About Alan Houghton - waitematawoodys.com founder

What is Waitemata Woodys all about? We provide a meeting point for owners and devotees of classic wooden boat. We seek to capture the growing interest in old wooden boats and to encourage and bring together all those friendly people who are interested in the preservation of classic wooden vessels for whatever reason, be it their own lifestyle, passion for old boats or just their view of the world. We encourage the exchange of knowledge about the care and restoration of these old boats, and we facilitate gatherings of classic wooden boats via working together with traditionally-minded clubs and associations. Are you a Waitemata Woody? The Waitemata Woodies blog provides a virtual meeting point for lovers of classic and traditional wooden boats.
 If you are interested in our interests and activities become a follower to this blog. The Vessels Featured The boats on display here (yes there are some yachts included, some are just to drop dead stunning to over look) require patrons, people devoted to their care and up keep, financially and emotionally . The owners of these boats understand the importance of owning, restoring and keeping a part of the golden age of Kiwi boating alive. The boats are true Kiwi treasure to be preserved and appreciated.

Scripps III > Defender



Scripps III > Defender

The above photos show Defender (ex Scripps III) pictured on March 30th 1937 at the arrival of the PanAm Sikorsky S42B flying boat arrival from San Francisco.

The photos are from Lew Redwood’s fb page & originated from the camera of Tudor Collins.

Defender at the time was owned by E H Chamberlin. She has appeared on WW before in an older photo, before the addition of the dog-house – link below


Do we know what happened to her?

Mystery Launches – 20-04-2018


Mystery Launches – 20-04-2018

The above photo has been creating some chat on Lew Redwood’s facebook page, re the name of the launch in the foreground – the name on the bow starts with ‘NAR………’, there have been some suggestions – Nareen & Narelle.

She has an unusual (I’m being polite) sheerline, so that might poke a few memories.

The location is the Whangarei Town Basin.

Nathan Herbert is interested in the identity of the launch on the far bank.

So woodys – are we able to ID either or both of these woodys?



Looking For A Set Of Portholes?

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Looking For A Set Of Portholes?

This poor old girl is listed on trademe, & the vendor is very honest & upfront – suitable for parts only. So if you are looking for some pot-holes – check her out.

Sadly, the removal & disposal costs will possibly rule that out – but you never know, there might be something else worth saving. Located in South Auckland & a deceased estate.

Its listed on tme as ‘30ft Kauri Strip Plank Launch’. Thanx to Ian McDonald for the listing heads-up

Anyone able to shed some light on her name – would be nice to record that she is deceased.


Seabee > Quality Afloat



I have been contacted by Grant Rendell concerning the launch Seabee, that his grandfather Redge Renall owned many years ago & kept her moored at Te Atatu (as per above photo).

Post WW2, Redge had a farm in Waimauku, West Auckland & later retired to Henderson & was a past Commodore at the Te Atatu boating club.

In conversations with his father, Grant has discovered that Seabee was a Chris Craft imported into New Zealand in the 1940’s. Grant’s grandfather bought Seabee off Brian Eastman c.1946 / 1947.

At the time it was powered by two flathead Mercury V8’s. Redge installed a Red Wing 6 cyl. engine a few years later. This followed an incent where Redge lit his pipe while collecting scallops on the Manukau Harbour, the lighter flame blew a hole in the side of Seabee, they got her going with mattresses etc. plugging the hole up and beached her. Post this Redge also extended it from 26’ to 32’6” and later installed two Perkins PM6’s. One engine faced forward & one backwards to run the left hand pitch 22” prop. Rumour has it he never smoked again!

Grant’s uncle Tony Subritzky bought her in the 1990’s & renamed her Quality Afloat, he sold her to someone named Smith, who was using Seabee around Kawau Island area when one of the rubber couplings let go & the driveshaft put a hole in the bottom & nearly sank Seabee. This is the last that Grant heard of Seabee.

