Chairman of the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust John Street and boat Builder Wayne Olsen visited Sydney in August 2018 to inspect Ida, a 1895 Bailey gaff rigged cutter.
Ida was for sale as the current owners Jerry Brookman and Catherine Shirley had reached a point where, due to Jerry's ill health, they were unable to complete the planned deck restoration nor maintain her to the standard they previously took pride in. Jerry and Catherine had owned Ida for 20 years, the first 10 years of which they raced her in the classic yacht races on Sydney Harbour with the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club at Mosman Bay and the Balmain Sailing Club, where she won hands down.
Wayne Olsen's assessment was that, while the hull appears sound, being triple skinned kauri, it is unclear what will be found once the inner layer is pealed back. She is in poor condition with much of the rest of the boat needing replacement. A previous owner to Jerry and Catherine had applied a fibreglass skin to the deck which had cracked and allowed rot to set in.
John Street recognises that Ida is an important part of New Zealand boat building history and John, Jerry and Catherine duly agreed a deal to acquire her, which includes Jerry and Catherine generously donating 20 kauri deck beams (220 x 13 X 5cm) and a spinnaker pole. Jerry had previously sourced the kauri from a timber yard in Sydney some time ago with the intention of using them in the restoration of the deck
John shipped Ida to New Zealand in December 2018 where her restoration commenced in January 2019 in Horizon Boats shed in Stillwater under the skilful hands of Wayne Olsen and Mike Smith. Wayne learned his craft under Chris Robertson (and was Chris's last apprentice accordning to Chris's son Martin) and has spent a life time building wooden boats up to 100ft and completed restoration work and maintenance on other CYCT boats including Thelma, Waitangi, Frances and Gloriana.
At the beginning
In the spring of 1895 Charles Bailey Jr and his younger brother Walter, trading as “C. & W. Bailey”, built the 5 rater Ida for their good customers, merchants Jagger brothers and W. Frater Jr. At exactly the same time the Logans were building Moana, another 5 rater, for Willie and Fred Wilson of the New Zealand Herald. Logan Bros launched Moana on 14th November 1895. The Baileys launched Ida on 21st December 1895. Ida followed the Herreshoff style with a straight, raked stem and cut away forefoot. The New Zealand Herald described her fully on 23rd December 1895,
“ A NEW YACHT
On Saturday morning a new five-rater yacht was launched from the yards of Messrs. C. and W. Bailey, Custom-street West, to the order of Messrs. Jagger Brothers and Frater. A large number of spectators assembled to witness the launch, which was very successful, the new yacht going into the water without the slightest hitch. Miss J. Jagger performed the christening ceremony, by breaking a bottle of champagne over the bow of the little boat, naming her the Ida, and wishing her every success. The yacht is built of kauri throughout, on the diagonal principle, with three skins, all of the planking being in one length. The deck fittings are of teak, and among other things the yacht is fitted with brass rigging screws, etc. She is rigged as a pole-master, the timbers being of Oregon pine, whilst the running gear is of the best manilla, manufactured by the New Zealand Fibre Company, of this city. The sails by the well-known maker, C. Reynolds, are a novelty in these waters, all being cut and made on the diagonal principle, and look very well indeed. The dimensions of the yacht are: Length, overall, 46 feet; load-water line, 30 feet; beam, 8 feet; draught, 6’6 feet. She is ballasted with three tons of lead affixed to the keel. The Ida trimmed beautifully when she took the water and is a very handsome craft, and judging from her lines should be very fast, and add more laurels to those already gained by her builders. She went out for a trial spin on Saturday afternoon, and took part in the yacht club manoeuvres, and was greatly admired, and her owners should feel very proud at having such a fine little vessel.”
The Logans’ Moana had the Britannia “spoon” bow and the powerful forward sections that went with it. She was a truly modern yacht, with a shape that was still essentially very competitive until the 1940s. So there were now three new thoroughly modern 5 raters on the Waitemata for the 1895-96 season. Anticipation ran high on the Auckland waterfront for their first clash at the Judge’s Bay Regatta on 25th January 1896. On the day there were excellent conditions with a steady SW breeze. The entrants in the “Yachts 7-rating and under race” were Thetis, Ida, Moana, Halcyon, Aorere and Rangatira. Charles Bailey, probably to best helmsman on the harbour, sailed Ida, W.R. “Willie” Wilson sailed Moana and Reg Masefield Thetis. The reaching conditions suited Thetis which took an early lead and was never headed. Moana lost several minutes when she lost her throat halyards while Ida had the same thing happen later in the race. The result, Thetis 1, Ida 2, Moana 3.
