Boating NZ : FREE TO READ March 2014
W hen Ian Kohler decided to restore his classic launch and repaint her in her original colour scheme, it led to another big decision – to sheathe her in fibreglass. Not everyone in the classic boat scene agreed with his choice. Kohler was born in Adelaide, Australia and grew up sailing 3.6m skiffs, lightweight Sharpies, International Cadets then, after moving to Auckland in 1992, he continued sailing M-Class and Etchells. Kohler then became interested in game fishing and bought a run-down, 12m Pelin Challenger. “We took the Pelin to Dale Pennington of Touch of Gloss and he turned her into an amazing boat,” says Kohler. After selling the Pelin a few years later, Kohler commissioned a new Oliver 390, one of the last out of the moulds. After that boat sold, Kohler’s wife Lancia suggested the next boat could be a classic launch or a catamaran. Broker Greg Stenbeck of Laurie Collins put Kohler onto the 1921, Arch Logan-built launch Ngaio. One look, and Kohler was smitten. “It was my architect’s eye,” he says. “Immediately I could see Ngaio’s potential. But it was more than that. Ngaio’s an important part of New Zealand boating history; she’s got fantastic bones and I thought she deserved to be restored to last another hundred years.” As an architect, Kohler isn’t into restoring things exactly as they were built, faults and all. Above all, he and Lancia wanted a boat that was liveable and maintenance-free, and felt that, with some flair, it was possible to combine this and still retain Ngaio’s originality. After project managing many major office and housing projects, Kohler is well used to making the big calls on restoration projects. An early decision was to return Ngaio to her original colour scheme, a dark blue. This was made possible only by sheathing the topsides in epoxy and fibreglass, a decision that caused considerable debate and some criticism from within the Auckland classic boat community. Kohler remains unrepentant. “Ngaio was leaking through the decks, the portholes and the bottom. She was starting to deteriorate and something had to be done. While we could have painted her, the same problems would have re-occurred. What we’ve done is make sure she’ll last another hundred years.” So on settlement day in June 2013, Kohler had Ngaio taken out of the water and transported to a hired shed at Beachhaven for a full upgrade. Given his previous experience, Kohler turned to Dale Pennington to project manage the restoration. “Dale’s just been unbelievable,” says Kohler. “He’s organised virtually the whole project through his contacts in the industry. He laid out the options at every stage and made his recommendations based on what’s been best for the boat.” One of the first jobs was to strip Ngaio’s multiple coats of paint back to bare kauri. Everyone who saw Ngaio stripped was hugely impressed by Arch Logan’s superb workmanship. His class was evident everywhere; the gloriously shaped sheer and the exquisite crafting of the chine. Every kauri plank is full length, as is the curved pohutakawa stem. ArchLoganclassiclaunchNgaioIanKohlerandLanciaHicks The wheelhouse retains its old-world charm with its ship’s wheel but bows to modern navigation. The gleaming dark blue hull reflects Ngaio’s original colour, but led to sheathing the hull and decks. subscribe online at www.mags4gifts.co.nz/boating-nz 103 My boat__Ngaio_March14.indd 103 18/02/2014 8:39:02 a.m.
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