Newsletter March 2015


The re-launch party was an enjoyable celebration on the beach. Old friends met and new friendships were made in the shade of the gazebos, with the Royal Fortune band singing sea shanties, a sausage sizzle, cakes and ginger beer.

As the tide rose around the old ship Tom and Joe hopped aboard and reported she wasn’t leaking at all! Quite an achievement considering the extensiveness of repairs.

A fanfare on trombone greeted her as she floated off, and was warped in to the beach.

This means the project to get her sailing and licensed as a Sail Training Ship is about 20% complete. The worst is behind us, the rot has been dealt with, from now on it’s mostly new construction – re-building the stern to its original, elegant shape, then new bulwarks, aft cabin with a binnacle for the wheel, onwards and upwards to the spars,rigging and sails, downwards to the ballast keel, engine, rudder and accommodation, and sideways to the paperwork for complying with Maritime NZ regulations.


Our supporters list now numbers over 100, and many of you have asked how you can help. The short answer is – MONEY! The coffers are empty, and we urgently need donations to keep up the momentum. Please think seriously about this investment in the Island’s future, and donate what you can.

Progress to date has demonstrated the competence of the project; we have also undertaken peer reviews to support our case for fund-raising, and these are now on our website. They are:

  • A report by Robin Williams, one of NZ’s leading marine surveyors. Download report here.
  • A report by David Waters, who has twice sailed round the world in boats he built himself, and for 11 years owned the “Kate” ‘s sister-ship “Rewa”. Download report here.
  • A letter of support from Mike Birdsall, field officer for NZ Marine, who supervises the apprentice training programme. Download letter here.

These reviews have also been useful in seeking advice on some of the gnarlier repair problems.

The Waiheke Boating Club have been very supportive, and we thank them for the free use of the hardstand and tent. The hardstand will be closed on 20th April for about 2 months while a wash-down facility is installed and the electrical supply upgraded. The green shed behind the clubhouse has to be re-clad with plywood to replace the old asbestos-based Fibrolite, and we desperately need premises for storage, so I have arranged with the Committee for us to help with this, and put some clear panels in the roof, to make a small workshop we can use, and share with club members when we’re there and it’s open. I’ll let you know when there’s a working bee.

So, plenty still to do, but with your help step by step we’ll get there.