Christna > Victory – Sailing Sunday


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CHRISTINA > VICTORY – Sailing Sunday

photos & details ex Bill Moe

I was contacted last week by Bill Moe from Silva Bay, Gabriola Island, B.C., Canada who had stumbled across ww when looking for details on the boat designer Athol Burns. Bill owns a AB boat originally named Christina (now called Victory). Bill bought the boat online, unseen, approx 4 yrs ago & tried to sail it back to Canada but found our weather was horrendous & being in his early 60’s at the time, did in no way have that kind of endurance for single handed sailing. So he pulled into Wellington and a vicious storm descended that blew 70 plus for about 5 days, would have killed him no doubt, so he shipped the boat back. Unfortunately he had to cut up the beautiful mast for shipping, but Bill has made many a mast in the past so he saved all the beauty fittings.

The other day a passing yacht was inquiring as to her design, so Bill googled Athol Burns and found the ww site.

Bill commented that he just loves this boat & never expects to sell her. The boat often anchors in Vancouver and he uses it for cruising the coast. Bill has made many upgrades to the boat, new glass, new heaters, opening port, chart plotter, opening companion doors etc, but always respectful of the original workmanship, which he reports is exceptional. Bill commented that boats need good owners and this boat has a very caring, practical artisan owner now & even though the boat is out of NZ it continues to draw great admiration & continues its illustrious life. Its also nice for Bill to maintain the historical connection with those that love Athol Burn’s designs and the boats Wellington roots.

In addition to old boats Bill restores vintage Honda motorbikes (photos below) & hand built the waterfront cottage he lives in. Bill also restored the 1946, 38′ center cockpit yacht pictured below but says he can not take credit for the joiner work.

Can any woodys help Bill with any info on Christina’s life in NZ prior to shipping across the world?



30-06-2016 – A note from Bruce Tantrum

Hi Alan,
Regarding your story about Christina, the Athol Burns cutter, I knew Christina very well.
What a delightful surprise to fill in part of a 6 decades ago gap and to learn of her excellent condition now in the hands of such a caring owner in distant Canada.
Bill McQueen, a skilled young boat builder, built Christina at his family home in Wellington. She was kauri planked with a laid deck of Matai, an Oregon mast, boom and bow sprit with a laminated semi circular Oregon bumpkin to take the backstay. Christina would have been launched in the early 50’s, and was moored in the somewhat exposed Oriental Bay `marina’, overlooked by the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club. As a youngster, less than a decade after the second world war when times were financially tight, I would take the train to Wellington and walk along the wharves to admire the boats on their moorings in the marina. One weekend, by chance, I met Bill McQueen who had Christina alongside the little jetty. He was, as is the norm, doing some routine maintenance on what was, to my boyhood eyes, his large and beautiful 26 foot cutter. We got chatting, I was invited to come aboard and subsequently, I became a crew member. Amongst my most formative and definitive memories was one Friday evening slipping the moorings and crossing Cook Strait at night in a favourable southerly breeze. We entered Tory Channel and anchored at a late hour some short distance in on the port hand in a sheltered little bay amongst other boats all illuminated by starlight.
We had a great sail back on the sunny Sunday, a starboard tack reach. I was hooked.

23 thoughts on “Christna > Victory – Sailing Sunday

  1. Hey Bill Moe….just came across this site. Would like to contact you…..not sure how……can the site owners help ? I have owned the other Athol Burns “Christina” (Australian Ship Register 854474) of the same design as yours for 29 years. Built on the Tamar River Tasmania of Huon Pine probably in 1955. I sailed to Norway from Sydney via teh Suez leaving Pittwater in 1992….have recently moved back to Sydney…..and have shipped “Christina” back to Pittwater. Was in contact with the previous owners of your boat….but lost contact during the move back to Sydney from Norway.


  2. I,ve come across this boat somewhere. I think that she may have lived in Deborah Bay in Dunedin some time during the 1980,s


  3. Pingback: Christina – Sailing Sunday | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  4. It’s all there Alan Bruce​

    On Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 12:09 AM, #1 for classic wooden bo


  5. Actually, I meant that she looked higher in the video, more like my memory of her, but I suspect it is just my memory 🙂


  6. hello,ive been using the boat as a sloop lately and moved the inner stay back,,,although i did build a new mast that boom was at least original to me,,and weighed a lot,,i reused it ,,,also the folding table exhibits the usual high level of interior joinery and i suspected it as original,but have no idea when it was built,,i actually go out of my way to keep the boats weight down,,even to the point of carrying less water on short hops,,the boat usually has 4 inches of her black underwater showing,,i have installed 2 heaters,,one a propane cozy cabin,,that u see in the foto,that i use for eliminating the chill in early mornings etc,,also recently installed a dickenson bulkhead oil heater alonside for when the snow flys,,[the propane heaters are clean and perfect for eliminating the chill but will not dry wet clothes,or be able to deal with below zero temperatures,,]always interesting to hear your comments,,have a nice day,,regards bill


  7. I own Shemara. I bought her from Frank Ballinger in 2007 who built her in his back yard. The footage shows her being hauled to the road following her completion in 1958. She’s Roydon Thomas’ first design built. She was designed in 1954. One inch kauri on what appears to be oak frames. Jarrah deadwood. Practically bulletproof. Roydon built a sister named Gazelle which was cedar planked and had no motor. obviously much lighter, and about 15 years ago was shipped to Australia with a new owner. Roydon was a larrikin of the highest order and absolute legend. Quite a few of his boats still around.


