Restoration of the 1936 X-Class dinghy Huia – X22

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Restoration of the 1936 X-Class dinghy Huia – X22

 
I have been contacted by Charles Pope who has begun work on the restoration of Huia. Charles is aiming to have the boat on the water in January at the Mahurangi regatta.
Huia has impeccable pedigree having won the Sanders Cup in 1939.
I have reproduced what Charles knows below. Charles is hoping to fill in the missing information between her Sanders Cup success in 1939 and the recent history I got from her previous owner, Rex, who sailed her at Mahurangi around 1998.That’s nearly 60 years missing
 

The photos above show her on the water in Torbay after Charles tightened up her planks and gave her a paint job. 

 
Any woodys able to help Charles out? I’m a little concerned use of the words – epoxy & glass fibre……………….
 
“Last year I spotted an old 1936 classic wooden boat for sale. Her name was Huia and she was one of the original X-Class dinghies that were sailed by very competitive teams vying for the Sanders Cup in the 1930’s. Huia and her Canterbury crew won the cup in 1939. 
 
Now she was on a rotting and rusting trailer, not under cover, damage from rain water and rotting leaves and badly in need of TLC. She needed someone with more passion than sense to save her from the landfill and that’s where I came in. I took her home, fixed her trailer and began the journey to get her back on the water. 
 
First I had to learn about clinker (or lapstrake) boat construction and I procured copper nails and roves and suitable pieces of kauri timber to match her original construction. After months of working every weekend I was ready to launch her on the local beach. It only took a couple of hours sailing her for me to see that Huia was a beautiful boat. Stable and forgiving, well balanced and stately in appearance – despite sails that had seen better days and gushing leaks between the planks that kept the bailing bucket busy, she was worth spending more time and money on to get her into top shape for a new life. 

I decided to bite the bullet and apply modern technology to give the old girl a new life. West Systems epoxy and glass fibre cloth will seal and protect the old kauri planks and some rigid framing will strengthen the structure so the epoxy won’t crack.”
And as a bonus, below, a mystery yacht, ex Ross Griffin’s post on Historic BOL photos page
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Input from Robin Elliott

“The Canterbury Huia was built by R. Tredennick in 1932, probably off moulds by Fred Dobby. She did little of note until Trdennick sold her around 1936 to R. Hendry and, with Fred Tissiman as skipper she won the 1939 Sander Cup at Bluff.

After 1939 she was sold to Bill Poole of Akaroa and he still owned her in 1947 racing with the Akaroa Sailing Club. My Canterbury contacts seem to recall that she was converted to a runabout.

However …. way up in Northland in 1952 an X-class boat named Huia owned by K. Bradley from Dargaville appeared at Paihia to race in the Northland Sanders Cup Trials. She was quite good and raced in Whangarei and at the northern regional regattas for the next 2-3 years. I have not seen any photos to see if she carried a sail number. Many regional yacht owners bought sails but never bothered registering.
Sea Spray Oct 1953, in mentioning the 1953 Northland trials, made a note that “Huia from Dargaville will be worth watching.”

At the Whangarei Cruising Club the X-class Huia won the Wilkinson Shield in 1953 and 1954.

Interestingly enough. The ex-Auckland yacht Tuoma (built for Bob Greenwell in 1946) in April 1952 was owned by R. Long of Taumarere, was racing at the Northland Inter-Port Yachting regatta up at Paihia.

Her sail number was X-22. She vanished soon after that 1952 regatta.

Perhaps Mr. Bradley of Dargaville got hold of Tuoma’s sails? OR… perhaps he bought Tuoma and renamed her Huia?”

12 thoughts on “Restoration of the 1936 X-Class dinghy Huia – X22

  1. Thanks everyone for all the information. I was told by Rex LeGrice, who I bought the boat from that this is the original Huia built in 1936 in Canterbury. Assuming that to be correct, I research some history from the book “History of the Sanders Cup, 1921-1946 / by P. Owen Wheatley and Bryan G. Reid” which stated that Huia was built by Fred Dobby. (Robin, interesting to see that contradicted by your quote from the Lyttelton News article dated 1935 which is a year before the book claims she was built).
    I also do not have numbered sails so the X22 is assumed from information given to me by Rex.
    Anyway, whatever her past, Canterbury or Dargaville, she will have a future sailing around Torbay and Waiheke Island (Otakawhe Bay).
    @RusselWard – I would love to see Gallina at Mahurangi in January 🙂
    @MartinHowson – thanks for the offer Martin but I managed to pick up a copy of that book in a second hand book shop in Wellington.
    If anyone is interested in progress photos and more information on this project have a look at this link https://www.patreon.com/user?u=11928738

