Sixty Six Wooden Launches Assemble Off Westhaven

Sixty Six Wooden Launches Assemble Off Westhaven

In early 1961 Auckland hosted the British Medical Association conference, with attendees from all over the Commonwealth attending. Included in the conference was a ‘break’ day where the delegates and wives were taken on a picnic to Motuihe Island.

In the photo above we see the launches that were transporting everyone to the island, assembling off Westhaven. At the time it was one of the biggest organised gatherings of pleasure craft seen in New Zealand with over 66  laid on.The weather gods smiled on the day and Arnold Baldwin’s launch – Valsan was the convoy flagship.

There are a lot of woodys in the photo that still grace the Waitemata today. The photo and details come to us from the April 1961 Sea Spray magazine via Angus Rogers.

7 thoughts on “Sixty Six Wooden Launches Assemble Off Westhaven

  1. Hi Ken, thanks for your reply. Good to see that the old girl was present. So much history! We are keen to gather more photographic evidence of her past life to put in an album.

    The engine’s oil sump has rusted through so she is on the hard while we have that repaired. There is plenty more needing to be done as well.

    Cheers, Grant.


  2. To answer the query from Grant — Have had a look enlarged by my magnifying glass & WAINUNU, in my view, is the boat at the top of the images on the LH side, with her bow partly out of the image also Clive & Phil power knew Arnold B well as he was a flag officer of the RAYC for years.
    I recall seeing them there at the event. It was simply something that Clive would have had quite a big input in, I would expect, because of his association with the RAYC. & the fact that he was a really great event organizer.

    BTW., have picked up on APACHE, (Harold Parkinson), from the images as well, ,now — KEN R


  3. Just Picked upon the APACHE, LADY SANDRA,& SOBRINE (Gordon Mace), which I had missed on my initial scouring of the images — KEN R


  4. There is a thorough record of these boats taken in high-res on their way to Motuihe. Probably taken from a plane, they are named something like “BMA Picnic day to Motuihe 1961”. Can anyone remind me where I found them? I only have a photo of Rakanoa saved.


  5. Hi, as the current owner of Phyllis M I am keen to know from Ken Ricketts, if possible, where she is located in those photos. She was of course named Wainunu in those days and is the third boat mentioned by Ken. I was unable to spot her myself.
    Regards, Grant.


  6. I have decided to try & do a list of all the boats I know & can recall, which from all those years ago I am certain or am very confident, were a part of this “great day out.” Obviously after all these years this is very E & OE

    Naturally, I do not recall, or even know, all 66, but will do the best I can, with owners of the day’s names, where known, or recalled & hopefully others will be able to add to this list.

    Some of these I have been able to identify from the images in the post, in addition to my own recall & are as below;

    VALSAN (Arnold Baldwin), REIHIA (Bill Ryan), WAINUNU (Clive Power), VOYAGEUR (Jack Lewis), ROYAL FALCON (Jack Wrightson), GAY DAWN (Ralph Ricketts), HUKARERE (Les Ravenhall), TIROMOANA (Henry Allen) AURORA (Colin Stewart), ALCYONE (Aubrey Webster), MENAI (Clive Menzies) RUAMANO (Jim Luke), RAKANOA (Parker family), LADY EILEEN (Gordon Hunter), LADY GAY (Joe Wilson) LADY MARGARET (by Dick Lang) (Ted Clarke). LADY NORMA (EX WANDA II) (Gordon Cole), LADY CROSSLEY (Sanders), Manuroa (Len Swan), SAFARI (Karl Kasper), GALA LASS (Tony Hurt) & /or LADY RAE (Ken Simpson) – (identical sisterships), CONNIE V (Valentine family), NGARO (Laurie Woods), RAIONA (Secombe), MANANUI (Percy Colebrook), AMAKURA (Les Webber) ORARI II (Harry Julian) ISLE OF ARAN (Dr Douglas Guthrie), MATANUI (Joe Kissin) LADY CLAIRE (Stan Headland) — (Query RANUI & LUANA?)

    There was a section of the fleet that originated in the Tamaki River Half Moon Bay area, & they joined up with the main flotilla off St. Heliers Bay — KEN R


  7. I was with my parents on their GAY DAWN & about 6 specialist English medical practitioners, & I’m sure it is a day none of us, both owners & crew, & visitors who were there, will ever forget.

    It was JUST AMAZING, & Arnold B did a wonderful job, of putting it all together. it really was a great sight going down the harbour.

    One special little hilarity of the day was that a local brewery supplied copious quantities of their product to all of the boats, specially labeled for the occasion, unusual at hat time, (at least to me,) & containing the very important words in very large letters, which where in the form of the following instructions, “TO BE OPENED ONLY UNDER MEDICAL SUPERVISION,” which of course we all zealously adhered to.



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