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.



During the week we were contacted by Graham Hunter who was seeking information on the 33’ launch – Seaflyte.  Graham was sent the above photos by an old friend, Kevin Short, who commented that the photos were taken during the Christmas of 1972, at the time she was owned by a a family named – Brown who lived in Glendowie.  

Seaflyte was berthed at Westhaven for years but they may have taken Seaflyte to Half Moon Bay when it opened. The flying bridge was added and the only access to the cabin is by the 2 sliding doors.  Kevin commented that Graeme must have taken these photos, because he is sure that is him in the photos.

We know she had 2 x 100hp Fordson engines and was built from double planked kauri to handle the Cook Straight. Both Graham and Kevin would be interested to know what became of the launch.

Corinthia – A Peek Down Below

CORINTHIA – A Peek Down Below

The launch Corinthia was built / launched in 1967 at the Shipbuilders yard in Auckland. She has made several cameo appearances on WW, link below to a 2013 story that showed her alongside the jetty at Arran Bay, Waiheke Island. It appears that the exterior has not changed much but now today thanks to a heads up from Ian McDonald re a tme listing we get to have a peek down below.

Corinthia is 45’ in length , has a beam of 14’ and draws approx. 5’. Forward motion is via a 180hp Detroit 671 that gives her a top speed of 12 knots. FEB 2015 WW LINK  https://waitematawoodys.com/corinthia-new-arran-bay-wharf/

Arizona – Where Is She + CYA Heritage Basin

ARIZONA – Where Is She

Todays photos were sent in by woody John Dawson and show the 1914, 36’ launch – Arizona. John commented that Arizona had gone into hiding after supposedly being in storage somewhere in West Auckland. The last photo may or may not be of the West Auckland location.

In her day Arizona was a fine looking craft and we would love to hear that she is still around and either awaiting a restoration or even better, its underway.

So woodys can anyone enlighten us on the status of Arizona.


Last week it was asked on WW if anyone had any news on the NZ Classic Yacht Association and the executive committees determination to negotiate with Panuku and the Maritime Museum to establish a new waterfront marina (working title Heritage Basin) in Auckland that would provide pepper-corn rental berths for selected classic yachts. We had several phone calls – overview below:

1. Panuku are extremely gun-shy of anything that might be viewed as ill-conceived given the current economic climate and reported mayoral budget priorities. More than one ‘in-the-know’ person commented “its dead in the water”.

2. Seems the CYA’s committee are at loggerheads on the venture. In recent months three committee members have resigned – the vice chair, the yacht captain and a general committee member. This follows two committee members tabling their resignation in the 2021/22 year. Interestingly a CYA member who is a stickler for governance and protocol pointed out that the empty vice chair and yacht captain roles were filled by asking two CYA members to fill the positions. They felt that given the blurred membership status on the new yacht only marina, maybe a request for nominations from the wider CYA membership would have been a more appropriate decision. Whilst we can understand why people resign, sadly it only strengthens the views of the people they were at loggerheads with e.g. their voice / vote is lost and you would have to be very naive to think that when targeting replacements you wouldn’t look for people that shared your views. Saying that we are very encouraged by the appointment of Russell Brooke as replacement vice chair.

(and for the record – all of the above has been reviewed by a friendly legal adviser, so to quoted that person – “you are on thick ice”)

UPDATE – Now I know that only a % of you regularly read the comments section on each WW story, so I have re-posted todays post from Russell Brooke below.

On many fronts I’m buoyant to read Russell’s input to the WW story – the two primary reasons being:

1. Its pleasing to receive correspondence from the CYA on the the subject of the Heritage Basin project, in recent times it has been impossible to get any factual information on the topic – so well done Mr Brooke to stepping up to the mark.

2. Russell’s comment on all matters raised are – insightful, knowledgable and sage. I will enter into 2023 with high hopes that our movement can become again what it deserves to be. I’ll keep you posted 😉

“Thanks for the vote of confidence Alan. 

