Looking For A Woody Project


Recently WW was contacted by Ron Hackett regarding a project that has had an incubation period of 64 years, its good read so I’ll let Ron tell the story. But to give you a heads up Ron is looking for a custodian to take on the project. 

BOUNTY – 34’ sail boat in frame.

“In 1958, a Kauri log was purchased by a young apprentice joiner, named Maurice Fleming. His dream was finally coming true!  He started a notebook, and carefully recorded his purchases. The log, from Waihou valley, near Kaikohe, cost 338 pounds. It was railed from there to Whau Valley, Whangarei, and that cost 24 pounds, 10 shillings. [The mill there was Parkers, and sawing the log cost 56 pounds, six shillings and sixpence, producing 5,268 super feet of first class heart kauri.

Maurice continued to work for his father as a joiner, and set up the vessel at his home, working on it as he could. The designer of the ‘Bounty’, Ken Low, was keen to help as well. Ken was a well known boat builder in Whangarei, and with his brother Ron, owned the Low Bros Boatyard in Ewing Rd. Ken had learned his trade with Bailey & Lowe in Auckland. Ron did mainly the engineering side of the business, and another brother, Norman (known as Nip), was a tug-master in New Plymouth and Auckland.

In Te Puna Inlet, Bay of Islands, there lives a vessel built by Bailey and Lowe, in 1911, ‘Waitemata’, a 55’ pilot launch for the Waitemata Harbour. The construction of the Bounty is the same as that used in Waitemata, so it’s clear that Ken designed the ‘Bounty’ to be built with the same methods he had learned at Bailey and Low – three skins on stringers, two diagonals and one fore and aft, plus a sawn bilge shelf. Ken was well known for designing well-balanced, sea-kindly boats. People who knew him had great respect for his skills in designing and building, and many considered him to be one of the best wooden boat builders this country has seen. Ken also designed the sail plan for the ‘Bounty’, as a fractional rig. He knew what would suit ‘Bounty’ best, and it has been said that the sail plan was ahead of it’s time. Ken was a perfectionist. Maurice was working under Ken’s guidance, who helped when he could. Maurice’s standards were also very high, anyone building their dream boat will understand! He wasn’t happy with the first pouring of the keel, and set about doing it a second time, and it came out perfect. The keel is about four and a half Ton. The backbone and floors are all fastened with bronze bolts, floors being 2” thick. There are two bulkheads, and a number of moulds, with the stringers let into the bulkheads, all being perfectly fair. Breast hook and quarter knees are grown pohutakawa, and the beams are fitted.

Unfortunately, Maurice had a major setback of a personal nature. He seemed to go into a depression which he never really recovered from. He hung up his tools, and all work on the ‘Bounty’ stopped. Eventually, when Maurice was ‘getting on’ and was in a retirement home, it was time to tidy up his affairs.

I bought the vessel and timber about 1997 for $27,000, fully intending to complete her, but I have had too many other projects on.

The ‘Bounty’ is a 34’ vessel, at present in frame. All of the Kauri planking milled in 1958 is available. The fore and aft planks are full length, all planking is machined, and the rabbits are all cut.There are a couple of teak planks for cabin coamings.

I feel this vessel is an important part of our history. Aspiring wooden boat builders, of whom there are currently very few, could be encouraged to study the construction and fine workmanship, and even to work on the vessel. Today it’s a rare thing to smell heart kauri in a steam box. Budding boat builders don’t have many opportunities to work on such a vessel.”

Interested parties to contact Ron at 09 4077265 or email hackettlanding@slingshot.co.nz

Job Opportunity At Auckland Boat Yard

Todays a shout out to anyone that is this person or knows someone that is – looking for a work-life change. If you have a CV you’re probably not who we are looking for 🙂

In no particular order does this sound like you –

• Good practical hands on general skills

• Not afraid to roll your sleeves up and just get the job done

• Sense of humour

• Looking for full time / part time / flexible hours

• Age open – young > old, its all about attitude

We offer – 

• Small passionate team

• Central Auckland location

• Working railway slip – one of few left in Auckland

• Wide variety of work

• Plenty of parking

INTERESTED? In the first instance email cam@slipway.co.nz

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