The Adventures of a Pope at Sea

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The Adventures of a Pope at Sea

Harry Pope, member of RAYC for 40 years, boat builder, marine inspector, who delivered and salvaged countless yachts, has just had his memoirs published.  The book is called “The Adventures of a Pope at Sea”.

In the 1951 Harry joined Chas Bailey & Sons as an apprentice and became a proficient boat builder.  When he left and set up his own business, Pope Marine Services in 1970 he went on to carry out about 10,000 marine surveys over the next 30 or more years.  He was asked to be a marine inspector after the 1956 RAYC Suva Race.  Because of the many yachts in trouble just after the start, RAYC was instructed to provide two honorary yacht inspectors to check every small vessel leaving NZ shores.  RAYC member Max Carter was the other inspector.

He built his own yacht, Sea Wolf, a 30ft ketch, and entered the RAYC Tasman race in 1951, joining RAYC afterwards and says “it was an association which would last for 40 years.”

Pope’s subsequent ketch, designed by Bert Woolacott, was slightly bigger at 36ft 6ins.  Wolf took part in the 1973 Suva Race. The photo shows this yacht being launched with Commodore Ken Pragnell (Commodore from 1963 through to 1965).

In 1991 he was flown to U.S.A. as a witness in a Court case where the value of the M.V. Greenpeace was in dispute and then thanked by the U.S. Department of Justice for his “excellent and persuasive expert testimony”.  The case resulted in the ship being gifted to the Greenpeace organisation.

The book is a hefty tome at 500 pages and retails at “Boat Books” for $70 but as an RAYC member Harry will give you a discount if you contact him.  His email is:  and he will post it to you (p&p  $5).

Harry Pope has kindly given a copy of his book to the Archives and it will be available for members to view in the new Clubhouse.  Please contact Marian Harkness if you wish to donate any items to the Archives or would like to help with the research of the Club. 

Phone: 09-431-6332 or

August 23rd, 2016|Categories: All News, Archives|

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