Auckland Harbour, with Harbour Bridge in background. With the new Sole diesel she would get along at just on 6 kt at about 2000 rpm.
Please see our gallery: “Beyond II”, RNZYS. Note: Only a few of the images appear within the text – click for the full gallery at large high resolution in new tab window.
“Beyond II” came to be our family yacht in about 1974. My brother Allan (Al) and I have many memories of our experiences on this good ship.
Yacht construction in New Zealand was changing rapidly in the 1970s as boat building techniques moved away from traditional planked hulls. Partly this was due to design, and partly due to the growing shortage of traditional materials, as well as the advent of new materials. Plywood was used in a semi-production basis, for example: the Senior design, NZ 37. This and other designs were coming out with fin keels and skeg rudders (some without skegs–initially lead to some without rudders, too!). Then came the more widespread use of fibreglass. Initially, yachts built in fibreglass rather mimicked wooden boat construction (the Bermuda 40, and Alberg 35–still going today) but subsequent advances in design allowed for optimum use of fibreglass in an engineering sense for its main structural property of strength-for-weight. Osmosis was a big problem early on in “glass” yachts, until the chemistry of fibreglass, particularly with resin composition, and the need to lay up in temperature and humidity controlled environments became appreciated. Some fantastic yacht designs unfortunately fell prey to this malady. The Kiwis pioneered a technique of cold moulding using layers of timber which were then fibreglassed over; this created a hull that was both light and strong. Techniques evolved and improved, so that current-day fibreglass yacht construction involves creating a “composite” where the fibreglass mat, resin, and other materials give additional bulk and strength. Reinforcements like balsa core, various foam types, carbon fibre are used in the mix. Oyster Yachts have recently completed a hull over 100 ft long using composite and a technique of vacuum bagging to increase the penetration of the resin into the hard materials in the composite. A company named Lyman-Morse in the USA is building beautiful yachts with this material. Depending on how they are done, the composites of today are a fantastic material with massive strength for their weight; they do not rot, rust, or corrode, but can be difficult to repair. Steel and alloy have always been around, but have come into their own with the construction of Mega-yachts; mainly in alloy, which New Zealand is now famous for. So, looking back, the late 60’s was probably the end of an era in New Zealand boat building, and saw the last of yachts built from heart Kauri wood; our yacht “Beyond II” was a graceful lady from that era.
Dad decided on the yacht for us. In our price range was a timber yacht, a 40 ft C.R. Holman design from the UK. Several of this design were built, and in its day was described as an Offshore Racing-Cruising Yacht. Her sail number was B 180. Design length was 39 ft 10 in; draft 6 ft; beam 10 ft 9 in. Her shape was traditional with graceful but powerful bow, reasonable freeboard, and counter stern. We had looked at fibreglass yachts, mainly the practical Pacific 38 built by Alan Orams in Whangarai, but this was more than we could afford, and we judged that the Salthouse designed Cavalier 32 was a touch small for our needs. Both of these were excellent yachts, built by reputable boatbuilders who did not cut quality to save on costs. The Cav 32 built in glass was a top yacht, sailed well, slept 6, and many are still sailing the New Zealand waters. These were $25K; the “Pac-38” was $38K, and “Beyond II” was $32K. On the subject of “Ks”, a number of K class yachts were around at the time available for sale for similar dollars, but were narrower of beam; and, despite elegant traditional lines, had less interior room. At one stage, Dad was by a mere fluke second in line to purchase the Rhodes design “Windrose”, a 53 ft centreboard yawl (based, I think, on the “Carina” design) well built by Salthouse, but this was not to be, and it sold then for about $55,000 which was more than we could afford (I recall in those days just before inflation got a grip on the property market in New Zealand, a pretty good house could be bought for $80,000).
