Here we have the 26’ Mullet boat Celox thundering down the Hauraki Gulf running under spinnaker before a south westerly in 1914. A steamer is heading down the channel towards North Head and into Auckland harbour. The painting has the viewer looking from another vessel as can be seen by the bow wave at bottom left. The painting illustrates the enormous spread of canvas these stout vessels carried. The other two Mullet boats behind Celox are also racing. Celox was built by Logan Brothers in 1908. Noted for her speed, over time she accumulated a very impressive racing history.
Mullet boats began life sometime in the 1880s as fishing smacks with retractable keels and shallow draft so they could easily sidle deep into the estuaries of the Waitemata Harbour to ply their trade. The lack of refrigeration made them fast – the quickest boat would have the freshest catch for the fish markets at the bottom of Queen St. As recreational sailing became more popular at the beginning of the 20th century, prize money and gambling took off, attracting more mullet boats to the weekend regattas and fuelling refinements in design. Fierce rivalries developed, often spilling off the boats and into the yacht clubs afterwards.