Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Float your boat in Auckland

Team New Zealand's unfortunate result in the America's Cup recently doesn't seem to have dampened our love of all things nautical in the slightlest. Here are a few water oriented sketches from my sketchbook over the last month or so.

Tall Ships Festival 2013

This scene was sketched at Queen's Wharf on Labour Day morning. That's the Sydney to Russell race winning Europa in the foreground. The masts were crawling with crew making last minute adjustments to rigging and sails before they departed at midday.

There were 2 others docked on Queen's Wharf, to the left is the Picton Castle (Canada) with the Lord Nelson (UK) behind. Over on Prince's Wharf to the right are two more Dutch vessels (Europa is from the Netherlands as well) Oosterschelde and Tecla. I like the contrast the old ships made against the sleek curves of The Cloud building on the left.

It's a bit difficult to tell where one boat starts and the other stops - I got a bit lost in the detail of all those ropes. I wonder if the sailors get lost in all those ropes too or if it's one of those things you pick up after a few days - I doubt it somehow! Maybe I'll crew on one sometime and find out, it would be a fun way to get up close with the sketchbook anyway.

Here is a scrollable closeup of the sketch thanks to Lapin, French illustrator and Urban Sketcher for the code!

Tall Ships at Queen's Wharf


What do retro modern vacuum cleaners and King Edward the VIIIth have in common? Nahlin of course!

The 91.4 metre long steamer has been dubbed the 'Royal love boat' because King Edward and Mrs Simpson enjoyed an Adriatic cruise aboard the Nahlin in the 30's and planned his upcoming abdication.

Nahlin was sold to King Caroll II of Romania before his abdication, and then used as a museum and eventually a restaurant on the Danube. Some time later Nahlin was refitted by Blohm + Vos, (the same company responsible for the futuristic "A" featured a bit further down this post), and purchased by Sir James Dyson of vacuum cleaner fame.

Royalty & Vacuum Cleaners

The biggest super yacht to have ever berthed in Auckland arrived recently. It's a mad looking thing and at 119 meters long it's longer than New Zealand's largest navy vessels.

'A' by Mr DewhurstIt's designed by Philippe Starck apparently, so think sleek, like a submarine. Almost devoid of embellishments, port holes, rails and the likeAn invisible panel slid away revealing a couple of smaller boats inside. I half expected James Bond's Lotus Esprit submarine to launch itself.

She was built in Germany by Blohm + Voss, they've been building floating things since 1877 so they know a thing or two about boats having pumped out some of the world's maritime heavy hitters. A couple you might have heard of such as the Bismark and the Scharnhorst.

Auckland on Water Boat Show
Sealegs at the 'Auckland on Water Boat Show' by Mr DewhurstI didn't actually go to the boat show in Viaduct Harbour, but there was a pretty neat display of Sealegs boats outside.

I've seen them in action before and they're pretty clever machines. I liked their floating logo too - each letter bobbing around individually.

The one in the sketch was decked out in a funky camouflage paint job - ideal for the duck shooter who doesn't like to get his feet wet. I reckon a maimai strapped to the top would carried the look off perfectly though.

So plenty of boat action already and summer hasn't really started yet. I'm looking forward to seeing what else floats in over the next few months!


  1. Uau Murray!!
    Such a complex drawings and at the same time a lot of space around.

  2. Murray, your sketches work well even on the scrutiny of close-up. Intriguing story-line too.