Nimbus II – 50th Birthday Party

Nimbus 11 sailing in 1971 off Northland coast

Nimbus 11 Nov 2019 Scotts landing

Nimbus 11 plans

NIMBUS II – 50th Birthday Party

Just before Christmas I was chatting to Allan Hooper regarding 23’ yacht Nimbus II that he built in 1970 and how Allan and his wife Pamela were planning ‘re-union’ of previous owners (details below). I asked Allan to drop me a note with details – in typical Allan Hooper style, the subsequent note is both perfectly written  and very informative, so I reproduced it below.

The photographs above show Nimbus II sailing off the Northland coast in 1971, on her mooring earlier this month and the original construction drawing complete with glue stains 🙂

Allan has an armada of vessels, in a later WW story I will expose his addiction 🙂

Nimbus 11 Built by Allan Hooper

When I met my wife Pamela I was building Nimbus and when she said she would like to help I thought this is my kind of girl. So we have spent more than 50yrs building and sailing a succession of yachts and we now own a little launch which I have just finished altering.

We thought a get together next year of previous owners of Nimbus 2 would be a nice way to celebrate, if anyone is interested please contact Allan Hooper at hoopersnz@gmail.com

Brief history:

Whilst serving my apprenticeship I started building Nimbus 11. She is 23 feet. She was designed by John Hakker in 1957 while he was working on a hydro scheme in the South Island. I opted to cold mould the hull using 3 skins of 3/16” kauri. Each skin was glued with resorcinol glue and stapled using a hand operated staple gun. Each of the 250,000 staples was then pulled out again when the glue was dry. The finished hull was then skinned with glass cloth. There are laminated frames around the bulkheads and the floors and knees etc are generously proportioned.

I modified the keel and had a spade rudder which reduced the wetted surface, greatly improving her performance in the light and made the yacht easy to handle.

With no engine we had a lot of fun sailing everywhere. Once we dropped the spinnaker in the Town Basin Whangarei and rounded up onto a pile after carrying it all the way up the river.

The water tank was a 20L container under the sink with a pump up to the sink. Before we sold her I fitted a toilet, the new owner was insistent that his wife would not go without it.

Subsequent owners have sailed her offshore including New Plymouth to Moololaba singlehanded race and Chris and Tracey McGuire cruised as far as Vanuatu. Chris fitted a small diesel inboard and all the equipment required to go offshore.

Currently Nimbus 11 is on a mooring at Scotts landing on the Mahurangi. Although the varnished coamings have gone almost all of the deck fittings are original.

WW READERSHIP OVER THE XMAS / NY PERIOD

Incredible numbers of Woodys logging in and following the WW stories over the past 2 weeks, I thought I’d be able to lie low for a few days but with the numbers showing up each day, I was encouraged to keep taping the laptop keys. I think its a reflection of the uptake in mobile devices in the last few years – everyone now seems to have a device that allows them to keep in touch via the on-line platform. Thats good and bad – we all need to relax more. One of my new year resolutions is to switch all my social media (twitter, facebook,messenger etc) to pull only on messages. That means I have to check in to see if I have new content sent to me, as compared to the social media channels pushing content to me automatically. Note: I still get emails and WW alerts ‘live’ 🙂

Des Townson  – A Sailing Legacy

 

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Des Townson  – A Sailing Legacy

Back in July Brian Peet contacted me about his latest book publishing project, Des Townson – A Sailing Legacy. Brian asked if I would like to attend the launch night, a smallish gathering in the dinghy locker at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron – of course I said yes and a few days later an advance copy of the book arrived via courier. Well that buggered my plans for that day 🙂
I later asked Brian if I could sneak a couple more onto the invite list, which happened. Then Brian lets me know that things have snow balled and the launch was now in the main ballroom at the RNZYS, things had stepped up a few notches.
Fast forward to last night and the who’s who of yachting is crammed into the Squadron. My guess would be 400+ people. Speakers were the Squadron Commodore Ian Cook, Des’s younger brother – Bill Townson and Brian Peet. Ian built six Zephyrs under Des Townson’s supervision, won the National Champs in 1980. Bill Townson is a skilled boatbuilder, yacht designer and amphibian aircraft designer/builder.
I sneaked in early any took a few photos and videos of some of the exhibits, which included a Starling, Zephyr, Mistral and a 1956 replica of Des Townson’s first commercial design Nimble. What most caught my eye, was the Townson 2.4m dinghy on display that had just been built by Allan Hooper at the NZ Traditional Boatbuilding School. Its for his own use, but if you ask me it should be should be on display somewhere. Talking to Allan I understand the school will have ‘build your own’ kits and how to classes – perfect opportunity to own a Townson.
I later filmed Brian’s talk / presentation, see below – it is a wonderful insight into how the book came about and challenges Brian had over the 10 years it took to complete it.
 
