MoanaLua

MOANALUA
photos ex Philip Hamlin

Sadly for a lot of folks today signals the return to the office, so I thought I would try to brighten up the day with a rather special post.

In early December Helena & Philip Hamlin, the owners of the magnificent 1935 Collings & Bell launch MoanaLua, sent me this amazing photo essay of Moanalua’s past. Philip & Helena would like to acknowledge the generosity of their friends & previous owner of MoanaLua for sharing this collection compiled by Allan Keane.

Where possible I have captioned the photos & remember you can enlarge any photo by clicking on it. Enjoy.

Input from Allan Keane – past owner
Fantastic – great to see that this history is not lost and there is no safer site than WW. I hope people enjoy seeing boating as it used to be.
Seeing crew on the bow reminds me that when we bought her there was no deck access to a huge anchor locker. This locker originally had a large header tank to give pressure water, including to the bath aft. Graham Watt who used to cruise on her told me his first job each day was to pump up water to the header tank—how things change! So all the anchor rode was carried on deck.
We built two good hatches to rectify having to pull everything out over the front berth, and of course the bath is long gone.

1930’s

1960’s

1990’s

2000’s

27-04-2016 Input from Graham Watt

I am the Graham Watt referred to by Allan Keane as the Lad who had the onerous morning duty of pumping up the water header tank. Moanalua was owned by Denny Bishop during the late 50’s and early 60’s, and his best mate,my father Colin Watt ,plus family made up the regular crew. I believe Denny purchased the boat from the Boucher estate.
She was moored on the piles ( pre marina ) at Westhaven and our regular cruising was to the “bottom end” and Kawau ,with Christmas to the Bay of Islands and as far as Whangaroa.
To clarify the comments around engine, at that time it was a Petrol Kermath Seafarer Special along with a wing motor with its own shaft. Another feature was the R.T. , ex army ZC 1, a massive multi dial affair whose only purpose was to call Auckland Radio to get a telegram away to a mate giving instructions on horse racing bets..
Both Denny and Colin were builders who figured that by cladding the cabin with this latest Formica product they could get a permanent finish without the varnishing. Not a good idea with the benefit of hindsight.

20 thoughts on “MoanaLua

  1. I am the Graham Watt referred to by Allan Keane as the Lad who had the onerous morning duty of pumping up the water header tank. Moanalua was owned by Denny Bishop during the late 50’s and early 60’s, and his best mate,my father Colin Watt ,plus family made up the regular crew. I believe Denny purchased the boat from the Boucher estate.
    She was moored on the piles ( pre marina ) at Westhaven and our regular cruising was to the “bottom end” and Kawau ,with Christmas to the Bay of Islands and as far as Whangaroa.
    To clarify the comments around engine, at that time it was a Petrol Kermath Seafarer Special along with a wing motor with its own shaft. Another feature was the R.T. , ex army ZC 1, a massive multi dial affair whose only purpose was to call Auckland Radio to get a telegram away to a mate giving instructions on horse racing bets..
    Both Denny and Colin were builders who figured that by cladding the cabin with this latest Formica product they could get a permanent finish without the varnishing. Not a good idea with the benefit of hindsight.

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

  3. Hello Leigh you and your mum are welcome to revisit the boat any time.
    Just phone me on 021 956081.

    Philip Hamlin

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  4. Wonderful Harold. Thanks so much for your delightfully balanced comment. Many vintage cars have disc brakes, indicator lights, radial ply tires etc fitted and I see this as no different so long as the vessel is maintained and preserved for the future generations. Hence my efforts to ensure those fantastic photographs were preserved and not lost—now in a safe place. Cheers Allan

