Famous old timer gets makeover

By Mike Rose

An extensive refit has just been completed on one of the world's best-known classic yachts at the Yachting Developments yard in Hobsonville.

The famous 1934 J Boat Endeavour was relaunched last Saturday after an extensive 18-month refurbishment. This included replacing the weather deck and equipment, relocating steel deck framing to accommodate the load paths of the new layout, and a Southern Spars carbon-fibre mast with carbon standing rigging.

The main engine, generators, hydraulic systems, winches, electrical system, electronics, bow thruster and air-conditioning were replaced or upgraded.

A new interior, built by Yachting Developments, was fitted and the accommodation forward of the mast reconfigured.

Securing the refit of such an internationally famous boat was a coup for the West Auckland company.

Yachting Developments managing director Ian Cook said: "Endeavour is something special. Everyone involved has put their heart and soul into the refit and I think that care and passion is very evident in the end result."

The refit is just the latest chapter in an event-filled seven decades for the historic J Boat. In 1947, it was sold to a scrap merchant, then bought just a few hours before demolition was to begin.

In the 1970s, the boat sank in the Medina River. Two carpenters bought it for £10 and, using plastic bags to patch holes in the hull, managed to get the boat afloat.

In the early 1980s, Endeavour was found abandoned at a seaplane base.

Its luck finally turned in 1984 when it was bought and refurbished by keen American yachtswoman Elizabeth Meyer.

Endeavour set sail again, for the first time in 52 years, in 1989.

Now, in better condition than ever, Endeavour will "tune up" on the Waitemata Harbour before being shipped to the Northern Hemisphere to compete in the J Class regattas, timed to coincide with the London Olympics.

- NZ Herald

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