details & hauled out photos ex Ken Ricketts, editing & on the water photos ex Alan H
Echo was built in 1935 in Onehunga by Coulthard & is an excellent example of an almost totally unspoiled original 32′ classic tram topper of the early to middle 1930s era.
Her present owner, John Rea, a retired boatbuilder himself, has had Echo for approx. 10 years & keeps her in the Wade River. She is powered by a 4236 Perkins Diesel, which was fitted in the 1970s.
During his stewardship, he has put a lot of time & effort in splining the entire hull, hence the permanent eggshell finish, a job, of which, she is well worthy.
John told Ken he bought her in Totara North, Whangaroa, where the previous owner, Graham Armstrong, had kept her for a good number of years (at least 10 he feels). Armstrong owned or leased a small shop on the foreshore by the boat ramp. Previous to this she belonged to the Ashby’s, a boatbuilding family in the Bay of Island, they upgraded the original dodger, which was lower & ‘squarer’ than the present raised version, which is a very practical modification & in Ken’s view, is still aesthetically balanced & acceptable.
John believes at one stage she was owned by a man of the cloth – a Reverend (name unknown) & that she was possibly on the Kaipara Harbour for a while. This possiblility is backed up by the fact she still has the same marine grade high quality carpet from way back & when vacuuming John is still getting black sand in reasonable quantities out of the carpet, which he thinks is West Coast sand.
A lovely boat, which must have an interesting history, so hopefully there will be some additions to this story from others to fill us in on the original owner & confirm the build date & maybe even ID the ‘Reverend’ 🙂
Harold Kidd Update
This launch was advertised for sale by Serena Armstrong of Totara North in 1999 as being built by Les Coulthard in 1935. I had serious doubts about that at the time because she’s clearly much older than 1935. I cannot imagine Les building such a launch in 1935 as his launches of that period were much more up to date eg LUCINDA.
I can track an ECHO on the Manukau from early 1912, a flushdecker, which Les could have built because he was living at Mairere Road, Onehunga at the time but was only 23. That ECHO was built for Stan Vause who was killed in WW1.