El Alamein





The above photos of El Alamein (now named Ranui) show her c.1956 when she was in commercial charter on Lake Taupo. (photos ex Google ex Karen Moren via Ken Ricketts)
Some history below from the Ranui website

Formerly known as El Alamein, the ‘great dame’ of Taupo charter boats started her sailing career on Lake Rotorua after World War II.

Ranui was launched as El Alamein on 29 January 1945 for use by patients of the Rotorua Convalescent Hospital after the Second World War.

Named after that part of the Middle East where New Zealand servicemen distinguished themselves in action, the 32-foot kauri cabin launch was donated to the convalescent depot by the Patriotic Fund: Joint Council of the Red Cross and St John. Specially designed for use on Lake Rotorua and for passage through the Ohau Channel to Rotoiti, she was built by McGeady and was capable of seating up to 40 passengers.

For the first 4 years of her life Ranui was an open boat, with a small cabin and bunk room up forward captained by William J. Pollock. She was a familiar sight, often carrying up to 40 convalescing soldiers, many in wheelchairs, on Lake Rotorua excursions as part of their rehabilitation. She played a big part in easing the soldiers back into civilian life.

Ranui was sold in August 1949 as the numbers of ex-service patients dropped and maintenance costs rose. She was trucked to Lake Taupo on 24 August 1949 and purchased by Ron Martin – the money from the sale was returned to the Patriotic Fund Board.

Two years later one of Taupo’s old-time residents, Noel East, put on a full cabin and was first to have Ranui surveyed.

The next owner was from Hawke’s Bay and used her privately before selling her to one of Taupo’s most familiar commercial boat operators – Jim Storey. He had Ranui surveyed and used her commercially for many years, taking visitors out on Lake Taupo tours for fishing and sightseeing.

In 1980 Ranui was purchased by Graham Twiss and he continued taking visitors out on Lake Taupo tours and fishing for a further 34 years.

Ranui has recently been refurbished by her present owners, Sarah & Jamie Looner & again is operating as a charter boat on Lake Taupo. Click link below to view photos of her today.

12 thoughts on “El Alamein

  1. Pingback: El Alamein > Ranui On Lake Taupo | waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily

  2. Due to a team effort between Ken Ricketts and myself, the name M. Crawley has now been removed from the owners website.


  3. It just demonstrates the power of personal mythology. You really can’t do much about it because almost every boat owner has his or her own mythology about the boat which is unshakeable.
    That’s why there were far more Logan, Bailey and Lane boats than those families ever built.
    Just the same, I would have thought that the present owners would have been more pleased to own a McGeady rather than a Crawley!


  4. Without naming names Nath, the current owners in Taupo have on their website that it was M. Crawley who built her. I contacted them in June 2015 and sent the ‘proof’ from Paperspast and yet still the website reads M.Crawley.


  5. Well, it’s been regurgitated on WW which is a bit of a worry as WW has a much wider audience than the Taupo site, I venture to suggest. And as I write this, “M. Crawley” is still up the top of this page as her builder! So, if you Google “El Alamein launch” you’ll get the top of this page with Crawley as her builder. Thus is yet another myth embedded and canonised.


  6. Thank you Harold. 😃 Amazing how long this piece of inaccurate information has been in circulation then. Let’s hope that the correct information will soon be rectified. I’m grateful that you’ve been able to ‘shed some light’ on this subject. Thanks again.


  7. The “M Crawley” comes from the History Site For Boats of Taupo which has many inaccuracies, seemingly based on dodgy anecdote. Of course Mac McGeady built her. Maybe Crawley was responsible for the rather less than McGeady-quality cabintop?


  8. Can anyone please give me clarity on who this M. Crawley is as I have tried to find out and to NO avail is there any info? My Grandfather, ‘Mac’ McGeady (Supreme Craft) designed her and clippings from Papers Past confirm this. I would be most appreciative for any information. 🙂


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