Today’s story has come about by 4 people digging me in the ribs – started off with Chris Manning letting me know that he had purchased Fleetwing, but not really for future ownership – more to protect her from future neglect & to secure a new owner that has the vision & passion to bring her back to the condition a vessel with her provenance deserves.
Next Nathan Herbert gives we a nudge, then Ian McDonald, then Cameron Pollard emails me, now if you know Cameron he is a man of few words (in emails) his message was “some woody needs to buy this”. And someone does.
Fleetwing is a 32′ kauri carvel planked hull, built at St Mary’s Bay, Auckland at the Collings & Bell yard, launched September 1920. She has spent the majority of her life in the Marlborough Sounds as a commuter and work launch.

No engine, no propeller, other running gear in place. No ancillaries/tanks. Hull appears sound and appears to have had significant refastening work done in the recent past. The deckhouse would benefit from the use of a chainsaw.

Currently lying on a mooring in Paremata. Can be shifted to Mana Marina Travel-lift if required.

Above are a couple of historic photos . The photos of her with the Aramoana green hull are as current.

So woodys if you are seriously seeking a historic New Zealand launch for refit or restoration then Fleetwing could be for you.

You can read more about her at the ww link below. You’ll find her list on trademe at $900 ono – yeap – $900.


12-11-2016 update ex Gavin Pascoe – In the colour photos the launch in the background is  another Collings and Bell, named Surprise. Built for Cook Strait whaling again on the concave convex principle.

28-08-2018 Update

I’m very pleased to advise the after a 91 year absence the 1920 Collings & Bell launch – Fleetwing, has returned to her original waters… Auckland.
She joins the Pollard Bros fleet. Photo below ex Andrew Pollard.
More photos below of her at West Park Marina – ex John Wicks 
Update 30-08-2018 Photo below supplied by Andrew Pollard – looking very quick 🙂
20-09-2018 Update – my spies sent in the photo below – rather a zoom zoom prop has been added – maybe the bros are doing the 2018 Rudder Cup race ????
Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 3.06.11 PM
29-09-2018 Another yard photo from Jason Prew, the guy should be working on his own boat 🙂
08-10-2018 Updated photo ex Andrew Pollard – looking very smart 😉
Fletwing Oct2018

34 thoughts on “Fleetwing

  1. Kia Ora,
    This little waka has had more owners than i,ve had hot feeds, I owned her over 30 yrs ago in the Marlb Sounds, she was a great boat and served us well.
    Remember once coming home with 70 sacks of kinas on deck, hitting the ferry wash and nearly tipping right over !! dont know her full history, but she was bought to the Sounds back in the 1930s I think, was used as a farm boat / commutor by her owner Seymour Scott who farmed in Wharehunga bay on Arapawa Island, ( He would of been the present owners grandfather, he must of owned it for 50 yrs) I think it had a morris navigator then a 4 cyl ford,
    Seymour and his son in law Jeff Manning put a brand new 353 GM in it with hydraulic box.
    It was a lovely little motor ( used to sing, but was very noisey) quick,( about 12 kts, ) at full throttle the water would run clean off the transom and it was just on the verge of planning, it frustrated me because it just needed a little more horse power to make her plan properly.
    I had it on the slip one time and old Pop Jorgeson a notorious boat builder designer was staring at her bottom, he said this boat is a freak, ( it had a concave entry that swept back to a belly like a fish and her aft sections she had a gull wing shape like the modern Pelin design.
    Pop said , I’d like to build on like it but I dont have the courage !
    It had a issue , the stern tube come thru the bottom on the inside and didnt have a stuffing box or gland to seal it, they had always just stuffed caulking around it, but you couldnt stop it leaking, so I boxed up a shaft log and sealed around the stern tube and took it up to the next frame, worked a treat.
    If the Fleetwing is returned to Auckland she has done the full circle as will be back home, good on that feller for saving her for prosperity, dont put a 6V 53 in her , it would be a nice power but the noise would drive you to despair, someone mentioned a 150 HP cummings, ideally a 200 hp volvo.
    Would love to see a photo of her up on the plane.
    A classic boat like her deserves to be saved.
    good luck and Kia Kaha,


  2. Shes a beauty, that hull is all thoroughbred. I like the addition of the racing number. Keep the updates coming.


  3. Hi Nathan,
    Not sure Re Rudder Cup…However There’s a couple her Contemporaries that might want to check they are getting full throttle……..


