July 22, 2024
First Unballasted Centreboard NZ Racing Class

The Maori name ‘Patiki’ which means ‘flat fish’ was given to New Zealand’s first unballasted centerboard racing class, designed by Arch Logan around the turn of the century. The new design was originally commissioned by the Parnell Yacht Club, and it differed from other racing classes of the day in that it was flatter in the floors than usual and shallow-draughted.

The low wooden hull with minimum overhangs was half decked and the rig was carried well forward with a stem headed jib. The lack of bowsprit, in that day, was especially remarkable. Early Patiki were 18’6″ LOA but later, larger much quicker vessels were produced.

Of these larger craft, a stout fishing fishing patiki was built specifically to compete with the mullet boat fleets of the time.

One of these, Kia Ora, was built by Arch Logan in Auckland for Bob Murray, and it was launched in 1902.

The market for fish was based on who could get their catches in first. While ballasted mullet boats were struggling into port, patiki owners were already ashore and selling their fish at the best prices. The sailing performance was so successful that Bob Murray was able, in the first year of fishing, to buy three houses from the profits.

Kia Ora is the last patiki in existence.

She is built from kauri and is 24’6″ LOA, beam 9′, draught 1’3″ with the rudder up (otherwise 2′). Draught is increased to 7’6″ when the steel centreboard is dropped via a pivot system. The 40′ mast is made from Oregon to a typical Logan design.

Originally a gaff-rigger, Kia Ora had a Bermudan rig fitted in 1935 along with a bowsprit. Alf believed she was the first fishing boat in Auckland to have an engine installed. The current engine is a 6.5hp Katsura diesel.

In optimum sailing conditions (flat sea and sharp wind), Kia Ora has been known to plane, a feat usually reserved for survival conditions in ordinary yachts or for large centreboard ocean-racing vessels.

Eventually the patiki classes were ousted from racing events because they were so fast no-one could compete and there were not enough in their own class to be a popular division in most of the early yacht clubs.

The last of the heavier built working patiki, with the exception of Kia Ora, disappeared in 1958.