Betty / Achernar / Achinar

ACHINAR

photos & information ex past owners & Harold Kidd

BETTY / ACHERNAR / ACHINAR

Designed by well known yacht designer R.L. (Bob) Stewart and believed to be the only launch that Bob Stewart designed. 31ft in length, she was built by Collings & Bell in September 1939 for Bob Stewart’s father as BETTY. R L Stewart Senior owned her continuously until 1948-50 as BETTY. She was renamed ACHERNAR (not ACHINAR) when he sold her.

When purchased in 1984, the nameplates installed on the boat had the spelling as “Achinar”, and that is how they knew her during their long period of ownership. The current owners since 2008 have changed it (back?) to Achernar. So any mis-spelling of the name would appear to have occurred between the 1950’s and early 1980’s.

1984 saw a major refit and a flying bridge added at the Lane Motor Boat Co. on the Tamaki River and she was cruised extensively around the Hauraki Gulf and further afield for the next 20 years.

In 1993 the BMC diesel was replaced with a 6 cyl. Nissan diesel.

In 2008 Achernar was sold from Auckland to Lake Rotoiti (North Island). Another professional refit was undertaken for the new owners, including removal of the flying bridge. Achernar is now a regular participant in the annual Lake Rotoiti Parade of Classic and Wooden Boats (the photograph taken on the lake is courtesy of their website.)”

Note: There is dockside talk that the vessel may have been linked to US Navy Admiral William ‘Bull’ Halsey during his WWII R&R in Auckland. 

13 thoughts on “Betty / Achernar / Achinar

  1. Pingback: Betty J301 | waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  2. I just adore the aesthetics of the latest coamings. That arrangement of the windows is just so so right. Looks original. The previous ones were a little awkward. Do we know the name of the boatbuilder who did it? Deserves recognition.

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  3. Pingback: ACHINAR > Achernar > Betty | waitematawoodys.com – the classic wooden boat blog

  4. Pingback: Betty (Achernar) | waitematawoodys.com – the classic wooden boat blog

  5. Just to dispose of the Halsey/BETTY myth once and for all; Admiral Halsey came to Auckland twice during WW2. The first time was in the first days of January 1943 when he had a whirlwind tour Auckland/Wellington for 4 days. The second was in the first 4 days of June 1944 when the only R&R he had was laying a wreath at the Auckland Cenotaph. As for a cosy time with BETTY….zilch.

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  6. John, I agree. The Battle of Leyte Gulf was, overall, a brilliant victory for the US Navy…….. but that’s the least of our worries on this site.
    Myth (along with her mate Assumption) spreads her cancerous tentacles through the whole fabric of truth.
    I’ve been scratching my head over this Halsey/BETTY myth ever since I saw the Lake Rotoiti dramatis personae some time ago and thought it pretty full of such fables… but wothehell. How did Admiral Halsey get dragged into this mythology?
    Did he in fact ever set foot in Auckland?
    Now I’ve brought to mind his involvement with the Colin Wild-built MANAWANUI which really did get seconded to the USN for the duration with the consent of Berridge Spencer. See this link, which is substantially correct in every particular.
    http://www.cv6.org/1942/guadalcanal/manawa-nui.htm
    MANAWANUI is a different kettle of fish from dear little BETTY.

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  7. Indeed, Harold. That’s the problem with “Hearsay History”, isn’t it? I wondered about “Achinar” myself, so appealed to the Great God Google which told me that “achinar” is colloquial Spanish for “to frighten or intimidate” and in Argentina and Uruguay also means “to make coarse or common”. “Achernar” is much better, eh?
    Another myth propogated in the original post is that the Battle of Leyte Gulf was “considered the greatest blunder in US naval history”. It is true that Halsey’s main force was decoyed north by Adm. Ozawa’s feint, but he left a powerful and effective covering force under Adm. Kincaid. The Japanese force was attacked with every thing from PT boats to battleships; the US battleships actually performing the classic “Crossing the T” action. The Japanese force was badly mauled, suffered heavy losses, and was driven off. Hardly the greatest blunder in US naval history.

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  8. Excellent Russell. I love it when a plan comes together. If you look carefully you can see the butter pie on the toe rail ;).

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  9. I have been advised that when the boat was purchased in 1984, the nameplates installed on the boat definitely had the spelling as “Achinar”, and that is how the owners knew the boat for the next 20+ years. They still have one of the nameplates. The current owners since 2008 have, rightly or wrongly, changed it (back?) to Achernar. So any mis-spelling of the name would appear to have occurred between the 1950’s and early 1980’s.

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  10. The above history is somewhat back to front and myth-ridden. The launch was built by Collings & Bell in September 1939 for Bob Stewart’s father as BETTY. R L Stewart Senior owned her continuously until 1948-50 as BETTY. She was renamed ACHERNAR (not ACHINAR) when he sold her. She was NOT commandeered by the Navy during WW2 but could, I suppose, have been lent to Halsey personally by Stewart for his R&R on an occasion or two, although I just can’t imagine why Halsey would use BETTY when so many far bigger and far better appointed launches run by the USN in Auckland or by the RNZN or by NAPS were available to him.
    Maybe Bob Stewart Sr took him snapper fishing off the Point Chev reef once?
    It’s a great pity that poor little BETTY, with such a great provenance without those myths, should now be cursed with shonky history and the misspelt name of a star.
    I guess if you repeat myths often enough they become real.

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  11. By way of trivia or God forbid enhancing the provenance – Is this the Admiral Halsey referred to in Paul McCartney’s song “Band on the Run” from the album of the same name?

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