KOTIRI B20 – Sailing Sunday
Today’s post is an amazing story – firstly Nathan Herbert tipped me off that a 1897 Logan yacht was in a boat shed in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay & had not seen the light of day (or water) for over 30 years. Next thing I’m on a RIB at Westhaven with the son (Don Webster) & grandson (Nick Webster) of the gent (Blair Webster) that purchased Kotiri back in 1947 & locked the boat shed doors sometime c.1986 & we were heading around to Herne Bay to view the ‘extraction’ of Kotiri from her boat shed. We were joined by Don’s younger brother Charles & a film crew from TV3 that were filming the event as part of an upcoming (semi-related) progamme. The day was a big boys dream – tug boats, barges, cranes, old shed full of cool stuff & the odd yummy mummy watching from the beach 🙂
It was a treat to watch a team of pro’s doing something that is beyond what most of us could do.
Some details on Kotiri – LOA 40′, LWL 28′, Beam 8’6″
Also in the shed was very cute dinghy / runabout that will be a winter project for Nick.
Below is some history on Kotiri & how she came to be sitting on a Boat Haulage transporter on-route to Peter Brookes yard.
Details below & photos above ex Classic Yacht Charitable Trust
Kotiri was designed and built by Logan Brothers in 1897 (launched 18th October 1897) at the height of the boat design and racing rivalry period between the Logans and the Bailey Brothers. The Baileys launched Meteor in the same month, both boats being built to the 30ft linear rating of the time.
Kotiri passed through many owners, including a period in Wellington, where she was renamed Kotiri II to differentiate from a smaller 30 footer of the same name. She was owned for a time by Laurence “Bruce” McCallum, the son of R H McCallum of Marine Parade Devonport who owned the family business Winate and Co based in lower Queen Street opposite the Central Post Office. Bruce MCCallum died in a bomber crash over Belgium on a mission to Cologne in 1943. The McCallum’s won the Devonport Yacht Club’s Duder cup in 1941 & 1942. The trophy is still held by a family member Tom McCallum of Pakuranga. Tom is also caretaker for another small trophy inscribed “RNZYS Kotiri 1939”.
Kotiri was purchased by Blair Daniel Webster in 1947 who converted her to marconi rig c1949. She was still sailing in 1952 but Blair layed her up in his boat shed at at 75 Sarsfield St Herne Bay in 1953 as her decks were leaking badly. In 1961 Blair commissioned R L (Bob) Stewart to draw up plans for conversion to a K class. From 1962 to 1968 Blair, with his closest friend J S G (Jock) McLanachan and a boat builder Jim Dennerley of Coxes Creek, worked on the comversion by increasing the height of the freeboard by 3 planks (approx. 9 inches); fully rib her; add new Bob Stewart “Patiki” style coamings; cut off rotten counter stern and build tuck. Boat shed ramp and railway tracks were laid for her ultimate return to the water. In November 1968 Kotiri was relaunched and moored on pile moorings at Westhaven. A second masthead rig and used sails were subsequently purchased. The boat shed at Herne Bay was regularly used for cleaning and antifouling haulouts. Kotiri sailed on rare occasions over the following years. Circa 1985 she sailed in a Classic Yacht regatta and by the late 80’s she had “retired” to the boat shed.
Blair Webster passed away on the 16th August 2000 and left Kotiri to his eldest son Donald. After 66 years ownership in the Webster family Kotiri was gifted to the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust on 14th March 2013 by Donald Webster. The token sum of 20 cents passed hands, for which 10 cents “change” was given, to mark the change of ownership.
Having been stored in a sound shed, over water, with good airflow, her hull was preserved in exceptionaly good order.
The Classic Yacht Charitable Trust are looking to raise funds to restore Kotiri to original sailing condition and preserve her for the long term enjoyment of New Zealander’s.
Don & Nick Webster
Don & Charles Webster
Peter Brookes looking for his teeth 🙂
WW has been contacted by Lesley Brennan those father, Lex Dowling, owned Kotiri in the mid 1960’s.
If anyone now related to the yacht would like the photo below – contact Lesley via email