Mystery Devonport Classic Launch
Mystery Devonport Classic Launch
Restoration of MV LION
Lion was launched in late 1912 for use on Lake Wakaptipu for Hugh McKenzie of Lake Wakatipu, serving the family and owners of Walter Peak, Fernhill and Mt Nicholas Stations. When launched she was fitted with a 21hp, 3 cylinder Clifton engine.
Constructed from kauri planking to a canoe stern design, to handle the choppy and unpredictable conditions of Lake Wakatipu. Her specs are – Length: 38′,
Beam: 9′, Draft: 3′ & she is powered by a Yanmar 51hp. (Info ex Harold Kidd)
At one stage she operated as a charter vessel on Lake Wakatipu.
CLASSIC YACHT PORN – MARIQUITA
Take a look at this boat… she’s one of the most beautiful boats ever built…
She’s Mariquita launched in 1911 and she’s a piece of maritime history – an antique – but very much afloat and being raced like she was new.
I once joined her for a week in Italy sailing aboard as regatta crew, and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
She’s sailed as she would have been in 1911 – no winches , everything is done with pulleys on the deck and she’s gaff rig so there’s lots of cordage.
She has 18 crew – six are permanent, six sign on for a season and then they take on six for each regatta.
She was restored to be sailed at these big classic regattas – especially in the Mediterranean.
She’s a big class yacht – with a length on deck or overall being 95ft – taken out to 125ft over her bowsprit and boom. She draws 12ft… so she’s no creek crawler!
She was rebuilt and relaunched in 2004, by Fairlie restorations, now sadly no more. The craftsmanship of her restoration was superlative, I saw her at the time and every feature about her was excellent. They’d recreated a dream-boat from another time and now instead of being in black and white here was the honey colour of her varnished hatches, the polished brass of her fittings and the lovely warm grey of her teak decks – which feel so good under bare feet.
She’s composite construction so she has a steel rib cage – or frame, over which wooden planks are fastened, and this was how she was built originally. It makes her very strong and she has been and she can… be raced hard.
Her first owner was Arthur Stothert, who was 49 when he had her built in 1911. Her designer was William Fife. She’s built to the 19 M rule – only four boats were built – all in 1911 and Fife built two of them, the other two were by Nicholson and Mylne…
They raced briefly before the first world war and then Mariquita was sold to Norway… she raced again in Britain between the wars – but there was no 19-M class by then, and then she ended up dismasted and de-rigged in a mud berth in WW2 first at the Deben and later on the Orwell at Pin Mill. There she lay as a houseboat, and that was where she was discovered in 1987 by William Collier who was scouting out such classics for the famous Ferrari collector Albert Obrist.
Obrist, who had sold most of his cars, had moved on to boats and had restored and just relaunched the 107ft (33m) 1931 Fife schooner Altair – often cited as the restoration that set the standards for all to follow.
In 1991 Obrist set up Fairlie Restorations, the high quality classic yacht specialist on the Hamble. Mariquita was acquired awaiting an owner and Ernst Klaus and Peter Livanos came to her rescue having a superb restoration completed at Fairlies between 2001 and 2004.
They kept and race Mariquita until her centenerary year – with Jim Thom as her captain… and then ten years later… with her new owners and skipper I got a chance to sail aboard.
This was at Porto Santo Stefano for the Argentario sailing week every June since 1998 in lovely Southern Tuscany.
I was to be one of the six regatta crew they take on for a week… First things first – you get assigned your personal water bottle – no single use plastic here… I met some old friends – Cornelius and Dickie.
The pros are up early, Billy the bosun coils ropes along with Robyn and Pippa, who are sailors as well as chief stewardess and cook
I meet George the captain, who was Jim Thom’s mate – talking to Matty the mate and then the helmsman – also the owner – Johnny Caulcutt came aboard…
Soon it was time to meet a sailing legend – Harold Cudmore who is our tactician for the week. The days start with warm up exercises which include a few stretches and we all get a bit hands on as well – this is a good idea and gets you ready for when you are going to do some pulley hauling… And it’s time to raise the sails.
Cudmore’s already counting down to the start and I’m up here on the foredeck, with Richard Sawle and the bowman Jérôme Collet – Jerome’s a relaxed kind of cat – until he needs to leap into the rigging. Matty the mate and Millie are also on the foredeck, and from my position at the end of the mainsheet I can see right back down the deck.
The sheet is called by Peter or Tubsy Brook. I help in hanking on the jib topsail… It’s good to be out on the bowsprit when you’re office bound… of course in my head I still think I’m the schoonerman of my youth!
