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Johnny Wray 1932
Johnny Wray's yacht Ngataki, built in 1932, is undergoing some serious repairs. So far she has been caulked all over again, 2500 silicon bronze screws have gone in to put the planks back in place, and the floors, frames and stringers has been repaired or replaced. She hit some rocks five years ago and there is some structural damage to the starboard side. The original bulwarks have been recreated as well as the original looking lazarette, albeit a bit wider aft.
An extract from the book "Little Ships" by Ronald Carter, published by A.H and A.W. Reed in 1944 :
"An unbounded enthusiasm and great love of the sea caused Wray to change the whole course of his life and, for some years, to become a roving sailor. At the age of 24, this quiet young man, peering through horn-rimmed spectacles, was frequently lifting his eyes from his draughting board in the office in which he was studying to become a civil engineer, and gazing down on the waters of the Waitemata harbour. Constantly his pencil would be shaping the outline of an ocean-going yacht, instead of concentrating on his appointed task, until suddenly his chosen career ended for a life on the sea. Fired by a great ambition, but possessing very little money, Wray set to work to build a yacht which is now known throughout the world. With infinite labour and careful planning, using second-hand wood from old buildings, and kauri pinelogs found buried in the sand on beaches in the Hauraki Gulf, he constructed his yacht, which he named Ngataki.
Almost single-handed, for more than two years he laboured from dawn to dusk, and slowly the boat took shape. She is built on the square chine principle, and measures 34 feet overall, 11 feet beam, and 5 feet draught of water. She is of single skin construction, fastened throughout with galvanized iron ewbank nails, rivetted on home-made hoop-iron rooves, and ordinary black iron bolts dipped in hot tar, and is immensely strong.
The story of John Wray's voyages is one of the classics of New Zealand's yachting history, and his name will go down for all time as being the first New Zealander to carry out a lone-hand ocean crossing. We link his name with the very small list of the world's single-handers with pride, for he belongs to an illustrious band of very brave men, having reached one of the highest goals it is possible for a yachtsman to attain. "
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