Rakanui >> Mona’s Isle II

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RAKANUI  >>  MONA’s ISLE II

Andrew Pollard recently sent me the above photos (ex Baden Pascoe & Russell Ward) of the 1926 motorboat Rakanui. I’m unaware of her history, which I’m sure the 2 previously mentioned woodys will supply. But I have to say – WoW what a stunning vessel.
Below is a photo of her later in life after she had been converted to a tug & named Mona’s Isle II.

Monastekopuru

Input from Russell Ward
Harold elicited that her ownership was as below (built by Bailey & Lowe):
1. W.R. Patterson (1926-1937)
2. J D Bell Ltd (1937-1939)
3. Winstones (1939+)
She had a Widdops semi diesel when new and hence the tall funnel to get the soot and smoke away. They were replaced soon after she was new. Ray Morey sent us a problem pic of her from Australia and I am hoping it will be posted because she was on a jolly with Capt Bell and passengers and we were not sure of the date or actual location in the harbour.
Superb tug and well praised by all those who served on her. When Patterson sold her to Bell pre WW2, she had to be renamed and Bell, being a Manxman, chose the name which was already in use by a Clyde ferry -hence she is the second of the name. Took us a while to fathom that one.
(Photo below taken when Bell owner her)

Input from Ray Morey
She also sported a pair of K4 Kelvins then Gardners before the Detroits which I am sure Keith Wright installed. I believe “Mona’s Isle” is the old gaelic name for The Isle of Man.

Input from Ken Rickets – Was run by the Julian family for a number of years as a tug, under ownership of Gulf Freighters Ltd, a joint Julian & Winstone company. She had 2 x 88 Hp Kelvin diesels, which they replaced with 2 x 95 hp 5 Cyl Gardners.
Input from Paul N. – In the ninetys she was owned by Sir Michael Fay and would tow a barge full of building materials from the Tamaki river down to the Merc’s. Later was sold to McManaways in the South Island and was used for towing a barge. Unfortunately the barge toppled over with the weight of two concrete trucks while loading, with the loss of two lives.

mona's isle II

Additional Input from Andrew Pollard
Julian used her extensively in the harbour bridge construction. The photos below are ex BadenPascoe / Russell Ward / Chris Robey

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Input from Robin Elliot (photo ex Russell Ward*)
In February 1945 Winstones loaned Mona’s Isle to Royal Akarana Yacht Club for use as their flagship at the club’s 50th Jubilee Regatta.
At RAYC’s centenary regatta in 1995, she was there again as flagship, now named Rakanoa and skippered by the redoubtable Peter Vandersloot who was tug-boat skipper for Sir Michael Fay.

*The photo is by Tinny Brown, who was a tug man of the times we speak of, and came to Russell via Tim Brown –a good steamer and ex Bailey’s man (hence a great craftsman). Now steaming in Whangarei with his steamer Clansman.

(Ron Trotter has advised she has been in Coromandel Harbour / wharf for the last year+)

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22 thoughts on “Rakanui >> Mona’s Isle II

  1. The marriage of Julian’s and winstones-“Gulf Freighters’ did not last very long, only a couple of years before Harry set up” Auckland Water Transport Ltd.” It was after Morry Cape rammed HMNZS Endeavour and put her on the bottom that she was rebuilt and re-engined with the Gardners. That occaision and when his B.I.L. Tojo nearly put Barbara W on the beach that he banned absolutely any sort of chair or seating in the wheelhouse

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  2. that pic of her with the barge “KIWA” is Keith Wright’s, “Whangarei Sand Co”. He sold “Alma” to Tga. Weco built Kiwa for him and he bought Mona’s Isle from Harry Julian. Later when he closed down Kiwa went to Tauranga Ports Authority and Fay’s mob bought M.I.

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  3. After The Mercury Island partnership bought her as a towboat to replace Southerly as more suited to towing barges we changed her to two rudders and wondered how they had put up with the single one for so long down south. Although we were towing pretty decent loads with the Mercury Mover beyond extreme limits all through the week, on a fairly tight schedule

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  4. Rakanui, Otago Harbour Board bought her in 1979 and worked her for about 15 years. Always looked after her. She was refastened at Miller and Tunnage during the 1980’s.

