On Friday I was contacted by Mike Lyon regarding the 52’ yacht Tern II, built by Stow and Son, in Shoreham, UK.- back in May 2021 we ran a wonderful story on the yacht and how it ultimately to be Mike’s care. It is a great read, full of insights and photos (link below) https://waitematawoodys.com/2021/05/23/tern-ii/
I’ll let Mike share todays story with you –
“Hi there, we have a project boat that we are looking to find a new home for, her name is Tern II, and she was built in the UK in 1899, and briefly owned by Claude Worth, a well-known sailing writer of the time who included her in his book “Yacht Cruising”.
She was sailed out to New Zealand in the 1950’s by Ben Pester, a returning Naval officer who wrote about the voyage in his book “Just Sea and Sky”.
We came across her in Tonga in 2004, where she had been abandoned after a failed passage to Hawaii. I had worked as a shipwright in the UK restoring similar vessels and so we decided to take her on as a project.
We had her shipped to NZ in 2006 where we had her in storage for several years before moving her to Whangarei where she is now.
We have replaced the old elm keel with greenheart, wrought iron floors with puriri and 1″ copper keel bolts. There is a large stock of puriri for the framing and the stem and sternpost, and the deck beams.
Due to other work and life commitments, we haven’t been able to work on her for the last few years.
It’s looking like the lease for the shed where she is currently being stored is coming to an end as the whole area is earmarked for development, and so we are looking into ways to secure her future and are putting the word out there to any interested parties who would be willing to take her on.”
During the week we have been refreshing the story as more content on the vessel, her crew and the passage have been uncovered. Most of the ’spade work’ was done by Deidre Brown, the daughter of Albert (Jim) Brown who was one of the crew on the delivery voyage. In conversations with Deidre she mentioned that her father in and around the 1960’s owned a yacht and whilst the family had photos, they have no record of the boats name, design / builder etc – so today woodys we are asking if the name Jim Brown and the above photos ring any bells with you.
The woody that supplies the best intel will receive a WW t-shirt and cap – I’m feeling extra generous today 🙂
Replies either via the WW Comments section or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Back in April 2021 we had a great discussion on the Imatra – the 123 year old Stow & Sons gaff yawl racing yacht that sailed from the UK to NZ back in 1949 and sadly these days is berthed in the Tamaki River, Auckland and in rather poor condition. There was first-rate input from numerous woodys – link below to that story
Fast forward to last week and Deidre Brown ‘discovered’ the WW site will doing a google search and today we get a wonderful insight into the early life of the yacht and how it ended up down under. I’ll let Deidre tell the story. Enjoy 🙂
“My father Albert (Jim) Brown (b. 1922) was one of the crew of the Imatra that sailed her to New Zealand. Jim had seen the Imatra at Plymouth as he prepared to leave England as crew, with his fiend Ben, onboard the Palmosa in 1948. Both yachts were sailing to Barbados. Jim and Ben left the Palmosa at Barbados and were hired by Captain Nelson as crew for the Imatra to sail her to New Zealand (a two month journey). The following transcript is an excerpt from oral history interview I undertook with my father, Jim, about the Imatra for a school project in 1986. The square brackets are my additions:
‘Captain Nelson was in his 70s. He’d been a merchant seaman captain; he had spent most of his sailing years travelling between East Africa and India, the sort of tropical seamanship where the mate did all the work, and the captain just did his hobbies in the cabin. He was a nice, easy going, old bloke. He had originally come from New Zealand and was intent on going back there. Why? I don’t know. He didn’t seem to know either. I don’t know why he didn’t just sell the yacht and fly across. Two of his crew had left and the third was in hospital with an appendicitis and he didn’t know what he was going to do for crew, so we told him he had some crew … us! He said he needed a cook and we said we’d provide him with a cook because the naval captain [of the Palmosa] was intent on keeping his cook and we thought that he didn’t deserve him. Just to seal the deal the captain gave Ben not a packet, but a whole carton of cigarettes, which made Ben his slave for