photo ex Clare Jordan details ex Ken Ricketts
Today’s boat is a wee bit of a mystery. In a previous ww post amongst a large collection of boats anchored in Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island, KR was confident he had identified the launch Sunray, which was a boat that had fascinated him in the era 1946 – 49. KR knew nothing about her owners, builders, or engines & had never seen a photo of her until the ww post.
From his memory she was approx 34/36 feet long, fairly narrow, say 8/9 feet beam. Originally she had a bus top (tram top) with a low profile bow with a lovely dainty little flare, with no portholes, which was unusual at that time. She was also very fast & cut finely through the water.
Circa 1947-48 she reappeared after a little break, with a complete makeover & a totally uniquely styled bridgedeck, which looked at the back end, similar to a large American sedan car, of the early 1930s, with a tiny, (for a boat), rear window & a cabin top that rolled round in the coamings in a flowing curve, similar to a car. It was very distinctive & can be seen fairly clearly ( refer orange arrow) in the photo below of Mansion House Bay.
KR never saw her after about 1950/51.
Anyone able to supply more details on Sunray, this rather unique launch?
Todays photo (above) came from one of the (now quite normal) magic ww moments – out of the blue I received an email from Clare Jordan asking if I was interested in some old launch photos that she had found in her great-grandparents (Jim Turner) photo album, well folks there was a few wee gems in there. When I sent the ones of Florence, the 1910 HN Burgess to her owner Adam Wild, he was a very happy man.
Harold Kidd update – There are no mysteries about SUNRAY.
Ernie Harvey (Baden’s hero) and Dick Lang were in partnership in Beaumont Street, Freemans Bay, as Harvey & Lang from 1911 to 1916 during which they decided to build themselves a fast 32ft x 7ft launch as a demonstration of what they could do, rather like what Walter Bailey and Bill Lowe did every year. She was started in late 1913 and launched in January 1914 as SUNRAY, named after a well-known racehorse of the time, as was ROYAL IRISH, mentioned in WW recently. Both Ernie and Dick were addicted to the geegees.
They fitted her with a 16hp Buffalo engine for which David Reid was the Auckland agent. The Harvey & Lang partnership broke up in 1916 and SUNRAY was sold to Tom Inglis, of Devonport, a shipsmith, and the brother of Norman “Snorky” Inglis who built the passenger launches OLIVENE and OLIVE ROSE. Inglis upgraded her Buffalo and later fitted one of the powerful Stearns engines, for which H.O. Wiles had obtained the agency, in 1925-6. She was very fast and raced in the under-20 knot class with NSYC, VCC and the Anniversary Regatta, and cruised a lot.
Tom kept her like a jewel in a shed in Ngataringa Bay near Colin Wild’s yard. She was always regarded as one of the fastest boats on the harbour. Tom died in 1942. SUNRAY was sold in January 1943 and taken to a new home after a blessing from a local. I know little of her subsequent alterations and history but I imbibed her earlier history from Tom’s sisters who were neighbours of mine in Devonport during my childhood. The Inglis family was close to the Logans and the Misses Inglis had sailed on JESSIE LOGAN with Robert, Jessie and Arch Logan when they were children…..and infected me with awe for the Logans.