On my last visit to the NZ Traditional Boatbuilding School I got chatting to one of the trustees – Kere Kemp & he casually dropped in that he was building a Dark Harbor 17 1/2’. Thats cool I thought & then I discover its being built in Port Hadlock out on the Olympic peninsula oppposite Seattle, Washington USA.
The yachts name is Kotimana – Maori for scotch thistle in recognition of Kere’s mother – Scottish, and his dad – Maori.
Kere commissioned her in September 2016 at the end of a post-retirement year at the North West School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock.
She was built by the classes of 2017 and 2018, & was launched at Point Hudson Marina, Port Townsend on August 29th. She is heading down under but with a few stops on the way – firstly Kotimana will be on display at the 42nd Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, second weekend of September and will then head via container to the 2019 Australian Wooden Boat Festival in early 2019 before finally making it home to Auckland in mid February 2019.
For those of you scratching your head thinking “what is a Dark Harbour 17-1/2 below is a description excerpted from a pre-launch write up that the NWSWB wrote when announcing the launch.
Dark Harbour 17-1/2
Originally designed for the Manchester Yacht Club in Massachusetts USA and called the Manchester 17, the first boats were built by the Rice Bros in 1908. As the design’s popularity spread it acquired a number of different names including the Bar Harbor 17 and eventually the Dark Harbor 17-1/2. The plans for this yacht are credited to BB Crowninshield and were completed by R. N. Burbank, an employee of the firm at the time.
The Dark Harbor 17-1/2 is a pure sailing machine of great beauty, but large enough to offer considerably more comfort through a larger cockpit well and a small cuddy cabin. Low freeboard combined with a wide, self-bailing cockpit well that seats you “down in” the boat puts you very close to the water. The lovely, slender hull lines, long ends, deep draft and large rig provide wonderfully sweet feel in this powerful, fast, wet, responsive and handy boat.
BB Crowninsheild was a US Naval Architect from the late 1800’s / early 1900’s who designed a number of boats including an America’s Cup contender and the largest ever steel hulled sailing boat (just prior to the introduction of the steam engine to sail boats).
Kerry commented that he fell in love with the lines of a Dark Harbor back in 2010 and decided that he would ultimately build one for himself. Sanity eventually crept in and he commissioned her instead – Kerry was able to do some work on her prior to his move to New Zealand in mid 2017.
I’ll get a sneak preview of her at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Feb 2019 so will update this story with more photos.
Kotimana will be a magnificent additional to Auckland’s classic fleet.