in its time a very powerful large and
fast car. “Grace, space and pace,” but
evidently not as fast as his later Mk2 3.8 litre Jaguar, which had undergone a certain amount of serious enhancement. Dick recalls being a rear seat passenger on a very quick trip from Irishman Creek to Christchurch, when a speed of 140mph was achieved. Later Bill owned an S Type Jaguar. Knighted in June 1974 for his “valuable service to manufacturing,” Jet Boating New Zealand

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Bill continued to take a keen interest in not just jet boating activities but also in engineering in general. Always so modest, Bill Hamilton once said, “I do not claim to have invented marine jet propulsion. The honour belongs to a gentleman named Archimedes, who lived some years ago.” When complimented on his achievements he replied in typical modesty, “Well I had such a grand team of chaps with me.” Bill Hamilton died aged 78 on 30 March 1978. His close friend Guy Mannering said in tribute, “To have lived a life as full as his, and as generously shared with others, is an ideal most people can only hope to emulate. Spice, courage, humility and achievement were there in plenty.”


ources. ‘Wild Irishman’, by Peggy Hamilton. (AH and AW Reed); 
‘The Jet Boat’. The making of a New Zealand Legend, by Anne and Les Bloxham. (AH and AW Reed); 
‘The Leading Edge’, A Life in Gliding, by Dick Georgeson and Anna Wilson. (Shoal Bay Press) My special thanks go to Andrew and Mollie Anderson, George Davison, Dick Georgeson, George Calder and Tom King, for their assistance in compiling this story.

Bill and Peggy deerstalking 1924


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CONFERENCE PROGRAMME Friday: 9.00 am RRA meeting followed by RRA AGM 10.00 am Registration Desk opens 1.00 pm National Executive meeting 5.00 pm National Executive meeting adjourns 6.30 pm Evening meal 7.30 pm Evening entertainment

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Sunday: 9.00 am Jet Boating New Zealand Inc AGM. Light lunch to be served following AGM..

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Jetsprints in a Stadium? Whatever next? When is a jetsprint track not a jetsprint track? When it is usually a rugby pitch! STORY BY: JO LEWIS ON BEHALF OF NEW ZEALAND JET SPRINT ASSOCIATION IMAGES BY: NEIL JONES



Jet Boating New Zealand


t sounds crazy, an impossible task to pull off, but not only did it really happen this year it also drew in a record beating crowd to the ASB Baypark Stadium in Mt Maunganui on January 25th. It was an event that was two years in the making, and the ASB Baypark general manager, Ervin McSweeney remarked at the drivers’ briefing, “even 12 months ago I couldn’t have imagined this event coming together.” But come together it did, thanks to the hard work and dedication of a whole team of people. Erik Hoeksema, President of the NZ JSA, commented, “We all wanted it

Track Panorama

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to happen. Guys like Leighton [Minnell], me and Rob Coley, we all went there early knowing that we wanted to get an event out. We knew we had just one chance, but now we’ve got that one done and under our belts we’ve got a history of being able to do it. I

A couple of boats slid the length of the stadium, ending up against the wall behind the launch ramp, and there were some high-speed pirouettes that left the crowd cheering for more!

Nick and Ella Berryman - Suzuki Superboat 78

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believe it has opened up more opportunities for us.” A few people were dubious that a successful event could be run on a track that had only been dug ten days before, but there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind now that it was a truly remarkable day. It had been well promoted locally, with a clever tie-in to the Air Show that was also running that weekend providing extra exposure in the form of banners being towed behind planes over the area in the week leading up to race day. Having a professional PR officer on board definitely had its advantages, with coverage

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Will it happen again, better than ever? Almost definitely!

on TV3 news as well as through social media networks, and the result was impressive with a huge number of online ticket pre-sales and a crowd of around 16,000 turning out on the day. “We took the event to the people,” Erik Hoeksema said. “They know where the stadium is, they knew what to expect when they got there in terms of access, proper seating, food and drink outlets and toilet facilities. There was a children’s activity area available to keep the kids entertained, and the later timing of the day meant that they didn’t sit through endless qualifying rounds but

