The Des Townson Story & Aristos
Yesterday I was privileged to attend the opening of the 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition, now if you have been living under a stone & are not aware of this annual event hosted by Tony Stevenson & the Tino Rawa Trust, the concept is simple but a winner. Each year one of our wooden boat designers is profiled & a collection of their craft is assembled & displayed. In recent years profiled designers have been – Jack Brooke & Colin Wild, in 2015 the event celebrates the life & work of Des Townson MNZM. In the nicest way, Des Townson was a freak, every boat from a 2.4m pram dinghy to a 12m cruiser/racer he designed was a work of art. A Townson will always be the prettiest yacht in the bay, their classic styling & purity of form was a winner on launch day & remains so to this day, over 3,500 Townson yachts have been built – that alone is impressive.
Today on ww I have featured Des’s one & only motorboat, Aristos, the 11.4m displacement launch built by Noel May. Tomorrow I will open the flood gates & post photos from the opening function & the fleet of stunning yachts on display at the Viaduct.
The event runs today & tomorrow, between 10am & 4.00pm at the Viaduct, alongside the draw bridge & in front of the old Team NZ base, entry is free & if you are passionate about beautiful boats you need to be there – the collection of craft on & off the water & Townson memorabilia is amazing.
As part of the celebration – the Tino Rawa Trust have produced a glossy journal profiling Des Townson’s life & designs – its available at the exhibition marquee for $20 & this wonderful publication complied by John Macfarlane, has to be, a must have in your collection. I have two copies to give away to woodys – I’ll make it simple, the first two woodys that correctly name the design of the Townson yacht that was the most popular i.e the most built (excluding the Electron model yachts)- I’ll give you a clue- it shared its name with a popular model of automobile, wins a copy. Because some of you struggle to work out how to use the ww comments section 🙂 I’ll split the prizes – one via email entry at firstname.lastname@example.org & one via entry in the comments section. You can only enter once 😉
Now Aristos – even with the addition of a flying bridge & her once varnished coamings hidden under battleship grey paint, she is a Townson & that means that no matter what angle you view her, she is simply beautiful. Why only one was built I do not know, maybe there is a story there?
So folks, make your way to the waterfront this weekend & take advantage to this once only exhibition that showcases one of our most successful & talented craftsman.
Now the owner of Aristos, Ray Haydon, is a very clever & talented man with his hands – a wee example of his skills can be seen on the bow of Aristos, Ray has designed & crafted an anchor turner (ensures the anchor is presented correctly when retrieving by winch) – it looks a little like a big bottle opener, but I can assure you it will be ‘fit for purpose’. Rather than paying for the imported Italian ones, someone needs to market Ray’s design 😉