Avante / Avanti

A message from the new owners.AH
We have recently purchased Avante – a motorsailer from 1946.
We are trying to find more history on her – if any of your members can help.  We found her Registered # carved in as 178442 and Nett Tonnage to be 2.02 tonne
What I have found out from Maritime NZ is:
Her registered name is Avante even though her plaque say Avanti
She was registered in NZ in 1949 and her registration closed in 2003 under Section 91 of Ship Registration Act
Her year of build was 1946 by Bruce Eady in Auckland.  She was designed by Brian Donovan,with a cutter rig and is double diagonal Kauri with carvel plank.
Construction started in 1939 by Brian and his boatbuilder brother Des but nothing was done during the war until 1945 when Brian sold her to Bruce Eady and Bruce put on the third skin and completed the job.
She was launched at Mission Bay in 1946 with a 4 cylinder Gray auxiliary.
Eady sold her to N R Sanson in 1954.
She was in the Sanson family for many years, at least until 1990.
She was stolen in 1973 for a while.
She has a registered length of 8.58 meters.
I have attached some photos of her as we found her in Tauranga – at present she is on our front lawn and work has started on her refurbishment.
Any info anyone may have would be great. Email Ann at
Note: Thanks to Harold Kid for input re known history
B/W photos,  just before launching, supplied by Don Currie , those dad worked with Bruce Eady on Avanti. Avanti was completed on an emptly section on Cogrington Crescent, Mission Bay, his father and Bruce worked on the boat in a partnership.  Don’s parents met through Avanti (one of his Mum’s aunts lived a couple of houses up the road in Codrington Cr), they are still together, and I understand they were right chuffed to hear that the boat is about to get a bit of a birthday.
SIDEBAR 2 (Ken Ricketts)
Photo added of Avante taken in 1949/50 in Matiatia when he was 12 years old
SIDEBAR 3 (by Bruce Eddy ex Ken Ricketts)
I and Graeme Currie worked on her together during the war.  Materials were scarce we had no electricity so everything was done with hand tools.  I remember carving out the original mast by hand what a job.
The correct name or the name i christened her is Avanti.
The two crew mentioned in the photo at Matiatia are John Kernahan and Vern DeGroot.  Graeme and I spent hours riveting and with his design brilliance, we installed a gray marine in the cockpit, reverse position driving a 2 to 1 chain reduction.  Petrol shortage made us build a heat exchanger to switch to kerosene.  The lead keel we moulded on site with firewood from scrape suffering many personal lead burns.  Originally I installed a small wood burner stove and we made our own style toilet.  The rig was my own design and given a good wind on a reach we would keep up with many yachts.
SIDEBAR 4 (by Ann Tobin, current owner, ex Ken Ricketts)
Currently she is sitting on our front lawn in Kaikohe – the photos on waitematawoodys are the day we hauled her out and had her trucked up in May this year.  She hadn’t been out of the water (or off her marina berth at Bridge Marina Tauranga) for 9 years.
We have found an amount of rot in her (mainly just the planks) and she is slowly drying out.  At present the interior is gutted – she had been leaking through the cabin top and the inside was completely ruined.
Avante is now powered with a Sole Diesel – which we have out and intend to have blasted and painted (at present sitting on our garage floor on a pellet) – The engine would not run – a starter motor issue we believe.  Steve (my husbands) father has worked on these engines so looking forward to getting it going.
I believe that the previous owner used her as a batch basically in Tauranga as he lived in Huntly.
I have attached some photos of her at home for you (added to the montage above AH) – you can see where we have started stripping paint and some of the areas of rot we have found.  There is also a couple of the cabin top which is now sealed and Steve has started to fiberglass.  It had a type of cloth over it which has split – never been repaired – and therefore was leaking like the proverbial sieve!
Sometimes I think we are mad – but others cant wait to see her back in the water.  Wooden boats are in my blood – Mum and Dad did a similar thing with “Isa Lei” back in the 90’s – we see she has just been resold by a guy in Whitianga.

4 thoughts on “Avante / Avanti

  1. Craziest things can happen on Christmas day
    My daughter sent a photo of herself on a boat to a friend
    The friends dad must be a boatie as he linked it to this page
    The boat being AVANTE “Avanti”
    I owned Avante from 1996
    The new owner can contact me for more info
    Ross Smedley


  2. Keep up the good pork Ann oyur doing a great job — does Bruce (Eady) know of your progress — will ring him if you like — KEN RICKETTS


  3. Just an update – further extensive renovations now required – hope to have her back in water for this Christmas – may join the CYA for Anniversary Weekend (if we have learnt how to sail her!)


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