Fully rigged she looks fully dressed – with a lot of sail area high up to catch the wind; note the jib topsl which is flaked and tied up in wool ready to be broken out by tugging it sheet when needed…
With an upwind sail area of more than 6,000 sq feet she’s capable of kicking up some sea dust – even in these light airs.
If people in Santo Stefano look out of their window they get a nice view today – we’re here with some other big boats –Shamrock and Cambria
Shamrock V was the first J Class to be built – in 1930 – for Thomas Lipton’s fifth attempt to win back the America’s Cup for Britain. She’s uncompetitive in the modern J Class but she just leaves us in her wake… she’s built of wood on steel frames as well.
Eleonora the replica Herreshoff schooner is the biggest vessel here…
Between tacks the crew lies on the weather deck, with Milly, forward, calling the trim on the jib with hand signals.
The folk of another Fife – Halloween, from 1926 and a Bermudan design are slowly overtaking us… The next boat to overtake us is Cambria and she takes about four minutes to haul ahead – hand over hand she’s the faster boat and although our gaff handicap will help she’s the one to beat – she won in our class the year before.
And has Cudmore got a plan? I like his look of concentration – and it turns out, the next day he does… But we’re sailing well and the pros have taken us newbies in hand – hauling on ropes can be hard work – but my hands aren’t sore…
A few hours later we get to the end of the race and realise Cambria has missed a mark – she’s stopped and her sails are coming down. They get radioed and put them back up to carry on racing. Later Cudmore notes that it gave us 23 minutes on them, we have won… Day One. We have a beer with our debrief and there are tacit congratulations… Cudmore mentions the light airs are suiting us with Shamrock V as well – plus they left their big genoa behind.
Saturday’s a magic day – not just to be sailing in these waters, but we’re going to see a master tactician at work
The race is about 26 miles in a flat diamond course north of Porto Santo Stefano out into deeper water and then round a second mark in the bay of Talamoné – the third mark is an inshore-ish mark
The wind forecast had the wind backing SW to SE – mainly light airs – which would suit us.
The race starts well and shortly after midday we’ve rounded the second mark – Cambria is ahead of us, and we can see her slowed right down with yachts around her pointing in different directions –
Away off to port on the shoreside the NY40 Chinook is hugging the shoreline and she has wind… Cudmore alters us to steer between Chinook and Cambria. And unbelievably there is enough air to carry us past them. We are literally 200 yards to Cambria‘s port… we hit the convergence ourselves about a couple of minutes later and Cudmore has everyone lying on deck with the sails sheeted amidships… we don’t dare breathe as we feel the 36 tons of lead carrying us forward with sheer silent momentum through the pellucid green waters below.
It was extraordinary thing to call and even better to witness, especially sailing that close to the convergence zone which was caused by the meeting of an offshore and offshore breeze…
Later Harold told me: “There were two breezes today and we had three occasions – crossing back and forwards between them – to benefit from that. Picking where and how to do that was the race decider.
“Cambria was clearly ahead of us but when she lost her wind we saw a smaller boat over on the shore side (Chinook) which had wind, so we could steer between the two and just keep our wind (and stay out of the convergence). Today was a day you would call a heads-out-of-the-boat day. We were all looking at what was happening around us – but there was also a lot of luck involved.
“I think it’s great that we are beginning to race these boats as they were raced 100 years ago and we have more and more respect for our forebears who raced them then. We have better materials now – better rope and so on – but otherwise the conditions are similar.”
It gave us another decisive win and Harold was rightly congratulated; when he comes into the Marco Polo restaurant later that evening he gets a round of applause.
After that a win the next day seems assured. We are on a high. Captain George says this is the first time since she was launched that Mariquita won three races in a row… It’s an auspicious season start – that year she wins the Panerai Trophy in the Big Class overall…
It was a shame to hear she was laid up in Lymington – under covers in 2015 and has been ever since – but there are a few of us who can’t afford to run boats at the moment… She remains a boat of dreams, a vessel that others flock to see. And I treasure that week, the fantastic sailing… and seeing Mr Cudmore’s genius at work.
LOS 125ft (38m)
LOA 95ft 6in (29m)
LWL 66ft (19m)
beam 17ft 4in (5.3m)
Draught 12ft (3.7m)
Sail area Upwind 6,171 sqft (573m2)
Over the last few days I have had cause to be in the vicinity of several boat yards
CLASSIC YACHT ASSOCIATION AGM – COMMITTEE VOTING
Help Needed Finding Doris / Miss Doris
Greg Philpott has asked for help in tracking down the 1910, A.T. Lane (Auckland) built launch – Doris / Miss Doris. She was launched as Doris but renamed Miss Doris in 1949. Her first owner was Albert Fuller for use in the Bay of Islands.
