Swiftsure – Restoration Project In-Waiting


Swiftsure – Restoration Project In-Waiting  

I was recently contacted by Harold Kidd in regard to Swiftsure the 1921 centreboarder that needs major restoration and to the right person –  is free for collection.

Harold supplied some history on the yacht below.

SWIFTSURE was built by George McLean of Birkenhead in 1920 a bit under 16ft and a bit over 14ft (about 4 inches) because of the available lengths of timber.

Her first race appears to have been in November 1921 with the Ponsonby Cruising Club in their “14ft handicap class” i.e. not square-bilge and not Jellicoe Class 14s, owned by G. McLean. She was on scratch which indicates a first race. She raced consistently much of her life. She was registered with the 14ft T Class when the AYMBA introduced its alpha-numeric system in 1922. She was allotted T38.

By the 1923 Anniversary Regatta her oversize had apparently been picked up and she was moved to the 16ft S Class as S62. She was then owned by George’s nephew Ted Fitzgerald. After a protest she had the offending bit sawn off her stern and was reregistered as T6 in 1934. Later he put the 4 inches back on and she raced with the 16 footers as S62.

After he retired her from racing as an open boat post WW2 Ted built on a raised foredeck and a bigger cuddy.He took her on an annual cruise to Great Barrier with his two little girls. Amazing!

Swiftsure is now stored under cover at Beachhaven and stabilized but needs a total restoration. The above photo shows her racing as an S Class. Harold commented that it was hard to photograph her under her current shelter (see below bottom). The 1st group of photos below were taken some years ago before she deteriorated but give a good idea of her final, “cruising” configuration under Ted Fitzgerald’s ownership.

Interested parties can contact Harold via WW  or Grant Firth at gfirth1955@gmail.com



3 thoughts on “Swiftsure – Restoration Project In-Waiting

  1. George McLean was my Great uncle he and my Grandfather Edward James McLean were brothers. My Dad Wally McLean and Ted Fitzy Fitzgerald were first cousins. Dad told me about the Swiftsure a few years ago so I am abxolutely pleased to find out she is still around albeit in a sad condition. If Dad had still been alive and younger he would have been able to restore her.


  2. There’s one big bite already, thanks to Waitemata Woodys. Ted was indeed a competitive cyclist. His daughter Pam married one of the cycling Stonex boys (Garry I think). Great Birkenhead family.


  3. I was fortunate enough to know Ted when he owned Swiftsure as I’m sure many people did . We often sailed in company with Graeme Petterson with Lestres a 16 footer and me in Bon Voyage an 18 footer manly around Waiheke . In earlier days I believe Ted had been a competitive cyclist.


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