An integral piece of New Zealand sailing history has returned home, with the legendary sloop Rainbow II arriving in Auckland after four decades' absence.
The boat that wrote the opening chapter of New Zealand's offshore racing history is to be completely restored and displayed in Auckland, where she was originally built.
Rainbow II has spent the past 43 years in Bermuda, sold after winning the 1969 One Ton Cup in Germany - New Zealand's first major international offshore sailing success.
Now her original owner, Kiwi sailor Chris Bouzaid, has bought back the Sparkman & Stephens 36ft sloop, and donated her to the newly established Maritime Museum Foundation in Auckland.
The boat made the passage across the Pacific on board the container ship Maersk Brani. She will soon be taken to the Percy Vos boatshed in the Wynyard Quarter to undergo a major restoration by Max Carter, the man who built her in 1967, with the help of his partner Alan Wright. The boat will then be on display with the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust in the Wynyard Quarter, and eventually at Voyager, the National Maritime Museum in the Viaduct Harbour.
During her time in Bouzaid's hands, Rainbow II won 121 races over two years. Among the victories were the Whangarei- Noumea and the Sydney-Hobart races in 1967, Kiel Week in Germany and the One Ton Cup in 1969. A month later, she won her divisions in both the Channel Race and the Fastnet Classic.
American-based Bouzaid hopes to race her again on Auckland waters in July 2019 - the 50th anniversary of her One Ton Cup victory.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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