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Doug Bates' Sprite, the first S&S 24, Sail # 1396, Hobson Bay/Auckland, New Zealand - updated February 18, 2012  

February 6, 2012. Doug Bates checked in as the first owner of Sprite, the first S&S 24 built. Doug worked with Doug Bremner who owned Sea Nymph/Marine Plastics, the builders of the S&S 24s, and he has provided us with lots of information about the early days of these boats. More can be found at the New Zealand 'home' page - click here.

We have an ongoing project to get more information about these New Zealand built boats and Giles Grimston (Summer Wine) has spoken with Doug several times on he subject.

Here is his email to Giles (minor edits). Photos added February 18, 2012

Hi Giles,

I owned the first SS24 called Sprite, built by Sea Nymph at the East Tamaki factory, under the control of A E Griffiths. Sprite proved a very fast little boat especially in the light weather, and sailing with my family we won many races. She was also an excellent seaboat and we sailed her up the coast as far as Manganui and down to the Whitianga. With a family of four young children we were short of space so two children slept underneath the cockpit seats.

 After selling his Bremworth Carpet Company, Doug Bremner, under the name of W. D. Bremner Ltd, purchased the Sea Nymph Company at Glen Eden from Wilfred Hoelen who continued to work for the company. Wilfred made fibreglass runabouts using a chopped gun layup process, and produced one boat per week. The boats were of a good quality and the firm had a very good name.

Wilfred also purchased a SS24 and we often cruised together. See photo (on route) where we set off together for the Great Barrier Island with my elder son acting as forward hand for Wilfred and his wife, plus a a big Alsatian dog.

Sea Nymph subsequently ramped up production to twenty boats per week and built a new factory at Glen Eden. My job was finance controller and liaison between Wilfred and a new manufacturing facility at East Tamaki where the SS 24 was built using the design and lay up specifications from Olin Stephens who also designed Doug Bremner's sixty foot yacht Ta' Aroa.

The idea was to build a small keelboat first before going on to bigger boats. Later we sold hulls and keels  to De Joux who designed a new deck with much more headroom. I am not too sure of the dates as I subsequently became involved in our start up of a carpet manufacturing company in Sydney, Australia, and later in Foxton.

Doug Bremner then decided to sell Sea Nymph to Kim McDell, a well known yachtsman who worked for us as an accountant, and Peter Gribble, who was our salesman.

I am sending you an advertising brochure and some photographs.

I hope the above will add something to your archives together with the on route photos and clippings. Although the SS24 was not designed as a quarter- tonner she came in under the rules so we raced her in one or two series.


Doug Bates

There was a time before colorful spinnakers, or colored photographs....

The winning crew

Proof - the Trophy Receipt!


February 7, 2012. We had a few follow up questions for Doug and he came right back. Sprite is now Doughnut and she is still in Hobson Bay/Auckland, she had an outboard in the transom well, her sail # is K1396, and she was first launched in Novenber, 1970, or January, 1971. Doug sold her in 1974 moving up to a 1/2 tonner (four kids - getting bigger...)

Stay tuned 



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