A short while ago I was writing to CYA about an issue (not the heritage basin) when I realised that in a storm help was needed more than yelling from the sideline. So I volunteered. The vice chair was the empty seat, and because I had chaired CYA many years ago during a difficult phase the team felt that was where I should sit.

I would urge you to welcome Tom Bertenshaw on to the committee. You and I have spoken before about the need for the “young to fall in love with these boats” if they are to have a future. I am stoked my daughter and her partner are loving Linda. The talk of the town now is Innismara and her young crew. Just brilliant! Tom brings that voice onto the committee.

I must also say how impressed I am with the people on the current committee – experienced, diverse and levelheaded. Our chair, Richard, is a wonderful man who is working incredibly hard behind the scenes. This committee is the opposite of divided, and the ability to have respectful robust conversation is, I believe,  a sign of its ability. 

Re Heritage Basin – There are rumours flying everywhere. We can all see what is going on in Auckland. Despite all that my view is that we need to have a Heritage Basin brief ticking away or ready to go. The new committee received the draft brief yesterday and it is scheduled for discussion at the February meeting. My personal thinking though is that the next months are really busy for CYA, and if there is no urgency for the Basin we may well defer it until we have time to get the cart back behind the horse and produce a project brief that is supported by all the classic boating fraternity. Then we can seize any opportunity.

Of bigger concern to me is where are all the small yachts? A major part of the 30s to 50s yachting scene in NZ was all the small keel boats and backyard boat builders. I would love to see this fleet develop. It may be that racing is not the thing and that more “dinghy raid” type activities are better. Love to hear from skippers of these boats.

I’ve taken a bit of your page – hope it helps. Happy to catch up regularly with you for a Q &A on the forum if that helps build our Classic Boat community.” Russell Brooke

LAURA JO + Last Chance To Save A Woody

LAURA JO + Last Chance To Save A Woody

The very salty looking woody – Laura Jo was one of the craft that Dean Wright recently photographed at Havelock Marina. And that woodys is all we know – can we added more details to her history and how she came to call Havelock home.

08-12-2022 UPDATE ex David Martin –

The Laura Jo was originally the launch Laura. She was purchased in the early 90s as an ex fishing boat needing a lot of TLC by lovely couple living in Sumner. The ladies name was Jo, and the boat was re-launches as Laura Jo. Her huband was Bruce (I recall?) who passed away in the late 90s. LJ was re-built, cabin extended, and berthed in Lyttelton at that time.
I have more photos and a drg of her (I drew many of my friends Boats around that period). I will dig up all the info I have and add at a later date.

FRIDAY IS EXECUTION DAY – PARMA HAS A DATE WITH THE CRUSHER – To save her call Manheim at 09 918 0500 – the actual boat is offered up at no charge. https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/08/04/classic-launch-parma-sinks-under-harbour-bridge/

Mystery Lake Okataina Launch – Can We Now Confirm Her ID

Mystery Lake Okataina Launch – Can We Now Confirm Her ID

Back in February 2022 we ran a story, link below, on an unknown launch (2nd photo above) at an unknown location. At the time the location was ID’ed as Lake Okataina, Rotorua. The was a couple of potential ID’d on the launch from the two of the WW wise men 🙂

Harold Kidd suggested it may have been the bridgedecker – Merlin, owned by Beamish-White, that later went to Kawhia

Paul Drake was keen on her being the launch – Karina, that was in commercial service at Taupo in the 1960’s, owned by Jim Story.

Today thanks to Greg Philpott uncovering the top photo from the Archive NZ collection – taken by JG Duncan, we get a much better view of the launch, which was tagged 1951, Lake Okataina – so hopefully we can confirm her name and builder etc

Link to previous WW story https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/02/24/mystery-lake-launch-24-02-22/

Classic Wooden Boats At Havelock Marina

Classic Wooden Boats At Havelock Marina

Back in late October 2022 Dean Wright was in Blenheim attending John Gander’s significant birthday, all birthdays are significant but the ones with ‘0’s’ in them are more significant.

