A piece of
Dunedin's yachting history more than a century old is heading
for Wellington, bound for a new life.
The yacht Atalanta, an overall 12.8m kauri racing
keeler built in 1893 by W & C Bailey, has been tucked
away in a Port Chalmers storage shed for more than a decade.
However, last week the old boat emerged into the sunlight and
was loaded on to a truck bound for Wellington, watched by a
small group of yachting enthusiasts.
Its owner Julian Matson, of Careys Bay, has given
Atalanta to the Wellington Classic Yacht Trust, which
plans to refurbish her.
Among those watching was Yachting New Zealand regional
support officer Graeme Wall, who said the old ''5-rater''
keeler represented the elite-level racing design of its day.
Built of solid kauri, Atalanta incorporated design
innovations including a ribless hull, which saved on weight
and increased speed, he said.
And, although 8.2m long at the waterline, it extended to
about 12.8m long above the waterline, boosting the yacht's
speed into the wind.
Atalanta was built in Auckland but spent much of its life
racing in Wellington, before being bought by Mr Matson and
brought to Port Chalmers in 1980.
It was one of only about 10 careless of the same design
Some had been restored while others were lost or, like
Atalanta, had ''fallen off the radar'', Mr Wall said.
The keeler became a regular and dominant sight on Otago
Harbour - particularly in 1985 - before being tied up at
Careys Bay in the early 1990s.
It was moved to storage at Port Chalmers in 2002.
Refurbishment was expected to take several years and cost at
least $250,000, but the trust planned to eventually race
Atalanta again on Wellington Harbour, he said.
Mr Wall said there was ''a level of sadness'' watching the
departure, but yachties were pleased the keeler was bound for
restoration and a new life.
''It is a famous piece of yachting history. They are not
making any more of them ... They are works of art and that
boat will be again, too.''