Arohia was designed and built for John Seabrooke by Col Wild in 1948 and she was launched in February 1949 as a racer cruiser with an easily driven hull well suited to Hauraki Gulf conditions – she is described as the best all round keeler Col Wild ever produced.
Her new owners, Lisa and Wade Lewis are very excited to be out racing her as part of the classic fleet, keeping such good company with Ariki – Arohia took line honours in her first race back, followed 1 min 10 seconds by Ariki in second place. Now that is a good first showing!
This from Lisa and Wade:
We purchased her in December 2017 from Wade’s uncle Dudley Lewis, who has owned her for near 30 years, keeping her in the family. Under Dudley’s hand Arohia went through a meticulous restoration at the end of the last century, but she has over the past decade been left to the fresh water elements and has suffered.
There’s some good detail attached about her early history. The story goes, she was built for John Seabrooke, tripled skinned, from the best quality full length kauri planks sourced from Gordon Pollard (the owner of the kauri mills, and also at the time, the beautiful Aramoana) – on the proviso he would have the first right to purchase Arohia from Seabrooke – an agreement that was followed through in the fifties. We are sure they’ll be happy to know that following Arohia’s first two races, Andy Ball’s Aramoana and crew, rafted up alongside on the dock, in the brotherly spirit of Seabrooke & Pollard.
Our first ‘adventure’ on her in January was to take her back to Motuarohia, the island for which she is named for a night before she went into our friends’ shed at Opua for a few months, deck stripped back to bare wood and repainted by Brad & team at Bluefix Marine, and repairs to the mast by Edwin Delaat. She was in a compromised state getting up north from Auckland, the engine died in the middle of the tiri channel, (we already had a seriously compromised mast but Edwin was with us aboard), but we were charmed with a perfect weather window, so in the end, broke all the rules we had made for the voyage, hoisted the sails with a couple of reefs in the main, and managed to get her up there under her own wind. She (or we) were rewarded with ten people in the saloon eating 6 cray (from the Bluefix dive team) on a perfect night in Motoarohia! The trip back to Auckland was a lot less eventful, but well appreciated!
While Arohia is, in the main, for family cruising with our 8 year old boy Hunter, right now we, and she, are just chomping at the bit to get more time on the water for the first racing season! We have a wonderful set of sailing fraternity brothers, Dave Giddens, Pete Geary – old sea dogs and Wade’s previous crew from the Cookson 50 Akatea, getting behind to have a fun winter season.
I’ve also attached a gorgeous illustration done by Jack Brooke on one of their earlier voyages. Images courtesy Waitemata Woody’s.
Information courtesy of