Our “Beyond II’ was robustly built. The hull was splined Kauri Planks, each 1 inch thick (Al calls it “glued seem with fillets”). The planks at close centres were joined to the laminated hardwood frames and stringers with copper nails and rooves. The carline plank extending the length of the hull at the junction of the deck and hull was effectively a 2 by 4. The teak decks were laid onto marine grade ply. Spars were alloy, and she had a good set of Hood sails. The original Ford Cortina petrol motor was a bugbear. It was later replaced by a Sole 34 hp which was a real treat–not having to worry about the boat blowing up when starting the engine.
“Beyond II” was built for Mr. Jim Faire, an Auckland Realtor, who could afford the best. Mr. Owen Wooley, of Panmure, Auckland’s leading boat builder did the build, and a Marine Surveyor from the UK supervised construction. The image gallery shows the yacht at launching in the Panmure River around September, 1968. The initial timber mast proved to be to heavy for the boat, and was replaced by an alloy mast. Fortunately, as far as I can establish, this was the only “blew” made in design and construction.
Friends of Dad’s, his old mate Jim Aitken (see Sailing, My History for a photo of his “May”), and our Dentist, Lawrie Hadlow, crewed on the yacht (and had some stories to tell). In the 1980s, before I went overseas, Dad organized a reunion; on that day we put up the BIG spinnaker, which was light sky blue in colour, matching the hull. So, we had the inside running on the yacht which rightly was considered one of the best examples in its day of wooden boat construction in New Zealand.
We were the fourth owners; by then the yacht was in something of cosmetic disrepair. We always had to work, and could not afford to pay others for things we could do ourselves, so we set to with Skarsten Scrapers, sand paper, paint, and varnish for her restoration. The cabin trunk sides were solid teak, and shone brilliantly after 7 coats of gloss; down below we chose a satin finish to enhance the timbers of teak and holly floorboards, and Queensland Golden Maple joinery. We retained the original sand colour paint for the cockpit, but added areas of grey non-skid to the cabin top, and the original blue paint inside the gunwales was changed to white for ease of maintenance. Electrics were sorted out, and sea cocks were fixed or replaced. Dad was assiduous about electrolysis control, and had the boat’s main metal structures (mast, thru-hull fittings, and engine) copper wired by a Marine Electrician to the zinc block. “Beyond II” was always sky blue in colour; although once a painter at Half Moon Bay got the tint wrong and we ended up a psychedelic blue (remember it was the 1970s) which just had to be re-done. I have seen photos of the ship as she now sails in the Marlborough Sounds, painted white with white spray dodger; just doesn’t have the same character, in my opinion. Dad was fussy about the bilges, so after much toil, the internal lead ballast came out piece by piece, and the bilges were painted white. Then, the lead, which had gone home for cleaning, went back in, piece by piece, and was held in place by wooden battens and copper screws (just in case the yacht was upside down–Dad was a cautious yachtsman!–actually anyone considering going to sea, should prepare their sailboat for a roll. You would be surprised what has to be prepared to be as safe as possible in that situation). We replaced some of the lead with plastic water bottles, but I still think she was a bit high in the bows, even with a full load of Christmas beer stow’d forw’d. Sometimes I slept in the quarter berths which were long and quite cosy; at other times I favoured a bunk forw’d which I shared with sails, warps, and dive gear. It was good, especially since I had my own access up and down through the forw’d hatch.
She had tankage for 50 gals of water (we took the tank out for repair at one stage); and 20 gal of fuel in a tank that formed the starboard cockpit seat. The stove was a basic two burner gas stove. And, the head featured home comforts of a wash basin with a fresh water pump, and single pump out head (before the days of holding tanks–though jokes were made about the timing of one’s morning swim!).
Sails. “Beyond II” sported single headsail sloop rig on rod rigging, swaged at the bronze turnbuckles. Apart from storm trysail, storm jib, she had a wardrobe of numbers 1 to 4 headsails, the number 4 being the working jib, a spinoa, and two spinnakers and two spinnaker poles, as well as a short pole to pole out a jib when running wing and wing. Headsails were hanked on; no roller furlers in those days. Given the changeable conditions of the Hauraki Gulf, as forw’d hand I usually kept a second sail lashed along the post lifelines to save the hassle of pulling a big bag up from the forw’d cabin, via the forw’d hatch. One day coming across from Barrier to the top of Coromandel Peninsula, it was very rough; and, with an approaching gale, I simply pulled the working jib down, sat on it, and held on. We were doing over 9 knots with heavily furled main, Dad was at the helm, and two rooster tails were shooting up from the quarters as we surfed down the waves. Rig-wise, nowadays, I would favour an outer genoa on a roller, and an inner blade, hank on, for heavier conditions.
