The History of NIKA-SIA – 1967 >2014

The History of NIKA-SIA – 1967 >2014 

photos & details ex Ken Rickets. edited by AlanH

This profile started with Ken spotting Nika-Sia in Brin Wilson’s shed, Ken has known Nika-Sia since new  in 1967.

The first feature that caught Kens eye was the almost original presentation of this classic vessel.

When launched she had beautiful varnished mahogany combings & also a varnished tuck, with a navy blue boot top & the name in gold leaf accross the tuck- back then only a few boats had a varnished tuck e.g Winsome II, Cachalot, & Valhallah I,  were probably just about all of them. Today she no longer sports the beautiful mahogany combings & stern, being sadly now white & thus in Ken & my eyes missing that special classic look. But its only paint & fingers crossed one day the scrapers & varnish brush will come out.


35ft 3 long, 13 feet beam, 3 ft 9 draft, hard chine, & built of African mahogany.


She is powered by 185 hp  naturally aspirated Cummins V8 truck engine (nz conversion) uprated to 210 hp during a pre-installation rebuild (150 engine hrs ago). This engine replaced an almost identical one, thereby matching her as launched set up. The engine is set fairly well aft, partially under the main cabin aft bunk & partially in the cockpit, driving forward through a vee drive, built in to the gearbox, along with a 2 to 1 reduction gear.

She has 2 rubber exhaust pipes going out to the tuck, (one form each bank of cylinders), which Ken recalls she has had since new, with an external underwater exhaust fitting on each one, of a type introduced in the 1960s which were added a while after she was built.


She is in outstandingly good condition & by appearance, superbly original inside, still with lots of lovely original looking varnish work — see photos &  even has the original stove, which still has its original instruction book with it.

The photo tagged ‘1980s Putting on some fresh make up’ show the Epithaning of Nika-Sia at the McMullen & Wing yard c.1985. Ice White colour on final  — 7 coats in total.

The present owner Kim Saull, has family connections to Brin Wilson Boatbuilders where she is currently getting loads of TLC from the outstanding group of craftsmen there.


Launched 1967 designed by Ben Hipkin & partly built by him, trading as ‘Supreme Craft Ltd’, a company he bought off Mac McGeady when he was an apprentice to Mc G, when Mc G got too ill to carry on, in the earlier 1960s.

Hipkin built a number of boats after purchasing ‘Supreme Craft’, including about of 2/3rd of Nika-Sia, in the top shed on the road frontage of the Lane Motor Boat Company premises, in Riverview Rd Panmure, which shed later burnt down.

Sadly he had financial difficulties & she was moved by the Furleys to SeaCraft in Ellerslie who finished her off.

She is built of 2 skins of African mahogany, on opposite diagonals according to the origfinal owner’s son Peter.


She was built for Mr J B Furley in 1967 – the order of ownership is as follows – the Furleys sold her to Mr & Mrs G A / M L Armitage’s in August 1980 who later sold to Terry McKeown in 2001, who sold her to Jim Razey, then John Francis in Feb. 2011, then Kim Saull in Sept. 2012 who has her today.


WW would like to acknowledge input from Peter Furley, Mary Armitage, Tom Morris & Kim Saull, without who’s combined input, it would not have been possible for Ken to make this story so complete.

23/03/2015 More photos ex Ken Ricketts ex Karen Moren’s mother Lyn McGeady

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