Yacht once owned by New Zealand's wealthiest man being restored
A historic Auckland racing yacht is being restored to her former glory after years of being left to rot in the Hauraki Gulf.
The 113-year-old Ariki, known for being the fastest yacht in Auckland from 1904 to 1938, had been out of service for nearly a decade when a Waiheke couple spotted her at Bayswater Marina on the North Shore in 2016.
Waiheke residents Charlotte Lockhart and Andrew Barnes purchased the abandoned yacht in December 2016 and have spent the past four months restoring her.
Ariki was 95 per cent water-logged and rotten in places, Lockhart said.
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"But, Ariki was too special for New Zealand's nautical history to let her turn into rubble," Lockhart said.
For more than 30 years Ariki dominated first class Auckland yacht racing until the appearance of the yacht Ranger in 1938.
Ariki also passed through the hands of many iconic New Zealanders including Alfred Nathan from LD Nathan & Company who set up some of New Zealand's biggest retail stores such as Woolworths and the Goodfellow family, once the richest family in New Zealand.
Ariki, which means chief or leader in te reo Maori, was built in Auckland in 1904 by the Logan Brothers for Charles Horton of the Horton publishing family as a combined racing and cruising yacht.
Ariki is 17 meters long and features a spoon-bowed and counter-stern with her hull planked in copper-fastened kauri.
Lockhart and Barnes began the restoration in April at Okahu Bay in Auckland and aim to have Ariki back on the water by early 2018.
New kauri and sails have been installed but the majority of the restoration involves fixing Ariki's original materials.
"The aim is to keep her as authentic as possible," Lockhart said.
"We will not be using her for cruising, she will be a racing boat - which is what she was made to be," she said.
Ariki is being restored by Waiheke boat builder Robin Kenyon who also coaches the kids of Waiheke dinghy team racing.
When the restoration is complete, Ariki will be made available for Waiheke school students to sail.
"We want to include Ariki in the Waiheke community as much as possible - so, if the Kennedy Point Marina goes ahead we would get a berth for her there," Lockhart said.
When completed, Ariki will be moored at the Maritime Museum in Auckland so the public can visit her.
"She will be parked next to Waitangi, who is another Logan Brothers boat," Lockhart said.
If anyone is interested in viewing or sailing the Ariki contact firstname.lastname@example.org