Anyone know where this mullet boat is?

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The Mullet boat Waitomo / Disgraceful

Hello – I wondered if anyone might be able to help, I’m trying to track details on a Mullet boat my brother Neil Thompson, who now lives in Australia, used to own.

The boat was named Waitomo – he tells me she was known as “dizzy” or disgraceful from early 70’s to late 80’s as she was a wreck, laid up on the mudflats of Birkenhead for many years and someone wrote on her side in mud – this boat is disgraceful and the name stuck like the mud!

He is wondering where the boat has got too – all he knows is that it was trucked to the Bay of Islands in 1999 and possibly purchased by a gentleman who belonged to the Opua yacht club.

Sorry it’s not much to go on but I wondered whether this might ring any bells.  My brother is coming across in January and is keen to see the boat again if we can locate it.

I tracked down these pics from the web and I’m not sure of the dates.

Many thanks for your help!  Lisa – contact email below

Lisa.Thompson@radionz.co.nz

Harold Kidd Input

Strictly speaking WAITOMO isn’t/wasn’t a “mullet boat”. She is/was a 16 footer S Class of roughly mullet boat configuration but in miniature.

Her registered number was S40 originally but changed to V244 (as shown in the images) as she was either over 16ft or was lengthened to 18ft.

I think her original name was BUNGAREE and she was built about 1929.

She was called DISGRACEFUL in 1953 when her owner was Charles Lindegreen and Eriksen, followed by Glen Thompson of Westmere.

Alan H UpdateI think some wag has had a little ‘play’ with the photos in the past, the helmsman looks a bit too curvaceous & its not from the normal mullet boat diet of meat pies and Lion Reds 🙂

Robin Elliott Update 23/12/13

I’m not so sure that the is/was Bungaree, although one cannot rule anything out.
Bungaree appears as S-40 in 1929 and is around until around 1933 when she vanishes.

In 1938 S-40 was allocated to Leilani, a square bilge ‘sharpie type’ of English design built by Roy Brummell, and famously photographed in the NZ Herald, in serous cruising mode, decorated with RAF roundels and with crew wearing US Navy gob hats. (HDK – see the S-class file of photographs now in your possession).

To also confuse, a 16-foot mullet boat type, but ROUND bilge, named Leilani and carrying S-4 was wrecked in Okahu Bay in 1898 and her hull towed away to the tip.

Disgraceful appears as S-40, owned by Erikson & Lindgreen in 1951, then B.S.G. Keene of Whangarei in 1957. I also have an unsubstantiated note that she was built in Whangarei just prior to the War, and she is similar to a couple of unknown (to me anyway) mullet boat types in an old Whangarei photo album that I must get back from the WCC..

Around 1960 she re-appears as Waitomo registered as V-244 because the AYMBA had stopped registering boats for the S-class and all boats less than 18-feet were registered as V’s. Loads of confusion anyway because the V-200 numerical series was begun in 1955 to cater for the 18-foot Flying Squardon V’s (V-201 Envy, V-202 Quandary, V-203 Quiz). By the early 1960’s when Waitomo came along the AYMBA was only half-heartedly registering 18-footers and probably didn’t give a toss that Waitomo was nothing like a Flying 18.

During this period her owners were :L.K. Murray 1961?/63+?; D.O.(Stuart) Munro (Hamilton East) 1965?/77+? (still shows as owner in 1978 NZYF); and Shane Kelly (ex Sea Spray editor) some time in the early 1980’s.

I remember seeing her on the hard at Okahu Bay in the mid-late 1980’s. She was VERY deep chested and probably drew the best part of 18 inches, quite tubby like a little Loloma which for a 16-footer was really unusual.She was wrecked in Okahu Bay in 1989 & her hull towed away to the tip.

Photos below ex Pam at Whangateau Traditional Boat yard

The top photo is Fleetwing  S11 on the left and Des Demona on the right (18 ft mullety), they are laid up in the backyard of 96 Vermont Street Ponsonby in 1942 for war times.
Pam would like to know who built Fleetwing and what happened to her? The photo was given to Pam from Des Pittams a previous owner of Des Demona.

