Monday, January 17, 2011

Design 1770 - Ta'Aroa

Here's a project that has flown fairly "under the radar". She is a cold molded sloop build in Auckland, New Zealand at the Max Carter Yard in 1964, designed to no class, rule nor rating formula to have a length under 60' overall. She is triple diagonal planked in Kauri. She was the largest cold molded yacht built at that yard at the time of her launch.

Here are the plans.

Here's a shot of Olin Stephens with who I believe is Max Carter. I suppose it was a rather rainy day for a yard inspection (or launch).

In 1973 she made her debut in her first ocean race participating in the Auckland-Suva Race. She won the race establishing a course record: 1,170 nautical miles in 49 hours, 59 minutes.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 59'-11"
LWL 45'-0"
Beam 11'-2"
Draft 8'-3"
Displacement 40,770 lbs


  1. My father Wayne Gilfoyle purchased Ta'Aroa in November 1982. She is still much loved and in much the original condition. Same rig as launched, coffee grinders have been reconditioned , some sail plan changes since launched. She is so balanced on the helm and is a dream sailing on the wind. We, my father, brother and I still race her every Friday evening in the summer on Auckland's fantastic harbor and on Saturdays in the winter against the other classic yachts of the RNZYS.
    We meet Olin Stephens on the water of the last America's Cup held in Auckland, he was delighted to see one of "his babies" sailing and full of happy people. As are we to have such a lovely family racing yacht.

    1. Ta'aroa has brought so many friends and family to her and brings the spirit of sailing and love into abound. I look forward to seeing her again, as she had provided many lovely memories.

  2. Thanks very much for sending this. She looks like a very beautiful boat. If you send me some contact information to: we'd be happy to send you a couple of S&S caps. And please feel free to send us some current images. We would love to have them. Good sailing.
    Bruce Johnson
    Sparkman & Stephens

  3. Part1

    The year was 1964 and as a young man starting into a new world of shipping I sat and watched TaAroa being trucked pass my office window to her place of launching. Not to miss the event I downed my pen and followed her to the area between Jellicoe and Bledisloe wharves on the Auckland waterfront. I stood amongst those that built this beautiful craft watching as the slings were placed around her. The concern amongst the men that she be handled gently will always stay with me. Slowly she was raised from the cradle and swung out of the the deck of the floating crane.

    Mrs Bremner Wife of Doug Bremner the then owner swung the champagne onto the anchor and she was christened. Into the water for the first time and soon to have her mast stepped I walked away with all sorts of thoughts.

    That night I told my father that I had seen a beautful yacht launched and that I would love to own her. He laughed and it wasnt until the following saturday that I saw her on the harbour. Pointing her out to father all he said was you will never own her son, build your own boat. So over 12 years that is what I did. She was a 36ft Wollacott (local designer).

    Alas my father passed away before she was finished but he sailed with us in spirit for I named her Wesley's Dream. She turned out to be a winner and many trophies were had over the years I had her. As my family started to expand I looked at building another yacht a Pearsens 53 and had written away for plans. I was about to make a final committment when one night driving over the Auckland harbour bridge I saw a large yacht beating to windward up the harbour. I was sure it was Ta Aroa and rushing home grabbing the binoculars and my wife we rushed down to Devonport Wharf. There she was coming back to Auckland after a long time away. to my wife I said There that is the boat I want to own but all I got was a shrug and a shake of the head.

    Two weeks later in the Boats for Sale column of the Saturday Hearld was a small advertisment 60ft S&S cruising boat for sale. I couldnt resist ringing the brokers and asked if it was Ta Aroa to whch the answer was yes. A time was agreed to call down to the marina and have a look. My wife on seeing her could only look up the mast and say that is a very tall mast how will we handle all that sail? Ever the optimist I went into a long theroy about our ketch having two masts and if the were stood on top of each other we would have about the same size mainsl. I conveniently forgot to mention the headsl size. Still shaking her head and I as happy as can be I made an offers of a swap A small house we owned in Tauranga plus Wesleys Dream and we each pay the brokers fees. Little did I expect it to be accepted and when two days later the deal was sealed We became the third Owners of Ta Aroa. That was 1983 and after many wonderful miles both racing and cruising we still own her and are just as proud of her as the first day we sailed her.

