As has become my norm for Waitangi holiday weekend early on Saturday morning I pointed the car south and made my way to Lake Rotoiti in the middle of NZ’s North Island. 

2023 marked the 26th anniversary of the event and after a horror week of ‘once in a 100 years’ rain storms I had concerns that the parade might be postponed or cancelled. Well woodys as you’ll see from the above photo gallery, my fears were redundant.

The day started overcast with some light drizzle but this passed thru before the parade kicked off at 11am. Numbers were down a little from last year but conditions were perfect on the lake. 

Enjoy the gallery above – if you’re craft is featured above and you want a high res copy of the photo, drop me an email at the address below. Apologise if I missed your boat or if the odd photo is a little out of focus – just me in a run-about jiggling the throttle, looking out for other boats and holding the camera 🙂

My pick of the boat I’d most like tied up at my imaginary lake jetty is – ELLEN (#14), 26’ in length, built in 2004 in strip planked cedar from a plug taken off an old abandoned hull found in Kopu. Thought to be a ‘Milkmaid’ design by Bailey & Lowe. Powered by a 29hp diesel.  In my eyes just perfect. Photo below

Special thanks again to Dave and Glenys Wilson for the loan of a boat to get me out on the lake.

As always – click on photos to enlarge.

Lastly I never tire of the sound of big V8 (5.7L)  water exhausts. Shawn Vennell, the owner of Judy H, was lining me up for a prop shower – a few words of warning as to what my reaction would be, made him change his mind 😉


Mystery Launch At Rangitoto Island


Todays woody mystery launch is a goody – quite distinctive looking but no name. 

The photo is dates is tagged Rangitoto Island, c.1930’s and is from the Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections and comes to us via Nathan Herbert. So woodys can we ID her.

On Saturday I did a down and back in one day trip to Lake Rotoiti (Nth Is.) for the annual Classic and Wooden Boat Parade – forecast was average but the sun made an appearance so managed to take some great photos. Check out WW tomorrow (Tuesday) for 150+ photos. The lake level was so high, just wasn’t Auckland getting a soak last week.

Very Salty Double Ender At The Viaduct

Very Salty Double Ender At The Viaduct

Brett Evans sent in the photo above of what appears to be a recent restoration / refit of a double-ender that is currently berthed in Auckland’s Viaduct. Apologies in advance if she has been on WW before – but with no nane or details, its impossible to search for her. 

Can we learn her past and who has undertaken the recent work

TUESDAY – BUMPER STORY – Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade Report



Todays woody – the 32’ Belfast was built by Jack Guard in 1940 and has spent time in survey, based on her presentation that would have to have been a while ago. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the tme heads up.

The owners are pushing a sale with the suggestion that she be hauled out and re-purposed as a ’tiny home’.

Can we expand on her past life.

Mystery Two Masted Launch

Mystery Two Masted Launch

Recently Brian Peet shared with us a selection of old boating images that came from a family album. The photo above does look vaguely familiar but I can’t recall a name, so if it has appeared on WW before it must be a while ago.

Very unusual looking cabin / dog house + the twin masts make her very distinctive, so hopefully we can ID the vessel and learn more about her.

Weather gods permitting I’m off to Lake Rotoiti (Nth Is.) tomorrow for the annual Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade, always a great day afloat. If you are around the central north island over the long weekend and looking for something to do, check out the parade. The best shore based viewing is from the public picnic area 200 metres south of the Okere Store, starting at 11am. There will be an MC announcing the boats as they pass. More details on the parade here:

Centaurus Under Goes Open Heart Surgery

Centaurus Under Goes Open Heart Surgery

Now we all know what the weather was like in Auckland last Friday (27th), pretty bloody evil – But if you have managed to co-ordinate all the experts needed to remove a massive lump of iron – her original Cummins V6 215hp (photo below) from your boat, you have to push the green button no mater what the weather.

So woody Angus Rogers the owner of the 1967/8 42’, Bailey & Son built bridgedecker – Centaurus pulled out the chainsaw and under the watchful eye of  Tim Strange and his team + the crew from Raven Transport cut out a section of the roof and effortlessly removed the old Cummins engine. Any bolt-on sections / parts that could be removed before hand were. 

Angus has built sister beams and bearers which will get glued to the removed part of the roof and then screwed back onto the beams and bearers and fibreglass taped on top once the new John Deere 175hp (@2400 rpm) engine is installed so as to create a soft closure that will only require cutting the fibreglass and removing screws in future.

Angus has promised to document the re-power, so we look forward to regular updates 🙂

HALCYON –  Peek Down Below

HALCYON –  Peek Down Below

The 34’ John Gladden designed launch – Halcyon, with a 1980 build date fits into the spirit of tradition category. Built from double diagonal kauri (glassed) and powered by a Cummins 6BTA 250hp turbo that give her a top speed of 16 knots.

A quick review of her tme listing (thanks Ian McDonald) reveals a well fitted out family cruiser.

Pirimanu Gets A Makeover 

Pirimanu Gets A Makeover 

The very smart looking Arnold Couldrey designed, Salthouse (1968) built launch – Pirimanu last appeared on WW in May 2022 (link below).

Pirimanu has recently had some serious TLC that included – new hull and topside paint, numerous electrical upgrades + an interior refurbishment.

Powered by a 50hp turbo Bukh engine she has a good turn of speed.



Saturday saw the running of the annual Pahi Regatta. Thanks to Colin Brown, who did a quick ‘drive-by’ we get to see a couple of photos (top 2) from the day.

As I commented to Colin, him sending in the photos was perfect timing as I was planning a Pahi Regatta Flashback. The regatta has been running since 1887.

The 2nd collection of photos comes to us from The Kauri Museum collection via their fb post. My favourite would have to be the 1984 photo of Merv & Darcy Sterlings runabout – Brenda K, what a cool looking craft, love the front windscreen. 

The b/w photos are as below

• 1936 – Esme – skippered by Merv Sterling (possibly the same skipper as in the runabout photo?)

• c.1940 – Koheroa – owned by Archie Newitt

• 1987 – Takaro – owned by Gary & Marek Weber

Classic Launches at Westhaven Marina c.1971


If you are on fb and have a passion for wooden boats, the name Tad Roberts will be familiar to you, Canadian born Tad has over 1,000 designs in his portfolio and is one of the most prolific postings / commentators on fb. Yesterday Tad posted the above photo and commented “who says a hard-chine plywood sailing yacht can’t be pretty. 40’ design by John Spencer, launched in New Zealand 1971”.

Being plywood and 1971 – Odessa isn’t the focus of todays story, what is, is the impressive line up of launches across the fairway from her. Given its an average day for boating, chances are some you might be spending longer on WW today than normal – lets see if we can collectively put names to the boats, L>R, I have tagged each boating a photo below. Relies via the WW comments section.

Got some very ‘robust’ emails as a result of yesterdays story on the cancellation of the Mahurangi Regatta. But the negative ones were out numbered 7 to 1 by positive feedback. I appreciate them all, especially the negatives on, it can’t be easy typing with 6 fingers. 


1. Kalua (prev Miss Betty)

2. Shipbuilders recently at HMB Marina 

3. Okareka / Fergy

4. Romany II

5. Lady Ethel or sister

6. Wakanui

7. White Cloud