THE LADY MARGARET STORY by Ken Ricketts
Such is the concept of this most beautiful, but sad story, & such a wonderful example of Colin Wild’s work, that I am devoting a whole email to it.
Perhaps it could almost be likened to a “Shakespearian work on the water” with much beauty & much sadness.
I have put considerable work time & effort in to researching & developing this project, since December of last year, with Harold’s input & mutual support to each other, with developing & sharing our knowledge & making discoveries along the way.
My Daughter Karina lives right next door to where LM is being presently given some TLC, but sadly not the full restoration, she so richly deserves, so am able to keep up with the state of play, on a regular basis, at the moment.
As you will see by the attachments, she was commissioned by a Mr H O Wiles to C W in 1927, & was launched in 1929, powered by a Stearns 160hp petrol engine, which in the pre build plans, shows it in the cabin in front of the bridgedeck, with just the gearbox under the bridgedeck floor, — never seen this before, & in my view, was too far forward to be at the point of balance. However as you will see in the pic of her circa 1936 she was very quick for her day, achieving 17 knots when new & sat well in the water, at speed.
She was owned & used very regularly by Wiles, for many years, until the late 30s & was a boat where everybody who was anybody was likely to be seen. — He was a very social person. In so saying however, he used her for fairly extensive cruising off shore, out to Poor Knights, up to the Far North etc.
I first came in contact with her, when I saw her cruising in Auckland, in the later 40s & she was always well kept at that stage.
My first vivid memory of her, was when on a visit to Mangonui, about 20 years ago, I saw her anchored or moored directly off the main wharf, & looking an absolute a picture, with gleaming white hull, light blue boot top, red painted insert areas, in forward portholes, with gold edging to rims thereof, the name in gold leaf arched across the tuck, scallop bottomed light cream blinds in the bridgedeck & dodger, obviously replaced along the way, but you will see in the early photos, this was trademark of hers since new, they are there in the pic of her in the Warkworth River in 1929. She had light blue & cream decks, in areas that were not teak, & all in all, truly loved & beautiful,
My daughter I spoke of earlier, lives at Kaingaroa, (between Mangonui & Awanui,) & with my son in law & children, has done for the last 20 odd years, & we visit fairly regularly.
During this 20 years, I realised the boat was living there & not just visiting & I must have seen her first time within a very short time of her arrival. Once there however I also realised she was never moving off the moorings ever, I have slowly watch deteriorate, decay, & in the end really start to prepare to die, I thought, as I believed she was slowly getting to the stage, when she would not be retrievable. However, perhaps just about at the last minute, my daughters next door neighbour persuaded the most recent owner to give him a half share of her, in return for bringing her back to some sort of recovery, but although he is a professional boatbuilder, as he is in his 80s & has limited funds, the work he appears to be doing, is still limited. His half share was gifted to him in return for the work required to get her back to some sort of respectability. The original owner & partner in the present partnership is a property developer who lives in Auckland, who bought her several years ago now, off the person who originally took her up to Mangonui from Auck. who lives above Mill Bay, where she has been moored, & he was the person who started her decline by never going near her. — she went for about 10 years I am told without even having the bottom cleaned. When the original owner bought her it was his intention, he tells me, to give her prompt TLC & bring her back to original, however, as a result of unexpected business circumstances, he did not have the funds to spare, to make this possible, hence she has continued her downward slide to oblivion, until Dec 2012, when she was put on a trailer at Awanui, & my daughter Karina who has the same huge interest in classic boats as me, actually watched the whole slipping & arrival procedure to where she is now resting, & took the recent photos of her. —
I actually have many more showing much detail of her present progress.
She is now powered by a 150hp Lees Turbo Ford, which somewhere along the way, has been moved under the bridgedeck floor, & am told she still achieved around 15 knots on the journey from Mangonui to Awanui for slipping.
If you compare the early pics, you will see the dodger was added later, & having now been aboard her, I discovered the cockpit floor was also lowered, as originally she did not have a well in the cockpit, it was at deck level, also she has had a new top to the bridgedeck to match the dodger with side doors, — the original had doors opening on to the foredeck from the middle of the front thereof, & was straight up & down whereas the present one has the front screens sloping back, as with the dodger.
Am to a degree looking forward to seeing how they will present her when she goes back in the water, however, still with some serious misgivings, as I believe she deserves the best of everything, to be done to her & I don’t think that can happen in the present undertaking, however she is definitely going to be sold, as soon as finished, & it is their plan to bring her to Westhaven for the sale process, so perhaps some suitable person may acquire her & complete faithfully & well, what they are at present starting.
She is of course a sister ship to TASMAN, although a little longer & a little different below the water line in design & built just before TASMAN as I recall.– She semi hard chine, perhaps similar to the LINDA with 2 skins below the waterline, single skin above the waterline, something I had not seen often.
One can see just with a walk through, she is a boat of huge character beauty & charm & was done in every way to the very highest of standards when CW built her, & no expense was spared for the perfection he created
I also believe she is the real LM (I) & Clarks boat & another built around the 50s or 60s which, has had a name change to LM should be LM II & LM III.
As this LM, as you can see by the registration as a British Ship, was obviously the first officially recognised vessel with this name in NZ, so all others must follow as I suggest above.
A further thing you will note on the appendage to the Registration Cert. in red ink on the Certificate, is that on 10.6.1941 the navy allocated her the call sign of “ZMPY,” during her naval service in WWII.
I forwarded a copy of this cert., to Radio Spectrum Management who are a government agency, & control all call signs for NZ & am delighted to say she has now been given ZMPY, for the rest of her life, & the owners are delighted.
There endeth the epistle.
Long may she live, & long may she be loved, & a boat of much beauty, for us all to admire.