Robyn Gae

video ex Martin Turnwald, details ex Martin T & Harold Kidd, photo ex PapersPast ex Nathan Herbert

The video clip above is a little scratchy but features some good footage of the classic woody, Robyn-Gae, owned by Martin’s father, John Turnwald. There is even a cameo apperance of the 1919 Joe Slattery launch Raiona (at 1:30).

Robyn Gae started life as Water Gipsy & was launched in October 1934 for C. Miller by Cox & Filmer (Speedcraft Boat Co) with dimensions 32ft x 8ft 6in. She was a slightly extended version of a 30 footer built by Cox & Filmer for a Mr. Martin. Miller used Water Gipsy for a while and then she “disappears for a while. Ted Valintine bought her in 1937, renamed her Connie V after Mrs. V, had her lengthened to her final dimension of 38ft, with the provision of a cockpit, coaming and dodger over. The work was undoubtedly done by Lanes who also fitted her with a 6 cyl Chrysler Crown petrol engine in September 1939. That was after the Kawau petrol fire in January 1939 when Valintine scuttled her by chopping a hole in her hull, saving the boat (photos below). Valentine sold her to E.M. Henry & the Lambourne family bought her from Henry in 1939. She remained in the Lambourne family until 1956 or so but Lambourne obligingly changed her name to Robyn Gae on 14/11/49 at the time Lanes launched the second Connie V for Valintine.
She is registered as a “Her Majesty’s Ship” in London.
The Chrysler Crown engine was replaced later by a Commer TS3 two-stroke diesel . The bridge roof was raised about 20 centimeters way back in about 1979 Martin thinks, because a stroll on the bridge always ended with  a ding in one’s head . The beams were just that little bit too low and the bridge deck floor had to be raised a bit to accommodate the new engine.
The Commer has since been replaced by a Perkins & with this engine Robyn Gae is able to achieve a true 9.6 knots running a 5 blade prop.

Robyn Gae is for sale – for details contact Martin Turnwald at

17 thoughts on “Robyn Gae

  1. Pingback: Robyn Gae – SOS | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. Please ask Juliana, that would be great. Soon I’m going to publish a diary from a 1940 voyage of the high speed launch ‘Kathleen Mavourneer’ (W1) when she was in military service. Its a great read & I’m confident woodys will enjoy reading some tales from days past.
    Cheers Alan Houghton 🙂


  3. I have diaries of Robyn Gae at Kawau, the Bay of Islands and Great Barrier. Will have to ask permission from the whanau to publish on here.


  4. Pingback: Water Gipsy > Connie V > Robyn Gae | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  5. Thank goodness, we have a new breed of speed merchants coming along! Perhaps another Golden Age of launch racing is beginning?


  6. Watch out Jason, quite a few are starting to power them like the old days, you may have some competition in the Kawau race!


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