Valdora – E Class – E19 – Sailing Sunday

Valdora – E Class – E19

photo ex Roger Guthrie ex Sue Robertson

Roger spoted this photo while visiting Sue & Iain Robertson. The owner of E19 at the time the photo was taken was Eric Paton, father of Sue. Like most of the yachties from the older days Eric was a bit of an adventurer – he took flying lessons from the Walsh Bros.

Anyone able to shed some light on E19 & what happening to her.

ps -sorry about the photo it was taken of a framed print (thru glass)

Update from Robin Elliott

That’s the much-travelled Valdora, owned by Eric Paton 1922 through to 1924.

Built by Charlie Gouk in 1904 as a centre boarder, probably a Rudder design, for Charles Palmer. She often raced in the open centreboard ‘patiki-type’ divisions because she was excluded  from racing against keelers and could not conform to the new mullet boat restrictions that were being formulated around the same time.

She took E-19 when the new numbering system was introduced in 1921. Billy Rogers bought her in 1925 and a season later, sold her to the Manukau.  

She returned from the Manukau in 1930, purchased by R. Curry who had Joe Slattery convert her to a keel yacht – a very big deadwood. Her E-19 sail number had been re-issued and she took number E-29 (in those days a boat lost its sail number if it left the Waitemata – tedious long story, too long for sunday) .

She went through a number of owners, probably more than I have recorded and disappears after 1950. Probably just cruising, but may have surfaced in Wellington in the 1960’s. There was a Valdora registered with Port Nick in 1964, and later with Mana Cruising club in 1973. Possible but seems unlikely though.

Offered for sale in Traditional boat Magazine in May 1989 in Auckland.
She was still sailing and I saw her in 1991 on the hard at Okahu Bay having repaint. During the 1990’s she was a regular on the Okahu Bay slipway. She does not appear to have ever been registered with NZYF/YNZ.

I last saw her 5/1/2009, Tied up alongside Fullers workshop at Opua in a fairly messy, un-loved state and later on a mooring across the other side. She wasn’t there last time I went in to Opua.

Photos below from Jason Prew (c.2003)

20 thoughts on “Valdora – E Class – E19 – Sailing Sunday

  1. I owned the Valdora for about 2 years in the mid 1980,s ( or there abouts) and had her moored at Bucklands beach, with friends help we made her sea worthy, free of rot and gave her a fresh coat of paint , she was sailed in the Auckland Anniversery Day regatta the following year by Colin Furse (i was the crew member) and then a neighbour and a friend Dale Frankham knew a guy who loved vintage boats, he took Valdora for a sail one very brisk and windy day, fell in love with her and brought her off me, im unaware as to what happened to this lovely old boat after that……………….

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  2. Some fascinating information on Valdora, thanks. I bought her in 2006 and sailed her up to the Bay of Islands. She is currently on a mooring in Opua and is coming home for some work in the next month (or so).

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  3. Oh I think I know what that leer is about. She wants you to show some mercy and take her and tidy her up. I wouldn’t just give her to anyone – it’s your Duty HDK. ( where a little preoccupied here as you know)
    And doesn’t that black tared twine give the poor girl a battle ship look about her. Oh well we live and learn….

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  4. I usually try to hide the fact that I was named after DESDEMONA.
    I saw her yesterday at Whangateau.
    She gave me her usual leer and wink.
    At least it was transmuted to Desmond.

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  5. My mother was named valdora after this boat and boy was she proud of this fact.
    W T Matthews of northcote owned her for a while. Photos on our walls. Terry.

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  6. Used to be normal and traditional to say you’d “built a boat” when you’d actually had one built. The term lasted longer in the lower (Northern) half of the globe than it did here, I’d guess because of the Kiwi habit of actually building our own boats, thus needing to differentiate between “built” and “built for”.

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  7. Working on it. The only problem is sourcing the tubes, mainly 6V6’s and EL84’s.
    Need lots. Would you sacrifice your Williamson amp for me? Maria Muldaur sounds just as good in digital.
    Of course Billy Rogers owned VALDORA between Tom Knight and the Curry boys. Interesting that Whisk Martinengo swore she was built by Clare & Collings while Vic Buchanan maintained it was George Tyler, although I would have thought George was rather too occupied preparing for the All Blacks 1905 tour to England in November 1904. However, at the time he WAS living and boat building in Cook Street near Palmer’s importing business premises and later moved to Emmett Street in Herne Bay very close to Palmer’s house in Sarsfield St. So George is a distinct possibility.

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  8. Exactly. While the prominent builder may have had a permanent ‘yard’ and even staff, many others just moved from job to job, hired by one of the bigger firms or just built to order in someone’s beachfront shed.

    Hey what about Billy’s uncle ‘Jick’ Rogers as the possible builder? Worth a shout? Maybe Valdora would have been too big for his shed at Curran St Beach?. He was in the burgeoning patiki and 16-footer scene around Home Bay Sailing Club at that time.

    Ah Well. Have you got that time machine built yet? 🙂

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  9. The terms “built by ABC” or ” ABC built” often meant that ABC “had the boat built”. The owner’s mana overpowered the builder’s. In the early days of motor launch construction the engine supplier often got the limelight because the engine was then such a wondrous device and, usually, well more than 50% of the build cost. In this way, for example, when the little double-ender LIZZIE was built for Donald Sutherland of Milford Sound in 1902, all the publicity centred around the suppliers of her Union engine, W.A. Ryan & Co of Auckland, and not the builder of her hull. It took a bit of digging to find that the builder was Chas. Bailey Jr, although I must say she looked terribly Logan Bros. in her photographs.
    Chas. Palmer was VERY self-important as Robin has shown. He’s got more Palmer stories too.

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  10. Just did another targeted trawl through PP.