life, I think. He had tons of whisky and beer on board, which looked very good to us. In all respects, she was a very well-found ship. She was a bit rough-looking after the naval captain’s yacht, which was very smooth. But this one was an old one. Racers used to race ships back in the Irish Sea in the 1880s. This one had been owned by an old lady [Cecilia Mackenzie], I believe. She had originally been a racing yacht with one very long mast, which had been shortened a bit, and a second mast put in and made into a ketch. She was slow, but she was also very stiff and steady, and I don’t think she could ever sink. Beautiful ship inside; all panelled in Bird’s Eye Maple. We got the cook, and we went on board and this other chap came out of hospital. We all set off and we went through the Panama Canal, down to Tahiti, and down to New Zealand. The conditions were very good. We were plagued with a lack of wind rather than too much of it. The only storm we saw was one when we were getting to New Zealand, when we were hit by it. It nearly blew us all the way back to Tahiti…. [We arrived in Auckland on] 1 April 1949…. We stayed on the yacht [Imatra] and we moved from the Ferry Building around to Bailey’s ship building yards in Herne Bay. Or was it Freeman’s Bay? We were put on a berth there. While we were there Sir Ernest Davis, who used to be the Mayor of Auckland at one time and owned one of the local breweries, came down and he liked the look of the yacht because it was old. He was an oldish man and he liked things old. It also reminded him of his previous yacht, which he had given over to the navy during the War. It got wrecked. He bought the yacht and Ben and I looked after it for several weeks and lived on board until Ernie Davis decided it was time for him to do a bit of sailing and for us to go. So we had to come ashore and go boarding. We were very sad to leave her.’
I have dad’s interior and exterior photographs (refer above) of the Imatra in 1949. He always talked of his time sailing the Imatra as some of his happiest and talked often of her elegance and Captain Nelson’s kindness.”
The photos were taken on Jim’s 1940s camera and Deidre rediscovered the negatives in 2007 and had them digitised. While not all perfectly sharp but they show us life aboard as she was then, rigged as a a ketch. There is one good view of half the deck, taken by Jim up the mast with his camera. Deidre has found her father’s friend’s full name, who was also crew on the Imatra between Barbados and Auckland, he was – Albert (Ben) Widdall. Deidre commented that Jim couldn’t remember who the old man and the boy was in the group shot, which is the sharpest picture showing the timber wall linings, Jim is second from left and Ben is first on the right. Deidre can’t find any more information on Captain Nelson, although we have a photo (below) that Jim took of him.
21-07-2022 NEW INPUT ex Deidre Brown
Deidre has sent in the below articles (x7) that she found on ‘Papers Past’
The purchase of the 72ft English built ketch Imatra by a former Mayor of Auckland, Sir Ernest Davis, has prompted a young Englishman now working in Wellington to tell the story of how the yacht was sailed 13,000 miles to New Zealand.
Eight people, including a woman, made the trip, eight people who had decided that they had to reach New Zealand somehow. Captain J. Nelson, the vessel’s owner and a retired master mariner, was Greytown-bom and intended visiting New Zealand to see relatives. Mr Malcolm Hector, now of Wellington, joined the vessel in reply to an advertisement, and as soon as the ketch was at sea found himself with the cook’s job. The woman member of the company, Mrs R. Godsall, had intended to do the cooking, but became too ill through seasickness to carry on with it.
“I just tied the pots and pans on the stove and hoped for the best,” he said of his culinary efforts. “In all the eight months we took on the trip, only on one day did we. have cold meals because of really heavy seas.”
In that eight months they had experienced Atlantic storms, including the tail-end of a hurricane, a storm in the Caribbean in which a hole was torn in the side after the mainsail boom gybed and caught the yacht’s only dinghy, which was lost, and a spell of severe bad weather which sent the yacht back on her course twice after leaving Tahiti. Incidentally,’ Mr Hector’s cooking was no process of trial and error or proficiency picked up at short notice. He had cooked for his English home, and had acquired knowledge of invalid cookery during his wartime job of male nurse in the Merchant Navy.
