photos ex AH, Chris Miller & Rod Marler

On the weekend CYA cruise to the Riverhead Hotel we were joined by (to me) a new classic on the CYA scene, Venture. Keen to learn more about her & what lies underneath the ‘addition’.

Neil Lineham has advised Venture was built in 1961 by Morrie Palmer and apprentice Chris McMullen for Stuart and Peter Opperman. The boat built after her (1963) was Neil’s fathers boat Oranoa, built in the old police station at Clarance St Devonport. Oranoa is still owned by the Lineham family.

04-11-2015 Input from owner Jeff Norris (edited by Alan H)

Venture was built by M. G. Palmer at Devonport launched in 1964 the first owner was a Mr Hudsmith he owned her for 30 years . The design for the 36′ Venture was ‘influenced by’ Colin Wilde. She is powered  by 86hp 6cyl Ford Trader she used to have a 30hp Perkins wing motor it was removed by the owner before Jeff. Jeff has owned venture for 15years and is in the process off doing a tidy up and a repaint off the top sides . They are going to glass the hull next year and maybe a re-power as the trader is getting very old but still runs perfectly, Morrie told Jeff , there is a sister to Venture but it is a bridgedecker , Morrie built Venture for himself but had to sell her before she was finished . Venture was a very good game boat in her day but now she is just a cruiser.

02-05-2016 Photos of Venture at the CYA Raft-up at Salthouse Boat yard (Alan H/Ken R)

VENTURE 30.4.16

22-10-2020 UPDATE – WW has been advised that the 36’ Venture suffered some damage in March this year when she was pulled out for antifouling. As a result she was leaking about 10litres a day and has been out off the water for about a month now. Owner Jeff Norris commented that she is a  easy fix to make her dry again, e.g. the hull needs  a really good rub back and coat of paint, some corking and scrape back.

Jeff has decided to sell her as is, and at a price of around $15k, could be a good entry point to classic wooden boating. Move quick – she goes on trademe soon.

And just in, a trip report from CYA chairman Rod Marler, currently in New York. Rod did a circumnavigation of Manhattan on this fine ship yesterday. I would say she is a replica but her heart is in the right place 😉

25 thoughts on “Venture

  1. Pingback: Hudspith – Bay of Islands Game Boats | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. Pingback: Venture | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  3. hi neil thanks for that information i think he sold her to hudsmith he owned her up to the early 90s the guy i bought her off bought her in russell i bought her in 1998 is there any photos off her early days before the flybridge was added would like see them cheers jeff


  4. Hi Jeff Venture was launched end of 1962 stu had her for four to five years and then sold to a person in Russell


  5. thanks chris for your reply morrie did the survey on venture when i bought her and said that she was finished off by someone else in bayswater he also said that they built the topsides to his drawing and that it was a bit radical for those times.we are very proud off venture and have many adventures on her ,she still turns heads at 54 years as a lot of older classic launches do .you guys built boats to last in those days cheers jeff


  6. Jeff
    You could be right and if that is what Morrie told you I can’t argue and don’t want to.
    Here is my logic on the issue. I could be wrong.
    I have never seen any Col Wild lines drawings although I do a friend who claims she has the drawings of her late fathers launch. I have asked to see the same but to date it has not happened. There may be others copies out there but I understand they were all lost in the boatshed fire. John or Bob Salthouse may know what was lost or otherwise.
    Billy Rogers may have based his design on that of Col Wild who most likely based his on a lines drawing out of the US “Rudder Magazine”. These were available at Libraries at the time. “The potential Owner would say. “I want a launch like that” (in the magazine) “can you build me one”. There were no professional yacht designers as such in NZ. It was left to the boat builder.
    I am caretaker of a Col Wild Launch, her hull shape is different to,and not similar (Other than in profile) to any other he built. They were and are all different and hardly a development of a common theme. Morrie discussed boats and their design with Cal Crooks and I over lunch many times.
    I recall Billy Rogers was given credit for the design features that Morrie copied in his launch designs.
    Further, Stuart Opperman had been an apprentice for Billy Rogers and it seems reasonable he wanted a launch of Rogers design. Why, did he not build the hull himself.? Most likely he had a more profitable occupation and it made sense to let Morrie at least build the hull build the hull. A two man job.
    Further, Morrie never set out to build a boat for him self while I worked with him.
    What ever, you have a good launch and I am only trying to help you with her history.


  7. hi great to hear all comments on history of venture .i was commenting on what i was told it, would be good if neil could tell me who his brother in law sold her to . morrie told me that hull was based on a col wild design and that he made his changers . cheers jeff norris


  8. Venture and a correction to the Lady Ethel History
    Built in 1963 by Brin Wilson.Designed by Billy Rodgers and is what the owner calls a classic ‘Sounds’ launch.
    At 34ft and built of triple diagonal kauri planked.
    Powered by a 72 hp Mercedes 4 cylinder diesel engine, she will cruise at a comfortable 7-8 knots.
    Currently residing in Motueka and for sale on trademe.
    Anyone know how she ended up in the South Island & what of her life in between?