She was a hard working launch and undertook all manner of work for AE Fullers and Sons but she was eventually sold out of the Fullers fleet in 1969 to Doug Nankervis for use as a fishing boat. She was subsequently sold in 1974 to Ashley Synnott and relocated to Mangawhai. That is where the trail goes cold, and Greg would love to find out what happened to her and where she ended up.
We do know some history of her propulsion :- No intel on what engine was in her when launch but in 1917 it was replaced with a Scripps – then in 1920 a Regal G E Coy – then in 1929 a Studebaker, 1933 saw a Alisa Craig went in – 1954 in went a Ford and lastly some time in the 1960’s a Caterpillar was shoe honed in – rumour has it, it nearly took up 1/2 the cabin 🙂
She has appeared on WW before https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/10/15/9233/
A WOODY QUIZ – Win A WW Bucket Hat
Guess the most searched word on the waitematawoodys site (after waitemata woodys) and you go into the draw to win a WW bucket hat. (model not included). Entries close off at 8pm 29-07-2020. ENTER ONLY VIA EMAIL to email@example.com
29-07-2020 Harold Kidd Input – The first 3 paragraphs of the text of “Legends in Our Lifetime” sound like a waterfront yarn. . “Collins and Bell” and the “site of the Bridgeway Tavern” don’t go together.but there”s a kernel of fact in there I guess. The”Negro Minister” intrigues me. I’ve heard it before and wonder if it’s a conflation of Rev, Jasper Calder, but will check out this interesting angle and see if it has legs (mixed metaphors, anyone?)
Previous WW Zephyr stories
LOG of The RAWHITI – 1947 Sydney > Auckland Passage
The log is reproduced below via the generosity of the Mahurangi cruising club, who ran an abridged version in the 2020 year book. Click link below to read/view – its a cool story, enjoy
Today’s WW story is an amazing account of the return of the 1905 Arch Logan designed, Logan Bros built yacht – Rawhiti from Sydney, Australia to its place off birth – Auckland, New Zealand.
Almost immediately after her 1905 launch Rawhiti headed off across the Tasman to Sydney where she spent the next 41 years. Sadly the last 10 of those years saw her laid up on the hard, rapidly deteriorating.
Luckily for the yacht and all classic boaters in New Zealand, Sydney Ernest Marler (Hek to most) entered the scene and purchased Rawhiti and immediately made plans to sail her back to NZ. Some rather questionable repairs were undertaken and she set sail on December 17th 1947. Her crew for the passage was Hek + Peter Henley (navigator) Brian Lane (shipwright) Roy Johnson (bos’n and ships ‘surgeon’) Norman Vickery (signaller and radio operator)
The passage was recorded in the form of a ships log, written by Hek to his father Hank ((Henry Maitland Marler) outlining the voyage and the crew’s experiences. The trip took 11 days, said to be a record passage from Sydney to Russell, Bay of Islands, that was unbeaten until the 1970’s. 36 hours of the 11 days saw the yacht becalmed, so woodys she was greyhound 🙂
It would be an understatement to say it was a pleasant passage – Brian Lane is on record saying that they were very lucky, if the weather had got any worse they wouldn’t have made it, Rawhiti was hopeless at laying up into the wind. But very fast, built to race on the Waitemata Harbour not ocean passages. At times they trailed anything spare off the stern in an attempt to slow her down. Brian constantly thought she would split in two when coming down off a wave, no splash just a crash that Brian described as like being dropped off the back of a truck onto a concrete road. If he had known the yachts condition and blue water abilities, he would not have ventured past Sydney heads – but they did and Hek went on to raise a family with salt very much in their veins. Son Bruce and grandson Rod continuing the families association with wooden sailing craft.
In the mid 2000’s Rawhiti underwent a total rebuild / restoration while in the ownership of Greg Lee, Greg and master wooden boat builder Peter Brookes conducted the 7 year restoration. Without a doubt she is New Zealand’s finest restoration of a classic wooden vessel. If you search Rawhiti in the WW search box you will get an insight into the restoration.
I bet her crew on the passage back to Auckland in 1947 would not have imaged that 73 years later she would still be sailing and commanding a prime spot on the world classic wooden boat stage. One of the worlds most admired (&selling) wooden boating items is the Calendar of Wooden Boats by Benjamin Mendlowitz and Maynard Bray. Rawhiti is centre stage in the 2021 edition for the month of March. As are two of our launches – Jason Prew’s – My Girl (April) and Peter Boardman’s – Lady Margaret (June). Owning 25% of that real estate is pretty good for little old NZ, but it comes at a price and that price is all the time that a small bunch of woodys put in making Ben and Maynard so welcome in NZ.
