Building Fritha – Sailing Sunday
Building Fritha – Sailing Sunday
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
Which Boat Today ?
If your names not Tony Stevenson that’s not a question many of us ask ourselves. When I picked up the Jan/Feb issue of the uber cool kiwi lifestyle magazine – NZ Life & Leisure, I discovered that there is someone else out there that’s been bitten by the classic boating bug, big time 🙂 Enter Charlotte & Richard Stevens, their menagerie of boats includes – ‘D’Urville’ a 70′ kauri, Laurent Giles designed motor boat, built by McMullen & Wing in 1975 – ‘Mickey Mouse’ a 1967 Ford 10 powered Albatross Motors speedboat – ‘Carvel’ their exquisite 1962 Norm Keen designed & built lake boat – a Frostbite, a Lazer, numerous canoes/kayaks & paddle boards AND a 45mph V8 powered ski boat. That ww followers is an impressive collection.
The article is a both a great read & a wonderful visual insight into the life & boats of Charlotte & Richard & we thank them for sharing it with us.
Todays post has been reproduced with the permission of Fairfax Media. The spectacular photos are from the camera of Tessa Chrisp & the words from the typewriter of Rebecca Hayter (NZ Boating editor). Check out the magazine at their website http://nzlifeandleisure.co.nz
Note: if the images above are a little hard to read – you can view it here as a PDF file, click the blue link 😉
The Birth Place of Many Woodys
photos ex Chris McMullen ex Gilbert Littler
The two stunning aerial photos above of the Beaumont Street boatyards, taken in the early 1960’s by Whites Aviation, were sent in by Chris McMullen via his friend Gilbert Littler. These days Gilbert lives in Boston, USA but in the 1960’s worked at the Baileys yard (2nd photo above) as a boatbuilder. Gilbert was back in NZ recently to sail on Chris Bouzaid’s Rainbow II during the ‘One Ton Revisited Regatta’, which they won.
Chris commented that back in the 1960’s when the photos were taken, any interested young boy could go into a boatyard and watch what was going on. No health and safety regulations. An older guy told Chris one day “Don’t be a —— boatbuilder sonny ‘’ “Better to be a builder.” He told him the boatbuilding industry was too unreliable, hard dirty work and way under paid. Well Chris says he was right, but he ignored the old boys advice and some how survived, with no no regrets.
There are a lot of woody’s in the photos. Lots of history too. Lowes old yard is just south of the Atlantic oil depot. Chris’s old firm, McMullen & Wing Ltd, set up a travelift operation there to replace the St Marys Bay haul out, taken by the Harbour Bridge approach.
Chris commented that they filled the site with brick and concrete from the Union Steam Ship building. The date about 1980. The site was leased from the old Auckland Harbour Board and had some very restrictive conditions over activity and building on the site. It was too tough and Chris got out and left it with his business partner the late Eric Wing. He sub leased it to Kip Kempthorn who eventually bought the lease and managed to change the terms through negotiations with the new land lord “Ports of Auckland “. Chris isn’t quite sure how he managed that but it happened. What is on the site now would never have been allowed under the original lease. The McMullen & Wing site was next to the old Harbour Board slip and is now called Orams number two yard. As an aside Chris recently bought back their original travelift that has been worked flat out for over 33 years.
(remember to enlarge a photo, simply click on it)