Photography by NZ Sailing Trust-Paige Cook
The yacht was hauled out of the water on 15 May 2017 before making her way to the yard’s Hobsonville facility in the early hours of the morning of 20 May, where she will complete her extensive overhaul.
Now 32 years old, this iconic yacht was built for Sir Peter Blake’s fourth attempt at the Whitbread Round The World Race in 1985/1986 and designed by renowned Kiwi yacht and superyacht designer Ron Holland.
Currently owned by the NZ Sailing Trust, which purchased the yacht in 2008, Lion New Zealand plays an important role in fulfilling one of the Trust’s key goals of maintaining Blake’s legacy by providing youth sailing experiences to young New Zealanders.
Having welcomed thousands on board and covered more than 200,000nm during her time with the Trust, Lion New Zealand is now in need of a much-deserved restoration and refit in order to return her to peak condition and allow the Trust to continue their important work.
This project is the perfect fit for the Yachting Developments, with the yard having previously undertaken a major refit on the Trust’s other major vessel, Steinlager 2, in 2014. The refit also has personal significance for the yard, as Managing Director Ian Cook was part of the original build team for Lion New Zealand in 1985.
Lion New Zealand’s planned refit list is extensive and will include a new mast, boom and keel, new rigging, deck winches and electronics, a full paint job in the yacht’s original colours and new antifouling.
The interior will also receive a refresh with new accommodation and a reconfigured galley and forward area, new electronic, lighting and navigation systems, and new plumbing. Engineering work will see new systems including a new propeller shaft, engine and propeller.
All work will be sympathetically undertaken to maintain Lion New Zealand’s history and original design.
“Yachting Developments is a natural partner for the refit on Lion New Zealand, thanks to Ian Cook’s personal history with the yacht and the yard’s previous work on Steinlager 2,” says Tony Stevenson, Chairman of the New Zealand Sailing Trust.
“The workmanship, passion shown by all the team and their willingness to work with the Trusts are key reasons why we have returned to Yachting Developments once again.”
“We are extremely proud to have been chosen to undertake the refit on Lion New Zealand, which is such an important part of New Zealand’s maritime history and a vessel that plays a huge role in enthusing the country’s sailors of the future,” says Ian Cook, Managing Director of Yachting Developments.
“It is particularly special for me to have worked on the original build and to now be tasked with this refit project that will see her continue to operate for many years to come.”