The Windward
Where did Windward go?

Almost 100 years ago, four keen young men at Victoria University in Wellington got together to share their love of the sea and purchased the yacht Windward, with a view to carry on racing her as well as local cruising.

Built in Wellington in 1911 by highly regarded boat builder Ralph Millman, she was of heart kauri, the hull double skinned with two tons of lead in her keel. Overall length was 26ft 6inches. She was a proven performer built to cope with rough weather and had made numerous crossings of Cook Strait.

Over time, the group of four grew in confidence as they put Windward through her paces and became familiar with every aspect of her performance. The boat was immaculately maintained; all equipment kept up to date and every available navigational and safety aid available at this time was on board.

It was Christmas morning 1930 when Windward sailed out of Wellington Heads bound for the Chatham Islands, arriving safely and to a great welcome from the locals who proved to be great hosts.

After five days and with uncertain weather forecasts looming, the crew decided it was time to head for home. This proved to be a slow trip taking nine days before she was sighted by another vessel off the coast of Cape Palliser, under full sail heading for Wellington Harbour. It appeared that all was well.

When Windward failed to show up in Wellington, searchers began looking for her or any trace of her. Nothing was ever found… not even a single piece of wreckage, no bodies and no single item carried in or on the vessel.

Today the mystery still remains…. what did happen to Windward and her fine crew?

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