This latest upgrade has in no way restored the boat as it had never needed a restoration job as all the previous owners, all 4, had lovingly looked after her and anyway, restoration, I have learned, is restoring a craft to her original design and as proved in our other boat, “Otira”, an open 1902 oil launch, has turned out to be impractical on Lyttelton Harbour. Perhaps in 1902 they were not aware of comforts that would be required by the boaties of the future.
Mapu” was designed as a day boat in 1930 by Eric Cox and built in Auckland by Col Wild. The 6 hp engine was housed well forward under a low compartment which now is part of the area forward of the windscreen – so the original construction of the dodger still remains, including the coamings that surrounded the cockpit. This format seemed to have survived till WW ll when a keel was formed by 10×4 in. deadwood, including 800lb of lead in the midship section, so it could sail. At which stage they put a low dodger on and a mast and sail. This made a way of using the boat while wartime petrol rationing was in place. This structure remained till the late 40s when the mast and sail were removed.
Not much else changed until 1992 except that owner no 3 sometime in the 80s, had cleaned down the paint, found the beautiful kauri planking and subsequently varnished the hull. So in 1992 John Hager, had the boat hauled out and placed at the Hobson Wharf, the area that is now the Auckland Maritime Museum, where a collective boat building group altered the layout inside to make “Mapu” an ideal cruising boat. The low dodger was removed and a full headroom coach roof that went right to the aft end of the cockpit was built. The keel lead was removed and replaced with more timber. The small Saab engine was removed from the forward area where fuel and water tanks, a double berth, a head and sink were installed. To improve the headroom in the main area, the floor frames were removed and cabin sole lowered 5 inches and the present Mitsubishi 22 hp diesel was installed in this area. All these things were improvements and made for comfortable cruising which John and his wife, Helen, used around Auckland until the Pritchett’s took over in 2000. That year I carried out major cosmetic work – complete repaint, revarnish throughout.
Hanging on a mooring and only pulling her out occasionally to antifoul rather restricted us for using “Mapu” further afield. At that stage, I’d got keen on the idea of going to Lake Rotoiti for their Classic Boat Regatta so in 2004 I built a trailer and bought a small truck which enabled us to travel. After Rotoiti we kept her on a mooring at Waikawa Marina for 6 months and spent some time cruising the Sounds. The following year, after Rotoiti, we towed her north to Auckland where later that month the World Flying Fifteen Championships were being held. We kept her at the Auckland Outboard Boating Club Marina at Hobson Bay, viewed the sailing and cruised the lower gulf. After a couple of weeks we hauled her out and went north to relaunch at Warkworth and spent Easter cruising the Mahurangi, Kawau area. With the tidal waters we encountered, it became apparent that the keel from her sailing days was a hindrance as Pat had to get out in chest deep water to push off the shallows. Also the thought that in outgoing tide a stranding and the subsequent ingoing tide could fill the cockpit as she would lay well over on her beam end kept us from exploring some of the more exciting places.
Hence in 2010 the latest modification has taken place – the removal of the 250mls of dead wood keel. This presented another challenge. The fact that 6 metres of 250×100 contained a lot of buoyancy and as “Mapu” was already squatting in the stern due to the moving of the engine aft, some radical changes to the underwater shape were required. Our neighbour, Dan Leech, a yacht designer, with computer software and all the skills to reshape the underwater lines to compensate, drew the sections required. This involved stripping all the paint below the water line and gluing many layers of high density boat building foam, then faring, 2 layers of fibreglass and repainting.
The next time we expect to use her is to cruise the Hauraki Gulf and the Bay of Islands in January. Hopefully nobody will have to get out and push off too often. (ps We have also installed a depth finder!)