Waiheke Working Sail Newsletter, February 2014

Dear friends and supporters of the “Kate” project,

Welcome to our summer newsletter. This is our chance to keep you posted on progress and talk about current plans.  First of all, many thanks to all who turned up for the working bee last December. We achieved a lot in smartening her up, and had a good time too.

The state of the “Kate”

In 2011 Bernard made extensive repairs to the “Kate” for her previous owner, assisted by Tom and Joe, who are now our apprentices. The brief was to enable her to be floated across the inlet to her present berth. In the process we came to know her condition quite well, and what would be required to make her fully seaworthy. In a major restoration like this one can expect a few nasty surprises, and this was allowed for in the estimates.

A patch of rot in the forefoot (where the stem joins the keel) concerned Bernard. Dosing it with Metalex was not successful, as the timber holding the fastenings has deteriorated and the planking has started to come adrift from the stem. This means a new forefoot, and the sooner the better before the rot spreads any further. This will be challenging, but it’s doable and will be a great learning project for our apprentices.

Stage 1: Haul-out.

Our plan is to haul the Kate out at the Boating Club, replace the forefoot, renew at least 6 frames, trace a mystery leak around the rudder and whatever other jobs we can manage in the time. The goal is to be no more than two months out of the water, to avoid drying out which would cause the planks to shrink. The estimate for this phase of the project is $10,000 that we should ideally have in the bank before going ahead. Our apprentices Tom and Joe are keen to get started, and we would be able to employ a professional boat builder.


Once hauled out, we have a generous offer of a free survey by Robin Williams, one of New Zealand’s foremost experts, who does the Maritime Museum’s vessels. This will give us a clearer idea of the overall size of the project, and confirm or otherwise the validity of my own assessments and plans.

Once back in the water, work can continue as funds permit on re-building the stern and new belting, and the interior during winter.

Pohutukawa Crooks

We put out a call for wood suitable for the new frames. Response has been good and we now have almost enough, including one that will probably do for the new forefoot. We now need the use of a chainsaw mill, If you have one please let Bernard know.

Cedar Logs for spars

Another 10 trees have been felled by Brett Thom in Nugents Bay (79 Gt. Barrier Rd. road, 100m up from Enclosure Bay) so we’re planning a working bee, Saturday 22 March, 9.30am onwards to move them into the shade where they can be stored to dry slowly. BYO snacks, drink or lunch, we should be finished by midday. They are mostly about the same size as the last lot.

The trees have been identified as Leylandia, a hybrid cross between cedar and cypress. We peeled one at the working bee, it will make a nice boom or gaff.


Success – After a challenging bout of bureaucracy, and with many thanks to our secretary, Christine Orchard, we are now fully registered for charitable status from the Dept. of Internal Affairs. This means that your donations become tax-deductible. Keep your receipts and pin them to your tax return for a refund.

So now we want to appeal to you to consider giving generously.

The goal of this project is that we have a fully seaworthy ship that can be used full-time to give every young person on Waiheke (and some from beyond) the chance to discover their potential, and help them find their direction in life.

Restoring her will be a challenge for our apprentices, and sailing her under her original rig will give an historic insight into how our forefathers got around before internal combustion engines were invented.

To run a full-time programme will require at least a manager and a qualified skipper whom will both need to be paid; we can reasonably expect some volunteer help with relief skippers and mates. An estimate of annual running expenses is $166,000, and to restore her $212,000, much of which may come in volunteer labour and donations of materials.

All donations of whatever size are welcome; we want the “Kate” to be owned by the whole Waiheke community.

Here is how you can give:

  • If you don’t have money but have time to volunteer labour, or can donate materials, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Bernard on 372 5621 or email bernard.rhodes@gmail.com.
  • A one-off contribution for the restoration. This can conveniently be done on the ‘Give a Little’ facility on our website. Visit http://wws.onewaiheke.org.
  • An annual subscription. $50 is suggested, as for the “Spirit of New Zealand”.
  • A monthly Automatic Payment; we have one already of $30/month, very useful.
  • Larger donations: for the refit, and we hope to be able ultimately to build up an investment fund, so we can live off the interest. One attractive possibility in this regard is an endowment fund; the donor retains the capital and donates the interest. Please talk to Bernard to discuss further.

Our KiwiBank account number is 38-9014-0889139-00 for direct credit, (Please email bruce@aria.ac with name, address and amount for a receipt) or cheques can be sent to Waiheke Working Sail, 104 Wharf Rd. Ostend, Waiheke Island 1081.

Can we do it? Yes, we can!  Let’s make this happen.

Best regards,

Bernard and the Waiheke Working Sail Crew.