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Chatting with Chris McMullen and he mentioned that he had been recently contacted by Morgan Dawicki, the captain of the 74’ Brigantine – Fritha that Chris built back in 1986 for Jack R Butland. Chris commented that Jack Butland came to him with a modern design of what some one imagined a old time sailing vessel should look like. Chris was horrified and found him a nice design depicted in a 1940’s Rudder Magazine he had. They tracked down the designers son and bought the plans. The result  was ‘The Fritha’ and a very happy owner. Chris said he owed a great deal to the Butland family. McMullen and Wing built them three significant wooden boats. The first order placed was when Chris was under thirty years old.

These days Fritha is owned by the Northeast Maritime Institute, USA, who have recently dedicated a room to Jack Butland at the Institute, check out the opening here:

Her captain – Morgan told Chris that they are doing their best to share the lovely lady with our Kiwi friends and to share in her memories. His words were “She truly is the most beautiful boat on the water (in my opinion!) The craftsmanship is impeccable and it is nice to make the acquaintance of one of her builders”.

As of late, she has been spending the winters in North Carolina and summers in Buzzards Bay as a sail training ship for local high school age students. We mostly sail around Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

The Butland’s are a very old New Zealand boating family and their name has been alongside some of our best  examples of NZ boat building e.g.

J R Butland • an H28 then a Sailar 40 then the Fritha.

Ken Butland • Triton then Sirdar.

J M Butland • Thetis built by Lane Motor Boat Co. Panmure.

• Dufesne built by Max Carter.

• Durville built by Steel Yachts and Launches (McMullen and Wing)

• Inverness built by McMullen and Wing

Pleasant Surprise – while mooching around Mahurangi during the recent regatta weekend, a gent by the name of Tony McNeight unbeknown to me did a sketch of my Raindance, and it popped up on facebook. If you ever want a sketch / drawing of your boat, give Tony a call  021 925 031


13 thoughts on “Fritha

  1. Thanks Cam, When I was working on board “Sirdar”,( De Vries & Lentch 1965 ) (probably an early Feadship) and, whilst it was maintained by Ernie Seagar she was owned by Ken Butland, prior to it then being sold to an American gent who used it as a “Pad”, prior to it being sold to the operator of Huka Lodge who leased it to the pommie con man that did himself away. Over that leased time she was skippered by an ex Naval Captain who did not have the required ticket or qualification, did not look after her and she almost scuttled herself alongside in the Viaduct basin. She was subsequently sold to Australian interests and had a terminal engine failure whilst steaming in Newport, Pittwater, Sydney, and was still afloat there a few years ago. I could go on but wont !


  2. Pingback: Building Fritha –  Sailing Sunday | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  3. Sirdar built by DeVries in Holland.
    Handed pair of 6l3b gardners.
    Owned for a long time by Huka lodge and kept in Lloyd’s survey. Sold to a complete conman from uk who ran her into the ground doing charters from viaduct. He eventually met his fate via himself.
    She is now muttering around Sydney in perfect condition..


  4. There were a few motor yachts built in the UK on a standard trawler hull, IIRC by Fairmile, and again IIRC Sirdar was one of them. I could well be wrong about that, but certainly she is steel and originated in Europe somewhere.


  5. Fritha is built of wood as were all the boats we built for the Butland family. Fritha from memory was fifty four feet over the deck about the same size and similar construction as the recently salvaged 153 year old “Daring” I have some construction photos if any one would like to see them.


  6. What a beautiful boat. Shame she left NZ.
    No doubt Chris can tell a story re zinc blocks and bonding from her very early years!


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