FOX II (Iris Eileen)
When launched at Freemans Bay on Christmas Eve (11.55pm) 1922, Fox II was named Iris Eileen after the owners (George W.A> Elley) daughter. Designed by Charles Gouk who also supervised the build by her owner. Fox II is 48’6” on deck, with a beam of 12’6” and draws 5’.
Over the years her owners have included – Fred Arnold, Billy Silver, Lou Cahoon, O’Brian, Michael Nola and Mike Vela. She was re-named – Fox II in 1937, when Arthur Policandriotis took ownership. Story goes no one could pronounce his last name, so called him – ‘Arthur the Fox’, after his first boat.
When launched she was rigged as a ‘Gaff Cutter’ with a steel centre-board and tiller steering. The first engine installed was a 7hp steam engine from Whangaroa. She fished out of Port Charles for crayfish and would come to Auckland to then cook them, using the steam from the boiler, selling the crays at the wharf.
When the Nola Bros bought her in 1940, they fitted a new Kelvin K3 diesel. Starting the K3 was a performance – she had a petrol start with its own magneto and carburettor. The petrol pumped to each of the 3 cylinders, with a large atomiser, then it took 15 pumps in the carburettor. A hand crank was lifted over TDC, with the compression lever open. The spark plug would ignite the gasses and when the revs got up, the lever would be thrown to bring on the full compression and start running on diesel.
Fox II fished out of Auckland as AK59 with the Southern Seas Food & Export Co. She was sold to Jack Lidgard in the 1970’s, then onto Dave Skyrme and then Iain Forsyth + others. Ian Forsyth converted her back to sail. Rebuilding a new wheelhouse over the engine room. The fish hold became the main saloon and an aft cabin was also added.
Fox II is now based in Akaroa / Lytteton and takes out dolphin watching parties.
Fox II popped up on WW back in April 2018 where Barbara Cooke spotted her in Akaroa, when they were circumnavigating NZ on Trinidad. At the time the story generated a lot of comments and input from people connected to the vessel – worth a read. https://waitematawoodys.com/2018/04/13/fox-ii/
Details and photos come to us from Iain Forsyth, who these days owns the stunning 42’ Miller & Tunnage, 1961 built, ex work-boat – Meola. See and read all about Meola at the WW links below
FOX II & ZYDER ZEE skippers operated both boats as trawlers in the Hauraki Gulf, in the later 1940s to around the 1960s & were frequent users of radio telephone calling each other, often several time each day they were working, & comparing positions & catches for the day, with both gentlemen having foreign accents, possibly Dalmatian, it seemed to me. — KEN R