Ruamano RIP

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RUAMANO RIP

In the bundle of prints I received from Bryce Strong were the above photos of the 1925 Collings & Bell built launch – Ruamano. Sadly she was abandoned in 2000 off the West Coast of the North Island. I have not come across many colour photos of her, so published these to showcase what a fine ship she was.
Reading reports of the incident she might have been saved, it would appear that her crew were a little too hasty in climbing off her. You can read more about the incident in the first WW story link below.
 
Given the passage of time, maybe someone would like to tell us more about how she came to be abandoned.
 
 
 
 
17-07-2020 Input below from Tim Hanna
 
As I understand it the crew were in fact business associates of the owner and skipper. Supposedly they had to be in certain places at certain times to fit their business schedules and this played a part in putting pressure on to go round the top and head south in a marginal weather break. Deteriorating conditions forced the boat to head south west – out to sea – and a vicious cross sea developed. The skipper was handing his boat well and the boat was handing the conditions well but nobody else was. I believe there was no one fit to relieve the skipper on the helm and he eventually became completely exhausted. In the mean time the demands to abandon the ship became increasingly insistent and so the call was put out. Ironically all the busy chaps then had to sail off to Korea on the logging ship that took them off. The abandoning of the boat was extremely hazardous and it was apparently a wonder that nobody was injured. The boat’s brand new engines were running perfectly and the only damage was caused by running alongside the freighter. I believe a fishing boat spotted her some time later but she was by then swamped and no attempt was made to salvage her.Its a sad story and I feel for her owner as he had done an outstanding job restoring her to absolutely tip top condition.
 
08-09-2020 Update
Brian Fulton (MV Silens) sent in the photos below of Ruamano that were given to him by John Griffiths. John’s father owned her for approx. 18 years (dates unknown). They used her to get from Jack & Jill Bay to their house at Hauai Bay, on the Rawhiti Peninsula in the Bay of Islands. In the days before roads we put in.

11 thoughts on “Ruamano RIP

  1. As I understand it the crew were in fact business associates of the owner and skipper. Supposedly they had to be in certain places at certain times to fit their business schedules and this played a part in putting pressure on to go round the top and head south in a marginal weather break. Deteriorating conditions forced the boat to head south west – out to sea – and a vicious cross sea developed. The skipper was handing his boat well and the boat was handing the conditions well but nobody else was. I believe there was no one fit to relieve the skipper on the helm and he eventually became completely exhausted. In the mean time the demands to abandon the ship became increasingly insistent and so the call was put out. Ironically all the busy chaps then had to sail off to Korea on the logging ship that took them off. The abandoning of the boat was extremely hazardous and it was apparently a wonder that nobody was injured. The boat’s brand new engines were running perfectly and the only damage was caused by running alongside the freighter. I believe a fishing boat spotted her some time later but she was by then swamped and no attempt was made to salvage her.Its a sad story and I feel for her owner as he had done an outstanding job restoring her to absolutely tip top condition.

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  2. We still have Ruamano’s anchor from the circumnavigation, courtesy of Alf Court’s grandson, John Court. Hearsay at the time, through Jim Luke, a previous very proud owner, was a crew member hollering to fishing boats sheltering from the pending blow at the cape, “Get yourself a real boat”, or similar. So there may have been an element of confidence, soon to disappear.
    Very sad loss of a fine vessel, and I hope the above rumour was incorrect.

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  3. Nope. Seems I no longer have a copy of the book, but see the posting below. The price quoted seems very reasonable, speaking as a collector of nautical books and an ex-bookseller

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  4. The book is listed here for $25.00-http://www.vintagebooks.co.nz/html/nznautical_62.html.

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  5. Owning a C & B and especially one of the few thoroughbreds left 😄😄😄 can be compared to owning a Bentley turbo convertible as against owning a Lada hatchback!
    Cp.

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  6. The book is called “The Cruise of the Ruamano” by JB Johnston (from memory as told to his sons) published in 1975, and is a great recount of a time of boats and blokes now long gone, which tragically includes the boat too.

    The circumnavigation of NZ took place in the 1925 leaving Auckland on Christmas Day, with a crew of 5, with Alf Court (the owner and master), the author,, the builder Charlie Collings and two others,

    These books are as rare hens teeth and I believe fetch a good price on the second hand book market,

    I know of someone who (I think) has two of these books he may be able to be persuaded to part with one?

    I will find out and email Ronald direct, and like us all I’m sure, we look forward with great anticipation to his book on C&B – well done Ron!.

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  7. It’s interesting isn’t it that such a wonderful boat such as Ruamano was lost, yet no one has responded regarding her loss? And it’s not just this latest post from Alan inviting input from people, it has been without response ever since she was lost. I can only come to the conclusion the custodian and his crew are embarrassed at what happened and just want it all to go away?

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  8. There was a book published 30 or 40 years ago about her circumnavigation of NZ. IIRC she was lost while attempting to re-create that voyage.

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