Sam Newdick-Glenn Mason - PSP Group A


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turned up in the late afternoon and got to see the cut-throat end of the competition.” The stadium venue certainly gave the crowds a fabulous view of the action, with the flat surface making sure that there was no major damage to the boats (or drivers and navigators) even if they left the water. In fact many of them did, with the RSQKRU (rescue crew) getting a real workout that day from over 50 incidents that needed their help. They rose to the challenge admirably and managed to get most of

the boats either back in the water or on to a trailer quickly. A couple of boats slid the length of the stadium, ending up against the wall behind the launch ramp, and there were some high-speed pirouettes that left the crowd cheering for more! The competition was intense, with drivers throwing everything they had into each round. Delays created when the track needed attention meant that everyone knew a round would need to be dropped in order to make the 10pm curfew, but all the teams responded professionally and helped race control to get the event finished on time. “Credit goes to the Baypark team too,” said Erik. “They had the digger on standby with the great big boom, so things could be adjusted as we went along. The digger driver was able to keep the launch ramp free, by scooping between starts to remove the sand that was stirred up by the initial thrusts. They also got some more great big pumps alongside the track to recirculate the water thrown out by the boats – whatever it took to make it happen.” The recirculation of the water from the track made a huge difference to the environmental impact of the day as well. Initially it was estimated that 25000 m3 of water would be needed to fill and maintain the track levels. However, thanks to several large pumps working continuously to feed water displaced by the boats back into the track, only around 6,500 m3 was used. After being left to settle for a couple of days, the water was put through filter matting and then checked for the presence of any oil remaining. Once it was declared clean, it was returned to the stormwater system. Jet Boating New Zealand

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Garry Stephen-George Meyer PSP Group A

The flow of the day was definitely helped by the fact that the race control team were all ex-jet sprinters, as they could resolve the issues that cropped up quickly and in a way that would not disadvantage the racers at all. The learning curve was steep, but the audience remained largely unaware of any problems that occurred. Thanks to some creative solutions and the judicious dropping of a couple of rounds, the organisers made the 10pm curfew with four minutes to spare. All-in-all the day was a huge success, with drivers and spectators alike going home satisfied after a great day of racing. Was it a fantastic day? Absolutely! Was it perfect? Absolutely not! Will it happen again, better than ever? Almost definitely! Ervin McSweeney has expressed an interest at holding an event at ASB Baypark Stadium next year, and a few other stadium managers have thrown their names into the ring as well. It may well be that, in these days of instant accessibility and online live-streaming of events, the best way to get spectators out to a jetsprint racing event is to take the event to the people – and on January 25th 2014, the ASB Baypark Stadium Championship round proved that it could be done.


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2013 Stuart Blanchard Memorial Race The annual Waimakariri River Race STORY BY: TIM SCOTT IMAGES BY: MIKE SMITH – SSS ENGINEERING


ust a month out from a very successful World Marathon everyone was pleasantly surprised that 18 teams turned out to race the Waimak on 9th November. Following a few weeks of high flows in it was nice to see the river running at a comfortable 130m3 on the day.

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First away was the newly crowned World Champion John Derry in his Charlie’s Turbine. He was followed by NZ2, Paul Collings and the other turbine entry of Regan Williamson. All got away except Malcolm Jenkins in his A-class Keelow who suffered an electrical issue. The race saw a few racers who did not compete in the recent world event and was a good mix of CX and FX entries. Fastest to the top was Regan Williamson in just under 27 minutes. Next to the top was Rob Pooley in 28:12 followed closely behind by Paul Collings and Tim Scott in his CX entry. Cameron Moore lead the FX boats to the top in a time of 31:48. As usual the challenging nature of the Waimak claimed a few boats. Four times in a row NZ1, John Derry, succumbed to the braids and ran aground above the pylons. Jason Young spun up his CX entry and submerged his boat on the bottom in the deeper water. The crew were fine and the sporting nature of the sport was shown



