Shemara + Laughing Lady in the spotlight

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SHEMARA

The photo above shows the ketch Shemara being launched in Wellington 0n the 9th August 1958, it looks a very miserable day – the wee girl I’m sure would rather be elsewhere. Photo ex Lew Redwood > fb.

Do we know what became of Shemara?

Input below from Gavin Pascoe

I own Sherama. She’s moored at Clyde Quay Wellington. 23′ LOA but feels more like 26 or 28′. She was Roydon Thomas’s first design. Built by Frank Ballinger. That’s him with his two sons Peter and Trevor, who are both still active boating in Wellington. She’s an awesome boat, Australian hardwood to the waterline, Alaskan cedar above. There’s footage of her being hauled up to Grafton Road prior to her launching (plus other cool footage) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hSB9RWMMlw&t=29s. Many, many stories go with both the boat and Roydon Thomas. Stories of Roydon Thomas’ exploits are legion. Some clean ones may be read here: https://thomasfamilyhistorynz.wordpress.com/

Shemara was never ketch rigged. People would call her a sloop as she carries one main and one jib at a time. However her mast is stepped quite well aft in comparison with most sloops, and therefore strictly speaking is more accurately described as a cutter. Though I’m no expert in the finer points of these matters: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155263975080674&set=pcb.10155263977035674&type=3&theater and https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155191194915674&set=pcb.10155191195575674&type=3&theater

And speaking of miserable days – the November 1963 photo below of the Oriental Bay boat harbour in Wellington, is proof of why they build such sturdy vessels so down there 🙂

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Not often a classic woody graces the cover of a NZ boating mag

When you are out & about, pick up a copy of the May issue of Boating NZ, they feature Laughing Lady, post launching at the Mahurangi Regatta. Great story & photos. You can see / read about her restoration > launching at the link below (lots of links to stories). There is also a feature on my boat builder friend, Geoff Bagnall, another great reason to grab a copy 😉

https://waitematawoodys.com/2018/01/15/32060/

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11 thoughts on “Shemara + Laughing Lady in the spotlight

  1. yes – Shemara is reasonably nippy. with a waterline of about 19ft she gets to and stays over 5 knots very easily, and usually knocks around 6 on the wind when I’m concentrating – even in very light air. She’s also very well balanced on the helm – I can go forward, change a headsail, stop off for a cuppa on the way back without having to worry too much about her stalling or bearing away too much. I’ve just done a lot of work on her hull, got a new main by Bud Nalder and sometimes I swear it feels like she’s dancing.

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  2. Russell, “Marco Polo” was indeed ketch rigged in her first incarnation. It was a rather short bermudan ketch rig, and even with the bowsprit she was under-canvassed. I remember her well drifting slowly round Queen Charlotte Sound under sail, looking very smart in her original livery of grey hull and white sheer strake, but going nowhere very fast. The second rig didn’t look as romantic or salty, but she sailed much better under it.

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  3. The sloop thing; for (weird) historical reasons, Americans are fixated on mast position when it comes to differentiating between sloops and cutters. In the English speaking world (and Australia 😉 ] it just comes down to:- one mast one headsail = sloop. One mast, two (or more) headsails = cutter. All else is practising the ancient art of hair-splitting.
    My memory of “Shemara” is that she was, and I assume still is, a slippery wee thing that sailed much faster than you’d expect

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  4. The wonderful, alas now gone, tradition of Kiwi backyard boatbuilding and the strenuous efforts to get ’em out over houses, gullies, etc are well illustrated in this film of Shemara’s coming out. Also seen the additional Kiwi tradition of one-and-all pitching in to help.

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  5. The stories of the wonderful NZ tradition, alas no more, of backyard boatbuilding and getting ’em out and over houses are legion. This film of Shemara and the also tradition of pitching in by all and sundry is one of the best.

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  6. Interesting to see at 13m a couple of pictures of my old Athol Burns cutter Marco Polo sporting a dark finished hull with white strake and ketch rigged. There was a great dispute as to whether she was ketch -Athol gave me a drawing of her rig and reckoned that shew scared her owner and the mizzen came off after the first year so this must be ’56 or so. Thanks for sharing. Good to see boating men of old and what they wore and how they behaved.

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  7. ps Shemara was never ketch rigged. People would call her a sloop as she carries one main and one jib at a time. However her mast is stepped quite well aft in comparison with most sloops, and therefore strictly speaking is more accurately described as a cutter. Though I’m no expert in the finer points of these matters: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155263975080674&set=pcb.10155263977035674&type=3&theater and https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155191194915674&set=pcb.10155191195575674&type=3&theater

    Like

  8. I own Sherama. She’s moored at Clyde Quay Wellington. 23′ LOA but feels more like 26 or 28′. She was Roydon Thomas’s first design. Built by Frank Ballinger. That’s him with his two sons Peter and Trevor, who are both still active boating in Wellington. She’s an awesome boat, Australian hardwood to the waterline, Alaskan cedar above. There’s footage of her being hauled up to Grafton Road prior to her launching (plus other cool footage) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hSB9RWMMlw&t=29s. Many, many stories go with both the boat and Roydon Thomas. Stories of Roydon Thomas’ exploits are legion. Some clean ones may be read here: https://thomasfamilyhistorynz.wordpress.com/

    Like

  9. “She Rama”?? I’m pretty sure this is actually the Royden Thomas designed sloop “Shemara”!

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