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June 4, 2023

Peter Warner to launch book of sailing tales in Ballina on May 9

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Locals with an interest in tales of adventure on the high seas and Ballina’s maritime history are invited to the launch of Peter Warner’s autobiography at the Richmond River Sailing Club tomorrow (Thursday).

The 88-year-old Lismore resident will share a series of stories from his colourful life as a fishing captain and ocean racer with the launch of the three-part book.

This includes sailing up the Richmond in 1972 in his Tongan fishing vessel, before the Woodburn Bridge was built, to York Bros Shipyard in Swan Bay.

Ballina local Peter Warner will launch his autobiography in Ballina on May 9.

His island crew were dismayed when the York brothers and their gang cut his ship in half and pulled the two sections apart.

‘The crew thought they would never see Tonga again,’ Peter said.

‘They were convinced there was no way the ship could ever be refloated, but the skilled welders inserted a new midship section to lengthen the ship and we sailed it for many more years.’

Based in Tonga for three decades, Peter voyaged around the Pacific in small vessels from China to New Zealand.

Earlier in life he competed in many ocean races and in the 60s he won line honours three times in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in his famous old schooner ‘Astor’.

He will share some of the rich maritime history of Ballina and the Richmond River area during tomorrow’s launch.

‘Everybody is welcome to come, learn and quiz an old man on land and sea topics at the Richmond River Sailing Club,’ said Peter.

‘It’s a night of story telling so I’d love for anyone with memories of the earlier days to come and share a few yarns.’

The event kicks off at 5pm at the Richmond River Sailing Club on River Street Ballina. Nibbles and soft drinks provided.

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  1. Hellow my name is Carolyn Feiloaki and I’m Tongan. My father used to work with Peter Warner since the 1970s here in Tonga, his name is Kepu Kafovalu. I still remember Peter Warner when I was little because my dad took me to his workplace a few times. I’m sure this is Peter Warner who was Tonga in the 1970s base in Touliki area. What I’m after if there’s any contact with Peter Warner for I want to contact him myself….Carolyn


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