September / October 2022

Aboard: Rawhiti

A shapely New Zealand A-class cutter from 1905

RAWHITI, 55’ on deck, was restored to her original grandeur in a four-year project that started in 2007. She was originally launched in 1905 at the Logan yard in Auckland, New Zealand.

RAWHITI is one of about 45 keel cutters launched from the Logan yards based in Auckland, New Zealand, between 1882 and 1908. Christened in 1905, she’s one of the youngest of the breed and, at 55' on deck, one of the largest. She benefited from a local restoration renaissance and once again looks proud, with her flush deck, a jackyard topsail, and the superb detailing that went with New Zealand’s golden age of yachting. Peter Brookes gave RAWHITI a carefully considered restoration between 2007 and 2011 and, fortunately for both man and boat, he has recently become her owner.

In 1892, after amicably splitting from Robert Logan Sr., who was their Scottish-bred boatbuilding father, John, Robert Jr., and Archibald (only a year apart in age and all of them under 30) set up their own shop and promptly replicated N.G. Herreshoff’s revolutionary GLORIANA. Their interpretation was based on lines published that year in the American magazine Forest & Stream, but they built her half-sized and on speculation, with the same name as the original. Their swift little cutter created a record of her own, brought in the hoped-for business, and, amazingly, still sails today. The very next year, 1893, was a banner one for big cutters in Great Britain and the United States. It culminated in the AMERICA’s Cup contest where the Scottish designer George L. Watson’s VALKYRIE nearly beat Herreshoff’s VIGILANT.  It was also the year of Watson’s similar design of the royal yacht BRITANNIA and concurrent designs from fellow Scotsman William Fife that helped establish hull shapes that were widely admired, replicated, and reported. Yachting was big news in those days, carried in newspapers worldwide.Stories of Watson, Fife, and Herreshoff’s innovations quickly traveled to New Zealand and were not lost on the Logan brothers, who were avid sailors and could race boats as well as they built them. Speedy, straightforward, and handsome keel cutters became their specialty for the next dozen years with Arch Logan designing most of them.

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