So woodys – do we know what became of Seabee, is she still around & if so where?

Update – Have just been sent the press clippings below, from Grants parents,  that confirm the explosion incident:

From The Waiuku News (and Franklin County Gazette)  dated Tuesday, October 1949 –reads as follows – EXPLOSION ON LAUNCH – Petrol Fumes ignite – Occupants Lucky Escape –  The occupants of Mr Renall’s, Waiuku launch had a miraculous escape on Saturday when petrol fumes inside the cabin exploded. The cabin top was lifted clean off, a crack opened round the hull about waterline, while the force of the explosion expanded the hull. The boat caught fire but the flames were extinguished before the outbreak got out of control. Accompanying Mr Renall were his wife and some members of the family. Some of them were inside the cabin at the time and it would appear that it was only an act of Providence that they were able to stand the force of such a violent explosion and escape with their lives. As it was, they were burnt about the legs and suffered from shock. A well appointed, 28 foot launch with 2 cabins and cockpit, Mr Renall had just completed refitting the vessel and preparing it for the summer. Saturday’s trip was the first of the season. Mr Renall had intended to go scalloping and the boat was run into shallow water on the banks between Awhitu and Grahams Beach. Going high and dry the launch canted over, and it is thought that while lying on its side, perhaps some petrol may have leaked out to cause the fumes. Later, on entering the cabin Mr Renall struck a match to light his pipe when the explosion occurred. The cabin was blown off and those on board jumped over the side. The flames were attacked with a a fire extinguisher and sea water. Fishermen in the vicinity also went to their assistance, one party being attracted by the big puff of black smoke issued from the boat. The launch was roughly caulked with kapok where it  had cracked around the hull, and taken into tow by Mr F. Smith, but Mr Renall got the engine running to proceed home under its own power. 

Unfortunately this clipping was not dated –  Another article in The Waiuku News – reads as follows  LAUNCH SHIFTED – After months of work spent in lengthening and rebuilding, Mr R Renall’s well appointed launch was shifted from the site between Mr Renall’s Garage (Renall Motors) and the Town Board’s office on Thursday afternoon. The boat was taken by trailer to be launched at Westhaven. The loading operations attracted a good gallery of spectators. The vessel suffered extensive damage some months ago when an explosion occurred while on the Manukau. Mr Renall then brought it to Waiuku to be repaired. An extra six feet was added to the boat making it a total length of over 30 feet –


Classic Steam Launches







Two Saturdays ago I mooched down to the Salthouse Yard (ex?) / Greenhithe Wharf to catch up with the crew from the Auckland Steam Engine Society gathering. Primary reason for attending was to see the new steam launch – Kotare, which unfortunately was a no show, rumour was he experienced a mechanical oops on-route (update – arrived later in the day, after my departure). The morning was still a winner with 4 steamers present. I have said it before, but I could own one of these, I’m a closet pyromaniac – so fire & classic boats, it’s a win / win.

We had – Tui, Janice Helen & Victoria present + one with one name.

Enjoy the photos – here is a WW link to some photos & details on SL Kotare  https://waitematawoodys.com/2018/03/23/ss-kotare/

The Potae on the gent below, was always going to go for a swim – I lost count of the saves. It sank but floated below the surface long enough to be rescued 🙂





Southern Work Boats at the Catlins



Southern Work Boats – at the Catlins

Fiona Driver & Rod Marler were recently down south, very down south – The Catlins (situated between Dunedin & Invercargill) & as you do, they dropped into the Kaka Point pub to re-hydrate. The photos above were taken from prints on the hotel wall, they tell the story of a proud past. Very wild section of our coast & I suspect as were the blokes that worked it.

I wonder if any of the boats are still around today?

The photo below from the same pub, caught Rod’s eye, shows a surf comp at Kaka Point beach mid 1960’s – none of the locals they asked could remember the exact date but the collection of cars gives it away.