details from Russell Ward- photos RW & NZ Herald (screen grabs)

Russell reports that sadly Fridays big blow in Wellington put his old cutter, the Athol Burns Tairaroa onto the rocks. From the NZ Herald news footage you can see that she has nibbled through her mooring pendant. Russell’s Maroro chomped through hers at Devonport and ended up going walkabouts for the previous owner. she was a third of the way through her new one when Russell saved her. He has put a chain on Maroro’s Mahurangi mooring in case it became a habit- gets windy out there.

View NZ Herald footage here   http://www.nzherald.co.nz/national/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=151530

Can any one post an update in the comments section as to whether they were able to crane her off?

Russell’s comments on owning Tairaraoa

I bought her in a rather decrepit condition 25 years ago. She had not long gone walkabouts from her Okahu Bay mooring and ended up on the bund rocks at Tamaki Drive. Happily she was floated off and served as a mussel and kelp farm for a long time until I read the riot act to her owner. He responded by offering her to me as is where is.
I put a diver down and he verified that there were deep gouges and as far as he could see, she was in reasonable nick.
I got him to clean off as much as he could –including three bags of mussels for which he thanked me warmly.
Buck Rodgers and I towed her to Bayswater –where there was a welcoming slipway.
Merv Sefonte put in a lot of dutchmen and graving pieces, repaired the edges of several planks so there could be recaulked and she was a lovely member of the Ward family until I bought Gloaming.
She was an amazing yacht. Buck reckoned she’d be a rocking horse with her hull shape but no so, she’d just put her shoulder down and rip into it. She’d keep her weigh in a slight breeze because of her weight. We could sneak up on and overtake much bigger boats to their horror. The cutter rig made her very easy to sail on and off the mooring –yes Alan I had a swing mooring there in those days. The engine was an Arona single and had to be started on a pull cord -it was kind of hard in a confined space to manipulate the decompressor and pull. Easier to sail everywhere.
No electrics –a real boat.
I took her out in a snorter of an Easterly gale to see what she could do. Got her on her beam ends several times and she never developed any nasty helm traits. Could have/should have taken a few rolls down but she was a real Cook Straiter with a very heavy rig and I wanted to try her out.

21-06-2015 An Update from Russell Ward

Thanks be to Ward Minor (Caroline) for these pix. High tide at 8.30 am 9 pm. The pix below were taken 1500 Saturday amid feverish activity to get patches in place.
She has been floated off. Russell’s spy will take more photos later in the week. Russell’s guess she is at Evans Bay haul out.
Cranes????!!!! This is a proper ship and a proper salvage job! She is well repairable by the looks. Those planks are thick!
BTW the name can be taken to mean “spending ones time in a pleasant way” but Russell will leave it to HDK for the definitive translation.

22-06-2015 – Russell Ward Update

To quote Russell “Solid planking pays off eh what? Taiaroa lives!”



21 thoughts on “Tairaroa

  1. I was lucky enough to purchase Tairoa and am slowly closing the holes 7 ribs and 18 planks below the water line still need to look at the aft Quarter

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hello,i just stumbled across this site when a passing yacht was inquiring about my 26ft cutters designer,so i thought id see if there was any info,,i am that canadian sailor that bought the Christina,,online,,unseen,,a brave move for a 60 something wooden boat,but i was smitten with her perfect lines,,i have been rewarding myself with my good instincts ever since,,ha ha,,the boat was launched in 1952 when i was all of 1 yr old,,and to think it would become my 60th birthday present,,how cool is that,,i just posted some fotos that im sure will be up soon,so u can all see how lovingly she is being maintained,,the boat anchors in vancouver often and calls Silva Bay,on gabriola isl,her home,,i would love to see any fotos etc on this Vaila,that your raving about,,,its nice for me that my boat keeps its origins alive and i appreciate your interest,,luego bill


  3. $510 on Trademe yesterday. Let’s hope the lucky person does more than scrap the lead keel, burn her for the copper, sell the engine (which had been de-watered) and flog off the elements of the rig. She deserves more and I’d like to see her looking pretty afloat once more. She is a gem.


  4. I said previously that she had an Arona -it was in fact a Sole now I come to think about it. A nice enough shipmate, but not needed really. That cutter rig with the self tacking staysl was a dream. Another good soul has photographed her at Evans Bay. She apparently has many cracked frames and the transom has taken a few serious knocks up at the gunwhale while she was deciding where best to lie down as she was coming in for a landing! Poor old thing.


  5. Well, a heavily boat will seem like a much bigger confident boat than she is which is why Athol designed them like that. As I said, Taiaroa didn’t have any funny habits in the helm. She just did her thing. Yep, Vaila was indeed on offer a few years back. AWB had a soft spot for her as he did for a launch he did in the 50s Sta- reta (from Stan and Reta her original owners). She was nudging on 40′ with twin Listers. Used to lie in Okahu Bay in the early ’60s. Went up to Fiji to charter and I’ve not heard of her since.


  6. If she left, then I’d bet “Christina” made her destination. She’s a very capable wee bucket and it wouldn’t be her first offshore trip. For a brief time she was – under Bill McQueen’s ownership – the smallest yacht to have crossed the Tasman. Only a couple of years later along came John Guzzwell in “Trekka”


  7. Indeed she was! And hopefully still is. I don’t know where she is now, but have a rather vague memory of having seen her for sale a few years ago. The same vague memory says while the boat looked very like “Vaila”, the actual name wasn’t included in the ad, which suggests a broker; they live in fear of someone seeing their ad and going direct to the owner.


  8. My spy is on site and has just advised that the holes in the hull have ben patched and it is hoped to float her off on he tide. Good traditional salvage job. Here’s hoping!


  9. Christina was sold from Waikawa Bay in 2011 to a Canadian sailor who was preparing to sail her to the west coast of Canada in early 2012. I would assume she departed as planned.


  10. “Turmoil” was really a motor-sailer, and I think closer to 28′. Gordon Abernethy built her for himself, then went on to build “Vaila”, a 45′ Athol Burns design, and after that had Jorgensens build him (in partnership with a co-owner) a 60′ Athol Burns. Now that’s what I call “brand loyalty”.
    I don’t know where “Turmoil” is now, or “Christina” either, but I’d like to, also.


  11. Really sad! She was a sister ship to “Christina”, which had much the same characteristics under way. When my father bought “Christina” from Bill McQueen she to had a strange engine; a one-banger Coventry Victor with a dog clutch – no reverse. The horrible thing had to be primed with oil before cranking, and if it didn’t start first time, come back in half an hour! We sailed a lot too!

    Sorry if the above is a tad off-topic and a bit “Lloyd George knew my etc.” Alan; I had a rush of nostalgia to the brain!

    Now I’ll WEIGH anchor and get under WAY 🙂 (Sorry Russell)


  12. What a gorgeous little boat. I hope she lives again. Similar hull to another little Athol Burns The 26 foot TURMOIL. Was up north years ago, I believe changed hands Nelson area for $11000.
    Another one worth saving. Does any one know of her.


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