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  5. You can tell you have a biggie here, Andrew; from the barrage of posts! Harry J reckoned she was a brilliant tug and her prop wash never broke water -all towing power down there where him blong. Murray Keeble (who was crew when Fay had her) reckoned you could leave the helm, go below and get a brew on and she’d still be on course.
    Harry had a problem when she hit the old HMNZS Endeavour in Tiri strait and he never allowed a seat for the man on watch after that.
    She’s a goodie and great to see her in a real man’s hands -we’ll be watching carefully, Andrew. Kelvins I reckon or second best, Gardner 5LWs -she didn’t have room for that extra cylinder so Harry had to make do. I preferred her with the Kelvins -not so much twirling of the wheels when manoeuvring. Kelvins need 3/4 or a turn, Gardners need many turns from ahead to astern -makes you think twice about doing it or just be damned and hit it whatever it was. Kelvins looked slicker up top when the boat was working -less frenetic.

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  6. In February 1945 Winstones loaned Mona’s Isle to Royal Akarana Yacht Club for use as their flagship at the club’s 50th Jubilee Regatta.

    At RAYC’s centenary regatta in 1995, she was there again as flagship, now named Rakanoa and skippered by the redoubtable Peter Vandersloot who was tug-boat skipper for Sir Michael Fay.

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  7. Nah, Boating NZ is full of ugly boats these days. Your article, Harold, and Vinings listing in the boats for sale section are all that’s worth browsing through at the petrol station most of the time.

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  8. In the ninetys she was owned by Sir Michael Fay and would tow a barge full of building materials from the Tamaki river down to the Merc’s. Later was sold to McManaways in the South Island and was used for towing a barge. Unfortunatley the barge toppled over with the weight of two concrete trucks while loading, with the loss of two lives.

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  9. Vintagesteamer (known to the faithful as Russell Ward) got it right. Bell bought her in 1937 and changed her name to (technically) MONA’S ISLE II and that name stuck for many years through her ownership by Winstones etc.

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  10. she also sported a pair of K4 Kelvins then Gardners before the Detroits which I am sure Keith Wright installed. I believe “Mona’s Isle” is the old gaelic name for The Isle of Man.
    What say you Harold??

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  11. Alan, you really should read Boating NZ. I did a series of articles in that worthy publication on Capt. Patterson and his boats, including RAKANUI of course, not so long ago. She was built for Skip Patterson by Bailey & Lowe.
    Lovely pics of RAKANUI/MONA’S ISLE though!

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  12. Fort many years a common sight in Auckland, based alongside Capt. Cook wharf, and the Northland coast towing sand barges.
    Where is she now?

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  13. She’s MONA’S ISLE ( has an “S” on the end of her name), & was run by the Julian family for a number of years as a tug, under ownership of Gulf Freighters Ltd, a company jointly formed & owned by the Julians & Winstone Ltd & when the company was formed in 1954, she had 2 x 88 Hp Kelvin diesels, which they replaced with 2 x 95 hp 5 Cyl Gardners, notwithstanding Harry J., had wanted to use 6 cyl 114 hp version of the engines. — KEN R

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  14. Murray K will want to pitch in. Harold elicited that her ownership was
    1. W.R. Patterson (1926-1937)
    2. J D Bell Ltd (1937-1939)
    3. Winstones (1939+)
    She had a Widdops semi diesel when new and hence the tall funnel to get the soot and smoke away. They were replaced soon after she was new. Ray Morey sent us a problem pic of her from Australia and I am hoping it will be posted because she was on a jolly with Capt Bell and passengers and we were not sure of the date or actual location in the harbour.

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  15. Mona’s Isle ll. Superb tug and well praised by all those who served on her. When Patterson sold her to Bell pre WW2, she had to be renamed and Bell, being a Manxman, chose the name which was already in use by a Clyde ferry -hence she is the second of the name. Took us a while to fathom that one.

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