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Lion New Zealand back in action for NZ Sailing Trust

by Ellie Brade/NZ Sailing Trust 13 Mar 00:42 PDT 13 March 2019
Floating nicely to her lines - Lion New Zealand - Relaunch - March 11, 2019 © Richard Gladwell

Nearly two years after her arrival at Yachting Developments in May 2017, Lion New Zealand is safely back in the water after completing a major million-dollar refit at the yard.

After making her way from the Yachting Developments yard in Hobsonville, and then having her mast restepped, she relaunched in Auckland at 4pm on 11 March 2019 in front of a crowd of well-wishers. Following a straightforward launch, Lion New Zealand was rechristened by Bianca Cook, of Yachting Developments, and Michelle Khan and Evelien Van Vliet of the NZ Sailing Trust.

“The relaunch of Lion New Zealand was a very proud moment and the culmination of many months of hard work by our team at Yachting Developments,” says Ian Cook, Managing Director of Yachting Developments. “After so many years and nautical miles, Lion New Zealand was in need of a refit. The refit work has allowed Lion to have been upgraded and repurposed for her new role. We are proud to have been entrusted with this special project. She is now better than new and ready to get back on the water and allow young New Zealanders to experience the sailing and team building on the Hauraki Gulf.”

A piece of Kiwi yachting history, Lion New Zealand was designed by Ron Holland and launched 34 years ago after being built for Sir Peter Blake’s fourth attempt at the Whitbread Round The World Race in 1985/1986. Now owned by the NZ Sailing Trust, which purchased the yacht in 2008, today Lion New Zealand plays host to thousands of young New Zealanders.

Lion New Zealand’s extensive refit list included a new mast, boom and keel, new rigging, deck winches and electronics, a full paint job in the yacht’s original colours and new antifouling. The interior was completely upgraded, with all-new accommodation and a reconfigured galley and forward area, new electronic, lighting and navigation systems, and new plumbing. Engineering work included new systems including a new propeller shaft, engine and propeller. A new Volvo engine was also installed in place of the older heavier diesel Gardener engine. Bob Graham, of Yachting Developments, played a key role in the redesign of the yacht, drawing on his years of experience working with Lion, including racing onboard alongside Sir Peter Blake. The yacht will now be lighter, faster and more efficient to run, with all spaces maximised.

“The results of Lion New Zealand’s restoration by Yachting Developments are simply stunning and it was a very emotional day yesterday watching her return to the Waitemata harbour,” says Paul Powney, CEO of the New Zealand Sailing Trust. “Out of our collaboration with Yachting Developments we now have restored Lion New Zealand so she is configured and fit for her new purpose, without compromising the integrity of the design or her legacy as a Whitbread Maxi. Lion’s return alongside our other vessel Steinlager 2 will allow the NZ Sailing Trust to provide youth development sailing programme opportunities for up to 2,000 young New Zealanders each year and allow all New Zealander to enjoy this iconic yacht for many years to come.”

Lion New Zealand will now undergo sea trials before returning to service for the NZ Sailing Trust.

Lion New Zealand 300 Club

The NZ Sailing Trust has raised over $850,000 toward the current restoration of Lion New Zealand. We are on the home stretch but need to raise the final $150,000.

The NZ Sailing Trust has created the Lion New Zealand 300 Club in an effort to raise the last lot of funds

You can join other Lion New Zealand 300 Club supporters who are making a major difference and become a member of this exclusive Club today.

You will receive:

· A limited edition Lion New Zealand T-Shirt · An exclusive Invite to the re-launch of Lion New Zealand · A voucher to have a sailing experience on Lion New Zealand · Acknowledgement of your donation in our Annual Report and on our website

At 34 years of age, Lion New Zealand not only sailed the 85/86 Whitbread Round the World campaign but she has continued to deliver the majority of our Trust’s youth development journeys over the past 10 years with Steinlager 2 alongside her since 2014.

With over 1,000 young New Zealanders participating in the programme annually, the wear and tear from the voyages can take its toll. For the first time in many years Lion New Zealand has undergone a major restoration, sympathetic as possible to her original design while also making sure she is ‘fit for purpose’ to deliver our youth development programmes.

The NZ Sailing Trust has operated since 2008 to deliver unique youth development programmes. Participants focus on the tasks at hand to sail and experience life on board a maxi yacht. Its close quarter living so they learn a lot about themselves and others facing challenging situations, building confidence, resilience, courage and self-reliance in a marine environment.

Keen to be involved?

Simply click here to download the form.

Payments can be made three ways:

· Click here to pay by Paypal

· Contacting us with your credit cards details

· Direct Credit to: New Zealand Sailing Trust - 12 3209 0327956 02

Help NZ Sailing Trust to continue to deliver these life changing and eye opening experience for more young New Zealanders and join the exclusive Lion New Zealand 300 Club today.

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