    Harold on April 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm said:
    LADY ETHEL was built (probably) for A.N.Wilson of 19 Herne Bay Road and he still owned her in 1973.

    Harold is right. Morrie Palmer built the hull and Mr Neil Wilson finished her off. Along the way some one has assumed Brin Wilson built her. That is not correct.
    Mr Neil Wilson (I believe an ex Joiner) was the owner and manager of the Auckland University Maintenance Department. He wanted no Butt blocks in his new boat and scarfed the planks himself while we built the boat. She may have been 34 Feet but was not triple diagonal planked. (That was later corrected.)
    I started my apprenticeship with Morrie 16th of January 1961 and transferred to M C Carter Ltd 30th of August 1963. I worked for Morrie two years seven months.
    When I started he was working in his backyard at Point Chevalier. He was finishing Basl Kelly’s raised deck Stewart 34 Pania. I recall a huge launch hull on his section painted with red lead. I am not sure but it may have become the “Lady Argyle”. I never worked on her.
    Soon after, Morrie moved to #15 Clarence St Devonport. (see the Cara Mia site for more ) Cal Crooks joined us. Morrie and Cal had both worked for Colling’s and Bell and were very competent workers. I was only the apprentice boy. It was high productivity and had to be as boatbuilding was a competitive cut throat business. At Devonport at least five major builds took place Cara Mia, Lady Ethel, Venture, Oranoa and the Stewart 34 Phoenician. All that, along with repair and insurance work all done, by three people (average) in just over two and a half years. Sure they were hull only or hull, decks and super structure. Mostly the owners finished the job. “Oranoa” was the exception and largely complete and later launched from Devonport wharf
    Morrie had very little machinery. It was measure and cut once boatbuilding, nothing fancy just get the job out. His call at the end of lunch break was. “This won’t Grace the Harbour” Lets get on with it.
    Morrie owned and cruised with his Family the twenty Six Foot Mullet Boat “Omatere” previously owned by Basil Kelly. It may have been a trade in on the Pania.
    Morrie was very keen on Mullet boats and encouraged me to build one. She was the last planked Mullet Boat. The 22 Foot “Tamatea”. I built her while I worked for him. I bet he later regretted his action. I was building the boat after hours in my parents back yard and it must have affected my work.


  9. Message from Chris McMullen
    “Neil Lineham is right. I hardly remember this boat but I remember the owners name. The hull looked familiar but I never got to see the finished boat at the time. If I recall correctly this boat went out of the shop planked and ribbed but with no floors or deck beams. The owner finished her himself. Certainly not a Col Wild design. Morrie designed all the boats we built but the three 36 foot launches were based on a Billy Rogers design features. They were “CaraMia”
    “Ethel” and “Venture”. At the time most boat builders designed their own boats, some built from a model but Morrie drew a lines plan.”


  10. Thanks Neil, that fills a gap.
    Shall we say VENTURE was “influenced by Colin Wild” then? But who, in their right mind, wasn’t??


  11. Venture and Oranoa are the same looking hulls Oranoa was built down like a fishing boat i think Morrie penned both of them but Chris would know


  12. Meridian was built for Stuart and Peter by John Gladden then we towed her from Milford creek with Oranoa to the same property where Venture was finish Stu did some time with Col Wild hence Meridians hull design


  13. I don’t want to be provocative, but Jeff’s statement that VENTURE was designed by Colin Wild needs to be discussed. How can that be substantiated? It does seem rather unlikely.
    Maybe Chris McMullen can tell us?
    Secondly, can Neil tell us anything about Peter Opperman’s launch MERIDIAN?


  14. Reguarding Venture she went to the Opperman property where Stu finished her Stu served his time with Billy Rogers. Oranoa was launched off Devonport wharf by crane in 1963


  15. I am sorry Jeff Norris but Venture was built for my Brother in law Stuart Opperman taiking to my sister this morning.


  16. hi alan venture was built by m. g. palmer at devonport launched in 1964 the first owner was a mr hudsmith he owned her for 30 years .venture is a 36 ft col wild powered by 86hp 6cyl ford trader she used to have a 30hp perkins wing motor it was removed by the owner before me i have owned venture for 15years and i am in process off doing a tidy up and a repaint off the top sides .we are going to glass the hull next year and maybe a repower as the trader is getting very old but still runs perfectly, morrie told me , there is a sister to venture but it is a bridgedecker , morrie built venture for himselve but had to sell her before she was finished . venture was a very good game boat in her day but now she is just a cruiser cheers jeff norris.

    Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2015 14:40:12 +0000 To:


  17. Does anyone have any pics or info of the ‘Venture’ built by Ben Hipkins under the Supreme Craft banner?


  18. Venture was built by Morrie Palmer around 1961 our launch Oranoa launched in1963 was built soon after and is still owned by the Lineham family


  19. Venture was built by Morrie Palmer and apprentice Chris McMullen for Stuart and Peter Opperman. The boat built after her was dads boat Oranoa, built in the old police station at Clarance St Devonport.
    edited by Alan H


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