Press, Volume LXXXIV, Issue 25670, 6 December 1948, Page 8
Yacht Leaves for N.Z.— The 70-foot yacht Imatra, with the owner, Captain Nelson, a retired Royal Navy officer, and a crew of six paying passengers. left England for Auckland on August 18. according to private advice received to-day. Captain Nelson is a New Zealander. He will probably call at a southern Rhodesian port for his wife and daughter, who are visiting there.— (P.A.)
Press, Volume LXXXV, Issue 25776, 11 April 1949, Page 8 (also reported in the Gisborne Herald, Otago Daily Times, Wanganui Chronicle, Ashburton Guardian)
Yacht Changes Hands.—The 72ft ketch Imatra, which recently arrived in Auckland after an eight-months trip from England, has been bought by Sir Ernest Davis from Captain John Nelson. The Imatra will be the largest privately-owned yacht in the Auckland fleet. She will soon be hauled on to the special slip, surveyed, and probably altered. The Imatra was built in 1898 at Shoreham for a German yachtsman. Captain Nelson bought her in 1946.—(P.A.)
Press, Volume XCV, Issue 28206, 19 February 1957, Page 10
Sir Ernest Davis, one of the oldest yachtsmen in Auckland, celebrated his 85th birthday last Sunday at the helm of his A-class keeler Imatra. A former Mayor of Auckland and a noted benefactor of the city, he has been yachting on the Waitemata for 72 years and has been a member of yacht clubs for 70 years. Sir Ernest Davis is a former owner of the Morewa which he gave to the defence authorities during the Second World War. He also owned the famous Viking, which now belongs to Mr Brian Todd, of Wellington, and sails on the Wellington harbour.
Press, Volume XCVIII, Issue 28824, 19 February 1959, Page 14
AUCKLAND, February 18. Sir Ernest Davis, the veteran Auckland yachtsman, has given himself a birthday present of a 72-foot twin-screw ocean-going diesel yacht. It was Sir Ernest’s 87th birthday yesterday. He sold his sailing yacht, Imatra, three months ago  after more than 70 years of sailing. During that time he owned other well-known yachts, including the Matangi, Viking and Moerewa….
THREE YACHTS TO SAIL FROM AUCKLAND TO UNITED STATES
It is expected that three yachts, the 38ft. ketch Faith, the 36ft. ketch Galatea and the 38ft. sloop Trade Winds, will leave from Auckland for the United States in the near future. Each will carry a crew of three men. Mr. A. Rusden, of Auckland, owner and skipper, will be in charge of Faith, which has a beam of lift. 6in. and a draught of 6ft. She is Marconi rigged and is fitted with a wireless transmitter and receiver and an auxiliary engine. Mr. Rusden hopes to sail in the first week in May. The other two members of the crew will be Captain J. C. Pottinger, who arrived recently from England in the ketch Imatra, and Mr. P. Samuels, of Auckland….
Press, Volume XCVIII, Issue 29022, 10 October 1959, Page 15
Captain John Nelson, who died at Timaru this week, was born at Greymouth. He was a son of Mr Charles Nelson, one of Wairarapa’s early settlers. Captain Nelson, who was 79, went to sea in 1897 as a boy on a trial trip from Wellington to England. Leaving the barque, he joined J. D. Clink and Company, Greenock, Scotland, as an apprentice, serving for more than four years. He then joined the cable-layer, Colonia, laying cable from Manila to Guam and Midway. For the next 10 years he served in five sailing ships. In 1908 he joined the Burma Oil Company and was third mate on one of the company’s tankers. He was captain from 1912 until 1939, when he was promoted to acting-superintendent of the company, with headquarters at Rangoon. He retired- in 1939 and went to England. At the outbreak of the Second World War he became a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, trained sea cadets in the Isle of Man, and commanded small vessels round the English coast. Captain Nelson, in 1948, obtained the Imatra, a ketch, which he sailed to New Zealand with a crew of four. The 30-ton ketch took about six months to come out, though it was at sea for only 130 days. Captain Nelson’s wife is in Rhodesia.