Anyone able to put a make to the van towing Des Demona.

44 thoughts on “Anyone know where this mullet boat is?

  1. I remember the Waitomo moored at Stanley Bay 70s early 80s the hull painted a burgundy colour

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  2. If the boat you’re talking about is the one that was at one stage called Waitomo, my Dad (lLincoln Murray) owned her in the late 50’s/early 60’s. He was based in Kohi and I think may have had her at Glendowie. My parents had part of their honeymoon on her! He’s heading into the Mullet Boat exhibition at the Viaduct today, I think with some photos of her.

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  3. Thanks for the response all. It’s great to see so much interest and knowledge. Am talking to Pam privately to see what we can arrange. I have sent her some photos which she may be able to post.

    Hi Marcus – Pam can not post photos on ww, email to me & I do it. Cheers Alan H
    waitematawoodys@gmail.com

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  4. F.C.M. St Paul c1943-6, a Squadron member, gave her dimensions as 16’x15’6″x7’x11″. When Tommy Miller owned her c1947 she was kept in Cox’s Creek.

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  5. That’s actually L’ESTRIS, built by Billy Rogers as racing 16 but later fitted with a raised deck for cruising. Robin will have her full pedigree.

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  6. Hi Marcus (and Pam),
    ‘sail number 1’ would be correct. I don’t know how old she was or who built her but she seems similar in concept the others such as Disgraceful/Waitomo mentioned in posts below.

    I first come across L’Estris (ending with an ‘s’ )when she is registered in 1940 with sail number S-111 and was owned by The Misses L.& H. Murray. Later owners were P. Levy and F.C.M. St Paul around 1943 or 1944. Wartime records were a shambles.

    There is/was a photograph of her in the Auckland Museum with a Marconi rig and no bowsprit, which was unusual – she was perhaps an overseas design or maybe the owners just got sick of bowsprits.

    She seems to have gone over to the Manukau because when she appears in the 1945 Regatta, owned by Bob Oxenham – a Manukau yachtsman, she is re-registered as S-3. Bob advertised her for sale in March 1945 and she vanished until 1947 when she turns up on the Waitemata, registered as S-1.

    Owners:
    T. Miller & Others 1947/50+?; I.M. Ardern 1951?/52+?; C.W. Sheriff 1957+?; Peterson (Petterson?) 1965?/68+?
    AYMBA dimension given were:
    In 1951 – 16′ x 16′ x 7’4″ x 12″, 200 sqft sloop, 400lb inside ballast
    In 1965 ditto dimension but with a Norman 6 engine

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  7. Not sure if this will interest anyone but a friend of mine has just died and I have been asked to find a home for an old S-class 16 footer. She was wrecked in Okahu bay sometime in the 1980s
    She spent many years in a dry shed so there is no rot. The stem is sprung as are the garboards and some damage to ribs but she is pretty much complete. I have been told that the sail number is “1” though I have not verified this. There is a plaque on the coachroof with L’Estrile on it. It has been under a tarp for the last 18 months. It looks to be a good subject for restoration.

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  8. Thanks guys : Robin, Harold, Alan for your encouragement and persevering with the discussion on the S’s ,T’s and 18ftrs. I’m sure you understand I for one am grasping at any available information on them. I can recommend Southern Breeze as a realy good place to start researching.
    I am glad we went there in the discussion as the boat yard has at times had as many as 3 mulletys and an 18ftr here at one time. And Ngamu awaits some attention.
    With no real prompting Whangateau traditional boats (George and I ) have restored a no. of NZ’s old time centre-boarders and the boat yard is as a haven for others and they keep coming. We have a growing number of folk through looking about the yard and the wooden boats so I am becoming ever-more aware of the importance of relaying relevant and accurate information on the craft, if sought. Getting things right can start here I guess.
    Pam
    We have a gentleman looking after Kia-Ora now and welcome him as a friend to the boat yard. I can name names a little later.

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  9. PAM! No venting at you at all!!
    You and the Whangateau TB are the GOOD guys !!!! you ask and listen which is all we need to soothe our battered egos. ;-).

