Meola

MEOLA
photo & details from Barbara Cooke

Barbara & David Cooke spotted Meola in Whangamumu on the way home from there Christmas cruise. The owner rowed across for a chat saying that he spends a lot of time fishing and diving around Whangaruru and Whangamumu. She sports a Gardner motor and her early years were spent as a general work horse ie towing, shunting and hauling on the Auckland Harbour. Great to see her so well kept.

More details please, I’m sure the ‘work boat’ boys can supply info on her past.

Update from Russell Ward
Press cuttings above showing Meola –well just the tops of her masts in Drunken Bay (Islington Bay, Rangitoto Island) .
She was under the command of a navy officer (who else could show such skill). Rumour was that he was going inside the rocks off the point.
Once again, Arataki and the crew with a barge were on the spot pdq to salvage.
Amazing how many times Arataki managed to salvage the navy’s coastal foulups before the papers got the story.
No such luck this time.

Russell Ward Update #2

Russell remember that when she was new, she had her fwd mast hard up against the wheelhouse and the engine exhaust coming up through a funnel just behind. The pic below from Bob McDougall shows it well. Nowadays, her mast is set a little more forward or it was when I took the below (colour) pic in 2007.
I seem to remember that she was all engine space and storage forward of the aft end of the wheelhouse  –never saw down aft.

Russell wonders if she had a Kort nozzle that the Navy put on her perhaps to improve maneuverability?  Maybe the twirly wheel reverse on Meola is being confused with the Kitchen rudder that the old navy utilities boats (particularly the so called Cattle Barge) A wheel was used to move a set of cups that went around the propeller to ahead or behind the prop. This gave astounding mobility for the coxwain to avert maneuvering cockups.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen_rudder
The navy derivative had a beautiful casting for the tiller with a handle for steering curving above a wheel for reversing,  diagram below of the Navy Kitchen rudder showing the twirly wheel.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 11.35.28 AM

MV Meola (model) 04/03/2015

photos & details from Grant Morrell

Below is a selection of photos taken during the building of Grants 1/24th scale model of Meola.  Construction was an on and off affair  over a 7 year period. The model is radio controlled and has sound and lights. The 3 photos on the water were taken on 03/03/2015 just after Grant completed the after boom rigging. Still to come are guard & weather rails.
A brilliant project & the attention to detail is spot on. Click photos to enlarge.

25 thoughts on “Meola

  1. Pingback: Meloa | waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. I used to be in the Navy and used to coxswain this great little vessel around Auckland. I was also the coxswain on the navy liberty vessel which rescued the crew when she sank. I almost cried when I saw she was going down. I came along side and took the hapless bunch off. It was a good court martial. I am glad to see she is still afloat and in beautiful looking condition.

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  3. Hi Ken, Yes I am another that used to visit Islington Bay, great memories. My grandparents built a batch in the 1930s at the back in Gardiners Gap (still there) and I spent all my earlier life from 1936 to my late teens, all weekends and school hols up and down on the Blue Boats. Wow have I got lots of memories like you have. I know you took the Tiarii down there and we are the same age. Guess who ?
    Kindest Regards.

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  4. Re Meola – I used to work on her occasionally when I was an apprentice at the Dockyard. She was always a favourite amongst the boatbuilders and ICE shop and always thought of as a proper little ship. I was under the impression she had a manual Gardener gearbox. It was a monster of a thing and some one (possibly Chas Millet) had told me once that it was possible to tow start her due to it being a manual box.You would decompress the engine, get towed at a reasonable speed with the g/box engaged, and then drop in one cylinder at a time. I was called down to her once due to flat batteries and wanted to try the theory, however the Navy officer in charge was not game to try it, so I never did find out.
    Chas used to have a launch that he pulled up at the back of his Stanley Point property. Can’t remember the name of it. It had “planing strakes” fitted and I think it had a 6 cylinder Ford diesel. His friend, Bod Carey, a Dockyard boatbuilder also had a similar but smaller launch called Wai Lani.

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  5. Islington Bay used to be a wondrous destination in a P Class from Cheltenham Beach when you were 10, a great place to overnight in an Idle Along when you were 14 and a safe possie in a stinking westerly or easterly in anything else. I took Pauline’s Pom yachtsman uncle (Ryde, Isle of Wight) there. He was gobsmacked that civilization had disappeared so quickly.
    Don’t knock Izzy Bay! Just have a bucket ready when the anchor comes up.

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  6. Yeah, it is a nice wee drift down on a Friday night while giving the fingers to the harbour lights. I still can remember the old man howling abuse at passing Blue Boat Rangi ll while trying to retrieve boiling hot potatoes rolling across the cockpit! Jeez must have been in the late ’50s. Time flies when you’re having fun. Alan: You should start up a new posting on bays we’ve known…

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  7. From my point of view you are correct.On a Friday evening departure it was the closest anchorage that obscured the bright lights to the west.The roll from the Waiheke ferries tended to upset the drinks!!

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  8. Like you Nathan, I have been spoilt rotten as well.
    However our family, my brothers and sisters, have fond memories of the gulf as children. In those days it was our front yard.
    Your very forward, Nathan. 🙂

    It’s a bit of a bother as I do, just, remember some of the things Ken recalls, so this must put me officially in the ” oldies” club. “B#*¥^R” !!!

