Latest Anthony Blake | A Modern Day Heirloom Thu, 19 Dec 2019

"Ariki" leads "Rainbow" and "Thelma" past the Rangitoto lighthouse during the Auckland Anniversary Regatta of January 29th, 1909.

Oil on Linen Canvas 60 x 90 cm $90,000

In a closely fought race, in fresh northerly winds and breaking seas, "Ariki" led from the start to the finish line. "Rainbow" finished second and "Thelma" third.

In the painting the three yachts had already rounded a markboat stationed out beyond the Rangitoto Lighthouse and were surfing under spinnakers on their way back. All the yachts have crewmen weighing down the spinnaker booms to prevent them from "skying".

"Rainbow" has her mainsheet eased too far and crew, down the stern, are hauling it in. Her spinnaker sheet is also eased too far. This situation has caused her to roll to windward. Clouds cast shadows over the water on the other side of "Ariki" and over sections of Rangitoto.

Each yacht has a number that was issued for the race only. A fixed number system did not start until 1922.

The wind the previous day was up to gale force from the north creating large breaking seas out to the north of the lighthouse. There was some talk, by the regatta officials, of postponing the regatta, but the race day dawned with better conditions. Initially it was cloudy but during the middle of the race, as shown, there was a considerable break in the clouds and the sun shone through.

All three of these yachts, which are all over 100 years old, have been restored to their original glory and nowadays race together again on the Waitemata Harbour.