Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka

Avalon & Russell’s Regatta – #128

Avalon & Russell’s Regatta – #128

The Avalon, built in 1927, is seen here taking time out from her usual pursuit of chasing big game fish in the Bay of Islands – officiating in another Russell tradition, the Regatta. The Regatta began in 1912; it was held each summer until the 1950s and included races for yachts, launches and dinghies. When Mr GT Forbes, who had been on the Regatta Committee in its last term of office, sold his business and left Russell in 1960, he handed two books to the Russell Museum Committee to be stored. He saw the need for storing the records so that they could be consulted in the future and to prevent the possibility of them being destroyed. They are still there, waiting. The Avalon though was eventually to leave Russell for good. Originally skippered by Peter Williams for Zane Grey in the 1920s and 30s, both here and in Australia, Avalon was sold to the RNZ Navy in the 1940s. Les Blomfield bought her back after the war and Avalon came home. Les fished in her until he had a stroke and was unable to continue fishing – son Ritchie took her over, finally selling to someone in Auckland. Eventually Avalon was restored to her original state, in Opua, but is now on display at the International Gamefish Association Museum in Florida – a long way from home.