Ankle Deep Too

Ankle Deep Too

photos & story ex Chris Leech

Todays post is a quiz for the armchair historians out there. Now the above speed boat (hydroplane) is not a waitematawoody, built in fact in the USA in 1915 & competed in the 1915 Gold Cup Trophy for Count Casimir Mankowski, pictured above sitting on the bow. One week before the race she was holed & sank, recovered, repaired & raced. The 3 race series was one by the legend ‘Miss Detroit I’ who took out all 3 races.

Ankle Deep Too does have a connection to one of NZ’s outstanding designers who had a hand in building her.

Anyone willing to take a guess the designers name? Bert Woollacott

click photo to read the New York Times storey

Update from Jo & Rob Woollacott 08/06/2014

Coincidentally, I was cleaning our our shed today and found the original framed photo of this boat. Rob (Bert’s grandson) and I were chatting about it over lunch so I googled the boat name and came to this site. Rob had the designs stored at the museum for safe keeping.

12 thoughts on “Ankle Deep Too

  1. Coincidentally, I was cleaning our our shed today and found the original framed photo of this boat. Rob (Bert’s grandson) and I were chatting about it over lunch so I googled the boat name and came to this site. Rob had the designs stored at the museum for safe keeping.

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  2. All the Woollacott drawings that have been located have now been archived at the National Maritime Museum.

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  3. Mustn’t rely on museums to do it. Too busy dunning it. BUT there were some fabulous pictures of some veteran fizzboats in Bert’s album. To make them go faster, put another engine in. One had so many engines that she had to be launched on the trot and would sink when she slowed down. They were reputedly Vauxhall engines….

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  4. Fascinating! But I wholly agree that Bert Woollacott’s story needs to be told, and his designs preserved. Too many of the designs of our designers and builders have simply been allowed to disappear; Logan(s), Cox, Burns, Thomas etc etc. I would have thought it was an essential function of our maritime museums to track down, obtain and preserve the designs for posterity. It’s all very well to record the myths and legends (and the odd fact) about these men, but the reason they’re of interest in the first place is because of the boats they designed and built.

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  5. PS Bert arrived in New York on 20/11/1912 and returned to the UK in 1915, arriving in Glasgow on 1st June 1915, so he may indeed have been around during the construction of ANKLE DEEP TOO.

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  6. PS Both ANKLE DEEP and ANKLE DEEP TOO were designed by Tams, Lemoine & Crane and built by Staten Island Shipbuilding Co. I’m really unsure of what part Bert Woollacott played in the construction/maintenance of either boat, but I can’t imagine it would have been major.

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  7. I know that Bert worked on Mankowski’s ANKLE DEEP but wonder if he did actually work on ANKLE DEEP TOO too? The first ANKLE DEEP was a multistep hydroplane to Fauber’s patents while AD2 appears to be a single-step hydroplane which eventually proved to be more efficient. It’s all a question of when Bert returned to England after WW1 broke out to work at Saunders (later Saunders-Roe), alongside Uffa Fox!. It’s interesting that S.E. Saunders was the pioneer of the single-step hydroplane although he won the Harmsworth Trophy in 1912 with MAPLE LEAF IV, a modified Fauber with 5 steps.
    I have a pic of AD (1) I’ll post tonight. Quite a different (Fauber-type) hull.

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  8. Bert Woollacott, of course. That is why John called his boat such an apparently strange name. Nothing to do with the level of the bilge. He very kindly let me see Bert’s old photograph albums. Lots of pics of gorgeous old racers (boats not women). Bert had a lot to do with designing/developing/building floats for float planes at the IOW and it was a natural progression to use his knowledge on Mankowski’s racers.
    Seriously, this story has to come out- Bert’s life story has got to be told. There was so much more than his lovely short end cutters and his nostalgia and desire to return to the land of his birth.

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