  4. Part 2

    Of the notable things that I have done the one that stands out the most was the first time I raced her single handed. It was and Devonport Yacht Club race around the Hauraki Gulf. An awfull number of people said it could NOT be done. No self steering no gizmos that are available today just a wee piece of string tied to a handy winch and hitched around the wheel. Sail changes were made in this manner as was hoisting the spinnakers, dip pole jibing, tacking and sailing at all points of sail. She was absolutely a treasure to sail. The hardest part of the whole race was flaking the mainsl over the boom for I had not rigged any lazy jacks to help me. Still the smile was as wide as America and the chest out and so full of pride. Wow what a day.

    Now she is used my children to race and cruise if I am lucky I get asked if I would like to join them (Haha). All manner of people have sailed on her and it is so pleasing to see my dream being used to intoduce so many young people to the pleasures of sailing and on such a beeautiful yacht. Thank your Sparkman and Stephens for creating a wonderful boat. I shall send some photos by seperate cover. Alas as with all Owners I don't have any of her sailing but mostly at anchor or out on the hard during bottom paiting.

    With a Ta Aroa wish

    Wayne Gilfoyle
    P.O.Box 4348
    Mt. Maunganui South 3149
    Bay of Plenty
    New Zealand.

    P.s. on the passing away of Doug Bremner Mrs Bremner rang me and asked if I would like to have the line drawings and I am pleased to say I have the full set. As I also have some of her under contruction and of her launching.

  5. I found this web page by accident when, on a whim, I searched the name of the yacht Ta'Aroha on the web.

    I was invited to crew on Ta'Aroha for a couple of seasons. This was my first foray into Division 1 sailing - my job was on the coffee grinders.

    I have an old clipping from the New Zealand Herald, Tuesday, January 1979 - a large photo with Zamazaan in the foreground and an almost full length shot of Ta'Aroha in full flight with us all fixed in position on port tack. She was, of course, in the steady hand of Doug Bremner.

    She was a beautiful boat and just wonderful to sail on. Truly graceful and up to the heaviest conditions.

    I thank Doug and the crew for the opportunity to sail on her. That period saw some of the best moments of my life.

    It's not often that I look at a photo of a yacht that brings a tear to my eye - the feeling that when I was on Ta'Aroha I was more alive than at any time I can remember.

    May she and all those who sail in her fare well.

    Don Foster

  6. Just for the record, the wet weather photo is of Doug Bremner and Olin Stephens.

    I don't know what the occassion was, could have been the launching.

  7. This brought back such memories. I sailed back from Suva on Ta'aroa in August 1981, when it was owned by a Wellingtonian, who's name I have long forgotten. They had again won the race up. It was a challenging trip in rough conditions with no motor after day 1. We persuaded the skipper to change the plan to head down the Tasman to Wellington! Would love to see her again if someone can advise where she is berthed. Howard

    1. The owner was Ian Mcfarland. I sailed with Ian on Taaroa in 1981 from Suva to Wellington. He asked me to navigate. Shortly thereafter he asked me to join him back in Wellington and sail to Sydney where we prepared Taaroa for the innaugural Rank Xerox/ Rio Tour, Sydney to Rio Cape Horn Classic Yacht Race. We won the race on Handicap. 1982

  8. Like Bo,I sailed with Ian Mcfarland on Ta' 1982 ... great crew and a delightful yacht to sail. George Howells

  9. Hi George! I remember sailing with you on Ta'aroa! I also remember staying in Hotel Gloria for a few nights and all the festivities we experienced! I ended up marrying (and am currently married for 34 years now) Maria! Hope you're doing well! Good times for sure. I've been landlocked since 1982 and haven't been sailing since, however my new passion of river running has kept me occupied for sure. Just got finished Nov. 2017 rowing my little 14' JPW Cataraft down the Grand Canyon!

  10. 1170 Miles in 50 hours? is that correct? Thats an average speed of 23.4 knts