KINGFISHER > VENGER > AVENGER
The John Lidgard built launch – Kingfisher* was built c.1965, her owners Noel / Thora and son Gary Sparnon finished the boat off at the Lidgard shed in Glen Eden. With Noel being a cabinetmaker the fit out was to a very high standard. When launched she was 43’, with a beam of 13’6” and drew 3’6”. Her hull is 3 skins kauri with the 2 inner skins on opposite diagonals and the outer skin full length fore and aft + f/glass.
As launched she was named Avenger and kept at Te Atatu.The Sparnon family did not keep her long because by 1968, the family were living in Paihia, Bay of Islands.
Prior to Avenger there was Olympia II, also built to hull & decks stage by John Lidgard c.1962-63, with Noel S again fitting out the interior – link to previous WW story below. https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/10/15/olympia-ii-2/
Noel S also built the Avenger II after her, having bought a 42′ molded Cookson hull, onto which he added & completed all the varnished teak coamings & interior himself, at his daughter’s property in Avondale, Avenger II was later sold.
Noel S never actually kept any of his boats very long after they went in the water. Kingfisher was quite unique when launched having a fly-bridge styled in to her coamings making it visually part of the boat i.e. not appearing to be an add on or afterthought.
There are still some gaps in her ownership records, Ken Rickets has established that she was bought c.2015 off a policeman who had been living aboard her for an unknown length of time up to 2015, at Westpark Marina, by Richard & Bernadette Schofield. During their ownership they re-conditioned her Ford 120hp diesel engine and Borg Warner gearbox.
She was sold c.2018 to her present owner, then Mangonui resident Brett Walford. Now retired Brett has moved to Great Barrier Island and has the boat for sale, still based at Mangonui.
Brett W also changed her name to Kingfisher*, he commented to KR he made the change because as she cruises around 8 knots and this is an ideal trolling speed to catch kingfish.
Both of the last 2 owners have spent collectively large sums on maintenance and upgrading of the interior and equipment, hence she is in very good condition and more or less just as KR remembers her when launched. Keen to fill in any ownership gaps, in particular Noel Sparnon’s son, Garry Sparnon, who may still be in NZ and hopefully he gets to view this story and might be able to embellish it more. (Update – have been in touch with Gary Sparnon , he is still in NZ, father Noel died 3 years ago aged 96. Gary was very happy to read todays story, but has nothing to add. He will however keep a look out for any old photos. AH)
(Thanks to Richard and Bernadette Schofield, and Brett Walford and wife for providing access to the data and images and Ken Ricketts for pulling this story together – edited a lot by Alan H)
Photos below are pre March 2017
Have now established that in fact AVENGER II was indeed built around c1974, after the Sparnons had sold or leased the Paihia motel, & Avenger II, is without doubt, the boat referred to by “Luana 20,” as she was painted dark blue from new, & also had a Volvo from new. & was blue when Barry Utting owned her for a period in her earlier days, & kept her at Half Moon Bay. Have been in touch with Barry & he is sending me images in May, as he is out of town until then. — KEN R
Avenger was bought by John Ennis in 1994 immediately after selling Luana. At that time she was powered by a Volvo diesel which was not returning the economy he had become used to with Luana. I remember her as painted dark blue and white.
A little correction timewise on the Cookson hulled Avenger II. Terry Cookson only started producing these in 1972 so I would estimate launching of Avenger II would have been circa 1975 along with Tarquin, Kirribilli, Taravana and a couple of others
Thanks Alan. I have deleted the date. Alan H