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  5. Thorny topic.
    It’s a fact that New Zealand-built yachts and launches have an extraordinarily long life thanks to good design, craftsmanship and materials. From the very start launches were modified almost yearly as technology and materials improved. The 1910 flushdeckers grew dodgers in 1914, tramtops in 1920 and bridgedecks in 1935 and were the better for it AS BOATS. Yachts got little modified in comparison to launches.
    It’s an unavoidable fact that we can’t freeze time and pander to our nostalgia for times past with launches very often. We were lucky with Romance II because she had been modified so little; we just replaced the dodger with a replica of her original and threw out most of the mod cons, gas stove/oven etc (except the deep freeze!) to provide an illusion that it is 1919 all over again, an illusion because 50% of her fabric, her engine, is a wonderful newish Japanese marine diesel.
    Nathan has elected to restore LUCINDA in her very smart later bridgedeck style which, frankly, is much more aesthetically viable and practical than her original tramtop. She’s a real sweetie now so why change her?
    I can understand Ken’s point of view but we all live in a real world where years go by, and MOANALUA lives on under those sensible changes which have made her a better BOAT. Her essential fabric is preserved for another 80 years. If some future owner has the will (and the vast amount of money) to return her to her Boucher configuration, it can still be done.

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  6. Hear hear. I get people telling me at the yard as I work on Lucinda’s major renovation that they ‘can see that she could look good’ or ‘are coming to terms finally with her looks’. Cheers- I’ve only put 2 years of all spare hours and a lot of money for her size in order to save her from the bottom when no one else did!

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  7. And still magnificent today Ken with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to preserve her, and more importantly, improve her to a far more practical cruising vessel. Gone are the afterdeck with leaking hatches in storms–it didn’t take many years for a covered cockpit, now with walk-through transom. She had near vertical steps down to galley and aft for reverse-transit with arms loaded with dishes, now lovely stairs which the sloping screens permitted, and marvelous internal access up to a superb upper helm station. Much was altered following the unfortunate decision by owners at the time lining the combings with woodgrain formica — the latest fashion no doubt, resulting in replacement, and the new super-structure was designed by Owen Woolley, and I think he did a wonderful job. The original aft deckheads are preserved and the hull is as built 80 years ago. We can be very thankful she is not on the scrap-heap, or lost like Ruamano. Cheers Allan

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  8. Further to my post yesterday I was talking to my mum about finding this and read it out to her, she laughed when the bath was mentioned as she said that was only used for the alcohol supply for their many trips….they were often at Kennedy Bay in Coromandel, Great Barrier and Kawau…she said they used to travel a lot with Lady Eileen who she thought was owned by the Hunters but couldn’t remember the other boat names

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  9. I’ve been wondering whatever happened to the MoanaLua….I happened to google and this post came up! My late grandparents Dennis & Jean Bishop owned it at some stage before I was born so probably 50’/60’s and I have a framed photo of it which is one of the same photos above, my mother often talks about the ‘boat’ days and when I was young we used to see it moored at Te Atatu, from there I think it went to Half Moon Bay? Anyway…lovely to see these pictures 🙂

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  10. The engine at that time was called a “Torpedo”, it was literally a diesel originally used in torpedos, not sure country of origin but I believe Eastern Europe. When Ken Burrowes told me this I thought he was pulling my leg.

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  11. KEN BURROWES…(MOANA LUA). I took a private charter on MOANA LUA.He was running the boat on the smell of an oily rag…She was solid but in poor condition….The motor then from my memory was a Cheklosakian 2 cylinder low powered motor….a bang bang.

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  12. It was a 175/225 Sterling Dolphin. See my recent BOATING NZ articles on W.A. Boucher and his launches for further details.

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  13. MOANALUA’S original engine was very large petrol engine circa 200hp & from memory may have been either a Sterling or Kermath. She had a Perkins diesel V8 in during the 90s era — may still have it. KEN R

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  14. Absolutely magnificent when she was built , I remember her so well in the 40s when the Bouchers owned her, who were the original owners as far as I know, & kept her immaculate all the time. It is such a shame that today, she does not have the slightest resemblance to her original beauty. Elegance & beauty of her era now lost forever. KEN R

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