    The Star 2/9/1922 says: “Valdora was originally owned by Mr Chas Palmer by whom she was built 17 years ago. ”

    But as Harold says, it is difficult to believe he actually sawed the timber, steam bent the ribs, hammered the nails, cast the lead etc etc, given what we know of Chas Palmer. He was businessman, not a tradesman. I think it’s possible that he was, if you like, the project manager, and that the boat was built under his strict supervision, at premises under his control – possibly his own back-yard – by his competent contracted journeyman builder (A Charlie Gouk type perhaps?). He could certainly claim to have ‘built’ the boat, but not necessarily constructed it.

    Hazel Rogers, Billy Rogers’ wife recalled that when Billy was with Joe Slattery, ‘Commander’ Palmer, as he insisted on being called, would drive down to the yard every day, regardless of the weather, dressed in hat, 3-piece dark suit, fob chain and tie (and silver banded walking stick), and ask for a ladder so get up into the hull and poke and prod every new piece of work done on his boat. If he didn’t like it, he had it ‘unbuilt’ and corrected to his satisfaction. Instructions were issued as to what was going in next, and off he went returning the next day to see all had been carried out.

    She also said that one day when Palmer hung up his walking stick on the ladder rung and went aboard, Billy took the rubber ‘shoe’ off the bottom and sawed about half an inch off and replaced the shoe. Nothing too obvious but enough to make it feel ‘different’. The apprentices all fell about in fits of stifled giggles as Palmer walked off to his car, stopping every few steps, quite puzzled, shaking his stick and banging it on the ground as if it was misbehaving.

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  11. I realy like the original featured photo, she’s so well proportioned.
    I’m not so sure it is her but George is pretty certain she is in Port Fitroy and has been there for a good few years.
    Her mast was out when we were there at labour weekend.
    Unfortunatly the computor that holds the photos of her hangs in the balance so we shall only be going into it now to rescue them all not the odd one.
    Pam

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  12. Like his SEA MEW (1897), DART (1898), WAI-ITI (1901) and AVOCA (1908), all US-based designs, Palmer and the newspapers credited VALDORA’s build to Chas. Palmer himself, but I just don’t believe that.
    Palmer was such a powerful figure at the time that the newspapers probably reported the build as Palmer wanted it reported. I’m sure AVOCA was built by Collings & Bell for a number of reasons. Palmer’s launches, a long series of ADELAIDES, were Collings & Bell boats.

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  13. Re those photos from Jase.

    That’s pretty much how she was up in Opua in at Fullers in 2009 except with a load of ropes and detritus dumped on the foredeck.

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  14. Errrr…… my source was someone named HDK. ……. Who He?

    Actually my original note had ” C. Gouk ? ” so I must assume that there was nothing definite but a series of pointers at the time that led us to consider Gouk. Then again is that David Gouk or Charles?

    Just had a plough through Papers Past looking for Valdora and Gouk. Loads of references but nothing there to nail the two together.

    Slightly off topic – for what it’s worth. Chas Palmer’s earlier boat Wai-iti of 1902 was recorded as being a Rudder Skipjack design. Maybe he just liked US designs.

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  15. Most interesting. Robin must have found a reference that I haven’t about VALDORA, namely that she was built by Charlie Gouk, which is totally credible. Gouk has always been under-rated as a builder.
    Until now, her builder has been variously attributed anecdotally to George Tyler, Clare and Collings, even Logan Bros.
    Can Robin let us know the source of the Gouk build?
    The Herald and Star make no bones about the fact that she was an American design, a spoon-bowed keel yacht in appearance but with a centreboard. As a result she didn’t really fit in any of the categories then current on the Waitemata, NOT a mullet boat, whose design was rigorously enforced by the Ponsonby Regatta Club, not a keel yacht, so she was lumped in with the homegrown patikis which had started life from quite different origin(s)………but Robin and I could bore you to death with that too!

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  16. Thank you that is very interesting. He actually learned to fly with the Walsh brothers at Mission Bay(oops – corrected.AH). I have also been trying to track down our old wooded launch we owned and had at Lake Rotoiti in the 1950 ‘s Her name was The Susan. Does anyone know anything about her. I think she was a kauri launch. Sue Robertson

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  17. That’s the much-travelled Valdora, owned by Eric Paton 1922 through to 1924.

    Built by Charlie Gouk in 1904 as a centre boarder, probably a Rudder design, for Charles Palmer. She often raced in the open centreboard ‘patiki-type’ divisions because she was excluded from racing against keelers and could not conform to the new mullet boat restrictions that were being formulated around the same time.

    She took E-19 when the new numbering system was introduced in 1921. Billy Rogers bought her in 1925 and a season later, sold her to the Manukau.

    She returned from the Manukau in 1930, purchased by R. Curry who had Joe Slattery convert her to a keel yacht – a very big deadwood. Her E-19 sail number had been re-issued and she took number E-29 (in those days a boat lost its sail number if it left the Waitemata – tedious long story, too long for sunday) .

    She went through a number of owners, probably more than I have recorded and disappears after 1950. Probably just cruising, but may have surfaced in Wellington in the 1960’s. There was a Valdora registered with Port Nick in 1964, and later with Mana Cruising club in 1973. Possible but seems unlikely though.

    Offered for sale in Traditional boat Magazine in May 1989 in Auckland.
    She was still sailing and I saw her in 1991 on the hard at Okahu Bay having repaint. During the 1990’s she was a regular on the Okahu Bay slipway. She does not appear to have ever been registered with NZYF/YNZ.

    I last saw her 5/1/2009, Tied up alongside Fullers workshop at Opua in a fairly messy, un-loved state and later on a mooring across the other side. She wasn’t there last time I went in to Opua.

    Like

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