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with following boats stopping to assist where possible. Tony Matterson returned for the weekend only to incur a DNF after a long push. D class entry Rick Johnson and the FX team of Fatboys racing both succumbed to mechanical issues to end their day early. The passing rain cleared from the run up to ensure a dry rest under the gorge bridge. The downward leg on the Waimak is never easy and this day would be no exception. Fastest down was Rob Pooley followed by Tim Scott and Paul Collings. Nigel Butterfield then followed in the Hamilton 182 mono with the twin turbo 454 in a time of 29 minutes. Very impressive in a boat that is now 30 years old. Neither turbines of John nor Regan made it to the bottom. Mark Agnew had an impressive spin on a shelf to allow Cameron Moore to take a lead in FX ahead of Nick Sullivan and Mark Whittaker. With a large crowd, some nice weather and some close times, the circuit race was set

to be a great event. The higher flow of the river allowed for a fast track to be set and a big crowd gathered to watch the spectacle unfold.

in the fact that 6 of the top 7 finishers were Canterbury based racers. Please see youtube, facebook and for plenty of video and photo action from the day.

The first leg of 4 laps was led away by Cameron Moore who secured the FX win after a clean run. Next home was Gareth Munro who finished a consistent day by taking out A class honours. The only boat to not finish was Tony Matterson who suffered water intake pressure issues overtaking another boat. The second leg was sure to be a good battle with Paul Collings holding a slender lead of 21 seconds for second place over Tim Scott. First away was John Derry followed by the event leader Rob Pooley who managed to maintain his position in the circuit race to take overall honours for the day. Malcolm Jenkins returned for the circuit races and his positioning behind ‘slower’ boats ensured there was plenty of entertainment for the spectators. Team Collings managed to preserve their lead over Tim and Will who ended up with third place. Once again the Blanchard race was a great spectacle and the Waimak provided plenty of challenging boating. This was reflected

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fire in a jetboat is an extremely fast and usually catastrophic event. The majority occur when petrol fumes build up in the bottom of the boat prior to starting the engine. Prevention is the best strategy.

LEAVING HOME If you travel with the bungs OUT of the boat airflow prevents fume build up. Unless dusty roads prevent it then travel at least the last few kilometres with the boat cover off. AT THE RIVER On arrival at the launching, your very first action should be to lift the engine cover, only lowering it just prior to starting the engine. Only the driver should be in the boat when you first start the engine. AT LUNCH STOPS Lifting the engine cover at extended stops is a wise precaution, this also lessens vaporisation of fuel in the carb/fuel system from a hot engine so helps starting. Again restarting the engine with only the driver aboard is wisest. PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE When did you last check or replace your fuel lines and when did you last check for leaks? We recommend more than one fire extinguisher, experience shows they do not last very long. Ross Denton JBNZ SAFETY OFFICER



Jet Boating New Zealand

Jet Boating New Zealand • FEBRUARY 2011


Jet Boat Base • Christchurch • 03 323 9040

Great boats for great times


World Jet Boat Marathon

Subcommittee and Organisers Report WAYNE DUFFY


wo years in the planning, including holding the 2012 NZ Marathon on the same track in the first year on Otago and Southland rivers, has proven to be a good formula to holding what we have been told was a successful World Jet Boat Marathon.



Jet Boating New Zealand

But it couldn’t have been accomplished without a full commitment from a group of up to 40 club members within Otago and Southland Branches that worked very well together. These members are firstly, passionate jet boaters, and secondly, have an interest and following of river racing. Spear heading the overall group as race organiser and chairman of our Subcommittee - Tim Guthrie, with the help of his wife Katy, have both put countless hours into the organising and writing up of meeting minutes. Several times working well into the early hours of the morning to email them through to us all before we were even awake. Often I said to Tim “Tim did you take that laptop to bed with you?”

