Eric Heath’s wonderful colour drawing of the Club as it was about the 1960’s.
The first official record of the Club's formation goes back to a meeting held in the Karehana Dressing Shed on 4 April 1925. This meeting was called to discuss firstly the reorganisation of the Paremata Boating Club, or the formation of a separate club in Plimmerton. Present at this meeting were Messrs W. Amon, J.W. Johnson, R. Lane, A. Smith, W. Todd, W. Pack, T. Harper, T. Bryant, G. Groves, R. Mildenhall and G. Thompson. The meeting resolved "that a separate club be formed in Plimmerton".
The Paremata Boating Club had been formed in 1924, but there was clearly a wish on the part of Plimmertonians to have their own Club. A further meeting was held on 2nd May 1925 when it was resolved "That the formation of the Club be proceeded with".
A proposal put forward at this meeting to name the Club Horokiwi Boating Club was defeated and it was formally resolved that the name of the Club be “Plimmerton Boating Club” A general meeting held on 16th May 1925 adopted general and sailing rules and elected two life members Messrs H. France and A, Stirling.
A Club burgee was also adopted at this time being that of a red diamond horizontally on a white background.
Since its inception boating activities have been centred on the Club's present day site known originally as the Point. Messrs G.A. Troup and C.S. Moore owned this land of approximately l3 acres Who owned a lot of land in the area.
A lot of this had been acquired because it was apparently thought that the rail line would run around the coastline and a port would be developed in the Karehana Bay area. This was not to be however and the rail line was developed generally where it still exists today.
Access to Plimmerton in those early days from Paremata was by rail only or a somewhat tortuous road trip of approximately 8 miles through Pauatahanui. It was not until October 1936 when the Paremata Road Bridge opened that Mana and Plimmerton property development accelerated. When the Club commenced its activities there was already in existence a local Slip Owners Association who controlled a launching slipway. Some minor conflicts arose with the formation of the Boating Club but after a series of meetings these issues were resolved.
The Club had permission to erect a boatshed on part of the site and in March 1926 a formal lease was entered into at an annual rental of one pound. Later, in 1942, the Club purchased the whole of the point.
The following details taken from Minute Books and correspondence, outline other notable developments of the Club. From its inception the Club held yacht races on Saturday only. It seems that some of the Founders had strong views on Sunday activities, and felt that this day should be a "day of rest". This policy continued until 1975, although in 1939 the Committee agreed to allow Sunday racing during the Cornwell Cup. In the mid 20's at Easter a 2 day regatta was held, one day each at Paremata and Plimmerton. The permanent Paremata regatta started in the early 30's, in the format it has been sailed for years. Although Plimmerton still had racing at Easter this ceased from 1933.
The first Clubhouse was started at the end of the season. Tribute was paid to the major efforts of many members for the considerable financial help, building material contributions, and voluntary labour supplied. It is understood that to get Bank finance for the first Clubhouse, all of the eleven persons who attended the Club formation meeting on 4 April 1925 gave personal guarantees of 50 pounds. This was quite a major commitment at the time (sections were selling for 55-60 pounds) and a great contribution by these members. Over the ensuing 4 years after the Clubhouse was completed the Club's fundraising etc. enabled these guarantees to be cancelled. Completion of the building in September 1929 was a great milestone for the Club. Throughout this decade the Club continued to develop, with steady growth in the recognized Z and X class yachts, with representation at the Cornwell and Sanders Cups National Contests. A yachting highlight for the Club occurred in January 1937 when M & K Watson won the national Z class Cornwell Cup contest at Tauranga. The Watson twins are among the oldest surviving members of the Club, and continue to take a keen interest in its activities. The 1938 Cornwell Cup was sailed at Plimmerton (the defenders) andPlimmerton was again successful with A.D. Barren and A. Edginton the winning crew. In those days the Cup was won by the crew being first to win 3 races, with the boat hulls being exchanged for each race. The condition of some of the hulls led to major arguments at various contests. At one contest 9 races were required to find a 3-race winner.
