Boating NZ : FREE TO READ March 2014
on motor launches around 1910, particularly Collings’ square-bilge planing hull designs for racing, whale chasing and game fishing which led to some advanced “express cruisers” in the American style like Paikea, Lady Una and Ruamano. But, in 1934, Collings went back to his roots and built himself the crack 22ft L-Class mullet boat Tamariki, following up with the crack 26-footer, the H-Class Corona, in 1936, the ultimate refinement of Collings’ 1924 design for Nomad. Tamariki and Corona dominated their classes for years. Corona was a powerful sail carrier. On her 10ft 6in beam she carried 900ft2 in her high- peaked, almost gunter, gaff cutter rig. Her mast was a towering 40ft; she had a 30ft boom, a 19ft gaff and a 15ft bowsprit. From end of bowsprit to end of boom she measured 45ft 6in. Her 21⁄2 tons of lead ballast kept her reasonably stiff, standing in for the load of fish her ancestors had brought home to market. She was in a class of her own from the start and remained scratch boat in the fleet for many years. But, in the 1960s, 26ft mullet boat racing began to wane, and only the 22-footers retained a competitive fleet, thanks to the efforts of the Ponsonby Cruising Club and the lure of competition for the Lipton Cup. The 26-footers are big craft, requiring a skilled crew and high maintenance. Their place was taken by the huge post-war brood of nimble keel yachts. Corona, like several other 26-footers, was sold to the fishing industry, lost her rig and gained a tall deckhouse and a diesel. Ron’s friend Marty Vose found her hauled out at Whangaparaoa. Ron and his Ponsonby mates, Lee Chambers and John Hogan, rescued her in the early 1990s and started her restoration at the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum in a shed on Hobson Wharf. Their work stalled because of resource pressures on the museum. Five years ago, in an arrangement with the museum, the New Zealand Traditional Boatbuilding School took over Corona’s restoration at its Hobsonville facility with Ron and the jovial Ian McRobie leading the excellent work of a crew of dedicated volunteers who put in four solid days a week. Thanks to grants from the Southern Trust and contributions from the local marine trade, progress on Corona’s restoration was consistent and tradesmanlike. On Saturday 12 March 2011, Corona was launched on the top of the tide from the old RNZAF flying-boat slip at Hobsonville. Although Ron was overseas and did not see the completion of the job, it is to Ron, Lee and the late John Hogan that much credit should be given for their drive and energy in saving this magnificent yacht. These days Corona is at the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland, alongside Jessie Logan, Wairiki and a clutch of other fine classics sponsored by the Tino Rawa Trust. In 2004 Ron and Michele bought the Townson 36 Infinity and sold Nomad 18 months later. Nowadays Ron is retired and involved in model engineering and classic centreboarders. His current restoration project is Robert Logan Nomad and Snatcher in winter quarters at Norwood Road. Lee Chambers on the stern of Corona as she was first rediscovered. Ida with her restoration work about to begin. Tamariki Jr after Ron Copeland’s restoration. 100 Boating New Zealand March 2014 Vintage Perspectives March14.indd 100 18/02/2014 5:53:41 p.m.
FREE TO READ April 2014
FREE TO READ February 2014