Archibald “Arch” Logan‘s journey began on 28 November 1865, in Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland. He was the third of eight children of the Logan family who embarked on the Zealandia and arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, mid October 1874. A few years after their arrival his father, Robert, established himself as a boat builder. Archibald and his brothers joined their father’s boat-building business and alas, the passion for sailing and boat design was born.
Archibald “Arch” Logan become a prominent figure in New Zealand’s naval architecture landscape. He became well known for designing a highly successful racing yachts, particularly in the 18-foot and 22-foot classes.
His first major success came with his design of the “Rainbow” in 1913, an 18-foot racing yacht that showcased innovative and effective design principles. The yacht dominated the racing scene, earning a reputation for speed and performance. “Rainbow” paved the way for a series of Logan’s yacht designs, celebrated for sleek and efficient racing capabilities. The designs played a crucial role in shaping the history of yachting racing throughout the early to mid-20th century.
Gloriana, a keel cutter which was his first project with Logan Brothers, then came a string of yachts wordy to mention: Moana, Thelma, the prototype for the Patiki unballasted centreboard sailing dinghy, Kotiri, Rainbow, Iorangi, Erica, Ilex (Tu’uakitau/Tuaikaepau), Ariki, Rawhiti, Frances, Mona, Celox and Rawene, a keel cutter being the last large yacht built by the Logan Brothers.
In 1910 Logan Brothers closed their business after accepting compensation from the Auckland Harbour Board for the surrender of their long lease on prime location of Auckland’s waterfront in favour of the King’s Wharf and the King’s Wharf Power Station.
Archibald Logan, continued to build boats but increasingly began concentrating on the design side. He designed and built the champion shallow-drafted mullet boats, and after the First World War designed many keel yachts, centreboard craft (in particular the 18-foot Patiki M class) and power craft. By 1930 Logan was mostly occupied in yacht designing.
Among his renowned creations was the “Lidgard” class, a product of his collaboration with the Lidgard brothers. These yachts combined elegance, speed and a competitive edge that made them stand out in racing competitions. Logan’s vessels were not only known for their speed but also for their seaworthiness and adaptability to various conditions.
As his career advanced, Logan expanded his scope to include larger vessels, such as launches and cruisers. His meticulous attention to detail, unwavering dedication to craftsmanship and willingness to experiment with innovative design ideas became well known.
Ngaira (1909, 22 ft mullet boat / A & C Oxenham), Venus (1909, 22 ft mullet boat / Robert Rae), Ngaio (1921, motor launch), Valeria (1913, 22 ft mullet boat / A. Nelson), Omatere (1913, 26 ft mullet boat / Oxenham brothers), Lily (1920, 20 ft mullet boat / Peter Ballantine), Huia (1924, 22 ft mullet boat / Joe Slattery for Reuben Conley), Rakoa (1924, 22 ft mullet boat / Joe Slattery for G.F. Saunders), Marika (1934, 22 ft mullet boat / Percey Vos for Ralph Judd), Little Jim (1934, keel cutter / Arnold ‘Bill’ Couldrey for Jim Mitchelson, Tawera (1935, ‘A’ class keeler / Colin Wild for Scott Wilson, Waiomo (1935, ‘A’ class keeler / Arnold ‘Bill’ Couldrey for Neil Mains, Temeraire(1936, 22 ft mullet boat / Doug Rogers for F.S. Marshall, Aramoana & Spray II (1938), Gypsy (1939) and Matara (1939, 18 ft V class yacht designed and built with his sons Doug and Jack). This was Archibald Logan’s last design and Matara dominated her class in Auckland racing from 1940 to 1948.
Tragically, Arch Logan’s illustrious career was cut short by his untimely death in March 1940. Leaving behind a legacy that would be commemorated through the establishment of the Arch Logan Memorial Trophy, named in his honor. This trophy became the premier award for New Zealand’s M class centreboard racing dinghy sailing competitions.
Logan’s story is one of passion of yachts, innovation and a lasting impact on New Zealand’s maritime heritage.