Mokoia was designed by Arthur C. Robb and built by Stebbings in 1948 for Major James Murray. She is a 10-ton auxiliary cutter with a LOA of 37’10”; LWL of 26’0″; beam 8’11”; and draft 6’1″. She was designed principally as a cruising yacht but proved from the beginning to be a very capable off-shore racer.

While she came second place in her first offshore race, the Harwich-Kristiansand, Mokoia is perhaps best known for her participation in the 1950 Bermuda and Transatlantic races. Accompanying Major Murray for these races was Wing Commander Marwood Elton. His daughter Jean was also aboard for the Bermuda race. They came 3rd Open in the Transatlantic Race and 10th in Class C in the Newport Bermuda Race. Accompanying Mokoia were two other British entries – Samuel Pepys and Cohoe. The book ‘North Atlantic’ by Adlard Coles gives an account of their races. At the time of the race Mokoia was using sails made by Cranfield and Carter, and Petticrows (of Burnham-on-Crouch) did the fitting-out for the long voyage.

At some point after, Mokoia was sold to the Watson family and sailed extensively from the Clyde, Scotland during the 1950/60s.

In 1972 she was sailed to Australia and records show that a boat of the same name took part in the 1972 Sydney-Hobart race, skippered by J.M. Tattersall. She finished 34th on handicap, out of 79 starters.

The Australian List of Shipping has her current home port as Sydney, Australia, and she also spent some time in Tasmania. She is believed to have undergone extensive restoration during the last decade or so.

For anyone interested, there was a Design Supplement article on Mokoia published in Yachting World November 1948.

Notes on the designer
Arthur Cecil (Arthur C.) Robb (1908-1969) was a British yacht designer working in London, England, after World War II. Born in New Zealand, by 1930 he was employed at yard manager at the boat building firm of Morris & Lorimers, Argyll, Scotland. During World War II he was a Reserve Officer in the British Royal Navy attaining the rank of lieutenant commander. It was at this time that he worked on the design of the airborne lifeboat.

Arthur Cecil Robb, M.B.E. was born in 1908 at Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, and was considered one of the great yacht designers of his generation. He came from a farming and sailing background, and gained considerable local fame as a helmsman. He also had a good deal of talent as a designer and builder of small yachts and dinghies. In the early 1930’s he was encouraged to make a living as a yacht designer, and, being in the Naval Reserve, chose to go to Great Britain where he became yard manager at the boat building firm of Morris and Lorimers at Sandbank, Argyll, Scotland.

At the outbreak of World War II he went to sea as a Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve Officer, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He worked in both the Admiralty and Air Ministry. In the latter he and Uffa Fox were concerned with the design of the airborne lifeboat.

After the war he set up practice in London as a yacht designer. His wife Susan assisted him in handling many of his contacts with prospective yacht owners and with firms that might supply the materials for the yachts he designed. He was well known throughout the world, but particularly in the United States, for his one-design cruiser/racers. Arthur Robb died after a long illness in London, England in 1969.

From the Arthur C Robb archive, Museum of America and the Sea, at Mystic Seaport.

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3 Responses to Mokoia

  1. CC says:

    Mokoia was owned by Dr Nigel Abbott of Tasmania during the 1970s. He purchased her from a family in Melbourne and kept her on the Gippsland Lakes when he lived at Orbost in Eastern Victoria for a time. He returned to Tasmania with her and sold her.

  2. Gillian Simpson says:

    The Design Supplement article on Mokoia was published in Yachting World in November 1948 not Yachting Monthly.

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