Allen Smith and Charles Shepherd at Smiths Boatyard Riverside Drive Whangarei NZ Circa 1984On the left in this photo is my late cousin Allen Smith the designer of the good ship 'Mariner'. On the right is Charles Shepherd the builder of 'Omega' of which 'Mariner' is a sister ship. Allen told me that he sold 12 sets of plans to the 'Omega' design.
It was 'Omega' that I saw in 1971 on a visit from Christchurch to Whangarei just before her launching. It was a design that I was encouraged to build by Allen. I cut out a lot of time and effort by simply making the molds for 'Mariner' from the lofting of the design that was already available. When the molds were completed I railed them back to Christchurch. In 1972 my parents shifted to Whangarei, which is where I eventually ended up in 1974 and the molds came north with me, much to the delight of the NZ Railways accountants.
Of the 12 sets of plans that were sold by Allen I know of only 5 boats built to the design. Their names in rough chronological order are: Omega, Mariner, Starfire, Jasper and El Tigre.
El Tigre was the second boat built to the design by Charlie Shepherd. She was built in Airex foam and fiberglass. Charlie used most of my molds to make his second boat making 3 new molds where the stern sections had been widened by about 18 inches. El Tigre is lighter and faster than Mariner and during the time I was racing against her I never was able to finish in front. Apart from being an improvement on the original design she was always stripped out for racing where I have always carried a lot of cruising gear including 180 feet of good anchoring chain - extra weight slows yachts down when racing.
"Time and Tide waits for no man" shipmates. No one.