Today’s story features the Chas Bailey built steam tug Hipi and comes to us from Mick Kelly via Harold Kidd. Mick was prompted to write by a recent article by HDK in Boating New Zealand.
Mick commented that Hipi ran aground just south of Whangamata in the mid 1970s. He used to own the farm adjoining the beach where this occurred. The previous owner of the farm was called in the middle of the night to rescue the crew. For his efforts he was presented with the ship’s wheel, which he attached to the bar in his house.
The story as Mick remembers it was that she was towing a barge with a digger to pinch sand off the beaches in the area, and it all went a bit pear shaped. A local bought the wreck, and bulldozed a track down onto the beach. He cut off the metal superstructure and towed the hull up to where he could salvage the engine/s which Mick imagines had replaced the original steam engine.
Mick salvaged a few brass fittings, and some bits of Kauri decking which he incorporated into the first launch he built. He also used the hardwood keel timber for a beam in the shed he built on the farm.
If you believe her trade listing the above 33’ launch is a McGeedy design and built in 1956. McGeedy’s a new name to me, spelling maybe? Or maybe I’m slow off the mark.
Typical broker listing e.g. no mention of the vessel’s name and no details on the motor.
All that aside a nice boat.
Update: Ken Ricketts has advised the launch is Arcturus built by Supreme Craft, (Mac McGeady) in the late 1940s or early 1950s (refer below) for Mr & Mrs John Warren.
She was originally powered by a 4 cyl Buda diesel which he replaced, by approx. 3>4 years later, by a 6 cyl Ford diesel. The Buda had been installed by Tracey Nelson, as were the majority of the McGeady boats.
She was however built several years before 1956, as John Warren sold the Buda to Ken’s father in 1956, who put it in the Juliana that year, when he sold her, which replaced a 6 cyl Leyland diesel. (edited by Alan H)
Input from Harold Kidd
The name is ARCTURUS. She was partly built by McGeady’s company Supreme Craft in November 1950 for John Warren of Mission Bay who finished her off at home and eventually launched her in late 1952 (Sea Sprays of November 1950 and March 1953). Her lines were in the November 1950 issue. Named amend AH
Following on from the stunning WW post on the McMullen & Wing built 74’ brigantine – Fritha, Chris McMullen has shared with us a gallery of photos from the build.
In Chris’s words – it shows a bunch of mainly young guys building a proper sailing ship. Chris commented how lucky they all were to have had that opportunity. The photos should be credited to M&W ex apprentice Grant Thomas who was the leading hand on Fritha.
The Fritha was built traditionally but certainly not by eye. You may notice the cabin trunks were well underway before the hull was planked. This was possible because M&W had a very experienced team. The workmanship got better every boat they built but the estimate of time was exceeded. (Chris stressed how lucky they were to have an understanding owner who appreciated what he got). Further, it became almost impossible to get good wood. Chris’s business partner Eric Wing was by then running their haul out yard at Westhaven.
Sadly “Fritha” was the last real boat M&W built. M&W was sold and became a ship yard rather than a boatyard.
While most people associate M&W as metal boat builders, Chris said that they did that, as we had to. There is nothing wrong with a wooden boat providing it is built properly of good timber. There was no wood left so it was metal or frozen snot. They chose to build metal boats but employed mainly woodworkers.
Chris would like to pass on thanks to the late owner of “Fritha” Mr JR Butland and the loyal team he had that built some beautiful yachts.
1962 Woody Ski Boat – Coastguard Wanaka Lakes Funding Help
As passionate boaties we are all very aware of the funding needs of the Coastguard, todays story is about a unique woody funding opportunity.
The Wanaka Lakes CG have been given a mint 1962 wooden ski boat, with original Mercury 2-stroke 50hp outboard. It is in very good condition and was supposedly the first ski boat on Lake Wanaka. It’s been stored very well for the last 20+ years and looking at the above photos appears ready to go boating.
I understand the owner has said that he would like GC to be able to sell the boat and have the proceeds as a donation. The family of the current owner had the boat built in Dunedin, but can’t remember the boatbuilder. He also said that there was an article on Whizz Ski Galore in a NZ boating magazine in the 1960’s or 1970’s.
If any woodys are looking for an easy manageable classic woody – contact David Balls on 027 517 6866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I recently received the above b/w photo of the launch Leilani, sent in by Graeme Varcoe. This photo was taken during the period of ownership by Alfred Sibun. Graeme comment that Sibum was so taken with the Leilani that he sold her and built a launch in the same style. This boat was the Centaurus and was one of the last to be built at the Baileys shipyard. The second photo above is of the Centaurus.
Harold Kidd has perviously supplied the following provenance on Leilani – she was built as FLORAE (Latin for “flowers”), but at times her name has appeared as Floray . Harold is of the belief that Lidgard’s built the hull and Major George Bailey finished her at his Wheturangi Road home. Percy Coutts owned her until he died in 1960. He bought Harold’s father’s business and renamed it Coutts Motors and was very successful importing fine cars, now part of the Giltrap empire on the same site in Great North Road.
As LEILANI she had numerous owners after Percy Coutts, including A.G. Sibun of Bleakhouse Road, Ken Archer who was active in Coastguard with her, followed by B.J. Craies, and finally a spell in Coromandel c.1999.
The photo below (ex Ken Ricketts) was taken of Leilani c.2016 looking very sad in Thames, owned at the time by Jason Lockwood – can anyone update us on the current situation / status of the vessel ?
You can read more on her at the WW link below – check out the comments section – good banter around her name 🙂
If you were out and about in the vicinity of Westhaven Marina on Sunday you would have heard an unusual sound coming from the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron – the sound of two Chev Corvette engines pumping out 800+hp warming up. Not an everyday sound for the RNZYS 🙂
The source of the noise was Mike & Tracy Mahoney’s latest additional to their fleet – Josephine, a NZ custom built 28’ Riva speedboat. Two of NZ’s most talented woody craftsman – Mark Robinson and Steve Cranch collaborated over 2 years to build Josephine for Mike. There is so much smart thinking gone into this build – check out the anchor, and Steve tells me it actually works as an anchor – it’s been well ‘road tested’ on Rainbird, Steve’s classic woody yacht. Most items have been designed and manufactured in NZ.
Even thou they have been fitted with mufflers – the very dignified sound of the Corvette V8’s at idle gives you a hint to the 50mph power lurking below. Open up the throttles a little and your ears experience a very retro cool sound – check out the video below to hear them (turn the sound up).