On 21 June 1982 the 300th H 28 left the yard of Compass Yachts Limited aboard a road transporter, destined for her new owner Mr Scott Ward, of Milford. Over the next few months she will be undergoing her fitting out, ready for launching in time for the Feburary 1983 Round-The-North-Island Race.
In a generally depressed market this is quite an achievement, not only setting an all time record for this type of production keeler in this country, but proving yet again that the basic concepts of good design and reliability are still foremost in the minds of the discerning buyer.
Limited back in 1973 and both company and craft went from strength to strength. During recent times the marine industry in general has come under considerable pressure and Compass Yachts, along with many other manufacturing companies has been forced to broaden its base of operations and move into other boats and indeed other areas of G.R.P. productions.
The H28 as we know her has come quite a long way. Originally designed for timber construction, she has undergone some subtle changes during her metamorphosis. When it was decided to put her into production in fibreglass, the opportunity was taken to add a couple of refinements. To provide interior headroom, a more up to date cabin top and deck was designed, however to accommodate this the hull length had to be increased so in fact the H28 is actually 29"l" in length.
The original ketch rig was dropped in favour of sloop rig and the short bow sprit was excluded. The result has now almost become an institution in her own right.
The first of the modified H28's was manufactured by Compass Yachts
The H28 is no longer produced at the somewhat heady rate of a few years back, but none the less the moulds are rarely out of production long enough for routine maintenance and a waiting list is still not uncommon.
Some success has been gained in exporting these vessels to Australia, and quite some interest has been shown by local charter businesses who have been quick to recognise the rugged reliability of this design. Interestingly enough we believe that over 50% of the H28 buyers have been "first time yachties" and somewhere in excess of 80% of those sold have in fact been fitted out by their owners. In general the standard of workmanship has been extremely good and in a number of cases nothing short of exceptional. Possibly because of this high degree of involvement the H28 owners association is perhaps one of the strongest class associations in the country.
Without doubt one of the more famous H28's would have to be "Ben Gunn". Purchased by two young Wellingtonians as a Stage 1, or Hull and Decks as they are sometimes referred to, she was fitted out by her owners and then set off on an adventure that was to take them around the world, over a period of four years. To the best of our knowledge this would be the longest voyage undertaken by a New Zealand built standard production vessel. None have so far bettered this as far as we know, but many have "knotched up" considerable mileage around the South Pacific, with journeys to Australia or the Islands, hardly raising many eyebrows any more.
On the local scene, a vessel named 'Sinbad' must remain prominent in the 'high mileage stakes' being no stranger to 'Auckland - Lyttelton', 'Round the North Island', and numerous 'Gisborne' races.
The unique combination of overall size interior room, sailing characteristics and cost (even at todays prices) stand as true testimony to the real genius of the original concept. Over the years the H28 has become firmly entrenched in the annals of New Zealand Yachting, and there is little or nothing on the horizon to challenge this position. A quick perusal of the 'Boats for Sale' column of your local newspaper will indicate a still healthy trade in the buying and selling of this perennial craft in both the new and second hand sectors of the market.
We look forward to the continuation of this now well-established pattern as we head for number 400.
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.