KELVIN- Extreme Classic Voyaging
Small motor vessels are not often used for off shore voyages or extensive coastal cruising. One would expect that if a vessel did undertake such journeys it would be of a comparatively modern design and laden with an endless range of modern high tech equipment. But not so for David or Davey Jones as he is known around the coast of New Zealand and Eastern Pacific, and his crew mate Charlotte Townsend. Davey has circumnavigated the North Island thirteen times and he thinks this is the ninth or tenth time around for MV Kelvin.
Well known Port Chalmers boat builder, Steve Carey, who served his time with Millar & Tonnage, built the “Kelvin” for Alex Gunn, at Carey’s Bay. She is 42” x 10”3” with a 5’ draft. Her construction is of single skin Kauri plank on steam bent frames or ribs. With a fuel capacity of 1,000 litres and with additional deck tanks of another 2,000 litres, she has a total range of 3,500 miles. “Kelvin” also carries a small sail area to be used for motor sailing and stability purposes. It is understood that the construction of “Kelvin” took quite some time as Steve led a very social life in the area and Kelvin’s construction was done at a leisurely pace. However she was finally launched and used for fishing out of Port Chalmers.
While under previous ownership and returning to Port Nelson in heavy fog during 1989, “Kelvin” lost her way and grounded on outer side of Nelson’s boulder bank. For various reasons she remained there for several days and sustained severe damage. Her port side was totally ground to pieces. Eventually she was salvaged and written off by the incumbent insurance company.
Tommy Poynton a talented young shipwright/boat builder tendered for her and his bid was successful. Tommy had served his time under Jack Guard, boat builder of Nelson. The aim in bidding for this boat was to go Tuna fishing and Kelvin looked very suitable for the job. He obviously had a love for this type of traditional workboat.
Tommy set “Kelvin” up on the hard and went about rebuilding her. He replaced most of the planks in the starboard side, fitted new floors and bulkheads, as well as engine beds. A new deck was fitted and he built a totally new wheelhouse. At this time Winston Rountree was replacing the engine in “Sanicola” and he had no further use for her old JP4MGR Lister. Tommy purchased this for $50.00 and installed it in Kelvin and it is still going strong. Other second hand gear was obtained and fitted to the boat. Tommy commissioned her and his dream to go tuna fishing had become a reality.
During one of his trips north he called into Tauranga to shelter from bad weather. During one of the nights whilst in port, he lost his footing and fell into the Harbour. It was very late at night and there was no one at hand to assist him. He was found dead on a nearby beach next day. This was a shock to the local fishing industry and particularly to the men of the tuna crews. He is remembered for the drive and energy he displayed to enter the fishing industry in the way he did by rebuilding Kelvin.
One of his closest friends was Davey Jones and he purchased “Kelvin “off Tommy’s estate. He knew she was a very practical boat and as Davey states “She is such an efficient vessel on long trips. At 800RPM doing 6.1 knots she only consumes 3.5 litres of fuel per hour”.
That was many years ago and since those days Davey and Kelvin have done thousands of miles around the coast of New Zealand, Eastern Pacific and the Tasman including parts of the Eastern Australian coast. Late last year Davey and Charlotte visited the Chatham Islands. In January they had planned to visit Tasmania to take part in the Wooden Boat festival but they could not find the right weather pattern so they decided to head north via the West coast.
Kelvin is currently March 2013 in the visitors berth at Karanga Plaza and she is worth a visit. Defiantly not an ordinary boat!
12-12-2015 Update ex Baden Pascoe ex Davey Jones
Kelvin heading south stop over at Hicks Bay
23-12-2015 Update from Michael O’Dwyer
I had a wee chat with Davie Jones of the Kelvin who has stopped in Napier on his umpteenth circumnavigation of NZ while waiting for a weather window to head south.
He was full of facts about the history of his boat. I know it has featured in WW before but here are a few facts that he gave me.
Built 1929 by Steve Carey in Port Chalmers for Alex Gunn a farmer who was told by his doctor to get more sea air to improve his health.
42’4 “in length.Now on it’s fourth engine an 83hp Lister. The original engine, a Kelvin hence name was replaced by a Bolinder oil engine which needed to be started with a blow lamp. Next was a 371 GM, followed by the Lister. Burns 3 litres an hour at 6 knots.
Great character boat with a great character aboard. I signed his well used visitors book.
UPDATE 08-01-2020 – Kelvin and her skipper Davey Jones departing Auckland today on her (best) 19th trip North. Photos below ex Baden Pascoe, who commented that in his eyes DJ is without a doubt one of New Zealand’s greatest ambassadors of classic work boats and their use.
26-03-2020 Update ex Baden Pascoe – Kelvin is still doing laps 🙂