Copies of the 2021 edition are available at
Then four years ago, a friend pointed out Pakeha was for sale. ‘I’d always loved that boat . . .so I decided to buy it.’
The old fishing boat is a true survivor. Beaven believes it may the only one from Kaikoura at that time still around. ‘It’s been washed up on the beach . . .five, six times in its life and survived.’
The boat builders were able to rebuild Pakeha referencing old photos and Beavans’ memory of how it was. ‘It’s always been one of the nicest, tidiest boats as a fishing boat,’ Beaven said. The boat is about a week away from completion, with just electric work to be done.
Beaven and wife Nancy are planning a big trip to the top of the South Island this summer, including a visit to the daughter of the first owner of Pakeha, who lives in Waimate, and to the boat’s old home of Kaikoura.
WESTHAVEN CLASSIC LAUNCHES
FIESTA – B.O.I.
Dean Wright sent in the above photo of the launch – Fiesta. Dean commented that she has lived at Waipiro Bay, Bay of Islands for a while now. The ‘hothouse almost gets a WW tick, very nice proportions, colour and design. In fact if the owner contacts me – firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll give them a WW T-shirt. I’ll need some proof of ownership – eg more photos / details:-)
What do we know about her?
Mystery Waiheke Launch
MYSTERY WESTHAVEN LAUNCH
This photo ex Williamson Family Collection, recently popped up on fb and thanks to Harold Kidd we now know a lot more about the vessel.
QUEEN OF BEAUTY
Mystery Kiwi Buyer – Australian Woody -Rose
SPINDRIFT Mystery Launch
PRE – RESTORATION
“I have just come across your website and read the piece about a Mrs Batten who was inquiring into the whereabouts of Rawhiti junior. I don’t know how long ago that posting was made as it appears undated.
I would be interested to tell what I know about her.
My recollection was that she was built in 1904 not 1906 as Mr Kidd has suggested but I stand to be corrected.
She was last owned by my previous brother in law Vernon Harris now of Hahei.
Vern and I did some restoration on her in the 80’s. The most exciting thing was removing the “baby Austin 7 “ inboard petrol engine from her cockpit. We threw it onto the beach in Whitianga on a low tide and waited till the tide came in to see what difference having 200 kg of steel removed from her rear end would make to her handling. It was phenomenal of course, an absolute pleasure to sail after that. Vern acquired a small seagull outboard for the times when there was no wind to shift her.
We assume she was once yawl rigged but in our time the rear mast was just a stub that we used to attach stern lines. A previous owner had modified the main mast , presumably so she could be brought under a low bridge as it was set up to hinge fore and aft.
Vern and I had numerous trips between Mercury Bay and Great Barrier in the 80’s, I have wonderful memories of those trips bringing gear our from the Coromandel to start an alternative lifestyle on Barrier . I don’t think she was 20 ft , perhaps a little less. She had her bowsprit shortened , but we still used two headsails on occasion. Her original centreboard had been replaced with a solid keel which held a large long block of lead , she drew only 18”. She was a pleasure to unload gear from in knee deep water without grounding.
Unfortunately in 1989 she was badly damaged in a substantial storm that struck her while moored in Allom Bay which is the Southern most Bay of Blind Bay on the West Coast of Barrier where I still live on occasion. She had an open cockpit and simply filled with rain and seawater as she thrashed about on her mooring, which held her but she finally sank.
That would have been OK with her resting on the bottom, but as the tide receded , the swell bashed her repeatedly on the sandy bottom. With a large load of loose lead lying in her bilges , there were attempts to dive under the foaming surf and remove some of it. But as a near drowning occurred, this idea was given up .
The end result was that planks broke loose from her stem both above and below the waterline on port and starboard sides.
As the storm abated she was able to be moved into the creek in Allom Bay where she lay in a rudimentary cradle as the tide came in and out around her but she would never float again.
While decisions were made about if and how she could be saved, Mother Nature took the opportunity away.
A deluge of exceptional proportions, only weeks after her sinking, swept her out into the Bay , where she has never been seen since.
Although I have been snorkeling and diving , as have many others in the Bay, she has yet to make a reappearance.
The cabin tops (2), the forward hatch , the rigging and sails were all saved along with the beautiful rudder and tiller, but that was all.
One cabin top became the roof for a chook house and the other still keeps the rain off when visiting the long drop. None of these parts were original though.
The loss of Rawhiti affected Vern badly. As has been said often , we may call ourselves owners , but we are also custodians of historic treasures , so to lose her on our watch was hard to bear. He eventually shifted away from Allom Bay back to Whitianga. I understand he may be, or has been the Commodore of the Yacht Club there”.
