Boating enthusiasts in Auckland are celebrating their latest restoration achievement after working for a year on an iconic yacht to return it to its former glory.
Sir Peter Blake’s Bandit has been restored thanks to a group of hard workers at Auckland based yacht building company, Yachting Developments and a yachting enthusiast.
The yacht was Sir Peter’s first which he built out the back of his mum and dad’s house 50 years ago with his brother Tony before it ended up in disrepair in a shed left to rot.
Tony says he can’t believe the quality of the restoration.
"I don't think we ever got a finish like that when we painted it," he said.
"Not a hand paint job compared with this. It's a wonderful restoration job."
The Blake brothers took a year to build Bandit in Devonport and not without incident – with moments such as lighting a fire under a bath tub full of lead for the keel proving to be a comedic moment.
"We got all the lead melted and the bath tub split and went all over mum's flower garden which she wasn't happy for."
After Sir Peter moved overseas, Bandit languished in a shed for 14 years before being rescued by sailing enthusiast and Classic Yacht trustee, Bruce Tantrum.
"The gentleman who owned it was keen for it to go to a good home and we agreed on a sale price and that was 20 cents," Mr Tantrum said.
"Of course the purchase cost certainly did not reflect the future restoration cost!"
The restoration’s cost ended up being approximately $40,000 which was met mostly by Mr Tantrum and Yachting Developments.
"I think it was very much the founding of Peter's career in offshore yachting," Tony said.
"He got into yachts overseas and step by step into the Whitbread and eventually the America's Cup and the Jules Vernes trophy."
The plan now is to install Bandit alongside Sir Peter’s America’s Cup winning yacht Black Magic in Auckland's Maritime Museum.
"I think that's the place (Bandit) should be because it will enable more people to actually see her and see the development of Peter's career from this at the beginning and here's NZL32 and the America's Cup."
"I think it will be great to see that progression."
"The Government has to balance pay demands across the public sector. We have gone as far as we can in terms of extra Government money," Dr Clark said this afternoon.