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Details & photos ex ‘Nelson Mail’ via John Burland (edited by Alan H)

The 14.5m Majestic started life back in 1937 as a commercial trawler & cray boat in Nelson. Built at the famed Wells family boatyard at Whakatahuri at the head of Pelorus Sound by her ex owner Lionel Wells and his late brother Gordon. She was built to their father Claude’s design, using Marlborough Sounds kahikatea (white pine) for the double-skinned planking, and heart rimu for the deck beams and stringers.
The brothers fished out of Port Nelson for many years, trawling for snapper, gurnard and flounder. Wells eventually bought his brother out and took the Majestic cray fishing from Milford Sound for 15 years.
He sold her in 1978 and Majestic continued its fishing career from Greymouth before finally being brought back to Nelson.

Two & half years ago Majestic was facing the chainsaw but was saved by the Motueka owner of Cotton Heavy Haulage in Richmond, Lynn Cotton who gradually restored her at the Richmond boat yard. The fish hold has gone and the accommodation has grown to allow for eight people. The few rotten planks were replaced and rimu and macrocarpa were specially milled to fit out the interior.
Most notably, the old superstructure was removed and replaced with a new one, each to their own but I would have chosen something closer to the original.
In the six years the boat had been idle the 190hp Gardner diesel had seized, but that was soon remedied and on the trip across Tasman Bay to its new mooring at Port Motueka it produced an average 8.2 knots.

Below are photos from her re-launch. One shows 95 year old ex owner/builder Lionel on the left with Lynn Cotton.

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4 thoughts on “Majestic

  1. Good on them for saving her. Forward sloping wheelhouse windows are extremely practical and popular in the work boat scene and have been for years. No big issue in my eyes with what they have done to her.
    Bring on more workboat/commercial boat stories. Cheers


  2. Nice to hear she’s still going strong, though I agree with the above comments about the new upper works. Some of her sisters are (more or less) in WW territory; Francis Wells’ Valmarie was at Hobsonville Marina for some years while Dave Browne did her up, and is now in the Whangarei area. Tom Wells’ Southern Isles is also in Auckland Waters, based in Clevedon last I heard – haven’t actually seen her for a couple of years.
    Correction: it’s Wakatahuri, not Whakatahuri, and Wakatahuri is not at the head of Pelorus Sound (that’s Havelock) – it’s not even *in* Pelorus Sound, but at the head of Forsyth Bay, a few miles outside the entrance to the Pelorus.


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