From the Drawing Board  

by John Welsford - Hamilton, New Zealand

A new Launching
Pat Quins Peter Murtons Built 6M Whaler

click for bio

At the end of March each year, the guys in the Wellington area get together and run a Classic Boat regatta at Plimmerton on the western coast of that fair city. I'd been down there a couple of times and got to know boatbuilder and motor camp proprietor Peter Murtons. He is a passionate restorer of old boats, has a workshop that many envy and a view over the harbour from where he has his lunch in the dining room of his home nearby. Here is his website URL: - well worth a look and I can tell you that the long slim open launch called “No Catchem“ with its vintage single cylinder Simplex engine is a superb boat from which to follow the sailing boats around the course.

click to enlarge Approaching the jetty after an invigorating sail in gusty conditions, 5 heavy guys and everybody comfortable. Charlie Whipple (under the light coloured hat) tells me that she is an easy boat to sail but even with htis load aboard she was "really moving along). By the way thats a Houdini in the background.

- Owen Sinclair Photo

If you go and stay in the simple but comfortable cabins (about half an hour from Wellington International Airport, good place to stay on the way in or on the way out if you are an overseas visitor to NZ) you might just be able to persuade Pete to take you out for a turn around the bay.

This is a comfortable sort of boat, the rig does not intrude apon the cockpit space much and between the flared bow and wide decks she keeps her crew very dry. - Peter Murtons Photo

click to enlarge

About that time I had an enquiry from Pat Quin who lives close by the yacht club there, and who had been watching the growing fleet of Navigators and Houdinis sailing there. Wanting something a little bigger he asked Peter to build him one of my 6M Whalers with the object of joining in the fun.

click to enlarge

A lovely shot taken late in the afternoon, the skipper determined to make the most of a near perfect breeze. - Peter Murtons Photo

A year or so later there was a launching and some sea trials, the rig being one that I had drawn to give the boat a bit more performance than the original training rig had not been tried before and much to my embarrassment had less helm effect than I had expected so had to be moved aft a little to get the balance right. That done she sails very nicely with a very light helm, carries five or six heavyweight adults in comfort and gets along very well.

"Coming on by!" That little single luff spinnaker pulls like a draft horse and together with the modern high aspect ratio gaff rig gives her the power that makes her a surprisingly quick boat. - Peter Murtons Photo

click to enlarge

My friend Charlie Whipple went to Plimmerton for this years regatta, and took the opportunity to go sailing in her, and as an experienced small boat cruiser I was very interested in his opinion.

“Lots of space, really comfortable! A very gentle sail, but she gets right along” Fair enough, that’s about what I was designing for.

click to enlarge

Final fitting out in builder Peter Murtons shop. You can see the internal outboard motor mount, a hint of the interior structure and a shape that says "get me out on the water". - Peter Murtons Photo

Nice boat, well done Pat and Pete, nice work. I won't be missing next years Plimmerton Yacht Club Classic Boat Regatta. (last weekend in March, don’t forget!)

John Welsford,

Columns by John Welsford



Designs by John Welsford: