Baldrick Unleashed

Today has been a long time coming. When we arrived in Nelson 15 years ago I sailed in on our keeler, “Motu Iti”. For the next few years Hil and I sailed around Tasman Bay and into the Sounds. One of our favourite anchorages was Croiseilles Harbour and Okiwi Bay. I did a lot of painting around there. Beautiful harbour. Sheltered waters. Little islets, and some great headlands. I’m told that the fishing is great too but I never got around to finding out.

Sadly, the years passed, I grew older, and working on the foredeck became more hazardous. I rerigged Motu Iti as a cutter with a self tacking foresail and that put off the inevitable day. Eventually I had to acknowledge that sailing a keeler in the open sea is a young man’s game.

I sold Motu Iti and resigned myself to staying onshore and being a beach artist. Then one day I read an article about someone converting an old trailer sailer into a low powered launch. It reminded me that many years before Richard Hartley had published plans for an 18’ trailer sailer, built in ply, and had included a design for converting it into a low powered launch.

The search was on. I found a derelict 18’ and bought it for the price of it’s trailer. That was over five years ago. Nearly six in fact. There were a lot of problems of course. I was very fortunate to have Abel Marine in Nelson rebuild the hull and wheelhouse for me, using Hartley’s design, modified to suit my specific needs. Baldrick is an artist’s boat, designed to cruise the sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds, and perhaps to use as a camper to tow south and explore the hydro lakes. Brent finished the exterior after a few months and I brought Baldrick home about five years ago. He looked great but of course the old story applied: When it looks 80% done there is still 80% to do.

Today we were back at Okiwi Bay, at my old painting grounds. There are still some summer days left. Some great painting days ahead.

Baldrick, finally unleashed!