After a long career earning her keep across multiple owners in and around the Waitemata Harbour, the ex work-boat Phyllis has been up north in the Bay of Islands in recent years. Sadly her owner pasted away and his 3 daughters inherited the boat. 

I’m sure that the likes of Russell Ward and Baden Pascoe will be able to enlighten us further on the vessel. What we do know is that she was built by Harvey and Lang c.1913 and was up until recently (2013) the oldest working tug boat still in survey.

Woody John Wright and cohorts have taken over Phyllis and last week steamed her down from the B.O.I. to Auckland on one engine – took 23 hours, and with only on board.

Already she has been hauled out at the Te Atatu Boating Club and been given a freshen up.

Call For Help – Phyllis has one dud engine, so the guys are looking out for a Ford 120hp – so if you have one in the basement / under the bench etc – Phyllis would be a very good home for it 🙂


INPUT EX CAMERON POLLARD – photos below from her Auckland working days for Blue Boats etc

Sad video below of the 162’ schooner Eleonora E being hit by a commercial ship – she later sank. Happened in the Port of Tarragona, the offshore supply vessel – ‘Punta Mayor’ had an issue with being locked in reverse and t-boned the Eleonora E.

10 thoughts on “Phyllis

  1. Jack Butcher had her for a couple of years towing the fuel barge up to Paeroa before getting in to road transport, the barge was a former scow Kitty Frazer maybe. Late 40’s


  2. Hi all. I know the family of her owners back when she was plying Whangarei Heads early early days. They would love to make contact with the current owner if possible. Feel free to contact me. Thanks Paul 027 6460 259.


  3. I have a Ford 120 Hp available, Bought it a couple of years ago through Jason Prew.
    On a pallet in Wellington


  4. Ropes removed the old VRO Ruston engine and installed the twin Ford’s.This was about the same time as “Curlew” got the twin screw treatment.


  5. Jimmy Thompson had Saga around 1997/98, I remember she was white at the time and the first workboat I had driven, good to see her still afloat.


  6. Saga! Thank you Graeme -was wracking what’s left of my brain to remember that. I think Ropes had her ashore on the Viaduct in the ?’70s and did a big number on her- I remember a lot of woodwork going on round the tailshafts -was she single screw in living memory? Good that she will live to work again -well done those men!


  7. Pirates fords are ancient 590 series 90hp.
    There are numerous d series fords available if you look hard enough and pay the correct money.🤣🤣🤣.
    We did a head of work on for Dave on Phyllis over the years. She’s a great old girl. She was known around the waterfront under a slightly different tounge n cheek version of her name. Pretty easy to figure it out🥸


  8. Rope shipping had phyllis as a tug to tow a barge on the Gt Barrier run and at that stage she had Mickey Mouse painted on her funnel, then Harry Julian ( Blue Boats ) bought her and renamed her ” Saga” when i worked on her, ( painted red) not sure wether Jimmy Thompson had her for a short time, But Dave Skyme bought her to do Marina work at BOI. she is a magnificent sea boat.thats when she must of been renamed Phyllis.she has a long history of work around the Gulf. if i had the money i too would have liked to of bought her and have her restored.



    Already sold, we explored this avenue a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for the suggestion. Alan H


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