Their next contest was six days later in the Auckland Anniversary Regatta on 29th January in light winds. Moana led for most of the race and finished first, ahead of Ida by12½ minutes. Thetis got to the start late and finished well back. Moana was reckoned to be “the best boat of the season in her class” and maintained that reputation ever after. Indeed Ida was fated to be always under the shadow of Moana. What successes she did have were thanks to handicappers, typically 3 minutes over Moana. Despite intense Bailey modifications and occasional flashes, she was a disappointment to her owners. Indeed, in October 1897 the Jaggers switched allegiances and had Logan Bros build them the 60ft ten rater Thelma. It took another two years for them to sell Ida during which she was laid up or leased out. In November 1898, Logan Bros had launched Rainbow which eclipsed immediately all other New Zealand yachts of her class like Ida. Finally, in December 1899, C.P. Murdoch of Garden Terrace Devonport bought her. Murdoch was commodore of the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron at this time.
C. P. Murdoch was a Scots yachtsman who had gained a sound reputation, with his good friend Capt. A.J. S. Gibbs, in the early crack Spray in Dunedin and Auckland and then with Zinita, an 1894-5 season 2½ rater built by C. & W. Bailey to beat Gloriana, unsuccessfully. The 1895-6 season had produced three Logan 2½ rater challengers, Mahaki and Mizpah from Logan Bros and Rarere from Robert Logan Sr. Mahaki was invincible from the start. Zinita appeared to be eclipsed like earlier Bailey offerings. Murdoch bought her in the winter of 1897 and tweaked her hard to compete with the annual waves of Bailey and Logan raters.
Murdoch had some good wins with Zinita until he part-exchanged her with the Jaggers for Ida. The Jaggers found a ready sale for Zinita in Sydney where Auckland-built raters were eagerly sought after. She created immediate surprise with her good performance and got a good second in the Royal Prince Alfred 100 guinea Hordern Cup in January 1900.
Encouraged by his success in making Zinita competitive, Murdoch now set to work getting Ida to go. He took the NSSC Dunning Cup and the Parnell Sailing Club Jagger Cup in his first season with her. By the beginning of the 1900-01 season the Herald reported that she had “greatly improved in sailing powers”. In December 1900, in a howling northeaster, Murdoch had a well-deserved victory in the Open Race at the Ponsonby Regatta.
Ida was badly knocked around in a gale of March 1918 on the foreshore at Devonport where she had been laid up by the Smaills with her keel removed for several yearssince the start of the war. In the 1940's she was seen as very old fashioned and survived both WWI and WWII because of the rise in yachting as a sport post-war and the shortage of good yachts to satisfy demand.
The Mirams and Pinkerton era of the 1950's
Ida was owned by L Holden Mirams from 1951 to 1954 jointly with Dr John David McLean Pinkerton (Pinky) and then solely by ‘Pinky’after Holden Mirams transferred to Wellington with B.P. The Mirams continued to sail on Ida on their return visits to Auckland, until Pinky passed away in October 1960 on board the “Rangitata” on a return trip to England to visit family.
The Mirams sisters Angela and Pamela have fond memories of their times sailing on Ida when she was part owned by their father Holden Mirams and have recorded some memories of their time aboard. They also discuss a plaque mounted on the stern of Ida which commemorated a sail on Ida by HRH Edward the Prince of Wales in May 1920 (a replica of this plaque modelled on the Mirams recollection has been mounted on the stern of Ida) . Another connection to royalty for the Logans and Bailey's vessels. Waitangi hosted royalty at the time that the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club was granted royal status.
In 1960, the year Dr Pinkerton died, Ida won the Auckland Anniversary Regatta race for A class keelers and thereby the prestigious Heather Cup, a result he was no doubt very proud of given the rough conditions that forced several of the big A class yachts to withdraw.
