Mason Bay

photos & details ex Gary Underwood

Mason Bay (originally named San Guisepp) was built by Curnow & Wilson c.1956/57, while she has spent most of her life as a work boat she is now a very comfortable pleasure craft.
Details: LOA 14m, BOA 4m,.DR 1.5m 22Tonnes, 1500l diesel,800l water. Engine is a 6BD1 ISUZU 3 with a  Capitol box, prop = 29in X 17in. The hull is 3 bl. 32mm Kauri copper fastened on 3 stringers/side. Below is a summary in chronological order of her life – her present owner Gary Underwood would like any input to confirm or add to these details.
To view more details on her & the restoration visit gazzabomasonbay.blogspot


1956/7   Built Curnow and Wilton, Nelson for Tony Bonica, Island Bay Wellington as a day fisher. Launched as “SAN GUISEPPE”. Powered by a Lister JP3 (tbc)
1974      Ian Boyce went to Napier as she was for sale as “MARY LW”. Owned by Willy Watson. Had a Fordson (6?) and the Capital 3:1
1974      Late 80’s in Port Chalmers.
1978      Big NE blow (see newspapers) and 8 boats caught off the Nuggets, Otago bar closed “SEAWITCH” (sistership to DORADE) lost with 2 crew, Warren Wilson skipper & Les Walker (leadboots) MASON BAY all ok. ( Not sure if those 2 guys were on Mason Bay or Seawitch)
1985     Big refit at Miller and Tunnage. new bulwarks, and the 6BD1 Isuzu was installed with the 3:1 Capitol box. Then sold to a Mr. Hall in Nelson/Motueka. He also had “PEARLY SHELL” I believe
1993     Bought by Ian Boyce (from whom a lot of this info comes). Based in Tauranga with the “SEA BEE” and fished tuna off the west coast of the South IS.
1995     Sold to “Blondie”who had her for 2 years and ended up in Bluff
2001     Seen and photographed fishing in Lyttleton Hbr.
2007     Bought by Russell Keen from a finance company.
2009     Sold to Gary Underwood
2010     Motored north to Whangarei in Jan.
2010     May – hauled at Norsand boatyard for refit/rebuild and conversion to pleasure.  Shipwright was Marcus Raimon
2012     Re-launched and now home port is Whangarei Town Basin.


16 thoughts on “Mason Bay

  1. I don’t know who Tony Bonica is, and I lived in Island Bay in the 60’s and 70’s. The San Giuseppe was my Uncle Antonino Lamacchia’s Boat, Sold late 1960’s


  2. Pingback: Tamaroa + Mason Bay | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  3. I bought her off the bank through Martime International, I fished her around Lyttelton and Akaroa before taking her to Picton, I then sold her to Paul Jenkins and she ended up in Bluff


  4. This from Warren Wilson of Aramoana, who crewed on Mason Bay during the fateful storm.

    Skipper was Arthur Buckland the deckie Alan (Greg) ? Sutherland definitely a mechanic ,showed me how to put Mini gearbox together.Mercury Bay and Mistral were sold and Seawitch and Mason Bay purchased the Co. Then renamed the Mason Bay fishing Co. Owned by dentist Smith and a retired farmer? Maybe others.Gregg’s body was found months later washed up at Pipikaretu by a surfy (ask Rod Rust).
    Mason Bay made it home nearly alright it took a couple of days to wash the seawater out of the gearbox ,at one stage the old bitch had 4 foot of water in the engine room and Leadbootts had to disconnect the pump system and pump from the raw water intake.At the time the wind had eased to about 40 knots down from a guess 80 or more when we passed Dunedin
    More info on Seawitch in NZ Shipwrecks page 498 photo inCareys Bay hotel somewhere
    More info on Mason Bay in my shed from previous owner Paul Jenkins before Rastus bought her about 2007 I think
    Sent from my iPad


  5. The Seawitch was owned by a Dunedin Dentist called Smith. From memory about a 50 footer , trawler, possibly Miller and Tonnage built wooden double ender. He also owned the Mercury Bay, another smaller trawler and cray boat.. I knew the deckhand who was a mechanic at John Armstrong Motors in Dunedin before going fishing. His body was not found and he left a wife and kids . The insurance company wouldn’t pay out for a year and a day with no body to prove death. I remember they passed around the hat for help for her. It was a very sad time. I can’t remember the skipper’s name but he was an experienced guy. . The Navy were called out to help the search.


  6. Can you tell me anymore information about the Seawitch? My neighbour lost her son on this boat. I said I would see if there was any information on the internet.


  7. Thanks for that. I don’t normally think of Taiaroa Heads as being a bar entrance and wasn’t aware of that shoaling.


  8. Great rebuild. I see in the lifting pic its single strop lifting a 22 ton timber boat, not so smart. I’m surprised (yet again and disappointed) to see it happening and not surprised the hull is
    parting and spouting water exactly in line the lift point…go figure.


  9. Taiaroa heads, still has a manned lighthouse, otago harbour entrance. Breaks very often due to shoaling (from harbour dredging and scouring caused by the man made mole ) about a mile off, in heavy noreast and ebb tide harbour can be closed . Signified by flashing redlight at lighthouse. The 1978 noreaster that sunk Seawitch was one of those days.. Closed for 3 days


  10. Really nice ship. I’m guessing the 1995 build date is a typo? I have a few memories of her as “San Guiseppe” – most of those Island bay “Eyetye” fishing boats were good looking and goos sea boats.
    Otago bar closed?? Where is that? Taierei Mouth?


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