Sir Peter Blake’s CERAMCO – A Legend Sails Home

Red sox were worn to honor the memory of Sir Peter Blake
Red sox were worn to honor the memory of Sir Peter Blake

CERAMCO NEW ZEALAND, a 68ft Bruce Farr design, was a notable addition at the Rolex Sailing Regatta held at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, March 22-24 2013. The sleek CERAMCO was originally built for and raced by the legendary Sir Peter Blake in the1981-82 Whitbread Round the World Race, which he skippered with an all-Kiwi crew. Owner/Captain, Dianne Masters and crew all wore the red socks during the Rolex Regatta, a gesture made famous by Sir Peter to bring good luck.

How Masters came to own CERAMCO is quite a story. She grew up in Newport, RI, and as a youngster spent most of her time around the water. At age 18, she set sail from Newport to the Caribbean with little knowledge of boats or sailing other than the adventure stories she had heard. At her farewell party, her mother offered her $10,000 and a 1967 Mustang convertible to stay. Her Dad gave her $100 and told her not to fall off the boat!

Masters has had an encyclopedia of experience since her maiden voyage. Arriving in St. Thomas, she met the captain of a 53ft Blue Water Pearson and managed to fake cooking well enough to secure twelve weeks of charter. Becoming a passionate sailor, she moved aboard Sumurun, a classic 95ft Fife racing yacht. After having spent a couple of years working on a variety of vessels, she then joined an 80ft maxi racer on its way to Los Angeles, where she jumped ship. She worked for Soundings Magazine selling ad space, then returned east and bought a construction company.

In 2005 Masters spotted a one-line ad in Soundings for a 68ft Farr Aluminum Race Boat, at a good price. The owners, Fred and Eileen Mills (STYC members), had bought

CERAMCO from a doctor in Ft. Lauderdale, who had bought it from Peter Blake’s Trust. Eileen Mills said, “When Peter Blake designed the boat, he did it with the thought of ‘life after racing’ – cruising”, which the Mills did from 2002 – 2005, with their sons Nelson and Freddie.

In 2007 Masters sold everything and headed south to Bermuda and St. Thomas on CERAMCO.

When she purchased the boat, she was unaware of the yacht’s famous history. But after reading the book Blake’s Odyssey, she decided not to do the complete refit she had in mind. Below deck has been modified but everything topside is faithful to the original design. On learning she owned a special piece of New Zealand’s yachting history, Masters spearheaded a project to raise money to sail back to Auckland this year and donate CERAMCO to the NZ Maritime Museum.  When asked why, she answered, “I just think it’s the right thing to do.”

To accomplish this feat, Masters has launched a creative fundraiser by producing a giant photograph of CERAMCO, cutting it into 10,000 pieces and selling each piece for $10 a square. To participate, purchase one or more ‘pieces of history’ and follow her progress from the Caribbean to New Zealand. On arrival in Auckland, Masters plans to attend the special ‘Mast Falling Down’ party on September 17th, an annual tribute to Sir Peter Blake, CERAMCO and crew.

CERAMCO plans to leave St. Thomas around May 15th, cruise to the Galapagos Islands and then sail the longest downwind run in the world, to New Zealand. There, the boat will pick up a Kiwi crew and compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race in December. “In light winds, we don’t have a chance of winning, even with the red socks,” says Masters, “but give us at least 25 knots and we are untouchable”.

To help deliver and inspire, be part of Dianne Masters’ voyage by buying a few squares of the giant photograph! For information, visit: www.ceramconz.com or email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Capt. Jan Robinson’s Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com email [email protected] Tel: 704-277-6521. Don’t miss the new cookbook added to Jan’s collection: DINING ON DECK

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