I was contacted recently by Greg McNabb looking for info / photos on his ex pilot boat Mananui. From what Greg knows / has been told – she was built in 1913 by Harvey & Lang. Greg’s grandfather & father bought her (ex Whitianga) in 1973. She is powered by a 120hp D series Ford and has been for the last 50 years or so, although rebuilt.
The ‘old’ photo of her sitting on the grid was taken in Whitianga on the day the family purchased her

From the above photos we can see that Greg has done a wonderful  refit on. These days her home port is Tauranga.
So woodys can we shed any light on her life pre. 1973?

1945 – 32′ Classic Kauri Launch

1945 – 32′ Classic Kauri Launch

Now this launch is for sale & if you had a peek inside you would be very impressed & at the asking price of $78k you might think its a great buy. Well it is a great buy, but I do not think there will be a queue of classic woody buyers lining up – why? because someone has stolen its mojo – the thing that makes a boat special. Her name is Ranui & in another life was called El Alamein, you can read about her here
The Readers Digest version of her history is that she was launched in January 1945, specifically for use on Lake Rotoiti to help convalescing returned servicemen from World War II, many in wheelchairs, ease back into civilian life.

Now I have another life outside of being a wooden boat blogger & that is in the world of consumer & B2B marketing – mostly via the digital channels these days – so I can hear you asking yourself whats the relevance of this to today’s story? Well Ranui is in charter & these days calls Lake Taupo home – So wearing my marketing hat, if I owned a boat with the provenance that Ranui / El Alamein has I would be doing two things:-
1. leveraging every inch / ounce of her life story to make a trip on her something special, hell I’d even by donating $xx dollars from every ticket to the local RSA etc etc.
2. The other thing I would be doing was making her look as classic as possible – that’s her X-factor – the tourist’s would be telling people “I went for a very laid back lake cruise on this amazing 1945 wooden  boat that used to help with the rehabilitation a returning WWII solders etc etc.

So what has someone done? bought a few sheets of plywood & put a top hamper on her. Well it is their boat & they can do what they like (see Cameron P – I’m softening) – I’m sure the attraction of getting a few more paying passengers aboard won them over. But in my eyes they have knocked $25+k off her sale price & halved the visual / emotive appeal of the charter business.
If I was a few years older I’d buy her & borrow Mr Prew’s tungsten tipped chainsaw 😉 & go make a few bob on the Lake. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the heads up on the boat.

Have a look below at the photo of her back in the 1940’s, what she looked like in 2015 & as she appears today on treadme. As they say “different strokes for different blokes” – Its still a good buy for a 32′ motor launch – But not me.









Woodys in the North







Meloa May 2015


Woodys In the North
Another collection of photos ex Dean Wright of classic woodys cruising the the Bay of Islands. Shown is Ranui the NZ built ‘Chris Craft’ at Days Point. Summer Wine off Takou Bay heading North & one of Waipawa – anchored on the south side of Moturoa Island. Meola is also pictured in Frenchmans Bay, Moturua Island but this is back in May 2015.
Can anyone ID the last photo above, she is shown here heading toward Waewatorea in the BOI.

Wash Day on Linda
Woody Robin Elliott snapped the photos below of Linda heading into Opunga Cove over the New Year period. Given the array of laundry flying, it looks like another one of those memorable Brooke family cruises 🙂







I was approached last year by a wooden boat admirer who was looking to purchase a Mason Clipper & with the help of several woodys reviewed several potential candidates.
This gent has impeccable taste so it was always going to be a big ask to find a Mason that ticked all the boxes. During the search he came a cross a 19′, 1968 Marlin Marauder which had the WoW factor. Again with some woody help the boat passed the pre-purchase ‘survey’ & now as a new very happy owner.

Hope is rather special & as I have predicated (talked up) in the past, is a perfect example of the rise in popularity of trailer-able woodys. With the cost of marina space for even a 10.5m berth averaging out at $650 a month, one of these is a no-brainer + the ability to keep it at home or in storage makes maintenance so do-able.