While down south Dean did some marina mooching and todays photo gallery comes to us from the Havelock marina. Nice to see a couple of our bigger northern woodys now safely tucked way down south – Turongo and Durville. Sad to lose them from the Waitemata but if we were keeping score I think we win more than we lose 🙂

A lot of craft unknown to WW and will probably morph into WW stories in their own right. As always click on photos to enlarge.

Trevassa – AWBF ‘Boat Folk’ Film


Another short video from our friends at the Australian Wood Boat Festival has just been released under the ‘Boat Folk’ series.

Todays one features the 1971 Tasmanian built 48′ yacht – Trevassa 

Trevassa was designed and built by noted Tasmanian boat builder – Jock Muir. They is a great tale about delivering the boat to Sydney across the Bass Straight. After many years in Sydney she was acquired by Jock’s three sons and returned home to Tasmania in 2013. Jock’s son John took over his fathers business – Muir’s Boat Yard and Trevassa is a regular sight in Hobart.

Enjoy the video , I did 🙂

Remember – the next festival is this coming February 10>13th more details here:  https://australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au

Southern Woodys at Riwaka

Southern Woodys at Riwaka

One of my southern woody spies – John Burland, has just has returned to NZ after summering over in Germany (he lives there, well at least in the northern summer).

Not long after unpacking the bags he was heading down to the Riwaka riverside marina, close to Motueka, Tasman. As the photos show the area is seriously tidal and John’s visit was at low water. 

While John commented that the photos were of the usual suspects, it always good to see what’s normally hidden.

In the photos we see Varlene getting some TLC, as an aside looking at the finish on Varlene’s rail and the tin – it looks like at last Cetol is an ok finish – used to be a horrendous orange/yellow colour, similar to what actor George Hamilton used to use as fake tan (photo below)


PARTICIPATE 🔻1982 – 42’ Lidgard – 19 knots- Sleeps >9 DETAILS BELOW  https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/07/13/participate-a-peek-down-below/

MAHANUI 🔻1977 – 42’ Atkinson – 16 knots – Sleeps > 6+ DETAILS BELOW https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/10/28/mahanui-gets-a-refit-and-is-ofs/

RANUI 🔻1948 – 48’ Lidgard – 8.5+ knots – Sleeps 5+ DETAILS BELOW https://waitematawoodys.com/2019/07/08/ranui-a-peek-down-below/

KATHERINE 🔻2013 – 39’ Robertson – 8.5 knots – Sleeps 4 DETAILS BELOW https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/06/13/katherine-a-peek-down-below/

ALLERGY 🔻1985 – 58’ Culler/Ganley – 10 knots – Sleeps 5+ DETAILS BELOW https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/10/21/allergy-aucklands-most-livable-woody/

Sorry for the overtly commercial message today, but have you seen the price of diesel lately , if I don’t sell a boat, I’ll be staying on the marina this summer ;- and we have marina berths for them (rent or buy)

For more details or to arrange a viewing – initially email – waitematawoodys@gmail.com

LINK BELOW TO VIEW MORE WOODYS 4SALE https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/10/17/buying-or-selling-a-classic-boat/

Carvel Planking – Caulking The Hull at Smithy’s Boat Shed 

Carvel Planking – Caulking The Hull at Smithy’s Boat Shed 

Have been a regular follower of Ian Smiths fb posting from the Sydney Wooden Boat School, where Ian is principal. The level of work going into the (new build) carvel-planked ranger class gaff-rigged woody he is building is amazing. The two most asked questions on WW are #1 Electro-chemical damage in wooden boats and #2 Advice on caulking a carvel planked hull. Well woodys todays WW story goes a long way to helping answer the #2 question. BUT remember as Ian says numerous times in the video “To do whatever the best shipwrights in your local area do”.

In the video Ian gives us a different look at traditional caulking from an Australian perspective and discusses the tools, materials and methods of traditionally caulking a hull with cotton and oakum. He shows how the Australian way of doing it follows the English tradition and differs from the way it’s done in the USA and Canada. The video is full of tips Ian can pass on after a long career in wooden boat building and boat building education. He also pays the seams (fills them with seam compound) using traditional linseed oil putty.

Enjoy the video and file the link away 😉