Mystery Launch – With Clues

Mystery Launch – With Clues

photos & details ex Harold Kidd

Todays post is a goodie – lots of photos & some insights that might prove helpful in ID’ing her. Remember – click photos to enlarge.
We have a series of photographs of a neat little sedan from framing up to launching.
Harold doesn’t know what she is and is looking for input from ww followers.
Clues are
1. The images come from Charles Beresford Madden (1898-1974) who was an Auckland yacht and launch broker in the 1920s and 1930s and it may have been his own boat.
2. The backs of the pics yield only one clue, “Nov 1935”, on one of the launching pics.
3. The builder was not on the Waitemata waterfront, therefore a crane launch from what seems to be King’s Wharf.
4.The builder’s shed has room for two boats on the go at least, so it was a professional operation away from the Waitemata in 1935.
So what was the launch and who was her builder?
Possibilities as to builder are Sam Ford? Les Coulthard? Fred Mann?

You have to smile at the transport, people fret these days about their boat going onto a purpose built transporter, back then it was a little ‘she’ll be right’.

I’ll put up a ww t-shirt to the first woody that gets it right (in HDK’s eyes). The budget at ww is tight, its the same t-shirt I offered up earlier in the week, no one got it 100% right + the potential winner (closest), Lindsay Brebner our Cook Islands follower, suggested we offer the prize up again – good man 🙂

Update from Harold Kidd 12/01/2015

Well, that’s all terribly interesting. The fact that there were two distinct but highly similar boats in seemingly identical circumstances was a great trap. In fact I hadn’t spotted that one was without its prop. Well done! However, the images all came together and I think the two launches are basically the same design and from the same builder.
I thought that the chap in the felt hat in the truck pics was very like Sam Ford who would have been only 40 in 1935. I’ve been out of town all weekend so didn’t make the trip to Arthur Street to check out the geography. I hope Nathan has done or will do that.
Late 1935 was just before Sam started promoting and building his “standardised cruisers” like MEANDER, MENAI etc.
I get the feeling that Madden may have played some part in promoting Sam’s work.

25 thoughts on “Mystery Launch – With Clues

  1. Ken R, now that you know the difference between
    coamings” and “combing ” how about drop the “baton” and pick up the “batten” Rubbing strake would be even better. combing is a technique used when applying artificial wood graining to a surface, I was taught how to do it by Willy Oliver.

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  2. The “similar” Sam Ford Boat, is one of several he built in the 1940s, that were a hard chine or semi hard chine, which he promoted as his latest, at that time, self assessed, I would think, “non- pounding design.” c28 feet long. — KEN R

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  3. HMM can’t see the wheels well enough, so it could be a Morris Minor/Wolseley Hornet or even a Triumph Super Seven rather than an Austin 7 but, from the squareness of the back of the car, I’m now inclined to favour a Morris Minor. c.1930.

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  4. Well, that’s all terribly interesting. The fact that there were two distinct but highly similar boats in seemingly identical circumstances was a great trap. In fact I hadn’t spotted that one was without its prop. Well done! However, the images all came together and I think the two launches are basically the same design and from the same builder.
    I thought that the chap in the felt hat in the truck pics was very like Sam Ford who would have been only 40 in 1935. I’ve been out of town all weekend so didn’t make the trip to Arthur Street to check out the geography. I hope Nathan has done or will do that.
    Late 1935 was just before Sam started promoting and building his “standardised cruisers” like MEANDER, MENAI etc.
    I get the feeling that Madden may have played some part in promoting Sam’s work.

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  5. If I had sam fords ellerslie address I would look it up compared with that streetscape. Hull looks similar to Ana Kiwa and also a Ford boat in whangaroa. ..

    Bridge/ cabin appears similar to the larger Fords, but then also similar to Lidgard. ..

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  6. Ernie Ryan of Ryan Bros built my father’s 28ft shortender WAKANUI (E34) in 1933.I’m sure they built several more largish yachts and launches.

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  7. I’m probably way off the mark here but….I think she is being lifted out, not launched. It is a lot older photo, the cabin had been altered at some time, cannot see a rudder shoe or propeller. Think she may have had a mishap of some sort. Just a thought …..

    You are right, see close up photo below – good spotting 🙂 Alan H

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  8. Besides the shear baton on the tumble home just above the waterline at the aft end, the 5 windows, & the painted coamings, the 5 window boat has a much longer foredeck & is a few feet bigger I would say, all things being considered — KEN R

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  9. Further to Alan’s “she’ll be right” comment, in the launching photos it’s also interesting to see the boat suspended directly off the crane hook without the use of a spreader beam. All of the load is tending to try and crush the deck and cabin! We wouldn’t subject our dear old girls to that kind of treatment today 🙂

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  10. The 5 window boat also has a shear baton on the tumble home, & it is the 4 window boat that reminds me of YASAWA in the bow, — cannot see the 5 window boat front end clearly enough to comment on that. — KEN R

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  11. The boat suspended high above the wharf has to be a different boat, as it has an extra window also the coamings are painted at time of launching.
    Noted the truck was a Leyland belonging to J. J. Craig Ltd a big haulage firm in Auck right up to the later 1950s or 60s era — with it’s depot in St. Georges Bay Rd Parnell, up form, & right next to Nestles chocolate factory, which was in the corner of St. Georges Bay Rd & Cleveland Rd., at least from the later 1930s onwards. — KEN R

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  12. Hi Alan, love the photo’s on the truck, i can just imagine the reaction of today’s traffic police!!!I have a question.A distant relative of mine Mervyn Ryan was a boat builder in Whangarei and had a yard up the Hatea River up stream from the town basin, my dad and i used to visit his yard quite often when i was a kid. I know he built a lot of clinker dinghy’s and also some large lauches some fishing boats, i can still remember long planks coming out of the steamer and my dad giving him a hand to carry the planks to the boat.Do you have any information on him or the boats he built?RegardsAaron Love 

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  13. In respect of the builder of course — she is obviously not the YASAWA — may not have been clear as I typed it above — KEN R

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  14. I see similarities in the way the stem rolls under as it nears the waterline & the flare & forward end concept to YASAWA — I wonder….? — KEN RICKETTS

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  15. Either two very simular boats or of different eras. Pic # 23 has an extra cabin window (five compared with four). Seams in planking of hull noticeable. Apart from that ?????. Location pretty correct with the Mechanics Bay vehicular ferry terminal visible.

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