I sailed a lot with Mum and Dad, and the three of us had the working of the ship down to a tee. Actually Dad and I sailed the boat. I was the forw’d hand and took care of the workings of the ship while Dad steered. I ran a tight ship, and was proud of the best furled sails in any anchorage. I was also an aficionado of flag etiquette, and made sure that we flew our Blue Ensign (as a British Registered Ship) and Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron burgee correctly, or as Dad would have said, “according to Hoyle”. I never did work out this fellow Hoyle, and believe he was one of the “high and mighties” right up there alongside Huey, the omnipresent god of wind and weather. As working class folks, you always are aware there are forces out there omnipotent in their power, that you must never offend! We never really thought about an autopilot, and couldn’t have afforded one in those days. Mum was great in the galley, but her favourite possie was on the stern with a hand line and spinner fishing for Kahawai.
Ground tackle. For normal anchoring we used a 35 lb CQR with a chain rode, onto three quarter inch nylon line. For storm anchoring we used a 45 lb CQR (which we usually stored in the bilge), onto chain of which we had 200ft–never dragged that combination even in a bad blow at the Barrier, anchored in 64 ft of water. Still, we stood anchor watch.
Our expeditions took us across to Te Kouma on the Coromandel Peninsula, we fossicked around the inner Hauraki Gulf, cruised out to the Barrier, and to the Mokohinaus. On that trip we had a long motor further north to the Hen and Chickens, finally picking up a breeze that fetched us to anchor just inside Whangerai Heads. Further north we pulled into Tutukaka, and Whangamumu. On another trip north to New Zealand’s famous Bay of Islands, we left Kawau early morning, sailed all day, then rounded Cape Brett at midnight in lumpy seas and adverse current, before bearing away for Russell where we anchored at three in the morning, whereupon all hands turned in. Further north, we had magnificent sail through the Cavalli Passage, on a broad reach with dolphins literally coming out at us as the cresting waves broke by the stern. I liked Whangaroa the best; we anchored in a beautiful bay with its own waterfall. Mum and I put out a set line and caught an enormous Snapper. On the return voyage, we had light winds on the way south, but tracked along nicely with full main and the enormous number 1 genoa.
I suppose I never quite realized at the time how special those years really were. We were together as a family, and all enjoyed good health. I was coming up through some demanding years at Medical School, and though I had to work most holidays at the freezing works to earn money to carry me through the academic year, I also toiled on the boat (for no money). Whenever I could persuade Mum and Dad to “go away” (Kiwi for do a sailing trip) we were off. I recall one winter we went away to the Barrier, and despite the rain of the New Zealand winter, enjoyed some wonderful cruising. I even found a whale vertebra on an isolated beach.
“Beyond II” was a powerful yacht, yet she was docile when sailed correctly. “Look after the yacht, and the yacht will look after you” was a principle well confirmed by our experiences. She was a great boat to sail, quite slippery in light winds, went well to weather; and, as Dad would say, had few vices. She would heel over so just far, then settle in and track along, usually favouring more heads’l than main, especially in a puff of wind. Admittedly, on occasions, we had too much sail up like a full main and number two off Little Barrier, going like mad, nearly on her beam ends in heavy seas, still she carried it and nothing broke. The light blue Johnnie Walker water jug did go flying out of its cabinet, and I believe the teak grab rail still to this day carries its indentation.
Our yacht was a patient teacher. Not only did I learn how to care for a timber yacht, she gave me a solid grounding in the principles of safe and prudent seamanship which have stood me in good stead over many years. In retrospect, “Beyond II” was more than a yacht, she was one of the family.