13-07-2020 Input from Robin Elliott ex Auckland Star 29th Sept. 1906
CLEVEDON WOODY CRUISE – ARE YOU COMING ? – 15 WOODYS CONFIRMED SO FAR. RSVP TO email@example.com – all welcome, details below 🙂
LAKE MANAPOURI – MANURERE
1985 Chas Bailey Gaffer – Ida – Invitation To View
The owner of Pirate, Bryce Armstrong, sent in the above photo of the 32’ Bob Swanson built launch. She was launched in 1977 and was the last launch Swanson built. The original owner in Picton finished the topsides
Classic Wooden Boat Riverhead Cruise
Harold and I have finally sorted the mystery of Matatua (well it was only a mystery to us, the rest of the world couldn’t care less 🙂 ).
Matatua was built as a 33-foot ketch by Roy Lidgard in 1938 at their yard in Freemans Bay Auckland for C.T. Jonas who originally named her Landfall.
NZ Herald 13/8/1938 has a photo of her on page 12 being built ‘for C.T. Jonas’.
Landfall was launched 19/11/1938 and described as an ‘auxilliary ketch’ 33ft overall, 26ft on the waterline with 9ft 6in beam. She carried 600 sq ft of sail and it was reported that her owner intended making a cruise to the islands at the end of the 1938-39 season.
From then on, no more mention of Landfall and it appears that C.T. Jonas and his co-owner Harry Gillard, renamed her Matatua quite soon after launching.
The ketch Matatua first appears in print in February 1939 racing with other boats in the Lidgard employees picnic from the Freemans Bay slipway to Motuihe. She raced regularly with RNZYS and RAYC for the rest of the season. Her registration number was B-9.
The ketch rig clearly wasn’t a success because in September 1939 the NZH 26/9/39 reports ‘aux yacht Landfall owned by C.T. Jonas which made an appearance last year under ketch rig has been converted into a cutter’. This reference to Landfall is odd because she had been named Matatua since at least the beginning of 1939, but maybe they were just making the connection back their earlier articles.
In the winter of 1940, yet more improvements.
NZH 2/7/40: B-class yacht Matatua owned by C. Jonas has had 2ft 6in added to her counter by Lidgard Bros. OA length now 35ft 6in and will enable carrying a permanent backstay,
NZH 9/12/40: Photo of Matatua with her new cutter rig, B-9 on the sail.
The war intervenes and Matatua ceases racing.
During this time the Auckland yacht registration records, probably having been moved about or in storage during the war, had fallen into disarray. By the time a new list is published in July 1946, Matatua has been registered twice, first by Harry Gillard, who retained B-9, and again by C.T. Jonas who got a new number B-24. The error was picked up and B-24 lapsed but it remained in the official lists for a couple of seasons until another purge of obsolete registrations in 1948.
Clarrie Irvine raced Matatua, as B-9, for the next couple of seasons and sold her in 1949 to R. Campbell of Wellington. The trip to Wellington under delivery skipper Terry Hammond was hard and they were missing for several days after hitting a nor’westerly gale just off Cape Palliser that blew them as far south as Kaikoura. After getting back to almost the same spot, they ran into a westerly gale that blew them back out to sea. Eventually Matatua got to Wellington, her crew had been battered for 84 hours.
Matatua remained in Wellington (registered as Wellington A-10) for the next 12 years or so. She was purchased by K. Stutter in 1957, and in 1962 was sold to D. Fletcher of Epsom who brought her back to Auckland where she picked up her old number of B-9. Fletcher didn’t appear to do any racing but in 1968 he sold her to George Retter of the Richmond Yacht Club who owned and raced her until 1981.
Matatua has had no registered owners since then. Her NZYF number is 109
One major confusion with Matatua has been the Bob Stewart design Mata-a-tua built for George Gresham of Tauranga in 1947. When Matatua was sold to Wellington, her B-9 registration became vacant and was issued to Gresham’s Mata-a-tua thus beginning a series of tortured confusions in boating magazines and newspapers between the two boats.
This was continued when Mata-a-tua was also sold to Wellington in 1958 where she became Wellington A-9. Her owner Brian Millar brought her to Auckland in 1964 and she entered the 1965 Anniversary Regatta under her Wellington number A-9. (A-9?.. A-9??.. That’s Moana and We can’t have that!!) In February she was re-registered as B-47.
Another tedious ‘golly gee’ point. Both Clarrie Irvine and George Retter owned the Bailey built C-class Matua C-54. Both of them sold Matua to buy Matatua
I have been told to ‘get a life’ by many people.