Eddie Mckenzie, our race controller, with the assistance of Toni Chittock, have also put countless hours into the organising where his expertise lies with rivers, dealing with councils, and consents etc. Being very conversant with rules and safety Eddie was the main author of our safety plan, which had to be submitted to appropriate authorities and signed off, before the event could actually start. Having Garth McMaster, our JBNZ President on board as part of the subcommittee, was a bonus for us, with his wealth of experience in river racing. His position on the National Executive also meant that he was able to wear two hats. From a a competitor’s, and from an organisers

Jet Boating New Zealand

• 93

point of view where he worked between ourselves, RRA and the Association. Especially with the introduction of Rally safe, which is collectively an electronic GPS, timing and safety module fitted to all race and patrol boats. This was dumped on us in the year of the Worlds, the concept was a great idea, however we could have done with a few prior races to get it sorted properly for both users and organisers before the world event. I believe it worked well for those sitting at home and overseas covering the marathon on the net. However for the future of racing once a few bugs are sorted out I believe the Rally Safe unit will be a huge asset to racers and organisers in the interests of safety. The rest of the official group to help run the marathon was made up of starters and finishing crew doing the timing, launch wardens who were seriously welcomed on some rivers with limited access to keep the momentum of boats in and out of the water. The aid of tractors donated with quick hitch linkage systems for use on some of the rivers with poor retrieval points, Don Gutsell’s Promed three medic crew and Doctor, Otago Helicopters with David Gale at the helm, our Back up patrol boats and crews [Southland and Otago] made up of three medics and four towing boats which were used frequently towing broken down race boats, trailer check crews on bridges, tech inspectors, Rusty Wright our comms man who is normally stuck up on the side of some boring hill by himself as radio communications are now paramount to any race as proven, our lady operating the Didymo cleaning station after every race, and finally our two divers that were on standby, one being stationed in a helicopter, the other in a boat in case 94

Jet Boating New Zealand

of an incident but thankfully were only needed to clean the grills of race boats and directing them onto trailers. Everybody in the group had a job to do, and it had to be done well, which I believe made it a well organised successful marathon. Apart from the weather on two occasions on the Waiau and Matukituki legs, which made conditions unbearable for both competitors and organisers resulting in both down legs being cancelled, I don’t think there was much else we could have done. Well that’s from a Patrol boat point of view, as it was really up to racers to do their job safely and stay on the river which they did.

The only medical issues we had was within our own crews with a couple of patrol boats having a low speed collision, resulting in one of the dedicated wives putting her hand out to stop the oncoming boat. This resulted in a trip to hospital and losing a finger nail, but Kerri was back the next day in Divey’s boat, big bandage on little finger and all. The other medical event was one of Garth’s trailer crew hit in the back of the leg by an opposing trailer crew at a launching site. Apparently he jumped up and down a bit and wasn’t happy, but the fact is that Nippa makes so much noise you can’t shut him up anyway, and no one takes him seriously. Until a few weeks later his wife got sick of his winging and told him to bugger off to the hospital

to get checked out which resulted to be small fracture. So apart from that Dons crew thankfully were not needed . At end of the day it’s not a marathon without its racers, with a fine line up of thirty New Zealand Competitors, seven Canadian and a Mexican entrant which I think made it more of a world event, as they demonstrated some very fast, competitive and a crowd pleasing racing spectacle. Well done to all you guys, (and ladies) racers and organisers, we had a ball, the way it should be, it’s one of the better marathons I have been involved with.

Jet Boating New Zealand

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JET BOA GLENORCHY WANAKA Friday 21st March 3pm to 5.30pm Tech inspection & Boat Show, Glenorchy Boat Ramp

Downstream Beansburn to Glenorc Upstream Glenorchy Ramp to Bean Downstream Beansburn to Glenorc

Saturday 22nd March Dart River Upstream Glenorchy Ramp to Beansburn - 8.30am

Sunday 23rd Mar Matukituki River Upstream Glendhu Bay to Beech Fo

See NZJBRRA Website and facebook page for daily upd



21-23 MARCH


chy Ramp - 10.15am nsburn - 12.30pm chy Ramp - 2.15pm


orest - 9.00am

Downstream Beach Forest to West Wanaka Bridge - 10.45am Upstream Glendhu Bay to Beech Forest - 1.00pm Downstream Beach Forest to West Wanaka Bridge - 2.45pm Prizegiving - 5.30pm - Lone Star Wanaka Please note: programme is subject to change at the organising committee’s discretion




his magazine is all about your stories and experiences, the members really do appreciate reading about your jet boating adventures!

