KOTITI – Sailing Sunday
The above photos are of the schooner Kotiti & were sent in by Lesley Brennan, whose father, Dudley (Lex) Dowling, owned her from November 1963 until 1968. Lesley was a teenager at that time and their family and various crew spent their summers cruising the Hauraki Gulf and the Bay of Islands and Far North. It was then sold to John Wicks who took the yacht to the South Island. Lex, kept copies of everything and Lesley has inherited two files relating to Kotiti & to other boating matters (purchasers, receipts, logs, etc) at that time in the ’60’s.
The yacht had quite a history, having once been stolen before Lex bought it. Later, while under his ownership, a crew from the Navy in Auckland raced it in the Whangarei to Noumea race in April 1964 and in the same year, Lex sailed it with a crew to Fiji (a lifetime ambition).
For many years Lex taught navigation based on a system he devised himself specifically for sailors of small ocean going boats. He also self published a related textbook on navigation (long before the internet and the electronic age!) and this textbook was in much demand at the time and sold well in NZ and throughout the Pacific.
Lesley last spotted Kotiti up on the hard at Sumner in 1994 & she would love to know who the current owner is. They may be interested in having the two folders of information about their boat during the 1960’s.
So woodys – do we know who owns her today & what became of her post Lex selling her. I’m sure if the John Wicks mentioned above is the JW that comments on ww, we will find out a lot more.
Input below from John Wicks
I sold her in ’78 or ’79 to Jim Wood who I think still has her. There was a recent pic on WW of a boat in Havelock Marina with Kotiti in the background and looking well cared for.
As noted above, I bought her from Lex Dowling in ’68 and took her back to the South island; specifically to Waikawa, Picton . Cruised her extensively in the Sounds, D’Urville Island and across Tasman Bay to Nelson, Torrent Bay etc., and we did several Cook Strait races.
Her genesis is interesting. She was built by Peter Lamb, a science(?) teacher at Christchurch Boys High School; I met his son at one stage, who was adamant his father designed her, but when I first owned Kotiti she had amongst her documents two pieces of blueprint, one of her body section and one of her backbone structure, both of them bearing Eric Cox’s name. I have already seen Cox’s “Dancing Feather” design, the interior layout of which was very similar to Kotiti’s, and years later came across Howard I> Chapelle’s “Corsair” designed for ‘Popular Mechanix’ magazine which closely resembled Kotiti in hull form. “Corsair” was designed for inside ballast; “Kotiti” had 2/3 of her ballast on the keel and 1/3 inside. (Quite a story there)
I have also been told that noted ChCh boat builder Cliff Mahan bought a set of “Corsair” plans with a view to building one for himself, but never did.
There is a photo in an old “SeaSpray” of Peter Lamb standing under the coutner of soon-to-be-launched “Kotiti” showing a model of her to Ian Treleaven. To my eye at least, the model looks more like “Corsair” than “Kotiti”. My conjecture (and it is only conjecture!) is that Peter Lamb looked at both designs, took what he wanted from both, made the model then went to Eric Cox to take off the lines and draw the actual plans.
At any rate, she was (still is, I hope) fast and weatherly for her type, comfortable and sea kindly. I have very fond memories of her.