Saga – A Peek Down Below

SAGA – A Peek Down Below

There is some debate around the provenance of the 35’ bridge deck launch – Saga, featured above, her tme listing told us she was built by Bailey in 1946 and Harold Kidd is going for built and also probably designed by a Val Maxwell. What we do know is Saga is single board, kauri, carvel construction and powered by a Perkins 145 hp turbo diesel engine. These days she calls Kerikeri, Northland home.

Any woodys able to tell us more about her past life.

08-11-2022 INPUT ex Harold Kidd

Val Maxwell was a very experienced launch man. He was a teacher at King’s College (not my school; I went to Takapuna Grammar) and retired as Deputy Principal.

In 1936 he bought the Joe Slattery launch WAINUI which had been wrecked on Rangitoto and fitted a 1918 Studebaker car engine. Just before WW2 he started building SAGA and finished her in 1950. She was bigger than Ken R remembers (refer WW comments section) at 33’x32’x10’x2’9″ and had a Leyland Cub engine as Ken R remembers.

In 1963 Val sold SAGA to A.J. (Jimmy) Osborne of Panmure. In 1969 Osborne moved north to Mangonui and took SAGA with him.

I knew Val’s son Peter for many years. He died just recently. We were both Sunbeam car owners. He had a most magnificent 1925 25hp Sunbeam tourer which I later owned. Peter of course owned for many years the 1937 Dick Lang 34 footer RESOLUTE at Devonport.

My feeling is that because Val’s SAGA is the right size and went North, she is the SAGA above; but I wouldn’t dream of being dogmatic about it.


4 thoughts on “Saga – A Peek Down Below

  1. Gulf Group Marine Brokers Ltd, was selling SAGA, in 2007. Revell Winston Douglas owned her I believe for 23 years, and lived in Whangaraoa. Then on 5/11/07 she was sold to Keith Cullen who live in Parua Bay. Keith often used his boat, staying on it three days every fortnight, even during winter. He moved up to Kerikeri where he rented a swing mooring in Opito Bay, then when that was sold, he got a pole mooring at Doves bay. He owed Saga until 11/12/2022, then sold it to me, William Arama. on the purchase and agreement form, Saga is 1947 Bridgedeckker. This is all the info I have on Saga, she is still in wonderful condition.


  2. From my memory the hull profile looks right but like Ken I recall a more rounded cabin design. I think there has been a cabin change and looking closely at the photos to me there are many aspects which do not look origanal


  3. Harold I both know the SAGA he is talking about very well & we both knew Val Maxwell who was a master at Kings College, were from recall Harold was a Pupil & I believe, from recall, he may have known Maxwell form his schooldays & he (Maxwell) built his SAGA himself & it was in the later 1940s or early 50s, & this boat does not fit the bill, although it is vaguely similar in some ways.

    Have not seen the Maxwell SAGA for about 60 years.

    The Maxwell SAGA was c29-31 feet, had no sweep in the deck until right at the cockpit dodger,& about 4 or 5 round 4/5inch portholes in the hull itself, spread along its full length, with Chrome escutcheons, & the bridgedeck was set in from the side edges of the deck a few inches, & she had a very “rounded” look, in all directions, like a really lovely little barrel perhaps, including the flare & bow, & there is no possibility of this boat being the Maxwell SAGA.

    Maxwell came to see my dad, when he was building her, as he had an identical Leyland Cub, 6 Cyl Diesel, to that which my dad had in the JULIANA, (the only other one I ever heard of in a boat ), except when dad put JULIANA’S & a mate to it he already had, in to the GAY DAWN in 1958. — He came to ask advice from my dad, (an engineer), re marinizing & fitting his engine. — KEN R


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