    The “is/is not” mullet boat thing is ancient has been a subject we have dealt with for ages and largely springs from the sad fact that there are now so few old centre boarders around, that anything that doesn’t look like a Noelex 22, a 470 or a 49er (e.g. all the M-class, Ngamu and Escapade etc) must be mullet boats.

    The guides at our wondrous National Maritime Museum have several times had the gall to ‘help’ me by telling me that the Arch Logan built M-class Mawhiti on display there “is a prime example of an early mullet boat – which is what the M stands for…” …….. Light the blue touch paper and stand clear.

    And don’t even get me started on what is or isn’t a ‘patiki’. (Harold develops facial tic, sticks celery in ears and goes la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la)

    Keep in contact. We need you 🙂

    Robin

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  10. Escapade … see my earlier posts re 16-footers and early centreboard classes in general. Also a 2-part article in Boating World Sep/Oct 1995.

    The S-class, which by the mid-late 1930’s had registered over hundred sail numbers since its establishment in 1921, was pretty much destroyed the sudden, huge interest in 18-footers brought about by the trans-tasman rivalry with the Australians in 1938 and 1939.

    Not all these were racing 16’s and the class included a wide variety knockabouts and sturdy cruisers. Escapade was the last and best of the flat-out racing 16’s and pretty much destroyed what was left of this class and from 1945 onwards had to race with the 18-footers, which more often than not, she beat, and was subsequently excluded from 18-footer races at Devonport and Akarana yacht clubs. In 1949 she was sold to the Manukau and was laid up in the early 1950’s until bought down to Okahu Bay in 1963 by, I think, Keith Jones in 1963. She was still original, hollow oregon spars, cotton sails, no buoyancy, no ballast, no boom vangs, no stacking straps, no tiller extensions, no stainless steel. STILL as she was. I sailed on her a few times when I couldn’t get a ride on the M’s or the 18-footers. It was a fantastic experience. The following year she was sold to Dave Nigh.

    So it seems that Dave Nigh does have her (for the 3rd time now – at least) and she is being restored. That is GREAT news.

    And yes all this ‘mullet boat’ rubbish is highly irritating. See Harold’s battle-weary explanation above. We have written about these things in books and articles for the last 20-odd years and still people just don’t get it, or they ………… (paces room , vents ancient steam.. gets more coffee).

    Beautiful 16’s like Escapade were NEVER mullet boats. 🙂

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  11. Neither DESDEMONA nor FLEETWING are mullet boats. FLEETWING was built as a 16ft open boat by Fred Parker at Devonport in October 1908. The 18 footer DESDEMONA was launched on Labour Weekend 1928 and built by Ivor Harry (“Twit”) Larritt at Devonport to a 1926 design by Arnold (“Bill”) Couldrey. They worked together at Bailey & Lowe.
    In 1935 my mother’s cousin Bill Little owned her and my father and mother borrowed her for a weekend. Some 9 months later I was born and christened Harold DESMOND Kidd.
    Thank God I wasn’t a girl! Harold is bad enough.
    The van towing DESDEMONA is most probably a 1934ish Ford V8.

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  12. 🙂 don’t look at me I wasn’t even a twinkle, well maybe a twinkle but had I been I am shore the – ‘real guys ‘ you talk about would have shunned a woman particapating in any form.
    Any how seems a group of us are pretty interested in these out casts – Mini mullets if you want to call them that ,and the S’s and T’s, where they got to and are there any left to salvage.

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  13. I’m scratching my head over how an unballasted, open, clinker-built centreboarder like ESCAPADE can be called a “mullet boat”. The ghost of Trot Willetts and the real guys at Ponsonby Cruising Club would have a fit. The Mullet Boat Restrictions laid down by the Ponsonby Regatta Committee at the beginning of the 20th century recognised only 4 classes of mullet boat, the 20 footers (later the N Class), the 22 footers (L Class), 24 footers (I Class) and the 26 footers (H Class) with a few 28 footers squeezed into the latter early on.
    18 footers, whether unballasted or not, were “not of mullet boat stamp” and not directly derived from the boats that once caught mullet. And as for unballasted 16 footers…..really!

