Kitty Vane Update


Back in 2015 we posted a photo of the 1956 Kitty Vane on the hard at Te Atatu Boating Club, West Auckland – she was looking very down in the dumps, then in Jan 2020 we were told she had been sold and returned to the North in late 2018. Designed and built by Ces Watson, Kitty Vane spent many years big game fishing out of Tutukaka, under the ownership of the Going family.

Then in April 2020 we did a story asking if anyone knew where KV was and hit the jackpot, lots of information and photos came in – see here We even have copies of her line drawings, sent in by Peter Watson, son of Ces Watson.

Fast forward to June 2020 and WW is contacted by her new owners – Michelle and Blair Kennard – I have reproduced Michelle’s email below

“In 2018 my partner and I found Kitty Vain on Trademe, my partner an avid fisherman and has had the life-long dream to own and restore a boat. When we saw Kitty Vane for sale we started reading about the history and fell in love, we couldn’t believe the state she was in and knew she needed rescuing.

We had her bought up on a truck and she now lives on our section under a purpose built shed in Kerikeri. We are slowly chipping away at restoring her to her former and original glory, it will be a father and son project who are both carpenters with a love for beautiful craftsmanship. 

We are hoping in the next couple of years she will have two new engines and will become our family boat along with the dream of being a ‘historical experience’ fishing charter. 

If you know of any boat history books with Kitty in could you please let me know”

Fast forward again to Jan 2021 and we are contacted by ‘Nelliefish’ (sorry that’s all I have from their email address), who sent in the rather grand photo above of Kitty Vane – do not know when or where, so only really inspiration for the Kennard’s unless me can date the photo and location.

Update: Location may be Hobsonville and 2005 – but not confirmed.

Woody Barrie Abel needs to replace the speedometer on his 1965 Seacraft – its is a 4″ diameter chrome pitot type gauge.
Barrie commented that the modern ones look out of place and what started off as a delicate procedure to assess and repair, has gone from bad to worse, and its time to abandon the current one…..
If anyone knows of someone who would consider selling one, or something similar. Email WW at
In the mine time I’ll chase Barrie for a photo of the gauge. Photo below of boat.

5 thoughts on “Kitty Vane Update

  1. After the recent screening of the television series Genius which tells the story behind Pablo Picasso, one of the 20th century’s most influential and celebrated artists, it was befitting to come across some paintings in the Whangarei Museum’s collection, of our own internationally renowned artist.

    Although not quite as famous as Picasso’s artwork, the pieces held at the museum certainly have a unique and endearing quality about them that is reminiscent of Northland and recognised by many.

    Some may identify the artist from the charter launch named after her, memorial awards honouring her name or her extreme generosity, but to most, she was recognised for her artistic ability.

    Kitty Airini Vane, born Kathleen Irene Mair in 1891, was the daughter of Captain Gilbert Mair and his wife Eleanor Katherine (nee Sperrey), herself an accomplished painter.


  2. Regarding the Sea-craft Speedometer, try Robinson Instruments at No. 13 Fleming Street Onehunga, (phone 09 636 5836)

    I have found them most helpful, and whilst their stock and trade is repairs, they also stock a mouth watering range of new period gauges (American made) that I am lead to believe the ex BOI Big Game Fishing Launch (ex Neville Fuller’s) “Miss Helen” now sports after her restoration a few years back.

    Their informative web site is;


  3. The picture of Kitty is at Orams yard, as noted on the signs, great news that she has been rescued from the Te Atatu graveyard, she along with Lady Doreen were the name boats of Northland game fishing for so many years.


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