As I have said before – its a great read, buy it, you won’t be sorry – as Brian said last night – it is a “sailing book, about a sailor, written by a sailor”.
 
Enjoy the video, then buy the book – either via the website https://destownson.co.nz  or if you prefer to do a bank transfer, email Brian with your name and postal address and he will reply with bank account details – its that easy  brian@destownson.co.nz 
 
Oops nearly forgot –  Details on how to win a copy of the book on WW, later in the week.

 

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A Woody Workshop

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Now Here Is A Very Cool Idea – A Woody Workshop
There are a few woody hidden treasures in & around Auckland – some we keep under the radar & some deserve to be hauled up the mast so everyone knows. One of the coolest is the New Zealand Traditional Boatbuilding School. A lot of you will have rubbed up against the NZTBS when it was housed at the old Hobsonville Air Base, but with the redevelopment of the base, NZTBS was moved to a new home & these days has a tighter focus on its reason for being.
 
Now to some of you the word School breaks you out in a cold sweat, if I ran the place I’d change the name to NZ Wooden Boat Workshop, because these days thats what it is – a workshop where you can get hands-on experience in some of the skills that a true woody needs to know. I encourage you to visit their weblog to check out the new courses (see below) that have just been announced  http://nztbs.org.nz 
  • Veneering, Inlay & Marquetry
  • Ribbing, Steam bending and replacing Ribs.
  • Clinker planking. fitting new or replacing old planks.
  • Tuesday Workshop days
But woodys, what I really wanted to draw your attention to was what the NZTBS call the ‘Tuesday Workshop’. 
Not all of us are blessed with a workshop or the tools to undertake simple maintenance on our craft – the NZTBS have a solution – they have opened the workshop up on Tuesdays (from 10am > 2pm) & will have a couple of serious woodys on-site – Allan Hooper and Kere Kemp. So come along and either help them with the latest project they are working on or if you have a little job of your own or perhaps need a piece of timber sized or just some advice, pop along for a chat.
 
I dropped in on Tuesday, with a project under my arm & walked away a happy chappie. While there I spoke with the Allan Hooper & Colin Pawson about Allan’s latest project. Some of you may be aware that in a past life Allan created a male mould of the Townson 2.4 dinghy, & from this approx. 10 cold moulded / laminated dinghies were built. On top of this an additional approx. 250 fibreglass dinghies were built – so without a doubt Allan holds the record for the most Townson’s built 🙂
A little while ago, Allan crawled under the house & dragged out the original mould, pictured below being repaired at the NZTBS.
The next step is that Allan will be using the mould to build himself a light-weight (frame less) clinker (ply) dinghy, I’m sure his arm could be twisted to allow a woody or woodys to build another or several, maybe there are enough people interested in a forming a class.  
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Heads Up On A New Book From Robert Brooke
Talking with Robert mid-week & I’m stoked to be able to announce on WW that Robert is days away from the release of his new book on the memoirs and drawings of his late father Jack (John) Brooke. More details soon.
 
Now I couldn’t let the day go by without a woody photo – the photo below has appeared b4 on WW but in a much poorer reproduction. Dated c1930s, it shows Colin Wild’s yard at Stanley Point, Devonport – a very impressive line up of woodys. (photo ex Keith Humphrey)
1930s approx. Stanley Point Devonport Colin Wild Boat Yard