Cameron Hayes spent a summer fishing off the back of a boat in Pilot Bay, and wasted no time in buying a neighbouring vessel when it was on the market.
“I wanted the mooring as well, so I bought both,” says Cameron.
He admits he was more than a little worried about what he was getting himself into at the start, but the more he looked, the better it got.
“We have stripped it back and all the bones are fine,” says Cameron.
Triton is a carvel-planked kauri boat a bit over 30ft, with the interior constructed around the engine, which is in the middle of the boat.
The planking is caulked and shows no interior rot, while the ribs are a dark hardwood.
The plan is to strip the paint from the interior to display the timbers.
The engine, however, isn’t original.
Muzza Walker, the project manager, discovered the salt water coolant for the Nissan 2.
3 diesel was piped directly through the cast iron head, instead of heating fresh water via a heat exchanger.
The engine coolant was then used to cool the transmission.
“Everything was back to front on it,” says Muzza.
Cameron says he’s unsure who built it or when, but the style and materials point to the 1960s or early 1970s, with red lead paint under the top coat.
Muzza says there’s a fibreglass strip between the exterior of the superstructure and the deck – and it’s cracked and lifting.
The interior plywood used as decking is also showing red, without a hint of resin on any of the end grain.
“At the moment we are just in the process of doing the inside, then it will be up on the hardstand in a month’s time to do all the outside,” says Cameron.
“Then it goes back on the water to finish off the interior.
“It’s a beautiful old kauri boat.
The guy that owned it - a guy called Graham - died three years ago and it’s been sitting there for three years without being touched.
”The previous owner had Triton set up as a hard core fishing boat.
It has down rig poles for tuna fishing and also houses a live bait tank.
There is a galley with a two burner stove and a toilet, and a hatch above the wheel so the skipper can sit on the deckhouse roof and steer with his toes.
“It’s a serious fishing boat this gentlemen had,” says Cameron.
“Everything worked on it.
It’s as messy as anything, but you can tell it’s a serious fishing boat.
He knew what he was doing.
”An ex-marine surveyor was pumping out the bilge every three months and generally keeping an eye on the boat.
Cameron says: “We are going to bring it back to a really nice finished boat, and feature some of the kauri and the exotic Asian hardwood which is the bones of it up on the bow.
”In the back he’s planning to use clear coat lacquer to display some of the patina - the layers of paint that have been applied since Triton first took to the water maybe 50 years ago.