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  9. I grew up cruising Whangaroa and Bay of Islands coasts, so I must say it is difficult for me to understand how Issy Bay’s landscape makes it a particularly memorable place to stay. I can only imagine that it must be the people and friends anchored close by who make the memories? And it’s locality to Auckland.

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  10. Thanks Harold for that excellent addition to the history, of what is probably Auckland’s most popular & most frequently used bay for many of us Auckland boaties. I’m sure every single one of us “oldies” has been there many, many, times through the years, & we can recount many relaxing, interesting, funny, frustrating, entertaining & even perhaps the occasional sad moment, associated with the Bay. I wonder how many can recall the compass dolphin located in the middle of the bay fairly adjacent to the old WWII navy wharf, which was there well in to the 50s or 60s, or perhaps 70s, & the old steam engine boiler, that seemed to be there for ever, up by the main wharf in the head of the bay & the old cottages that were in such abundance on the waters edge, & so much a part of the heritage character of this lovely spot, until many of them were required to be demolished by the authorities of the day in about the 1970s, fortuously now reversed. — KEN RICKETTS

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  11. When Lord Islington was appointed Governor of New Zealand in June 1910 there was some excitement amongst the yachting fraternity as he was born on the Isle of Wight to a prominent naval family and was “well connected” at “Home”, member of the Royal Yacht Squadron dontcherknow. In January 1911 he chartered VIKING from Ernest Davis and had her tizzied up by Chas Bailey Jr to suit his needs. There was a RNZYS procession under sail at the end of which Drunken Bay was renamed officially “Islington Bay”. So it went from “Drunks” to “Izzy Bay”.

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  12. The history behind “Drunken Bay,” dates back to NZs early history, as It has always been known to me, from childhood, that from the early to mid 1800s & for lot of the last of that century, after the sailors got ashore, after the many months of misery they endured at sea, with all its traumas, disease, & harsh discipline, from senior officers, etc., the only, or easiest way, to get the crew back on board & to return to UK or wherever they came from , was for the mate & master to get them drunk & load them on board, in a highly intoxicated state, & for the master & 2 or 3 senior crew to sail the boat down to Drunken Bay, to sober them up, so they could set sail.
    Whist I have never read this in an accredited history of NZ, I have always had absolute belief in it as being fact, as it was a universal story amongst all people I knew in the boating world when I was young. — KEN RICKETTS

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  13. Just used to be called “Drunks” in my early circles, Ken. I thought “Islington Bay” had an excess of style. That awful porridgey mud that didn’t give that good a holding when it fair piped though Gardner(?) Gap. A pain to clean off the anchor and chain. And all that WW2 military junk ditched over by the smaller ramp that made the holding too good for some poor people. Happy daze though!
    Oh, back to the good ship Meola……

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  14. How wonderful for us oldies to see the name “Drunken Bay” appear today — they young ones . of today will probably have no idea where it is or even how the colloquialism originated. — Must confess even now, occasionally have caught myself out referring to Islington bay as Drunken Bay. Long may us oldies live with “DRUNKEN BAY” — KEN RICKETTS

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  15. Her first skipper was Charlie Millett who had served his time with Chas. Bailey Jr in the 1920s then went boatbuilding and launch-skippering at Tauranga. He lived in Tennyson Ave in Takapuna when he moved back to Auckland. I’m sure he told me that he had some input into MEOLA’s design. Certainly he took delivery of her and brought her north from Port Chalmers. He modified a lot of the earlier Bay of Plenty game-fishing boats by raising their foredecks etc.

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  16. Note the reinvented “New Zealand” flag. The owner tried talking us into purchasing and flying a larger version on Trinidad!

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  17. What’s Kitchener gear, Grant?
    She had the old Gardner twirly wheel hydraulic reverse gear (3UC) gearbox when used to go out on her as a school kid oh so long ago. Scuttlebutt on the waterfront was that she was a bit of an archaic sort of design for her intended purpose with the MOW. Her then skipper had a big input into her design it was said.

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  18. Better get her name right on the listing -it’s Meola- ir there will be a bit of head scratching going on. She was well known on the Auckland Harbour when she was built by Miller and Tunnage Pt Chalmers in 1961 for the Ministry of Works. Reputedly she was designed from the Clematis, but I could never see that.
    Taken over by the navy in 1976. They used her for general jollies including sinking her in Islington Bay 8 Nov 1978 after doing some impact hydrography off Emu Pt.
    Eventually sold off into private ownership and, as always, admired by us all.

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  19. Hi, Jerry Payne sent me this link. MV Meloa – was an awesome vessel to drive, very unique in that she had kitchener gear for steerage and propulsion. Of note was her 7ft draft. Was a workhorse for the RNZN for many years. I Drove her on and off for over 3 yreas, many a trip to the BOI for navy sailex’s and work around the naval base and out in the gulf. Has bunks for 4 pers and used to have a derick down aft behind the deck house. In regonition of her fine lines, I have built a scale RC model of her in 1/24 scale from a set of dockyard plans.

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  20. Meola was built by Miller & Tonnage for PWD Public Works Dept and launched in Nov 1961. She still has her original engine a 4L3 Gardner, same engine as Tuhua (Port Whakatane). She took part in our very first AAR Tug and tow boat race.

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