Takohe – Sailing Sunday

Takohe in Islington bay

Islington Bay

Takohe winter refit 2 1993

Winter 1993 at Milford

TAKOHE – Sailing Sunday
photos & details ex Allan Johnson

I was contacted last week by Allan who was looking for details on his father’s (Max Johnson) John Gladden designed bilge keeler, Takohe.
Takohe is a 28′ & started life as a kit built project for Ray Driver, a school teacher at Westlake Boys High School (Ray was also Allan’s old wood work teacher). Sadly Ray passed away before he could finish the boat and through the grapevine Max Johnson ended up purchasing the unfinished hull and finished it off. At the time Allan had just finished his apprenticeship at the Devonport Dockyard as a boat builder and had worked for John Gladden, before going on his never ending OE. The boat needed a mast and Max was keen on an enclosed cockpit, as designed they normally had an open cockpit. Allan commented that he was press ganged into doing the work but really enjoy doing these jobs for his father. She was launched c.1972.

Some years after launching, possibly in 1993, Max got John Gladden to lengthen her water line and make a boarding platform with a transom door to ease boarding from the dinghy, this also helped her speed as she ended up with a cleaner stern exit.

Before Max passed away he sold her to a gent in Whangarei. Allan did see her there in the early 2000’s but that was the last he saw Takohe.
Allan only got a day trip on her before his OE & now lives in Canada. But his parents had many good days sailing around Auckland.

Allan google searched the vessel & uncovered the details below from Yachting NZ. So woodys can we help Allan learn more about Takohe’s past & where she is today ? Is the owner listed still current?

Boat Details – Takohe
Sail Number: 1472
Designer : J Gladden
Boat Type: Other
Owner name: I & E Needham

ps nice to see that in 23 years what is now Geoff Bagnall’s Milford yard has hardly changed –  still one of the few commercial railway haul-outs in Auckland with a working wooden boat builder alongside – we like that 🙂  The creek looks a little cleaner 😉

25-08-2016 Input from Allan Johnson
Today I was going through the books that I have had in storage for the past 5 years and was surprised to find the last log book for Takohe. I thought that this would be still with my sister in NZ.

From the last entries into the Takohe Log book dated 1998 05-04
Sold to:
Ivan James Craig NEEDHAM
Erin Frances NEEDHAM
3 Cockburn Street, Onerahi, Whangarei, 0110 , New Zealand
Ph #: 09-436-xxxx

I did a search on Google.NZ and found the following:

This company was registered at the same address as above.
This company does not seem to exist anymore removed from register 2002-09-10.

The last entry in the log of Takohe: (Dad’s Log book).
Takohe left Milford marina in fine weather after a stormy weekend of waiting to get out. Went as far as Kawau.
1998-06-16 Takohe on to Whangarei – 10 hours
Ivan rang to confirm arrival in Whangarei, very happy with Takohe’s performance.

Also from searching “I Needham” on google.nz the following reference shows up in 2012.

From the NZ Herald / Northland Age  2012-08-09

Boaties rally for shipwrecked mate
A Far North man whose pride and joy ran aground and sank on his first outing said last week that he had been overwhelmed by the kindness of Whangaroa’s boating community.

Rob Clarke bought the 65-year-old kauri fishing boat Taramea and was taking it from Auckland to his home at Kaimaumau, on the Rangaunu Harbour, when disaster struck while he was taking shelter from wild weather in the Matangirau arm of the Whangaroa Harbour. The anchor dragged in the night, leaving the boat stuck fast on the shore at 4.20am with a metre-long gash in the hull.

Rob, a young crewman and a dog were rescued by Whangaroa Coastguard and a fisherman known only as Bill after their situation worsened suddenly that afternoon and they were forced to make a mayday call.

Neither men nor dog came to harm, but Rob was left with the thorny problem of owning a damaged boat stuck in an isolated bay.

Taramea was originally used for fishing in the deep south, Rob buying her with the idea of doing her up and eventually living on board.

A small group of volunteers have been doing their best to see that can still happen.

As of Friday commercial fisherman Mark Giles had given up five days of his time to help out (while refusing payment). Whangaroa boatie Ivan ‘The Terrible’ Needham and other locals also turned out, Mark’s fishing boat Destiny and Ivan’s 16-metre yacht Masada between them managing to pull Taramea off the sand and tow it, partly submerged, to the boat ramp at Whangaroa.

By Wednesday evening she was on the mud near the boat ramp, but with only the tip of her mast above water.

Unable to shift her any further, Mark went door-knocking around Kaeo in the hope of borrowing a winch. Instead Martin ‘Mooch’ Rudolph, of Mooch Transport, offered his digger and his time without charge, and Kaeo Transport lent a low-loader to get it to Whangaroa.

On Thursday morning a Coastguard volunteer diver got a rope around the stricken boat so Mooch could drag her up the beach and flip her over so the gash in the hull was above water. It was then a race against the tide as Rob and helpers fashioned a makeshift patch and seal to make the hull watertight.

The plan was then to drag the boat further up the beach on the incoming tide, set her upright and start pumping her out.

Rob, stoic despite the heartbreaking end to his maiden trip, said he owed his helpers “huge thanks.”

“I’d love them to be recognised for what they’ve done,” he said.

“It’s not just my case. It’s a regular thing. Mark has given up five days’ work and says he doesn’t want to be paid.

“He’s done everything, from conceiving the idea and fielding scepticism to getting materials and running his boat around.”

Mooch Rudolph said helping out had merely been his “good deed for the day,” while Ivan Needham, who lives on his yacht, said he hated to see a boat in such an unhappy predicament.

6 thoughts on “Takohe – Sailing Sunday

  1. Great to make contact again after nearly fifty years. I am sitting on the Meola ( ex MOW )
    which I have recently bought.
    Now that I am retired I have got back into boating.
    The Apple never falls far from the tree


  2. Hi Ian,
    Great to hear from you, that’s about 46 yrs ago when I left for Canada with John Forsyth & Bruce Curry.
    I will try to see how to post a private message with my email address to you.

    Allan Johnson


  3. Thanks Fiona,
    Its been a long time so the grey cells might not recall the exact events.
    What you are saying about the 33′ Gladden being launched in early 1976 does not entirely match with the story that I understood, is it possible that he had a 28′ hull built but decided to sell this and get the longer 33′ instead? that would tend to make some sense.
    I know that the extra headroom that you dad commissioned was a crucial factor in my dad @ 6′ 1″, purchasing the boat.

    thanks for correcting me
    Allan Johnson


  4. Hi. Ray Driver was my father and it was nice to read this reference to him! Dad died in 1996 so the date doesn’t match the reference above to him dying before Takohe was finished. Our first boat was Dyad, I think she was a Tucker design (English). She was a 30′ ketch which he built in our front yard. We sold her in the early 70s. We then had Dyona which was a 33′ Gladden. She was launched in early 1976. John Gladden built the hull and dad did the internal finishing and designed a slightly different cabin top for his 6′ 4″ frame! We launched her in 1976. My brother and I would love to find out where either Dyad or Dyona is these days…


  5. Hi I am unable to help with the where abouts of the yacht Takhoe, but would very much like to make contact with Alan Johnson. I was an apprentice in the same year as Alan, along with Tony Lynch and John Williamson. I also went overseas in 1970 and lost contact with Alan. If you get to read this it would be great to make contact again Alan.
    Regards Iain Forsyth


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