Info below ex Capt. Tom Leary    B.V.A. (Syd.)  C.L.M.  N.Z.W.G. – sent in by Judith Gardiner (+ b/w photos). Colour photos ex Alan H
Designed and built by the Logan Brothers at their Devonport shipyards in 1896 (Nov 16th) for H. Dawson the owner of Greater Mercury Island. She was 60′ LOA, 11’8″ beam & 5’8 draft. Triple skin kauri & copper roved. Ethel was built as a family cruiser/ racer with slightly more beam than those of her contemporaries. Ethel spent her early years cruising and racing mainly around Auckland but also in Wellington.

Around 1918 Ethel was taken along with other larger vessels into the snapper fleet and given the sail # 33. After the war years she moved to Waitara on New Zealand’s West coast where she remained for fifty years long lining for snapper, it was during this time she had an engine fitted. Whilst in Waitara where she had her own wharf, she was called by the locals ‘The Queen of Waitara.’

About 1970 she returned to Auckland and continued to fish out of Westhaven.

In approx. 1975 she was purchased by John Smith from Thames who did extensive restoration work including new decks new cabin, new interior work and restored her original yawl rig as the mizzen mast had been removed for fishing.

In 1999 I purchased Ethel from John and again an extensive refit began.

Half of her port side was replaced due to dry rot. New fuel tanks, a recond. engine was fitted, new electronics/ wiring including smart charging systems, electronic toilet  and fridge installed she was completely recaulked including scarfing in slithers to her garboard plank. All this work was done under the guidance of Nortel surveyors. 2003 saw more work done during a winter refit her coach roof was glassed over, her main mast and gaff had another two meters added to them to take her back to her original rig. Her cockpit area was increased with self drainage this was done to take six to eight people comfortably. Wheel steering was added and her decks were recaulked with sika. A yard was added and new sails cut to fit. All Ethel’s standing rig is new galv. most of Ethel’s running rig is also new. Ethel is a very well appointed and maintained classic and has been chartering successfully for the past three years.

The Auckland museum has many early photographs of Ethel, as with today, she is a much admired and photographed yacht.

Alan H – Ethel is now owned by Keith Munro & has again undergone an extensive refit & you will see from the photos below is looking rather smart.

Info ex Judith Gardiner on Ethel’s first owner – Herbert Dawson, who was Judith’s great grand uncle through her mothers line.

Herbert Dawson was born 19 April 1859 In Leeds Yorkshire. He married Jane Eleanor Darrell  on 29 December 1886 in Hutton Buscel East Yorkshire & they had two children –
Ethel Fanny Dawson
Born: 14.11.1887 – Lebberston, Filey, Scarborough

Eleanor Sybil Dawson
Born: 03.05.1889 – Falsgrave, Scarborough

Herbert, Jane, Ethel and Eleanor (known as Sybil)  emigrated to New Zealand and landed at Port Chalmers.  They had sailed on the ship Tainui which had left London on 12 May 1892. Herbert purchased Great Mercury on 02.10.1893. Herbert sold Great Mercury Island on 26.02.1912 to John Kemp of Epsom and Frederick William Kemp of Tauranga.

Herbert contracted Logan Brothers of Devonport shipyards to build a ‘boat’ to accommodate his need to transport to and from Great Mercury Island.  It was launched on 16 November 1896.  It was probably sold within the year that Herbert left Great Mercury Island.

Judith would very much like to know who owned it after Tom Leary any other information would be appreciated.

Herbert & Jane Dawson

Herbert Dawson Jane Eleanor Darrell

9 thoughts on “Ethel

  1. Hi Barry,

    How much money has been spent with all those refits? Thanks for sending the info.



  2. No she didn’t register as a D Class. When I first knew her she was down to a pole mast and a filthy heavy canvas trysail which George Murphy hoisted on the odd occasions it wasn’t a westerly coming home. She was well out of the yachting mainstream.


  3. Harold…… did Ethel ever register as a D-class post WW-2??

    That number 31 was her old 1914 number. That series was superseded by the Alpha Numeric in the early 1920’s by which time she had left the Waitemata.

    NZ Yachtsman 21/8/15 has her being “sailed to the Manukau where she is engaged in the fishing industry”. I also have a note of her owned by Capt. Willis of Onehunga in 1915.

    I don’t think she was ever registered (with any yachting Association) until she gets her NZYF number 351 some time between 1985 and 1988.


  4. PPS I wrote a lengthy article on Dawson’s ETHEL and her provenance in a recent issue of Boating NZ and, earlier, another on W.J. Quelch who owned her 1913-14. Perhaps I could send copies to Judith to clear up some of these woolly issues for her?


  5. PS She was back in Auckland well before 1970. As I have mentioned before on WW in another post on the same yacht, I used to see her motoring up harbour to St. Mary’s Bay under the ownership of George Murphy from 1946. She was then painted an attractive shade of mid-blue and had a Lister diesel. Close to, she was pretty rough.
    I wonder if there could be some co-relation between WW posts on the same vessel, otherwise we go round and round in circles, spinning off bits of truth in the process to new assumptions and new anecdotes?


  6. Some nitpicking; ETHEL received her sail number 31 (not 33) along with all other Auckland yachts in late 1914 as war identification. The ETHEL in Wellington was another yacht, built by Chas. Bailey Sr in January 1884 for Danny Holland. I don’t think the Logan Bros ETHEL got any nearer Wellington than Waitara when W.R. Ingram sold her to Capt. Willis in October 1917 for fishing from Waitara.


  7. A remarkable provenance & remarkably detailed history — excellent reading. KEN R


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s