Bruce Keen, a local (Southland) trailer yacht sailor spends his spare time building and repairing all sorts of boats including dinghies, power boats and trailer yachts. Bruce is mainly self taught with the help of books, Google and an occassional guiding hand from his Otautau neighbour, whom he had watched building a Farr 9.2m. In 1990, when he found a larger replacement for his Hartley 18 was too pricey, he decided to build his own trailer yacht from scratch - a Ron Given designed Joker 820 which he still owns.
So, when Peter Henderson wanted his new Dan Leech designed 8m cruiser trailer yacht built, he turned to Bruce Keen, of Bruce's Boat Repairs in Myross Bush. Bruce, with the help of fellow Southlander Alan Baker started construction in July 2014, and as the project proceeded others assisted from time to time as the larger tasks were undertaken. Delivery was to be by Christmas 2014. "The biggest challenge of building a boat at home was sourcing the materials and determining which were best. There's so much on the market" says Bruce
Hettie's Gift builder, Bruce Keen, with the frames for Hettie's Gift
On a recent Saturday afternoon at the Te Anau boat Harbour the finished project was launched with a crowd of local sailing enthusiasts gathered to see the new yacht and watch as the mast was raised and the sails attached.
After a few words from the new Owner, Peter Henderson the champagne ( actually a very nice craft beer from Oamaru) was broken over the bow and Hettie’s Gift was ready to float.
Hettie's Gift is a Leech 800 cruiser, custom built to house a family, and is one of only two in the country. The cabin was built to accommodate Peter’s height, and anchors points were included to clip in car seats for his two children.
The yacht has a cruising speed of 6 to 8 knots and a racing speed of 18 knots. With a 10.1 metre mast, and the boat is 8m long with and has a 2.3m extendable bowsprit. There is space for six people to sleep, with amenities including a shower, toilet and kitchen."It's fitted out inside with all the comforts of home" Bruce said.
Maiden sail on Lake Te Anau
Check out other pictures of Hettie's Gift here:
Posted: Wed 27 Jan 2016