Kotiri B20 – Sailing Sunday

KOTIRI B20 – Sailing Sunday

Today’s post is an amazing story – firstly Nathan Herbert tipped me off that a 1897 Logan yacht was in a boat shed in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay & had not seen the light of day (or water) for over 30 years. Next thing I’m on a RIB at Westhaven with the son (Don Webster) & grandson (Nick Webster) of the gent (Blair Webster) that purchased Kotiri back in 1947 & locked the boat shed doors sometime c.1986 & we were heading around to Herne Bay to view the ‘extraction’ of Kotiri from her boat shed. We were joined by Don’s younger brother Charles & a film crew from TV3 that were filming the event as part of an upcoming (semi-related) progamme. The day was a big boys dream – tug boats, barges, cranes, old shed full of cool stuff & the odd yummy mummy watching from the beach 🙂
It was a treat to watch a team of pro’s doing something that is beyond what most of us could do.
Some details on Kotiri – LOA 40′, LWL 28′, Beam 8’6″

Also in the shed was very cute dinghy / runabout that will be a winter project for Nick.

Below is some history on Kotiri & how she came to be sitting on a Boat Haulage transporter on-route to Peter Brookes yard.

Details below & photos above ex Classic Yacht Charitable Trust

Kotiri was designed and built by Logan Brothers in 1897 (launched 18th October 1897) at the height of the boat design and racing rivalry period between the Logans and the Bailey Brothers. The Baileys launched Meteor in the same month, both boats being built to the 30ft linear rating of the time.

Kotiri passed through many owners, including a period in Wellington, where she was renamed Kotiri II to differentiate from a smaller 30 footer of the same name. She was owned for a time by Laurence “Bruce” McCallum, the son of R H McCallum of Marine Parade Devonport who owned the family business Winate and Co based in lower Queen Street opposite the Central Post Office. Bruce MCCallum died in a bomber crash over Belgium on a mission to Cologne in 1943. The McCallum’s won the Devonport Yacht Club’s Duder cup in 1941 & 1942. The trophy is still held by a family member Tom McCallum of Pakuranga. Tom is also caretaker for another small trophy inscribed “RNZYS Kotiri 1939”.

Kotiri was purchased by Blair Daniel Webster in 1947 who converted her to marconi rig c1949. She was still sailing in 1952 but Blair layed her up in his boat shed at at 75 Sarsfield St Herne Bay in 1953 as her decks were leaking badly. In 1961 Blair commissioned R L (Bob) Stewart to draw up plans for conversion to a K class. From 1962 to 1968 Blair, with his closest friend J S G (Jock) McLanachan and a boat builder Jim Dennerley of Coxes Creek, worked on the comversion by increasing the height of the freeboard by 3 planks (approx. 9 inches); fully rib her; add new Bob Stewart “Patiki” style coamings; cut off rotten counter stern and build tuck. Boat shed ramp and railway tracks were laid for her ultimate return to the water. In November 1968 Kotiri was relaunched and moored on pile moorings at Westhaven. A second masthead rig and used sails were subsequently purchased. The boat shed at Herne Bay was regularly used for cleaning and antifouling haulouts. Kotiri sailed on rare occasions over the following years. Circa 1985 she sailed in a Classic Yacht regatta and by the late 80’s she had “retired” to the boat shed.

Blair Webster passed away on the 16th August 2000 and left Kotiri to his eldest son Donald. After 66 years ownership in the Webster family Kotiri was gifted to the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust on 14th March 2013 by Donald Webster. The token sum of 20 cents passed hands, for which 10 cents “change” was given, to mark the change of ownership.

Having been stored in a sound shed, over water, with good airflow, her hull was preserved in exceptionaly good order.

The Classic Yacht Charitable Trust are looking to raise funds to restore Kotiri to original sailing condition and preserve her for the long term enjoyment of New Zealander’s.

UPDATE 13-01-2019
WW has been contacted by Lesley Brennan those father, Lex Dowling, owned Kotiri in the mid 1960’s.
If anyone now related to the yacht would like the photo below – contact Lesley via email
kotiri photo

17 thoughts on “Kotiri B20 – Sailing Sunday

  1. A correction. Lex Dowling owned KOTITI in the the ‘60’s and somehow acquired the photo of of KOTIRI. Someone may like the photo I posted as the boat has no connection to our family.


  2. I still have that photo of Kotiri if anyone would like it. Refer to my former comment above July 2017.


  3. My Great Grandfather George Crowe was foreman Shipwright for Logan in 1897 maybe he built this beautiful yacht


  4. I have come across a very old black and white 6″x4″ photo of Kotiri, under full sail. It is stuck to a piece of card and written in pencil on the card is Kotiri. If anyone would like to have it, please email me an address and I will post it – alesley@actrix.co.nz


  5. Meaningless Information from the Archives No.125 in a series:

    Kotiri’s owner 1937/43, Flight Seargeant Bruce McCallum was killed when his aircraft, a Short Stirling bomber, EE880 of 149 Squadron was shot down near Tielt in Belgium en route from Lakenheath to Cologne, 0255hrs 29 June 1943. The attacker was German night fighter ace Maj Walter Ehle, Kommandeur of Stab.II/NGJ flying a Messerschmidt Bf110. EE880 was his 28th aerial victory.
    Ehle was later killed 17 November 1943 when his aircraft crashed on landing when the airfield landing lights went out.

    You look at a lot of weird stuff when you research a book on the Logans.


  6. We are lead to believe that the dinghy is a 1950s Lidgard, but not sure… Its going to be a little project for winter and hopefully launched ready for the 2017 Mahurangi Regatta. We have also just bought a 1962 Evinrude 10hp outboard that should be period correct. She is called “Fancy”

    Upon looking at the Mosquitos, I can agree that it is not a Mosquito. This one is much flatter in the stern and has more tumblehome in the transom than the Mosquitos.

    Kotiri went with an 8-10ft 1920-30’s Logan clinker that is to be restored alongside her that will be her tender when she is re-launched.


  7. Thanks for the wonderful pictures, and yes she is a real gem. On the note re DYC Duder Cup, I have her winning it twice, but the years are 1933-34 (Skipper GF Wilson) and 1941-42 (Skipper B McCallum). Source – The DYC Trophy Register.


  8. Totally concur with the other comments, — what a wonderful boat & story — top marks to all involved. I do hope we are all kept abreast of what should be a wonderful & exciting future for this fab. piece of our boating history,– & great pics to Alan. — KEN R


  9. Isn’t it great how these boats keep reappearing out of the woodwork.Will be eagerly following the restoration process.
    How many other vessels must there be, hiding out in boat sheds around the country?


  10. That is a beautiful boathouse find and story. Look forward to seeing more about her rebuild story in the future. Really intrigued to see that 12 foot Mosquito Craft hull as well.


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