  4. Ahhh, and now I visit your website. Looks like she is the same beasty all right. Good on you, I am highly jealous!!


  5. Hi Ted, My memory is wrong, it was Xmas 2007/Newyears 08 I made my bid for her. I wonder if we are looking at the same Fleetwing? You have a picture of her as I bought her at that time, the third from the top in this discussion string, she is in white with a dodger, showing the port side. She was then in Picton. I heard she had been used for many years as a work boat on the mussel farms and apparently she still had a turn of speed on her then, could do 20kts without a strain. I think she may have had a Detroit diesel in her at that stage. Cant recall what she had as an engine by the time I came along. I think they were just pootling around in her by then, may have been a little Ford. A lovely boat, I will certainly follow your website.


  6. Good effort, I’ll pop in and check on your progress if you keep the site up to date 🙂 Looking fwd to watching. Are you sure you’ll be happy with 40hp?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Greg Bailey. I have no idea who put the superstructure on her, or when. What did she look like in 2010? Those other photos are in the Paremata harbour., I used to live there. I purchased her mid 2017, was parked up in a field at Kakaramea Taranaki, finally got her relocated mid November.
    Just last month I collected an engine and gearbox from Alan Craig at Craig Marine in Te Puke, removed from a similar sized launch from Lake Rotoiti.
    Just put together a basic website: https://sites.google.com/site/chuckwallyscp/fleetwing
    Email me if access is a problem.
    Ted Charlton

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Folks, I bought Fleetwing in 2010 off trademe when she was part of a divorce settlement. Although I won the bid, unfortunately a few days before the wifes solicitor had slipped it out from under the husband who was selling her, so I never got my hands on her. Who is the mug that put that awful superstructure on her, she was pretty original in 2010? How is she going?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Nath and JasonPrew.
    At this stage no facebook page of blog, but will post various stages on personal FB here:

    Re plan of attach Nath, the hull and deck are in good nick, internal is basically gutted. Will leave it’s shape as is at this stage and concentrate on the inside. Any ideas and history from anyone would be appreciated as all the info I have so far is from this site, my email address is tedcharlton@gmx.com


  10. Great, what is the plan of attack? Strip down and remove decks etc? Strip interior and rebuild as well? No doubt she like mine was, is filled with years of bad modifications ready for the bin.


  11. The boat identified as SURPRISE in the background by Gavin Pascoe is not SURPRISE, although she does occupy a mooring near by. It is in fact the Bailey and Lowe IONA. She has a different name now and was CHAMPION for a long time. She was a Taupo boat for many years, arriving at Taupo after the 1931 Napier earthquake. She is unrecognizable now, having been cut down to the belting line. As built, she was flush decker.


  12. Im pretty sure this was the boat that came up to the Bay of Islands pre WWII and trounced the local boats including our 1929 ‘Malolo’ 20′ ‘fast launch’ or the 1930s equivalent of a fizz boat. Fleetwing was much larger and seriously powered (Harold Kidd knows the story here) but in those days it seemed to be unlimited racing. We have just finished a four year restoration of ‘Malolo’ (well the The Wood Shed in Whangarei did it with a wee bit of my help!) and I will put a yarn together for Waitemata Woodies one day! She hasn’t been wet since 1946 and there will be something to celebrate when she goes in next year. Max

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Would you be so kind as to resend the item on electrolysis which I deleted in error.

    Thank you

    On 9 November 2016 at 01:04, waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden bo


  14. Her original engine was a 4 cylinder 40-55hp Van Blerck with 3 plugs per cylinder and 24v electric start. Swept volume was 570 cu in (just over 9 litres) and torque would have been eye-watering. You could only match that with a lot of modern horsepower.
    The engine cost $US1500, the price of 5 Model T Ford tourers.
    By the way she was dark green, not black, as you assume from her b&w pics.


  15. I completely agree. I won’t let her die, if necessary she can come and live in the hayshed until we get some time to give her a birthday. She’s being lifted from the water on Saturday so will post some more photos then.

    150hp would be nice, I was thinking about a nice quiet gentle 6v-53t detroit…


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