Regular visitors to this site will be familiar with my enthusiasm for the uber cool website – offcenterharbor.com (screen grab above), last year the crew behind OCH during CV-19 lock down pulled together a world first, an online virtual woody boat show and today I can advise that its on again in 2022. With a slight twist – this year access is complimentary thanks to the generosity of the OCH founders. Details below
And because I couldn’t not give you a woody treat today – check out this link to a great OCH video, it is one of my favorite videos, I’d be a little embarrassed if I told you how many times I’ve watched it 🙂 Its titled ‘Live Well: The Cruising Smack STORM BAY with Tim Phillips‘
The Show is a completely online event from February 18th-27th, which means you can enjoy this gathering of the world’s best classic boats from wherever you are (without leaving the comfort of your favorite chair).
MAHURANGI REGATTA 2019 – The biggest & best classic wooden boat regatta in NZ – 90+ photos
SATURDAY – REGATTA DAY
SATURDAY NIGHT AT SCOTTS LANDING
MAHURANGI REGATTA 2019 – The biggest & best classic wooden boat regatta in NZ – 90+ photos
WoW what a woody weekend – simply stunning on all fronts – sun > wind > location > people & of course the boats. On my estimate, the biggest turnout of classic wooden craft ever. Record numbers for Saturday mornings launch parade.
I’ll go out on a limb & repeat a comment made to me on the deck of Lidgard House, Kawau Island on Sunday night by one of our most prominent & influential classic wooden boat people – “Mahurangi is the real Auckland Anniversary Weekend Regatta” & after cruising back into Auckland today, & not seeing a lot of yachts, I would have to agree.
On Saturday between Jason Prew on My Girl & myself with Raindance we hosted three of the wooden boating world’s superstars – if you read or follow the WoodenBoat magazine, Classic Boat & the hottest property on the block – the vblog, https://www.offcenterharbor.com
then the names Maynard Bray, Benjamin Mendlowitz & Steve Stone will be very familiar to you. These gents were motored around the harbour & very selectively photographed / filmed our beautiful woodys. When I mentioned that I had cancelled my trip to next months Hobart Wooden Boat Festival, one commented “why would you go – it’s all here” & woodys – it was.
I have never attempted to understand the ‘politics’ / issues between the Mahurangi Cruising Club & The Friends of Mahurangi people – but between them they turn on a wonderful day, that equals anything on the world classic wooden boat calendar. As with anything, a few wee niggles e.g. crap PA sound system at the beach prize giving meant most people didn’t know the results – but I can tell you that Tony Blake & the crew on Thelma gave all the other A division skippers as master class in regatta sailing. It was wonderful to see the big 5 Arch Logan yachts – Thelma (1897), Rainbow (1898), Ariki (1904), Rawhiti (1905) & Rawene (1908) all on the same race track together, for the first time ever (I think I’m right – Harold?) The results were:
Thelma, followed by Rawhiti, followed by Ariki, then Rainbow & Rawene.
As a result of playing driver for the overseas crew – I’m a little light on sailing photos, but you can see from the gallery above that it was a special day.
Well done MCC and F. of M. for another magic weekend.
If anyone else had the camera out & captured some goodies, email them to email@example.com
We bailed out of Mahurangi on Sunday morning & headed to Kawau Island for some family R&R – photos below.
Question – what do you do when there is no shotgun to signal sunset & the lowering of the burgee? – well a few lads decided to bang some pots together, then drop the flags at Lidgard House – me thinks there might be a letter in the mail to certain members 🙂
A WEE BIT OF PR GOING ON HERE – WW T’s & OFF CENTER HARBOUR CAPS 🙂
THERE ALWAYS HAS TO BE A FOOD SHOT – KAWAU BOATING LUB, DINNER SUNDAY NIGHT.
Check out the video below of Rawhiti – sent in from Benjamin Mendlowitz from Off Center Harbour
Rather a special afternoon yesterday, got to have a sneak peek at Rogue, the 1892 Chas Bailey Jnr. built gaffer. She slipped out of Wayne Olsen’s shed and headed to the Pier 21 yard at Westhaven, with the intention being to step the mast and do a quick waterline sighting before hauling out for the final coats of paint and commissioning.
