In 1971 Brian Walden, Lyall Hewitt & John Maurice the founders of Compass Yachts Ltd approached John Lidgard, a prominent Auckland designer and boat builder, to look at the possibility of modifying the rig, layout and tines of the H28 design for production in fibreglass. The result is what is currently known as the "Compass H28".
Brian Walden, was at the time, the manager of Half Moon Bay Marina, and noted that every time an H28 came on the market there would be 4-6 buyers waiting to snap it up. He reasoned that if a glass production boat could be produced to a set formula (like Henry Fords model "T"). that it would find a ready market.
The original lines as drawn by L Frances Hereshoff are shown on the next page along with the modified drawings by John Lidgard. There was no alteration made to the hull lines except for the addition of one plank at the sheerline and the depth of the keel being increased by 6" (150 in/rn). Several wooden H28’s had been built by "Phil Barton" who had instigated the extra topside plank and keel depth, one of which is "Patricia". The deck and deck house were however changed to allow for standing headroom and to accommodate the masthead sloop rig. This was based on the John Lidgard’s "Takiri" design and rig. I understand that Chris Bouzaid designed the sail plan.
In 1972 Compass Yachts built a wooden hull, which was used as a male plug for the first hull mould, and then a wooden deck and cabin, from which the deck mould was taken. This wooden hull and deck was purchased by the late "Phil Levy" and was named "Nicole".
The first glass hull and deck was moulded and partially finished in time for the 1972 boat show where Brian Walden had set up a viewing platform and received firm orders and deposits for 20 boats. Basic sail away price at the time, was NZ $7750.00 without motor or refrigeration and, you could buy for home completion, a hull, deck, rudder and ballast with main bulkhead fitted for $3,700.00. Soon production was in full swing at the Compass yard in McLeod Rd Henderson and after hull #25 was taken out of the mould, the basic sail away price was increased to $8,450.00.
Many of the boats were completed at home by they owners and to help make the work easier Compass supplied a set of plans, a material list and had full size patterns for the most of the interior joinery which were available and could be borrowed. A copy of the material list including all the main measurements required to finish the boat is further on.
In the beginning all the boats were laid up by hand including applying the Gel coat. This probably accounts for the low incidence of osmosis in H28’s. The hulls upon completion were then floated, yes floated, out of the moulds with the help of an overhead gantry and the garden hose. I witnessed this in 1972 while calling on Compass yachts in my capacity as a Sales representative for Sydney Woodroffe and Sons Ltd. marine suppliers in Anzac Aye, Auckland City.
Compass Yachts Ltd Details.
Lyall Hewitt (Only NZ member European Fibreglass Manufactures assoc. Also only NZ Representative for Lloyds on gtassfibre production. (Also director of Seaglass Vessels.)
Brian Waldon: Manager for Broadlands Half Moon Bay. (Also director of Seaglass and Bay Fibreglass.) Instigated design of Fibreglass H36.
Alan Orams: Boatbuilder / Businessman. (Director of Seaglass and Bay Fibreglass.)
John Maurice. Managing Director. (Director of Seaglass.)
Compass Yachts Built the H28, Easterly 30, Southerly 23, and Davidson 31 amongst others.
Sea Glass Built 20 x 45ff Herreshoff Mobjacks, 12 x 6Oft Herreshoff, and 30-40 of the H36.
Compass Yachts were soon building three H28 boats per week and this continued until 1971 when Brian Waldon severs his ties with Compass and Broadlands buy the company out.
At this time the prices went up to $16,900.00 for a sailaway boat. This was due to raw material costs increasing and the expansion of the options that were available in the fit out.
Two sets of tooling moulds were built and these were designated A & B. The "A" set of tooling had produced 230 boats when Grant Mitchell built the replacement second set. This "B" set produced some 120 + boats.
The Hull and deck Moulds were sold to Neville Collet in 1983 and he had Salthouse Bros., manufacture 6 boats under the supervision of John Maurice. The last 4 of these were auctioned in 1986 when Neville had sold his Pt Chevalier business and needed to clear the yard.
The writer while looking for a H28 heard that hull and deck packages were available through Neville, but all had been sold by the time I arrived. So instead I purchased the Hull and deck moulds with the intention building a boat for ourselves and marketing the boats again.
Regretfully the 1987 sharemarket crash badly affected new boat sales and although 40-50 inquiries had been received, ours was the last boat out of the tooling in late 1993 and got launched in 1995.
Editor's Note: Kerry Blaymires, a key figure within the H28 Yacht Owners Association, tragically lost his life in a yachting accident off the Taranaki Coast in May 2004. Kerry had a great deal of expertise which he freely shared and he is sadly missed by all who knew him.