This period saw the outbreak of war, which affected racing and club activities generally. Many club members were away serving with the Armed Forces. However in 1941 another yachting success saw Plimmerton yacht "Tassie" win the Wellington Sanders Cup trials, and represent the province at Auckland. The crew comprised Ken Pickering (4th man). Ken Watson (f.h). Snow Cameron (3rd man) and Mel Watson (skipper).
With the threat of the war and seaward invasion the Army took over occupation of the Clubhouse and land and several boatsheds were required to be removed for gun pit placement and general defenses. The Clubhouse and slipway had explosives planted underneath so that they could be flattened to ensure visibility for shooting defenses should the enemy appear.
Some sailing still occurred within the bay area and special permits had to be carried by members.
Up to 20 Army personnel manned the Clubhouse for approximately 3 years. The War period meant that various functions had to be cancelled with a loss of revenue. In January 1942 the Club Committee resolved to seek compensation for this and a claim for 1200 pounds was decided on. This was held over however, following discussions and the Army Department agreed to pay a weekly rental of 1-10-0 (one pound ten shillings).
In April 1942, a special meeting was hastily convened following intimation of the Army's intention to demolish the Clubhouse. Fortunately this did not occur. After the War the Club required the Army to remove the two gun pits remaining on the property and in March 1943 accepted 80 (eighty pounds) for demolition and restoration costs for 8 boatsheds. Although the Club received some compensation, one of the young girls of the time recalled, "It wasn't worth it, because the soldiers with their hob-nailed boots ruined our dance floor". Thanks Mary Casey (nee Jobson) for that recollection.
Despite the troubled times of the early 40's, some important events occurred for the Club. Firstly it became an Incorporated Body in January 1942, and then probably the greatest event in the Club's History occurred in February 1942 when it was agreed to purchase the whole land area ( la.3r 27p) at the point for 275 (two hundred & seventy five pounds).
This was a major achievement for the Club, and most generous on the part of the owners Messrs Troup and Moore, as the Government Valuation at the time was 695 (six hundred and ninety five pounds).
A lot of time was spent by the Committee on all aspects of the land purchase. Messrs. T. Dodson and F. Ross were heavily involved in the negotiations with the owners. The purchase was also assisted considerably by Mr H.D. Dodson (father of T. Dodson) loaning the Club 100 pounds by way of mortgage. In 1943-45 a start was made on rebuilding several of the small boatsheds, but this was hampered by a lack of building materials following the war.
Highlights being Gordon Ward winning the P class Wellington Provincial Trials and the right to represent Wellington in the NZ Tanner Cup championships, Another was the success of Bill and Ivan Casey in the Z class Damfino winning the Wellington Championships and the Paremata Easter Regatta Championship.
A further 12 Army huts were purchased to provide additional boatsheds with a 100 (one hundred pounds) loan from Mr H.D. Dodson. In 1947-48 further sheds were built bringing the total to 26. With a strong demand for sheds at this time the Committee resolved "A canoe or flat-bottomed dinghy (flattie) shall not be entitled to shed space".
Once again social activities were severely restricted, this time with the infantile paralysis (polio) epidemic.
At the 1948 AGM it was resolved "to acquire a suitable boat with enginefor pick-up and general rescue work". This was launched on 19 November 1949 and named the "Deryck Barren" in commemoration of the only active member of the Club who lost his life in the Navy during the war. The boat was built by a Shetland Islander Jock McCaIlum (based on an original lifeboat design) on his property at Abel Smith Street Wellington Frank Newman, Fred Jobson, and Fred Sellens comprised the original crew.
The Rescue Boat Shed was located close to the current shed with rails leading down to the water. The boat could be launched quickly but had to be hand-winched back up to the shed with considerable muscle power help. It was powered by a single-cylinder simplex petrol inboard motor with a large flywheel. Later this was replaced with a small diesel.
Prior to the Club acquiring its own rescue boat, members and locals had carried out many rescues; and of course this has continued throughout the years. Yachts capsized, with broken fittings, boats with engine trouble, sinking, catching fire etc., and today windsurfers exhausted and so on, it has all happened in the local waters.
In December 1946, one rescue attracted special attention from the Royal Humane Society.