Saturday, October 25, 2008


Finally, ARITA is out of the water and we can start on a long list of things to be done. A whole year's worth of barnacles has already been removed. They were huge and very good looking as far as barnacles go, maybe a little obese, no doubt as a result of the force-feeding process when moored downtown, where the nutrient-laden current usually runs at about four knots. The grey stuff on the bottom is not fungus but a special primer on the bare wood where the old anti-fouling paint has been scraped off. The two stainless steel anchors on the bowsprit are of German/Swiss design called "Bugel", incredibly effective and our secret "insurance" in even the worst blow. The structure over the stern is the solar panel array, all of which can be folded over, when we are sailing. The cockpit canopy and dodger are wonderfully protective from both the rain and the sun. We recently added a window at the front for airflow.

TOMORROW WE BEGIN PAINTING THE HULL and she will be just like new. When you see it out of the water like this it is hard to believe that the whole yacht has been built out of a single humungous "Kauri" tree, some fifty years ago.

Considering that the tree itself must have been at least six hundred years old, it is kind of unique to be able to say when people ask " YEP, ARITA IS ABOUT SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS OLD."

The Kauri tree was felled in 1958 in the Bay of Islands area of New Zealand, hauled to a sawmill and cut into planks and frames including the kingplank that forms "ARITA's" 8" x 8" backbone.

The keel was cast in a paddock..... dig a hole in the ground, put in some formwork, hold it secure with a bit of concrete, collect all the scrap lead you can find and melt it in a giant copper pot.... then pour it into the mold. Once the keel was finished it was moved to a shed and the rest of the yacht was built onto the keel. When the yacht was completed and floated out of the shed it was again hauled up onto the beach and the interior was completed. Bulkheads put in place, cabins built, bunks installed, and engine connected.

You certainly have to have vision, guts and sheer determination to stand at the base of an enormous Kauri tree and whisper to yourself " Sorry me ol' mate, but I'm turning you into a yacht!" My compliments to the man with guts and vision, the builder, Mr. Dick McIlvride of Russel, North Island. N.Z

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