The Lady Margaret (Colin Wild). Chapter one

THE LADY MARGARET STORY by Ken Ricketts
CHAPTER ONE
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.

10 thoughts on “The Lady Margaret (Colin Wild). Chapter one

  1. L.M. did not have the call sign ZMPY when purchased by Peter Loughlin, —

    I was solely instrumental in being able to arrange for it to be reissued to her, (she had had it replaced many years ago, by a letter number one). — Check with Peter if you wish.
    I was able to do this, to as I knew the officer in charge, for Radio Spectrum Management, the govt. dept. responsible issue of all call signs for NZ for all broadcasting of any type, except military, (except they vest in in Coastguard, the authority for the issue of the combination letter number call signs these days, to small craft), but all the all letter call signs must still be issued by RSM in Wellington, & are reserved for govt. vessels & special overseas bound craft & very large, non govt. local craft, in general terms, with these types of special exceptions like L.M..
    I told him of her history & of the original issue of it in 1941 sent him copy of the original British Ship registration document with the amendment & addition to it, as issued by the navy in 1941, written in red pen at the top RH corner, & he has approved the reissue of it to her for life. — KEN R
    (photo below added by AH)

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  2. Further- my gt grandfathers boat Kotanui was a registered ship along with mine Pacific both of which we are immensely proud; but today in 2019 I wonder if things have changed?

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  3. So far as I know launches weren’t registered ships from the mid 1990s when we separated from the Admiralty? What purpose would it serve for anything but snob value?

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  4. Ken, Barbara and David,
    Firstly Ken you are correct. Lady Margaret still had the call sign ZMPY whilst we owned her in the sixties early seventies and is entitled to have that call sign today. She was still a NZ Registered Ship whilst we owned her and it is a shame the registration has been allowed to slip from the register for no other reason than it cost a few dollars to keep her registered. Being a registered ship was a great honour and still is today. It was only a matter of spending a small amount of money to keep her registered.
    Barbara and David. I’m not sure if I ever told you both that we owned LM before dad purchased Athena.
    I understand your frustration in not being able to purchase LM when you saw he in Mangonui.
    I went to the local Police Station in approx 2001 to find out who owned her as I wanted to buy her back (she looked terrible) and I was told it was owned by a local …. dealer but they wouldn’t give me his contact details. Seems everyone had the same problem trying to save her.
    I’m pleased the Loughlin’s have seen fit to take care of her.

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  5. I was on an HDML leaving Whangaparapara in the 50s (skipper Lt Cdr Wilkinson) when we came across an middling outrigger canoe bobbing around at the entrance. It looked absolutely new. We dragged it aboard and it finished up at the Museum. Andrew Sharp, a theorist on accidental drift voyages as the cause of the population of NZ by Polynesians, seized on this as proof of his theory. It’s in his book.
    It turned out later that one of HM frigates had come back from the Islands a few days before with a clutter of matelots’ souvenirs on deck. Off Little Barrier, the Officer of the Watch got alarmed at the look of his ship and ordered all the stuff to be chucked overboard.
    Thus is history made……

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  6. i was wondering if this is the lady Margaret that was owned by Allan Johnson Gynaecologist Auckland stationed off orakie . if so i put a new diesel in her under the wheelhouse floor and all the hot water system, she used to go to great barrier island once a month with Allan as he was the medical officer for the island we used to dock at the old whaling station jetty in whangaporpora Harbour and he used it as his surgery. lady Margaret also transported all the equipment tools, welding bottles etc when they were dismantling the old boilers etc.Lady Margaret has a vivid history on great barrier , on one trip one of his patience had a heart complaint and live a hermit life in a batch on the hill opposite the old jetty and had a little fishing boat and used to go round the bays collecting things, old glass bouys and things, he had in his shed a life ring cork painted red and white with the name SS Enterprise it was worse for wear and had dried sea life on it, we managed to persuade to let us take it back to Auckland for research.we took it to the naval base, they said that they believed it came from the cargo ship the SS Enterprise which sank in a storm off the coast of France, the captain stayed on board until it went down as not to reveal its cargo. he got a ticker tape welcome back home in New York, the research people said they believed it traveled on the gulf stream down the Atlantic round the cape across the pacific followed the gulf stream between the mainland and great barrier were it washed up on the island, the amount of debris he had collected was out of this world. so Lady Margaret has a history in all kinds of ways, cheers, terry.

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  7. I am delighted to say, that I was able to arrange with Mr. Jeff Hicks, the officer in charge of “Radio Spectrum Management” a Govt. Dept. in Wellington, which controls, & must approve, (or have Coastguard on its behalf,, for ordinary mixture of number & letter call signs for pleasure craft), all call signs, of any type, for NZ radio tranmiitters, that require registration. He personally approved “ZMPY” to be resissued to L.M. & to be free of any charges, for the rest of her life, & for this call sign to replace any that may have been previously issued to her by Coastguard. — Needless to say the present owner & yours truly, were delighted about this piece of her history staying with her, for ever more. — KEN RICKETTS

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  8. Thank you for the wonderful posting on the Lady Margaret.

    What an impressive performance, 17.9 knots!

    Those 1920s engines must have had real horses. The 6 Cylinders were each 5⅛”-6½”. I hope she has finally found a good home.

    Regarding the name, interestingly some of the early newspapers before her launching referred to the boat as Lady M. II or Lady Margaret II. However, none of the newspaper reports after the time of launching seem to say anything other than Lady Margaret.

    I have a question regarding the signal letters ZMPY that were assigned to Lady Margaret as of 1941. In Australia, in about 1934, all the signal letters were changed for some reason. So existing vessels assigned signal letters prior to 1934 had new signal letters after 1934. For example, a tug called Champion dating from 1895 changed from {WNVT} which was used up to 1934 to {VJJM} after 1934. I am wondering whether the same might have happened in NZ in 1941.

    Regards
    Mori

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  9. From Barbara & David Cooke – MV Trinidad

    Nine years ago we were tucked up in Mongonui waiting for a weather window in order for Trinidad to take us down the West coast into the Sounds. With time on our hands we filled in the days rowing around the harbour looking at some of the moored craft. Lady Margaret was one of them. She had an air of elegance about her and stood out from the rest but obviously hadn’t been maintained or used in a very long time. It was quite depressing to see such a lovely vessel going to waste. Several thoughts ran through our minds….perhaps she was from a deceased estate, family feud/wrangle, owner in poor health or the like. We had thoughts that maybe our son in law could have purchased her and restored her back to her original status. We made inquiries at the local yacht club and the general story was that the owner was very much alive and well and had received many offers for the boat but flatly refused to accept or negotiate on any price. Nonetheless we did a bit of homework but again the answer was negative. It’s wonderful to see that she’s finally been rescued and by the look of things just in the nick of time. Hopefully one day she’ll be transformed back to her former glory and have a well deserved future with a discerning and appreciative owner.
    I know I somewhere have a shot of her sitting morosely on her mooring but as yet need to do a bit of delving in the back cupboards.

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