Ranger: The making of a New Zealand yachting legend is the tale of how an immigrant family in the fledgling city of Auckland overcame social barriers and financial hardship to design, build and race a yacht that would leave an extraordinary legacy.
Designed, built and skippered by the late Lou Tercel, the A-class yacht Ranger was launched in 1938 and immediately established a dominance over Auckland racing which would last for more than a quarter-century. During her reign Ranger inspired an era of construction and design experimentation that would lead New Zealand to the pinnacle of success in the yachting world. Tercel, son of an immigrant couple and famously irascible in temperament, is the subject of countless colourful tales. In this meticulously researched account, Sandra Gorter and Aroha Tercel paint the rich and engrossing history of the man, his masterpiece and his legacy.
From her launch in 1938 until around 1968 Ranger was the boat to beat on the Waitemata Harbour, and her statuesque beauty under sail gave no clue that she had been crafted by a crane driver on a shoestring budget. She set a benchmark for her rivals, and every A-class racing yacht launched in that time span was designed with her lines, her crew work and her rig in mind. By raising the bar, her excellence helped foster the standard of yachting that placed New Zealand at the front rank of the world’s yachting nations. In 1969 Chris Bouzaid won the One Ton Cup for New Zealand in his yacht Rainbow II, and in the wake of this victory a clutch of trophies – Admiral’s Cup, Half Ton Cup, Southern Cross Cup, Whitbread, America’s Cup – tumbled to New Zealand. As a boy Bouzaid had sailed on his father Leo’s A-class Logan Rainbow, and was just one of many yachtsmen, including Sir Peter Blake, Sir Tom Clark and Chris Dickson, who grew up immersed in the era of great Waitemata yachting battles, as the A-class fleet tried and failed to end Ranger’s dominance of Auckland yachting. This is the first full account to be published on Lou Tercel, who died in 1990, and his unique contribution to New Zealand yachting.