Royal Saxon


photos & story ex Harold Kidd

ROYAL SAXON was built by Colin Wild for Whangarei surveyor Harold Frederick Saxon Charlesworth and launched in October 1930.

She was 33ft loa, 9ft 6in beam and drew just under 4ft. Her original engine was a 35hp Kermath.

In late 1936 Charlesworth sold her to Mrs. G Kendall of Hamilton who kept her on the Waitemata. The Sanders brothers bought both ROYAL SAXON and MOVARIE in 1940. They kept MOVARIE until they bought LADY CROSSLEY in 1956 but sold ROYAL SAXON in 1943 to Gordon Hunter. ROYAL SAXON was a patrol vessel with NAPS from around 1942-1943, under skipper J G Brook as Z21.

Gordon Hunter sold her to R & J F Phillips-Turner in 1945, they sold her to W G Gottwaltz of Thames in 1947; he sold her to J G Browne of Katikati in 1948; he sold her and she was owned in 1973 by Dr. W R Trotter of Epsom. She was owned in Motueka  when I saw her and photographed her about 11 years ago nosing her way into the Sandfly (Falls) River on the Tasman Bay coast, still in lovely condition.

The photo of her on the slip at Whakatakataka Bay is probably during the latter stages of the war when she had reverted to civilian control. She’s wearing her wartime reporting number on her bows without which she could have been sunk by the batteries on North Head.

Update from Rick McCay (current owner of Luana)

We owned Royal Saxon from 1989 to 1994. She was a superb first classic launch for us. We bought her from Don Watson who lived on Waiheke Island and to his credit she was in perfect condition. We restored the bridge varnish as she was all white when we got her. In 1994 we sold her as we had fallen under the spell of Luana, and as we all know while owning one old boat is a catastrophe, two is an absolute disaster. We sold her to a lovely man Captain Tom Rowling [brother of PM Bill Rowling] who was skipper of the Golden Bay cement ship. We had a great afternoon on board his ship one time it was in Auckland. He trucked Royal Saxon to Mana and motored her across Cook Strait to her future home, Motueka. Dr Trotter was a keen amateur cabinet maker and Saxon had a lovely interior courtesy of his expertise.


Now a woody who shall remain nameless passed this story onto me 🙂
“When Doc Trotter owned “Royal Saxon”, he had an elegant daughter who was draped on the bikini deck  –the part between the houses on a bridgedecker –quite sheltered for sunbathing.. Anyway, I did my hair and rowed slowly past and tried to chat her up. She didn’t want any of it! Shame-  she could have had me too if she had tried.
 Life is paved with rebuffs from Dio and St Cuths chicks…..”
17-02-2016 photo of Royal Saxon at Kaiteriteri ex John Burland
Royal Saxon @ Kaiteriteri

14 thoughts on “Royal Saxon

  1. Pingback: Royal Saxon – 1989>1994 | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. My wife Annette Morrison daughter of Bill Morrison spent years of her childhood on the Royal Saxon and she remembers the boat being moored on the Waihou River at Hikuatia and many family trips out from Whangamata during the summer months. As far as she can remember Bill owned the boat late 1950 thru until around 1962.Bill passed away in 1968.Annette would be only too happy to seek out some photos she knows she has in her possession.


  3. Pingback: Royal Saxton & Varlene + A trip to Abel Tasman National Park | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  4. Pingback: Royal Saxon – Revisited | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  5. The Captain Tom Rowling mentioned is likely the Tom Rowling who still lives in the Motueka area. I came across this post doing some family history and saw a slight mixup where PM Bill Rowling was mentioned as Tom’s brother. Tom is a second cousin once removed to PM Bill Rowling.


  6. Pingback: Royal Saxon | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  7. The colour pic at the top is one I took relatively recently. She hasn’t changed much at all.


  8. My Great Uncle Billy (William) Morrison must have owned the Royal Saxon in the 1950’s until it was purchased from him by Dr Trotter ( my mother confirms this) perhaps in the seventies. My father Keith Morrison had many fishing trips on the Royal Saxon and my mother a couple! Have sent Waitemata Woodys two photos of the Royal Saxon when he owned it – hopefully he will post on here. It is fascinating to the follow the history of the boat! We would love to see a photo of it now!


  9. ROYAL SAXON is still in Motueka, or was recently. I spotted her on the Sandfly River in 2002. I think she’s still owned by Capt.Tom Rowlings, Bill Rowlings’ brother.


  10. Jan Eyles is trying to find out what has happened to Royal Saxton, which was owned by her great uncle in the 1950s.
    I have sent her the link to the above ww post but any new info would be appreciated.

    Cheers Alan H


  11. I think that pic of her is on the grids by the dinghy lockers on the outboard side of Tamaki Drive. Used to have that small breastwork to seaward so you stood a chance of getting into the dinghy from the slippery slip.


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