Blue Boats




Yesterdays story on the double ender, Lake Wanaka launch – Rangi, got Roger Guthrie thinking & he posed the question – was she once a ‘Blue Boat’ in Auckland?. Part of the fleet that serviced Rangitoto Island & other Islands – thence the name 😉

Roger sent me the above photos of the Blue Boat leaving Arran Bay Jetty, Waiheke Island – certainly looks very similar to me – interested in others thoughts?

The boat was a visitor to Arran Bay to bring down a group of elderly ladies. Some of whom were – Mrs Ellingham & Mrs Lambourne, they stayed a few weeks and always welcomed Roger & his young mates for a sing song as one of them played the piano. They stayed at the Lambourne’s house which was mentioned on the early movie of Arran Bay which Peter Stein did a very good article about on Waitemata Woodys (link below). Roger’s parents used to refer to the group as “The Old Ladies” as they were the next generation older than his parents. (note – the Lambourne house is still there)

The photos below, from the same period, show Freddy Ladd & his ‘SEABEE AIR’ aircraft at Cowes Bay Waiheke (wharf in background)

I have an amusing Freddy Ladd tale – many moons ago, I had to work between xmas & new years eve, while my mates were mooching around Great Barrier Island on a yacht, but I had a cunning plan to join them for new years eve, I would charter the SEABEE to fly me there at 5.30pm. The trip would be funded by a cargo of ice cold DB Double Brown beer cans . Remember not a lot of frigs on yachts back then. My mates had been rowing around the bay, taking orders for cold beer. Fred was a real character & we did a deal that if the beer arrived warm – I wouldn’t have to pay for the freight charges. Well we got there & no sooner had he ‘landed’ & a flotilla of dinghys were rowing out to collect their ‘cold’ beer for NYE 🙂  I was very popular that night & the boats grog fund was very flush – I can’t remember what the profit margin was but no one complained 🙂




11 thoughts on “Blue Boats

  1. Harold George and crew famously sailed ‘Victory’ to Norfolk Island in December 1928, the first Auckland yacht to do so and received much publicity on return.
    ‘Olive Rose’ at Waiheke was for sale on Trademe earlier this year. Despite added superstructure she was all original underneath.


  2. Re the George Family and the Blue Boats .Capt Geoffrey Hector George,brother to Harold, Marie and two other sisters traded as G H George & Co with the ketches Will Watch and Miena. Geoff George was the father of Hector George and younger brother Capt Alan George who was for several years a pilot with Ports of Auckland. Hector was my /our brother-in-law, being married to our sister Joan.


  3. Olive Rose was a private boat for many years at Bland Bay after leaving the Auckland ferry service. Rex Brown had a blue steel boat built by Sholten & Bris, about 40ft and I think the name was “Aquanita” you would find any of the Brown boys,Rex-Tinny-Bunty driving it Sandspit-Kawau service. The old Rangi (blue boat) went to Kawhia


  4. PS Marie George was the sister of Harold George who owned VICTORY for many years and of Hec George of the trading ketch WILL WATCH and a cousin of Bill Couldrey. Fantastic families.


  5. OLIVE ROSE in the images above was built by N.J. “Snorky” Inglis in 1925 to join his small fleet of excursion launches named after his sisters (whose lawns in Huia St., Devonport I mowed for years for one shilling a week). The Inglis fleet was acquired by the George family (Auckland Launch & Towboat Co) in 1941 to join their blue-painted fleet. Marie George ran the operation with great determination and style, a legend on the Auckland waterfront.
    The RANGI on Wanaka is a double-ender and a tiddler compared with any of the Blue Boats.


  6. Alan, what’s with the 2 shots of the blue boats. Almost had me there. Thought they were two different shots then I thought that’s a coincidence, the boy doing an early version of a selfie in both photos. But no, the image is just flipped!


  7. Don’t know anything about the Blue Boats from Auckland but way back (that’s not that far back in HDK’s time line) there was a new ferry boat on the scene for the Sandspit Kawau service skippered by Ken Brown and it was blue so was aptly named ‘the blue boat’ It was steel so was unusual in that sense also. Was there any connection there?
    Now, going back a few more years I too had experiences with the Widgeons as we called them. There were frequent visits to Kawau, I remember one coming up the beach at my grandparents place in North Harbour. Mum, my brother and I had a flight round Kawau where we took off from Mansion House. As a kid in the late 60’s this was way cool with enormous bragging rights!
    Last flight in one was taking off from Fitzroy returning from a camping trip out at Whangapoa beach in an electrical storm – a real sphincter moment! What amazing aircraft these were.


  8. Olive Rose is now privately owned and earlier this year was moored at Waiheke. Rangi
    II was built by P. Vos in 1958. I saw her at a marina berth in Picton in March this year, considerably altered with a large cabin and new wheel house.


  9. Yes the Rangi Moana ? Was a lot bigger than the southern boat. Probably Tourist air Travel in those days prior to Sea Bee air and later Mt Cook airlines


  10. Kia Orana
    Greetings from the Crooked Islands.
    I think the Blue Boat in the posting is the Olive Rose there was a Rangi in the fleet that was built
    in the 50’s I think, built by P.Vos.
    Brother Geoff would have more knowledge than I.


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