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  14. Another question? Does anyone know of a Haven 12 1/2 for sale?They are similar design to the Hereshoff 12 1/2 but with a centreboard. Thanks

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  15. I rang about the boat you posted photos of, her name is Contessa, she is an L class so is 22′. Currently listed on Trade me. Cheers

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  16. I once plucked out a heap of photos of 14 footers T and 16 footers from The Classic Yacht Trust Wellington as I was trying to figure if our little 14 footer, and another we saw on trade -me were in fact 14footers. I’m a little preoccupied to hunt the details out at the mo. I’ll be back…
    Pam

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  17. A particular favourite of mine, Escapade, S-10, built by Trotter Willietts for Ron Oliver in 1940 is probably still around somewhere.

    She was the last and best of the 16’s and was banned at some yacht clubs because she was embarrassing the V-class 18-footers. Ron told me that the only V-class he never managed to beat was Matara under Jack Logan. In the 1980’s she was converted to a trailer sailer type and was thrashing the Hartley 16’s at the PCC- winter series. I last saw her in the late 1980’s in a shed in Titirangi. she had not been raced for some years but was still in good nick. A beautifully shaped hull.

    I recall that John Hogan bought her when he retired up north and took her with him. He died up here and I have no idea where the boat went.

    The only person I know who may know where she is now is Dave Nigh who used to own her in the late 1970’s and did the conversion to trailer sailer. He knew john Hogan well from their mullet boat days.

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  18. I wonder if you might find some of these still around further south, Wellington?
    They have real appeal don’t they.
    I wonder if we ought to build some new ones and race them…We could make them out of ply, hard chinned, in fact, isn’t that just what Richard Hartley did?
    We have a few in the regatta boat fleet that once looked as Ngamu does now. She’ll be fine! Promise!
    Pam

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  19. Does anyone know of any other 16ft S class still sailing? My brother and I are looking for one. I know Pam and George have Namu up at Whangateau but she is nearly beyond repair. Anyone?

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  20. I have no immediate details on the Dizzy. One assumes she could still be out there. (maybe she was renamed Leilani? now THAT would be too coincidental.)

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  21. I’m not so sure that the is/was Bungaree, although one cannot rule anything out.
    Bungaree appears as S-40 in 1929 and is around until around 1933 when she vanishes.

    In 1938 S-40 was allocated to Leilani, a square bilge ‘sharpie type’ of English design built by Roy Brummell, and famously photographed in the NZ Herald, in serous cruising mode, decorated with RAF roundels and with crew wearing US Navy gob hats. (HDK – see the S-class file of photographs now in your possession).

    To also confuse, a 16-foot mullet boat type, but ROUND bilge, named Leilani and carrying S-4 was wrecked in Okahu Bay in 1989 and her hull towed away to the tip.

    Disgraceful appears as S-40, owned by Erikson & Lindgreen in 1951, then B.S.G. Keene of Whangarei in 1957. I also have an unsubstantiated note that she was built in Whangarei just prior to the War, and she is similar to a couple of unknown (to me anyway) mullet boat types in an old Whangarei photo album that I must get back from the WCC..

    Around 1960 she re-appears as Waitomo registered as V-244 because the AYMBA had stopped registering boats for the S-class and all boats less than 18-feet were registered as V’s. Loads of confusion anyway because the V-200 numerical series was begun in 1955 to cater for the 18-foot Flying Squardon V’s (V-201 Envy, V-202 Quandary, V-203 Quiz). By the early 1960’s when Waitomo came along the AYMBA was only half-heartedly registering 18-footers and probably didn’t give a toss that Waitomo was nothing like a Flying 18.

    During this period her owners were :L.K. Murray 1961?/63+?; D.O.(Stuart) Munro (Hamilton East) 1965?/77+? (still shows as owner in 1978 NZYF); and Shane Kelly (ex Sea Spray editor) some time in the early 1980’s.

    I remember seeing her on the hard at Okahu Bay in the mid-late 1980’s. She was VERY deep chested and probably drew the best part of 18 inches, quite tubby like a little Loloma which for a 16-footer was really unusual.

    Like

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