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Tiny Tuck Meet R. Tucker!

Tiny Tuck Meet R. Tucker!

In 1985, while the R. Tucker Thompson was being built on the beach at Mangawhai, Rex Cottrell a ship-loving model yacht fanatic was dreaming of building a 2nd tall ship, also to sail on the same estuary. The result was an impressive 2.8m long 1/9 scale remote controlled replica of the original 85ft gaff rigged topsail schooner.

After Rex’s death the model was placed in Monterey Park, Model World on display but with the closure of the park, the model needed a new home. It was offered to the R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust but the price tag was prohibitive, a luxury the Trust could not afford. Late one night eight months later, still for sale on TradeMe for a substantially lesser amount, the model was spotted by local artist Tui Slater, who together with her husband Mark Williamson, have been crewing on the Tucker over the past 7 years.

Tui said “My immediate thought was ‘Wow, how awesome!’ but then my next thought was ‘What would happen if it ended up gathering dust in some shed somewhere? I can’t let that happen!’”. She woke up Mark and after showing him the little ship model online, the couple decided that the best way to stop that happening was to purchase the model themselves. Then they would offer it to the Sail Training Trust on a permanent loan for use promoting summer day sails, the winter sail training voyages and in doing so keep Rex’s dream alive.

Tui and Mark will be formally handing over Tiny Tuck, as the model will be christened, with a blessing and launching on the Russell beachfront at 8.30 am on Thursday 2nd February where she will meet her big sister, the R. Tucker Thompson. The model will also be on display at 35 Degrees South the afternoon on Friday 3rd and at the Sail Training Trust’s Waitangi Day stand near the whare waka as part of Tucker week.



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