COMMANDER ONE – #4 Fairlie launch in a series of 4
photo & details ex Ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H
Built in 1967 by Allan Williams, she was 42 ft when built & extended at the back end to 52 feet a few years later by the original owner. She was extended by Percy Vos c.1969-70 for Norm Fairlie.
Fairlie lived at No 5 Fife St Westmere at that time & was a successful Auckland businessman. Fairlie was a passionate big game fisherman for many years & fished extensively off Mayor Island in her. His son, Brian Fairlie was one of N.Z’s. few international tennis players, back in the 60s 70s era.
Commander One has been berthed in Tauranga most of her life & is now owned by Mr Paul Aitkin, who bought her off the Bradshaw family of Rotorua, around 2004, who bought her off Norm Fairlie back in the 1970s. She is & always has been, maintained to a very high standard, by all owners & still very original as far as the addition to her length allows.
She had a 180 hp 6 cyl. Cummins diesel when new, now replaced c.2000 by Bradshaws, with a brand new replacement 400hp de-rated to 300hp Cummins.
Ken recently spoke to Norm Fairlie who is aged 91, sounding very fit & well & is living on the Gold Coast in Australia.
The story of her ownership is rather unusual.
It all starts with a previous boat Norm F, had built by McGeady, called Challenger, which Norm F. sold to a Mr Brown of Whangarei who later sold her to Bradshaws of Rotorua. Bradshaws later wanted to buy Commander One off Norm H. & he agreed to buy back Challenger, off Bradshaws, as part payment for Commander One. Just after the deal was done, some people known to Bradshaws, discovered Bradshaws deal, & said they had always wanted to own Challenger, so rushed up to Auckland, & bought her straight off Norm H. almost immediately after he had re-inherited her.
Photo below (ex Ken Ricketts) is of the original owner Norm Fairlie, now Norm is almost 93 years old & he told KR that while the boat was built by Alan Williams, her designer was Mac McGeady. If that is the case, this photo has a little more meaning as the lady on the left is McGeady’s granddaughter – Karen Moren.