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Classic Yachts: Peters reflects on family boat building links at Ida relaunch

by Richard Gladwell/ 19 Jul 2020 17:36 PDT 20 July 2020
Ida alongside The Dinghy Locker - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron - July 19, 2020 © Richard Gladwell /

Ida, the latest addition to Auckland's classic yacht fleet had her ceremonial relaunch on Sunday afternoon, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters.

Originally launched in 1895, Ida returned to New Zealand from Sydney in October 2018, by the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust (NZ), having been in Australia since 1984. She is the 11th yacht in the classic fleet comprising indigenous New Zealand yachts.

Chairman of the Trust, John Street explained how he heard of the existence of Ida, a Bailey design, through Peter Mirams, a university accountancy colleague who had sailed on Ida, then owned by his uncle. However, the family had lost track of the yacht.

Thirty-six hours after that discussion, Street tracked Ida down in Sydney. "She was in a sorry state", Street recalled.

As many of the original parts as possible have been used in the restored yacht - including the original 125year old rigging screws. "We had them x-rayed, and they are in perfect condition," Street explained. "Ida was the first yacht in New Zealand to use rigging screws to tension the rigging, instead of the usual system of wooden deadeyes," he added.

Missing is a plaque marking the occasion in the 1920s when then Prince Edward VIII sailed aboard Ida during a Royal Visit when there was a transport strike, and no-one could leave Auckland.

Ida's skipper is Andy Ball, former multiple national champion in the Javelin and Flying Dutchman class before moving onto the offshore scene. He played a key role in Ian Gibbs' Admirals Cup campaigns, being top individual boat in 1981, with Swuzzlebubble competing as one of the 16 national teams of three boats each. Ball has moved onto classic boats and also owns and races Aramoana.

Street shipped Ida back to New Zealand in December 2018 where her restoration commenced in January 2019 in Horizon Boats shed in Stillwater under the skilful hands of Wayne Olsen and Mike Smith. Olsen has extensive experience building wooden boats up to 100ft, and completed restoration work and maintenance on other CYCT boats including Thelma, Waitangi, Frances and Gloriana.

"Old man Bailey, if he were alive today, would be suitably surprised that Ida is still in existence 125 years later" Street quipped.

Street acknowledged the support of many companies who had assisted with the restoration of Ida and the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust.

Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters took time out from a busy Election Campaign opening to speak at the ceremonial relaunching.

Peters forebears, on his mother's side, came to New Zealand from Isle of Skye, Scotland and Nova Scotia, settling in Waipu and opening a boat building business in 1862, just over 30 years before the keel of the Ida was laid in the C&W Bailey yard in Auckland.

In 1863, Peter's ancestor Donald McInnes and his partner Donald McKenzie built the 53ft "Daring" for Onehunga trader and store-owner David Kirkwood, She was lost just south of the Kaipara bar in February 1865, before being returned by the sea in 2018 before being evacuated for restoration.

"Only the Scots would leave a place like the Isle of Skye for a more barren place, Nova Scotia, and then travelling to paradise, at Waipu," Peters quipped.

From his words, Peters obviously felt a strong degree of empathy with the efforts of his forebears, those who built the Ida and indeed, those who have continued that tradition with her restoration. "This is a beautiful boat," he said.

With the America's Cup, and all the other significant trophies associated with sailing's most prestigious event in cabinets directly above him, Peters paid tribute to those who have been involved in this more recent part of New Zealand's sailing history.

"Many say the America's Cup is a rich mans sport without realising that New Zealand is world-class in the building of these boat and structures. We are world beaters," he said.

He pointed out that the America's Cup is a much bigger picture than some of the commentators are prepared to understand, with the export benefits extending the length of New Zealand.

"We are the top of the world. We have done the impossible, we've beaten the Americans - more than once."

Peters continued his theme of linking NZ's maritime history with its future. He reflected on the fact that the 17th-century Swedish warship, the Vasa, is the most visited tourist attraction in Scandanavia, even though she only sailed 1400metres before sinking under the weight of her cannons. Peters noted that the Ida, the Daring, and others of their ilk gave New Zealand the opportunity to display and see some of the great vessels of the Kiwi sailing history.

"To those involved in the relaunch and restoration of this fine yacht, congratulations - and thank you for giving up your time and money, and having the sense of history to make the sacrifice to be part of our country's great heritage," he concluded.

For a more detailed background and images on Ida: click here

Suppliers to the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust for the restoration of the Ida
Altex Paints - All paints and applications
Anchors, Chains & Ropes - All rigging
Covered Up - All upholstery
Duke Engineering - Machining of metal parts
Enertec Marine Ltd - All electricals
Engine Room - New motor
Fyfe Sails - All sails
AH Covers - All canvas covers
Harken/Fosters - All ship’s chandlery
Max Goutard - All interior painting
North Harbour Foundry - All casting of bronze fittings
Rowe Boat Painters - All finish coat and anti-foul application
Sikaflex - All caulking and adhesives

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