Life in the 60's and 70's
Gerry ten Broeke became involved in shared ownership of Ida in 1964 (he joined the airforce at Hobsonville in 1962) and remained shared/sole owner through to 1976. During this period she was Bermudan rigged and sported a low cabin and large spray dodger. Gerry has provided the CYCT with his log book which covers his cruising events from 1968-69 through to 1971. His log also had a good record of provisions and maintenance carried out for these cruises. It certainly provides a good window into life of young yachtsmen of the day. Gerry also provided a copy of a poem written by his crew member Ian Guthrie which he had kept as a treasure within the leaves of his log book. Gerry's (No.1) crew Bill Hales has provided several of the photos from the time in the photo gallery. Gerry kept Ida at Hobsonville Point moored on an unused Sunderland RNZAF sea plane mooring.
Her time in Australia
It is not clear when Ida was shipped to Australia but we suspect some time around 1984 after R B Cornell was her last recorded NZ owner. Her full ownership in Australia is not yet known however after Australian Landscape Painter, Piers Dudley-Bateman (who later died in a yachting accident in 2015), Ida was acquired by Catherine Shirley and Jerry Brookman a couple with many generations of sailing history behind them and who had 10 years earlier spent a year cruising the east coast of the USA in their 35ft Scanmar. For the first 10 years owning Ida, Jerry worked hard to restore her and built up a team of enthusiasts who would help with sourcing materials, sailing and looking out for Ida should her bilge pump fail in bad weather. NZ wooden boat builder Paul Tingey was part of this team emptying the bilges when he worked in Sydney. The following 10 years Ida deteriorated due to Jerry's poor health and in later years Catherine started the search for a NZ buyer that would enable her to return Ida to where she was built and where Catherine felt belonged, Auckland New Zealand, a vision she had had for some time. Catherine shares her story in Signals magazine, the Australian National Maritime Museum publication.
Ida Restoration and recommissioning
The restoration process commenced with cutting off the rotting, cabin top, decking and beams. All of the items stored inside the boat were removed before soda blasting the hull interior surfaces clean. Reconstruction commenced with replacementof of a lot of the planking from the turn of the bilge all the way down into the kelson. All of the floors were replaced and extras added up forward to add to strength. Interior layout was designed to accommodate current needs whuile reflecting the flavour of the original fit out resulting in a beautiful interior fitout. A head, holding tank and small basin were added up forward. Deck beams have all been replaced with high grade kauri in keeoing with the original construction. The deck has been constructed of ply, fibreglass then layed teak which has been glued down with no fastenings to ensure longetivity from the weather. hatches and skylight have been redesigned based on original photos and Waynes artistic eye for balance. The exterior had previously been splined and Wayne has added a fibreglass skin to aid strength and longevity to Ida's maintenance. All fittings bar one have had to be designed and patterns made for casting in alu-bronze. The original turnbuckles have been used for the standing rigging which is all made from a modern italian material Armare which is much stronger and lighter than wire equivalent. This is to keep weight down aloft. The only steel standing rigging is the inner forestay which carries the staysail. The mast, boom, bowsprit and gaff have all been made using spar grade oregon with the mast and boom behind hollow to reduce weight and increase strength. The jackyard topsail spars are made of cedar to once again reduce weight.
Early in the restoration process, competitve yachtsman Andy Ball (past captain of the famed Admirals Cup boat Swuzzle Bubble III) who owns and races the classic yacht Aramoana, visited the boat shed and admired the racing lines of Ida. Andy quickly volunteered his services to help with the restoration and worked closely with Wayne to organise the design of the mast, spars, rigging, sail plan, deck layout and fittings. Andy is also the commissioning skipper and has undertaken to captain Ida for two years to get her up to peak performance before passing her on to a new skipper.
Ida was ready for relaunch at the end of March 2020 however this was delayed due to the covid19 global pandemic causing all activity to stop. She was finally launched at Hibiscus Marine and Storage boat yard in Stillwater on 30th April to ascertain her waterline before lifting her again to apply her antifoul before relaunching the following week. After final rigging and a shake down sail Ida competed in the 2nd of the Classic Yacht Association winter series races on 30th May 2020 and gave everyone a real taste of her capabilities, achieving second on line in the A class gafffers and first on handicap.
Ida will soon have a formal launch celebration at the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron where John Street will proudly show her off to memebers of the RNZYS, the CYA, past associates and the friends of the CYCT.