Getting your stories to me can present challenges, particularly for those not so well conversed in the ways of computers. If you’re more adept to removing an impeller than editing photographs, or can read a braided river easier than operating a word processor then read on! By far the best way to send your article is via email, however we accept and encourage all other forms of communication. I will endeavor to respond to every article received to confirm it has arrived, but if you haven’t heard back from me within three working days of sending it give me a call, it often has got lost in the big wide interweb!

If you’re more adept to removing an impeller than editing photographs, or can read a braided river easier than operating a word processor then read on

If you are sending photographs please keep in mind we prefer large file sizes but the email system cannot cope with them very well. I use Google mail and the most I can send or receive is 25 mb, most internet service providers have similar limitations, xtra for example only allow 20 mb. If you have bought a digital camera recently and have it on the highest setting this roughly equates to six photographs. If your files are quite large the best option is to send them one at a time in multiple emails. Everybody likes to see captions, the best way for captioning your photos is renaming the files. Simply name the file and I can then use that as a caption in the article. ie: “Lunch stop at the top of the Whakatane River” In any case if you’re not sure or get stuck feel free to contact me and I’ll help where I can. email: CLARK MARSHALL


Jet Boating New Zealand

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Canada Canada Canada Canada Canada Canada Canada Canada Australia Canada Canada Canada • 101



Jet Boating New Zealand

CLASSIFIEDS SELL: 2005 3.75 Scott Jetboat with Scott unit. 5.3 Chev LM7, approx 350 hp. New upholstery and paint. Electric forward/reverse and trim nozzle. White water cover. New 12 mm bottom and planing strikes. 100L fuel capacity. Microtech computer. All alloy trailer, new tyres, rego and warrant. $37000 ono. Ph 0211330860 WANTED: Berkeley droop snoot steering nozzle,anything considered. phone Ross on 0272118411 or 03 3597036 SELL: ALEXCRAFT 4.5 Jet boat low sides 135 hours Ford V6 3.8 litre EFI engine Scott single stage jet unit Full instrumentation Two front bucket seats, rear bench seat Lightweight engine & unit allows sharp, precise Handling. Mid mounted fuel tank Good order Galvanized trailer with bow stone skirts $39,999 ono 03 4431652 SELL: 2005 KwikKraft genuine 46hrs , 5.3 m aluminium hull, full windscreen, painted to chines, seats 6; 392 HP Wasp Marine 6L Gen 3 Chevrolet LQ9, heat exchanger, Motec 800 management; HJ212 Jet Unit; KwikKraft alloy trailer, mag wheels incl spare, LED lighting, full road cover. $49,000. Ph: Peter 021 965 260. SELL: Invader Jet44 mk2, 752 unit, 1978 Falcon 250 engine with heat exchanger, sand trap etc. Hull is in very good condition and the engine has only done a genuine 398 hours from new. Galv braked trailer. This is a very reliable classic. $11,000 ono. phone Mike 021 322496 SELL: 20 foot Aluminium hull, built by Hamilton Jet in 1993 in good condition, repainted, 211 jet unit, Chevy 350 engine with very few hours. Savage heat exchanger and exhaust. Twin axle trailer, also refurbished. ready to go. Call Pete on 03-488 2943 $36,500 ono SELL: NZJBA Magazines dating back to 1973, over 140 copies all in excellent condition. Great reading and pictorial history of our sport. $340 ono. Ph 03 3427082

These Classifieds are for members non-commercial use only. Free of charge. Email your advert to Jet Boating New Zealand

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ADVERTISING RATES (FULL COLOUR) Inside front cover Inside back cover Outside back cover Full page Half page Quarter page

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All prices exclude GST All art work must be supplied in full colour and at the correct size, in an approved file format. A design facility is available for advertisements. Contact the magazine producer for further details.

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Inside Back

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Deadline for next issue is 15 April 2014

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Westlander Jet Boats 102

Clark Marshall email: Cell: +61 487 395 745 Postal Address: 42 Woodard Terrace, Somerfield, ChCh 8024

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Jet Boating New Zealand

Jet Boating Feb 2014 No 203  

The official journal of Jet Boating New Zealand Inc

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