Saving the relics
Architects, historians and art curators often bemoan the decisions town planners make in the name of progress. Nondescript, derelict buildings no one has glanced at for years suddenly become headline news when demolition is proposed to make way for a modern replacement.
I’m ill-qualified to comment on the artistic (or otherwise) wisdom of preserving crumbling, dishevelled edifices – but I sympathise with the sentiment. How is a nation to understand its place in the world if it’s legacy and historical context is constantly eroded?
So it’s with an element of satisfaction that I can celebrate the powerful legacy of preservation that permeates our maritime industry. There is rarely any argument about the wisdom (or otherwise) of restoring a dilapidated old hulk someone found rotting in a field. On the contrary, such decisions are always greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm and support.
This issue covers two such restoration projects – both intriguing in different ways. The resurrection of Malolo – a game-fishing classic that probably hosted the legendary writer/angler Zane Grey on a few occasions – and Tonnant, a Davidson 31 with a fascinating history.
Both qualify as a labour of love – and it’s probably safe to say that, as projects, neither would stand the scrutiny of a sensible accountant’s commercial assessment. But then, that’s not the point. Survival is. Both are small but important chapters in New Zealand’s overall maritime narrative.
For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the Davidson restoration is the heritage of the restorer. Boris the Bulgarian is a remarkably inventive craftsman and passionate about preservation. As he says – “one doesn’t have be insane to take on projects like Tonnant, but it helps.”
But I suspect his passion is less about insanity and more about relishing a lifestyle/heritage/tradition that was very absent in his native country. It’s good to have him aboard.
Lawrence Schäffler Editor