Lady Ethel


Built in 1963 by Brin Wilson.Designed by Billy Rodgers and is what the owner calls a classic ‘Sounds’ launch.
At 34ft and built of triple diagonal kauri planked.
Powered by a 72 hp Mercedes 4 cylinder diesel engine, she will cruise at a comfortable 7-8 knots.
Currently residing in Motueka and for sale on trademe.

Anyone know how she ended up in the South Island & what of her life in between?

06-11-2015 Chris McMullen Input edited by Alan H

Morrie Palmer of Devonport built the hull and Mr Neil Wilson finished her off. Not Brin Wilson.
Mr Neil Wilson (I believe an ex Joiner) was the owner and manager of the Auckland University Maintenance Department. He wanted no Butt blocks in his new boat and scarfed the planks himself while we built the boat.   She may have been 34 Feet but was not triple diagonal planked. (That was later corrected.)
I started my apprenticeship with Morrie 16th of January 1961 and transferred to M C Carter Ltd  30th of August 1963. I worked for Morrie two years seven months.
When I started he was working in his backyard at Point Chevalier. He was finishing Basl Kelly’s raised deck Stewart 34 Pania. I recall a huge launch hull on his section painted with red lead. I am not sure but it may have become the “Lady Argyle”. I never worked on her.
Soon after, Morrie moved to #15 Clarence St Devonport. (see the Cara Mia site for more )  Cal Crooks joined us. Morrie and Cal had both worked for Colling’s and Bell and were very competent workers. I was only the apprentice boy. It was high productivity and had to be as boatbuilding was a competitive cut throat business. At Devonport at least five major builds took place Cara Mia, Lady Ethel, Venture, Oranoa and the Stewart 34 Phoenician. All that, along with repair and insurance work all done, by three people (average) in just over two and a half years. Sure they were hull only or hull, decks and super structure. Mostly the owners finished the job. “Oranoa” was the exception and largely complete and later launched from Devonport wharf
Morrie had very little machinery. It was measure and cut once boatbuilding, nothing fancy just get the job out.  His call at the end of lunch break was. “This won’t Grace the Harbour”  Lets get on with it.
Morrie owned and cruised with his Family the twenty Six Foot Mullet Boat “Omatere” previously owned by Basil Kelly. It may have been a trade in on the Pania.
Morrie was very keen on Mullet boats and encouraged me to build one. She was the last planked Mullet Boat. The 22 Foot “Tamatea”. I built her while I worked for him. I bet he later regretted his action. I was building the boat after hours in my parents back yard and it must have affected my work.

5 thoughts on “Lady Ethel

  1. I have a photo of me on the Lady Ethel in about 1967. Im not sure how and why I was on there… will try to find out more from my mum!


  2. My wife and I have recently bought Lady Ethel. The inspection revealed that she is carvel planked, not triple diagonal. But she is still a lovely and very roomy launch. She will remain in Motueka.


  3. LADY ETHEL was built (probably) for A.N.Wilson of 19 Herne Bay Road and he still owned her in 1973.


  4. We used to call her Lady Ethyl when she was new -no slur on any grog consumption on board! The mods to the fwd end of the deckhouse are innovative and comfortable no doubt, but not pretty.


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