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Lipton’s Race To The Race

4th July, 2001

In 1898 Sir Thomas Lipton built an amazing spectator boat for the America’s Cup. Now more than one hundred years later, the same vessel is in a race of a different kind. Lipton, the world famous tea brand founded by Sir Thomas has come to the boat’s rescue, restoring her to her former glory and racing to get her to Cowes for the 150th America’s Cup Jubilee next month.

The Lipton Karin III is in a half state of repair, just days away from being shipped to Southampton. A team of New Zealand craftsmen is working against the clock, 24 hours a day in two shifts to get her ready in time. There are just four days left before the Lipton Karin III will be lifted in her boat cradle aboard the P & O Berlin Express bound for Southampton. She must depart on time if she is to make official race registration in Cowes on August 18th.

Whilst the Lipton Karin III is one of seven boats from New Zealand to participate in the America’s Cup Jubilee Regatta, she is by far the oldest boat from this country to receive an invitation from the Royal Yacht Squadron and the only one racing in the Classic class. The race will be held around the Isle of Wight – the original course of the America’s Cup 150 years ago.

The Lipton Karin III currently resides in a paddock in Clevedon. On Friday, workmen will transform her cradle into a giant sled in order to slide her down a muddy hill towards the roadside. From there she will have a team of people working to replace the old cradle with a new one and will then be transported to Clevedon township for final fittings.

As a vessel previously owned by one of the major challengers of the America’s Cup, the Lipton Karin III’s official invitation to race in the 150th America’s Cup Jubilee Regatta was based on her strong association with the event. She was built by Colin Archer for Sir Thomas Lipton, one of the most famous and persistent challengers of the America’s Cup across 31 years.

“Like Lipton tea, this boat was created by Sir Thomas Lipton with the same emphasis on quality and style. She is the product of Lipton’s very adventurous spirit – a piece of living history we can now share with all New Zealanders.

Lipton tea is delighted to be responsible for her restoration in New Zealand and for staging her rightful return to America’s Cup glory on a world stage,” says Lipton Tea’s New Zealand manager, Kylie Rutherford.

Today, the Lipton Karin III is owned by a syndicate of businessmen who salvaged her from the bottom of the Whitianga Harbour last year after recognising her enormous historical significance. She is one of only 17 original Colin Archer vessels left in the world. Of these, 15 boats are in museums.

She was built in Norway and is classed as a Norwegian Double Ender, so named because her bow and stern look identical. Her sister ship, The Fram was the first boat to reach Antarctica and the Arctic. The Lipton Karin III’s most famous venture was participation in one of world’s first trans Atlantic races in 1927.

In her 103 year life, the Lipton Karin III has been owned by and registered in many countries – Britain, France, Norway, The Netherlands and Singapore. She has had many interesting owners including Alan Buchanan. He owned, lived and worked on the Lipton Karin III when he first started his naval architectural business. Today, Alan Buchanan’s career spans 50 years, with 2400 designs to his name and a reputation as one of the world’s greatest naval architects.


Released on behalf of Unilever Australasia by Goode Communication Ltd, Auckland.

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