Below Photos c1977
I was recently contacted by Stuart Windross in regard to the 30′ launch Four Winds, built c.1936 by Dick Lang. At the time Stuart promised to send in a selection of photos from the 1970’s, when they owned her. I have to say I was blown over when I received the email – what an amazing history of the woody. Its a great tale – I’ll let Stuart tell it. Enjoy 🙂
My Mum and Dad and I (Shirley and Alistair – now both decesased- and Stuart Windross) owned Four Winds from 1975 to 1979. We bought it in close to sinking condition from the previous owner who we understand had a very rough trip back from Barrier and pretty much walked off her. There were dirty dishes in the sink and a healthy dose of mould on all surfaces when we purchased her. There was water up to our knees in the forward cabin. She was very close to both sinking and having water through the engine. Luckily we got to her just in time. When we towed her off her pile moorings in Panmure she left a health dust trail from nearly a metre of trailing mussels etc.
Once restored she was a lovely sea worthy vessel with its original Dick Lang – built dinghy that fitted the davits exactly. The Mk3 Ford Zodiac petrol engine (shudder) was reliable and cruised at 2000rpm at 2.5 gallons per hour. The rumble of her exhaust was fairly noisy though!.
Her layout was original except for the galley and a superb use of space (see pics) with:
- copper fuel tank across the stern
- helm to port aft at the front end of a seat/locker (with its excellent horizontal wheel well placed to rest feet on when sitting on the hatch edge). The steering worked via the vertical shaft, heavy duty rack and pinion, and two rods connected by a idler quadrant in the aft quarter.
- Galley with fridge and cooker starboard aft. Remarkable were the ‘Rovers Return’ style hand pumps that supplied water to both the sink and the handbasin forward. They delivered a pint at a time as the brass and porcelain handle was pulled to 45 degrees.
- Saloon with full length berths/seating ea side that could be converted to bunks (canvas and steel pole to support the back squab). Forward of each bunk was a cupboard/locker. The starboard one was for crockery, etc with captain’s locker underneath. The port one housed exhaust, header tank, tools, spares etc. Water tanks were under the bunks. The decorative panels around the port holes in the cabin sides were a burgundy style textured type of linoleum in a pebble motif. The squabs initially had their soft brown leather covers but need replacing due to water and mould damage.
- Engine forward centre in the saloon with tilt-up sides creating a table. The engine was a Lees Marine conversion cooled by both keel tubes and a large brass heat exchanger fed by a Jabsco sea water pump. The pulley for this was corroded away to shaft level when we got her indicating the level of the bilge water. The gearbox activated by a hefty lever at the helm was a 2:1 reduction ‘Paragon’.
- The forward cabin was separated by a sliding door forward of the engine and had full headroom for the first metre or so. It housed a double berth to port and a beautiful kauri dresser and wardrobe to starboard. The chrome fiddle rail can be seen in the pics. Under the berth were batteries, switchboard, and massive storage. A chart rack was above between the deck beams with a fascinating range of charts showing the Four Winds had travelled far afield in her heyday.
- In the bow were an anchor locker aft of which was the heads (copper funnel with outlet to starboard – no holding tanks then) and a handbasin tucked port side (again with porcelain pint pump). Flush (and deck washdown via the overhead hatch) was by a water puppy pump and hose, very effective. The windlass was powered by what I believe was a Spitfire starter motor and a massive reduction box. I recall lifting the stern well clear of the water when trying to free a stuck anchor off the Needles in Onetangi. The head/basin was closed off from the other cabins by yet another Dick Lang masterpiece, a three panel folding kauri panel door similar to that between the cockpit and saloon.
- The four large chromed ventilators (supplemented by a sliding window in the front of the tram-top, gave the vessel both good airflow and a classy look. The dodger on the rear cabintop was both a fine back rest for those topsides and great shelter from spray for the helmsman in heavier conditions. The flair on the bow was such that Four Winds was a very dry boat.
- The original mast (which took a steadying sail) and railings added to its balanced look.
For a 30 footer she offered more usable and functional space than many much larger vessels..
We sold her pending my marriage in November 1979; house purchase beckoning.
We re-discovered her in the Weiti River about five years ago. Sadly she was minus her original dodger and railings (replaced by unflattering stainless ones) and was sporting ugly square windows cut into her cabin sides in place of her aft (saloon) portholes. She then appeared on trademe for sale and last time we checked was not visible at Stillwater.
No doubt she is still around and hopefully receiving the care and use she deserves.
Incidentally my Aunt (Valmai Windross – nee Strongman and brother of Merv) took me as a child to visit the elderly Dick Lang in Palm Beach Waiheke. He also built a 12 foot dinghy for my Grandad c1956 which the family used for many years at Onetangi and Howick.
I am happy to be contacted should you have any further questions. Somewhere I have a log that covers off some of Maughan’s use of her. If that would be useful I can hunt it out.
Regards Stuart Windross
I love these old sale & purchase agreement 🙂