Hinemoa was designed and built by August Ivar Gronfors AKA “Chips” Gronfors, a nickname he received while working at the Charles Lucas yard in Battery Point in Hobart.
In 1925, while working for Charles, Chips Gronfors built the restricted 21ft racing yacht Tassie in 4 weeks.
In 1936, Chips Gronfors was again working for Charlie Lucas and was contacted by a Sydney yachtswoman to build a new ocean-going yacht.
When Chips insisted that it would be best built here in Hobart, Amber Merle Grey said she wanted it built in NSW so she could watch the construction.
Chips returned to Newcastle in 1937 and built Ambermerle for Amber Merle Grey. Ambermerle was later purchased by John Colquhoun and competed in the 1945 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and was placed second on handicap to Captain Illingworth’s Rani.
That same year, Chips designed and built Hinemoa for Newcastle optometrist Clem Walsh. Clem wanted a fast Cruiser Racer for Lake Macquarie that would be based at the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club.
Chips used his knowledge of racing yachts from Tasmania and the Mullet Boats he had seen in New Zealand to design Hinemoa. Taking the underwater profile and bolt on keel of the Tasmanian One designs and the short ended Mullet Boats of New Zealand, Chips designed what was described by the local press of the time as “a new type of fast cruiser of light displacement” .
Hinemoa won her first major race, The Oughton Trophy, in 1938 with Clem Walsh at the helm.
Hinemoa spent until 1954 in Lake Macquarie under different owners.
Clem Walsh eventually sold her to Major Ivins. Hinemoa was sold to Nelson Rundle in 1953. In 1954, Nelson sold Hinemoa to Leo Reilly of Sydney where over many years she competed successfully under the bargee of the Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
In the late 1960’s Hinemoa was found derelict in Qld by Mrs Ann Wollcott and taken to Cabbage Creek in Brisbane, where Ann and her husband spent a year rebuilding her for an intended Coral Sea cruise.
On arriving in Cairns the Wollcott’s decided that Hinemoa was not suitable for ocean passages and sold her. Somehow Hinemoa found her way back from Cairns and ended up in the Gippsland Lakes.
In 1989, Hinemoa was taken to Melbourne and restored by her current owner and in 2007 after a successful Bass Strait crossing attended her first AWBF. Since 2011 Hinemoa has been based in Cygnet Tasmania a place I believe her builder would have very much approved of.