Restoration of Corona

One of the biggest projects underway at the New Zealand Traditional Boatbuilding School is the restoration of Corona. She was built by Charles Collings who had served his time with Robert Logan Sr and joined the Clare brothers in their boatbuilding business in St Mary’s Bay around 1903 as designer. He soon took over the business, which became Collings & Bell in 1909, and specialised in mullet boats, building boats which were amongst the best of their time. However, the firm soon concentrated on motor launches, particularly Collings’ square-bilge planing hulls for racing, whale chasing and game fishing.

In 1934 Collings went back to his roots to produce the crack 22ft L Class mullet boat Tamariki, following up with the crack 26-footer, the H Class Corona, in 1936. Both yachts dominated their classes for years. Eventually Corona was sold to the fishing industry, de-rigged and motorised. A group of mullet boat enthusiasts headed by Ron Copeland rescued her in the 1980s and started her restoration at the National Maritime Museum.

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Now the New Zealand Traditional Boatbuilding School has taken over and accelerated Corona’s restoration at its Hobsonville facility. With voluntary labour and various grants, it is progressing rapidly. Careful research by Robert Brooke and Ian McRobie has ensured that Corona will take to the water again in a few months as a faithful recreation of her original self.