I will feature more on Hope on ww soon 😉


2017 Australian Wooden Boat Festival – Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.


2017 Australian Wooden Boat Festival – Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Today’s post is a photo gallery from last weekends wooden boat extravaganza in Hobart. The photos are from the camera of David Smith & sent in by Simon Smith.

Chatting with CYA Chairman, Peter Mence, on Friday night at the Vos Shed for the launch of the late Peter Peal’s magnificent  book ‘Thoughts On Clinker Lapstrake Dinghy Construction’ – Pete Mence was singing the shows praises having just returned from the Hobart. I must move it up my bucket list 🙂

At the book launch, I heard some positive talk about the future of the Vos Shed from the pollys & their hanger-ons, lets hope they stay true to the cause.

My Girl Restoration Update

My Girl Restoration Update
Work on Jason Prew’s launch ‘My Girl’ is processing along well – but not at the speed indicated by the above photos. Jason remembers to take photos, but he is a bit slack with telling / showing people 🙂 In fairness, he does keep his weblog up to date, you can see & read more on the project at the link below.

Greyhound + Johnny Wray On TV + Bargain Woody 4sale



Greyhound was an ex WWII 40′ high speed launch .Ex Air Force out of Hobsonville. One of four launches built in the late 1930’s >early 1940′, as Waitemata chase boats for the Catalinas. They were W44; W45; W46; and W88 (now in Wigram Museum). Greyhound is thought to be W45.  She is a sister ship to Jaguar, already featured on woodys  (16.8.2014). The above photo are ex John Bullivant & the present owner, Mark Allen (trademe) via Ken Ricketts.
Allen bought the boat in December 2014 in Tutukaka & motored it down the coast to Whangerei and then took it by road to Helensville, where it resides today. It was out of the water for 6 months being re-glassed & repainted.
During the war it had two engines and would do between 30 and 40 knots, plane over the water. These days she is powered by a 120hp Ford diesel(12 knots), that is currently undergoing repair. If you are looking for a project with some history, I understand the vessel is for sale.

Input from John Bullivant“below is a photo of Jaguar I took in the 70s. She is on the ramp at Bucklands Beach Yacht Club having just been hauled out. The Hansens who owned her had an engineering business in Harp of Erin producing grease guns amongst other products ( I still have one of their grease guns). Jaguar definitely had two stroke diesels at the time this photo was taken (used to love the sound of them). She was moored at little Bucklands beach, pretty much straight out from the owners house for years. I lived on The Parade at Bucklands for many years and saw many well known boats come and go up and down the river including Imatra, Jaguar, Golden Lotus (Alan Harnish and later Rick Irvine who put the cabin on her for diving use) Tarapunga, Alert, Carroma, Jane Gifford, Romo, Rainbow and Rainbow ii and hundreds more. Fleetwing Junior (with cabin) was moored almost in front of our place (belonged to a school friends parents at the time)
Coincidentally there was a plywood yacht of around 45ft named Fleetwood moored about 200ft from her as well.
It was a great place to live in the 60s and 70s and 80s as the river was like Queen st most weekends, but as the price of gas went up there seemed to be fewer launches going out regularly. I’ve noticed a big drop off in weekend boating in the last 20 yrs (maybe it’s just me) but I’ve been out sailing on a few perfect days between Browns Bay and Rangi and been all on my own with not a boat in sight. The first time that happened I thought I was missing something – like a Tsunami warning, a very odd feeling to be out there on your own on a perfect day, would not have been like that in the 70s as the whole area would have been populated with boats of all types.”


The Johnny Wray & Ngataki Story –  On TV Tonight (Sat 18th)


Just a quick heads up that Television NZ will be screening tonight (Sat 18th) the latest series of ‘Te Radars Chequered Past’ on TVOne at 8:05pm. In the opening episode Radar retells the story of Johnny Wray & Ngataki’s creation. I’m told its a cracker & not to be missed – but if you do miss it, in this wonder digital world, you will be able to view it later ‘OnDemand’ link below.
Enjoy 🙂

36′ Grand Banks – ‘NO SALT’ – Must Be Sold – Offers over $50,000 will buy her
Check out the trademe link
Owner contactable on 021 025 46184