Sir Peter’s boat uncovered
A small boat that played a big role in New Zealand’s maritime history has been lovingly restored to its former glory.
In 1966, at the age of 17, New Zealand yachting legend Sir Peter Blake started to build his first keel yacht in the backyard of his family home in Bayswater on Auckland’s North Shore.
With help from his brother Tony and good friend Crawford Duncan, the yacht, named Bandit, was built and modified over the next three years.
The Blake brothers and Crawford raced Bandit in the Hauraki Gulf, claiming the New Zealand Junior Offshore Group Championship in the 1968-69 season.
Following its racing years Bandit was retired from the water and sold.
In 2013, Bruce Tantrum from the Classic Yacht Charitable Trust, discovered Bandit was being kept in a shed near Wark- worth.
‘‘I was anchored in my own boat in the Coromandel and a friend on a launch nearby said come over for a gin.
‘‘So I went over and during the course of conversation he said he knew the whereabouts of Bandit and asked if I was interested in taking her over and restoring her,’’ Tantrum said.
Tantrum met with Viv Wyatt, who had acquired Bandit in the late 90s from his accountant.
Tantrum said Wyatt had kept Bandit in a shed for 13 years, and was looking to pass it onto someone that could restore it.
‘‘Wyatt had kept her in good condition, but with all things, time had aged Bandit and she needed a fair amount of work,’’ Tantrum said.
Tantrum had Tony Blake confirm the boat was Bandit and in 2013 he paid a token sum of 20 cents to acquire the yacht.
Over the past three years Yachting Developments in Hobsonville has carried out a complete rebuild of Bandit.
The $42,000 cost of the rebuild was covered by Tantrum and Yachting Developments and was supplemented by a number of donations.
With the rebuild finished Tantrum says Bandit will be put on display in the New Zealand Maritime Museum.
He said he would ideally like to see Bandit on display beside NZL 32, also known at Black Magic, which won the 1995 America’s Cup.
Bruce Tantrum paid a token sum of 20 cents for Sir Peter Blake’s first handbuilt yacht.