  8. Can’t seem to leave this one alone. Something about the photos was niggling the lump of chewed paper holding my ears apart, so I had yet another look. Aha! That was it, in the interior shot – the matching pair of brass pipe handholds on the half-bulkhead! They were the first detail that caught the eye on going below, great to see they’re still there. And the gimballed oil lamp on the mast; wonder if it’s the original one. No cabin table as originally fitted out. Can’t see what the cabin heater is, but I assume that it was fitted after arrival in Canada, where it’d be very useful. The rig has seen some changes too. In a couple of shots the inner forestay seems to be set up well inboard; in the others it’s on the stemhead as before.The original fore-triangle had two stays to the tip of the bowsprit. One went to the masthead to counteract the pull of the backstay; no sail was set on it, and it was served and parcelled in thentraditional manner like the rest of her standing rigging. The stay on which her jib, yankee and genoa were set was attached a tad lower on the mast, an odd arrangement, but the rig, like the hull, was to BSH standards. She’s lost mainsail area too. The original boom was longer, and the backstay came down to a U-shaped bumkin, which was a beautiful piece of laminated work. In the photos Christina seems to be sitting a little lower than I remember; I think Gavins footage bears this out – but then that tenda to happen to boats as they get older and accumulate more “stuff”. Don’t ask me how I know this 🙂 !


  9. Serious historical footage! A whalechaser giving a whale the coup-de-gras with an electric lance. Scandalous in today’s world, but that wasn’t today’s world, and whaling was a local industry like any other then. Couldn’t quite make out the name on the chaser’s stern, but I don’t think it was Rorqual. That vast flock of seabirds would have been off Perano’s whaling station at Whekenui in Tory Channel. Petrels to Albatrosseseses 🙂 they were always about when the factory was operating, there to take advantage of the offal and other even yuckier stuff that was waste.


  10. Wonder why they were hauling Shemara up a hill? Royden Thomas is another kiwi designer now almost forgotten and anyway unheard of up here, but he produced some very nice designs. Shemara was surprisingly quick for her size and type. Some of the “sherpas” 🙂 in the hauling party were hauntingly familar but the film on my little screen was just not clear enough to ID anybody except George Fisher of Ruawaka. Likewise, I couldn’t Id the places in the Sounds footage for sure, though some were certainly in Tory Channel. More yet………


  11. Abso-bloody-lutely marvellous! Thank you Gavin. Christina departing under her small mainsail – it had three reefs and was effectively her trysail as well. (We called it the “Winter mainsail” and used it that way) The fair headed bloke in the white shirt is Billy McQueen. The ketch in the farewell fleet and several other places in the film, with the grey hull with a white wale is the Burns “Marco Polo” under her original rig. She was under-canvassed as a ketch and soon converted to sloop rig, and is now somewhere in northern waters, I believe. More follows….


  12. Nothing to do with the lovely old boat, but coincidences abound on WW so here’s one, I had a much loved 1971 Honda 350Four like the one shown that Bill has restored, even down to the 4-into-1 extractors… They’re a wonderful (if a trifle odd) Honda product and I loved mine to bits. Left it behind in OZ when I went to UK and thence to NZ and my younger brother eventually gave it away :-(.


  13. Christina was built by Wellington boat-builder Bill McQueen in the mid-50s, either during or just after his apprenticeship. Being an Atholl Burns design she was of course built like a brick dunny She was beautifully finished, right down to varnished laid decks, with custom made mats on the foredeck to prevent slipping. Her cabin sides were varnished, and her topsides light blue with a white boot-top and a white low bulwark with a varnished rail cap. Down below she was also nicely finished, though the settee berths were rather high to accommodate large water tanks below.
    One blot on her escutcheon was the engine. It was a single cylinder Coventry industrial diesel, partly marinised with a dog clutch and no gearbox; i.e. no reverse. It were a norrible thing! To start it you poured oil into a crew-capped tube on the cylinder, then wound the crank-handle. If it didn’t start first go, there was no point in going near the bloody thing for at least half an hour.
    Bill McQueen sailed her across the Tasman and back. At the time she was the smallest yacht to have made the crossing, a record that only lasted a couple of years until John Guzwell came along in Trekka.
    After returning to NZ, Bill sold Christina to my father, who had her for four or five years. He made one major change; the Coventry diesel was replaced by a 4-cyl. petrol engine, a Nordberg Elf, which was really a Universal Atomic Four in drag. At my mother’s insistence, a chemical toilet was put in the forepeak – until then it was stictly “bucket and chuckit”.
    My memory of Christina is of a handy, docile and weatherly little ship, though my main comparison was with the Zeddie I was (sorta) racing at the time, and they were real pigs. (That’s why they were such good training boats 🙂 )
    My father sold Christina to Hardy Rudkin of Christchurch, a member of the Lane Walker Rudkin family, and she went to Lyttelton. I was told that he would sometimes sail out of sight of land in her, and just heave to for a few days and enjoy sollitude.
    Some time later she was back in Wellington, owned by a priest; I think Fr. Jim Keeble, a well known Wellington yachtie, but I may be wrong about that name.
    Some time later again I gave serious thought to buying her myself. I’m still not sure I shouldn’t have.
    Don’t ask me for dates; they don’t seem to be in the few functional brain cells remaining to me!


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