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  2. There was a large number of sailing fishing boats in Russell in the early part of the 20th century.
    I’m picking this image is pre-1904 as registration numbers were carried on the bows after that. Many had auxiliaries although there’s no sign of an exhaust on this boat. Most were of the tuck stern centreboard type, locally built in the style of the Auckland mullet boat.
    For no particular reason I think she is TAIHOA.

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  3. Great to see an X Class re emerge from under the rotten leaves and the vacuum of time!
    I found one upside down in the Waitangi River early 80s and did enough to get her sailing again (toredo right along the keel and into kelson – so plenty of chiseling of the honeycomb wood out and Kauri resorcinol laminating to build iback structural integrity). Glenys sailed in Russell for few years then went off to Whangarei I think for the full month restoration.
    Be great to get a database of where the few remaining Xies are – truly an icon kiwi class. Always nice to see ‘Iron Duke’ in her pride of place at maritime museum.

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  4. I bow to the erudition of the Secretary of the AORCAT. One newspaper report of that kind is worth a million pieces of anecdotal evidence and half a ton of assumption.

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  5. The Union Secretary of the Association of Old Rivet Counters and Allied Trades advises the following :
    Lyttelton News 27/11/35: All boats in the trials with the exception of Huia have been built by F. Dobby.
    ChCh Press 2/12/35: Huia skippered by Elliot Sinclair in trials,. Built some years ago by R. Tredennick

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  6. According to Fred Dobby’s daughter the Canterbury HUIA was built by her father but Robin may be right in that she was built off Dobby’s moulds. That HUIA was registered as X7 in Canterbury.
    I reckon it is extremely unlikely that Charles’ boat is the Sanders Cup winner.
    I have been asked about this boat before and totally agree with Robin that’s she’s either the Northland HUIA with TUOMA’s sail, another renamed X class with TUOMA’s sail or maybe TUOMA renamed HUIA.
    Any way you cut it she’s a nice old 14 footer well worth preservation.

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  7. The Canterbury Huia was built by R. Tredennick in 1932, probably off moulds by Fred Dobby. She did little of note until Trdennick sold her around 1936 to R. Hendry and, with Fred Tissiman as skipper she won the 1939 Sander Cup at Bluff.

    After 1939 she was sold to Bill Poole of Akaroa and he still owned her in 1947 racing with the Akaroa Sailing Club. My Canterbury contacts seem to recall that she was converted to a runabout.

    However …. way up in Northland in 1952 an X-class boat named Huia owned by K. Bradley from Dargaville appeared at Paihia to race in the Northland Sanders Cup Trials. She was quite good and raced in Whangarei and at the northern regional regattas for the next 2-3 years. I have not seen any photos to see if she carried a sail number. Many regional yacht owners bought sails but never bothered registering.
    Sea Spray Oct 1953, in mentioning the 1953 Northland trials, made a note that “Huia from Dargaville will be worth watching.”

    At the Whangarei Cruising Club the X-class Huia won the Wilkinson Shield in 1953 and 1954.

    Interestingly enough. The ex-Auckland yacht Tuoma (built for Bob Greenwell in 1946) in April 1952 was owned by R. Long of Taumarere, was racing at the Northland Inter-Port Yachting regatta up at Paihia.

    Her sail number was X-22. She vanished soon after that 1952 regatta.

    Perhaps Mr. Bradley of Dargaville got hold of Tuoma’s sails? OR… perhaps he bought Tuoma and renamed her Huia?

    Like

  8. Hi Charles, If you would like a copy of Wheatley and Reid’s potted racing history of the X class between 1922 and 1946 in which Huia is mentioned but as Robin says it may not be your one I have one if you would like it.

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  9. Where did the owner find Huia?

    There were several Huia’s, none of which were officially X-22, so he may have a sail off another boat.

    The black and white photograph is of Billy Rogers’ champion Caress on Auckland Harbour.

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