Rawhiti – the name means ‘east’ or ‘sunrise’ – is over 100 years old. A 54-foot Arch Logan design/ build, she was launched in 1905. This isn’t the place to sketch her remarkable history, racing pedigree and restoration (I’d need an awful lot more space), but trust me, she’s a jewel among the country’s classic yachts.
And after an impeccable restoration a few years ago, she’s – well – magnificent. To see her in full cry with her gaff-rig carrying the full wardrobe is a real treat – even for non-sailors. Breathtaking stuff.

Innismara – Gaelic for ‘island in the sea’ – is younger. Built in 1969, she’s a 67-foot Bernie Schmidt design and was rescued just in time from almost certain oblivion. She too has enjoyed an extensive restoration.
As you’d expect in a vessel more than 50 years Rawhiti’s junior, Innismara carries mod-cons such as winches, is Bermudan- rather than gaff-rigged, and doubles as a cruiser with plenty of space below. She can sleep 11. A ‘modern’ classic, she too boasts a lengthy and impressive racing record.

Both boats are icons of the Classic Yacht Association and occasionally can be seen on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. But – and this is where they share the major ‘concern’ – they aren’t getting out there often enough.
The owners – who describe themselves as time-poor – want to change this. You can help.


Rawhiti is owned by a trio of Aucklanders – Ian Cook, Mike Malcolm and Greg Hinton. All are passionate ‘classicists’ and share an interesting philosophy about life, heritage – and their boats. Cook owns superyacht building company Yachting Developments where Innismara was restored – and she’s solely-owned by the Cook family.

Essentially, say Malcolm, “we’re all wrestling with a time and crew problem, and perhaps the easiest way to fix this is by extending the shareholding and ownership between a few more people.”
“We’re interested in finding people with the same love and passion for classic yachts,” adds Cook. “People who are keen to get involved in sailing them and preserving the heritage – and investing in them financially.
“I like to think we are temporary custodians of the boats – and we have a responsibility to ensure they’re cared for and passed on to future generations. But crucially, we also want to keep the spirit of classic sailing alive. And that means they need to be used – and, of course, maintained.”

Sailing yachts from yesteryear is fun but can be quite demanding, points out Malcolm. “With limited mechanical aids, Rawhiti, in particular, can be a handful and needs a decent-sized crew to tame her. So relying on casual ring-ins doesn’t always work.
“She needs a reasonably dedicated bunch who are happy to spend time getting to know her wiles and charms – and not to put too fine a point on it, for people who have invested in the boats, that dedication is, by definition, a given.”
Ideally, continues Cook, “we’d like to find people who are prepared to invest the time and develop the skills to take the boats out independently of any of us. Who are keen to find and nurture additional crews. Individuals with the right values and passion. We’d like to talk to them.”


Innismara is in a slightly different but no less demanding space.
She’s skippered pretty much permanently by Cook’s daughter Paige and crewed by her friends. And Paige has fairly specific ideas about the boat’s role in promoting classic yacht sailing.
“While I share Dad’s concerns about the limited use of the boats, my focus is more about encouraging people of my generation to embrace classic yacht sailing. What happens to these boats when the current custodians pass on? We need to get people of my age involved. I am determined to show them that sailing classic yachts is not ‘just an old man’s club’.

“Sadly, I think there’s a perception that these boats are exclusive and off-limits, that you can’t really get to sail on them unless you know the right people. That’s completely incorrect. I am constantly short of crew and am always broadcasting the same message – who wants to come sailing?
“Ideally, with Innismara I need a few experienced crew to sail her well – a few more if we fly the kite. But I’ve taken scores of people who’ve never sailed before – and I must say seeing their faces come alive at the boat’s beauty and grace always gives me a huge buzz.”
As with Rawhiti, Paige would like to develop a core of regular crew members for Innismara and find others to look after and share the ownership – who are willing to become fellow custodians. People who will get to know the boat and develop and skills and confidence to use her responsibly.


Yes, there is maintenance.
No vessel’s immune from it, and even though they’ve been superbly restored, both Rawhiti and Innismara need TLC from time-to-time.

“It’s mostly sanding and varnishing,” says Malcolm. “But just as with the owner of a classic car – it goes with the territory. It’s part of the passion.”
To find out more about becoming involved with Rawhiti and Innismara, please contact: Mike Malcolm : Mike@ailinvestments.co.nz Ian Cook : Ian@yachtingdevelopments.co.nz Paige Cook : paige@yachtingdevelopments.co.nz


Sailing a classic yacht is always a special experience, but Rawhiti elevates it to a different level – not only because of her exquisitely accurate restoration, but also because she commands such a distinguished place among New Zealand’s fleet of classics.
She is one of only a handful of A-class gaff-rigged boats still around – her illustrious contemporaries include Rainbow, Ariki, Thelma, Rawene, Waitangi and Frances.
Her racing record is complex and convoluted – settle back with a glass of your favourite cabernet and lap-top and Google search ‘Rawhiti – Logan Brothers’. Her trans-Tasman history in particularly intriguing. She ended up in Australia soon after launching and was the undisputed champion of Sydney Harbour (and the fastest yacht in Australia) for some 30 years.

The Rawhiti Cup remains a key event on the Sydney yachting calendar to this day, and there are two oil paintings of her hanging in the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s dining-room. She’s won both the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta and the Classic Yacht Association Regatta for the last two years.
A former director the Auckland museum – Dr Rodney Wilson – describes her as the most important yacht – historically speaking – in Australasia. Her restoration (completed in 2012) was carried out by Peter Brookes (Brookes Classic Boats) – widely regarded as the leading restorer of classic boats in the country.
Innismara’s nicknames offer an insight into her presence and performance. On account of her narrow beam she’s often referred to as the ‘pencil’ or the ‘war canoe’ – and her pennant is emblazoned with a pencil.
Her racing record hasn’t really finished – she continues to take line and handicap honours at the annual Classic Yacht and the Auckland Anniversary regattas – an elegant old lady who relishes the opportunity to hoist her petticoats and embrace life afresh.
For me, the best perspective on the significance of these boats comes from Innismara’s youthful skipper, Paige: “These boats may not be the future – but they’ve most certainly helped shape the current and future yachting scene.”
The Classic Yacht Association of New Zealand was formed in 1995 to promote the ownership, preservation and restoration of classic yachts and launches.
A cool video of these yachts sailing can be viewed at the link below. Crew on board when it was filmed include two of ETNZ’s
America’s Cup winners from Bermuda.
http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/01/aucklandanniversary-holiday-celebrated-with-regatta.html For more information visit www.classicyacht.org.nz