The painting depicts Vito Dumas at the helm of his ketch LEHG II departing Wellington Harbour on 30 January 1943 during his solo circumnavigation from Buenos Aires.
The voyage is well described in Vito Dumas’ book Alone Through the Roaring Forties and he received a hero’s welcome when he returned to Buenos Aires. His ketch was designed and built in Argentina based on the sturdy Norwegian double ender design. The main deck was covered with extra canvas to reduce the chance of water leakage. In his book Vito says that this canvas prevented the waves from constantly beating on the cabin top causing leaks, and that it also ‘kept the cabin in twilight, so that I could sleep in the daytime.’ Vito also sailed without a radio, as carrying one during wartime could have seen him labelled as a spy. The ketch name was apparently derived from the initials of his mistress.
The painting was based on a 1943 New Zealand film clip of LEHG II leaving Wellington Harbour in winds of 4o knots.
The vessel is now in the Naval Museum in Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Designed by Manuel M. Campos
Length Overall: 31ft 2in
Beam: 10ft 9in
Draft: 5ft 7in