As seems to always be the case with woodys – things took a little longer than expected and she missed her launch slot – that will now be today. Rogue was last in the water 15 years ago and is without equal in terms of the total restoration – every object aboard Rogue is 100% fit for purpose and of the highest spec. As an admirer of attention to detail I was blown away. The day was about stepping back and seeing her outside of the shed after all those years, we will be back to showcase the finished project.
And just because you’re 130 years old doesn’t mean you can not have a few toys – check out the wind vane below, solar powered, wireless connection to your iPhone 🙂
18-03-2022 UPDATE – On 15-03-22 Rogue was popped back in the water with 750kgs more ballast added. Floating perfectly to her lines – owner very happy. A few last chores and she will be out there chasing down a few of the A-Class fleet 🙂
Our friends at Off Center Harbor captured some of the magic of Maine’s incredible schooner fleet as they finish their season with a final gathering to enjoy food, music, and a chance to sail in company. Make yourself a cup of something hot, head to your favourite chair and enjoy 5 minutes of Brooklin’s finest eye candy (turn your sound on).
Next week we will be telling you about a cool offer from the OCH team, the perfect Xmas treat to yourself or if you’re brave your partner 🙂
WAITEMATAWOODY CREW GEAR – sent a large chunk of yesterday packing up waitematawoodys crew gear orders – so keep an eye on the letterbox this week. Still have some stock, but low on the popular sizes. Order at this link https://waitematawoodys.com/2021/11/11/58095/
Very Cool Row Boat – I get asked to help re-home a lot of woody items – the 20’ kauri row boat, possibly built in the 1890’s in Nelson (photos below) was one recent item – very pleased to say that the owner has confirmed she is now in safe hands. If I had had the space, it would have been in my hands 🙂
HOW MANY MORE SUMMERS WILL YOU LET SLIP BY WITHOUT A BOAT………
Waitematawoodys has a sister – its called the Wooden Boat Bureau and we sell classic wooden boats – launches, yachts, big and small. We like to fly under the radar, as do most of our clients. Someone asked me what I did the other day – below sums it up (sounds a bit fluffy, in reality I just sell boats.
Inform and enthuse interest in the joys of owning and sailing traditional and classic wooden boats. And we do this by promoting partnerships between the boats, the sellers and the buyers, for the benefit of all. At the end of the day – its all about the boats, as most will out live their current owners.
We tend to think that classic pond yacht racing was an Auckland gig, but the gallery of photos above, ex Helen Harris fb, gives us a flash back to in Hagley Park, Christchurch when Lake Victoria was formed in 1897. A swampy depression – the rim of which was used for penny-farthing cycle racing – was graded, lined with clay and pugged by draught horses, then filled with water from artesian bores. The club was then formed and opened the next year.Such was the enthusiasm of the gentlemen who formed the CMYC at their special meeting held in Warners Hotel, Christchurch, on 17 June 1898, that they went on to have fifteen more meetings in the remainder of that year. Not only did racing get started on Victoria Water but priority was given to building a Pavilion for club rooms and the storing of model yachts.
The top photo of the start line for the 1899 Opening Day race, has a very impressive fleet, and if you were wondering how they got them all lined up – there was a long rope stretched across the lake, restraining the fleet. CYA COMMITTEE MEETING TONIGHT (zoom) – HOPEFULLY THE ELECTED COMMITTEE MEMBERS (listed below) WILL BE SEEKING CONFIRMATION OF THE INTENT OF THE NEW 40 BERTH HERITAGE BASIN SUB-COMMITTE (listed below) IN REGARD TO THE MIX OF CLASSIC VESSELS ON DISPLAY: CYA 2021-22 (elected) committee – Rachel Orr, Jonathan Curtis, Richard Cave, Jason Prew, Jason Davies, Kathryn Hobcraft, Lisa Lewis, Peter Jones, Steve Pople Heritage Basin (non elected) sub- committee – Chad Thompson, Andy Ball, Jason Davies
Todays woody is the 38’ gaff cutter Britannia, built in 1898 she has been owned by the same family for 110 years. The video is hosted by Anne Davis who talks us thru how she fell for Britannia and become the 4th generation proud owner.Its a great watch – enjoy 🙂
ANYONE KNOW SOMEONE THAT LAYS / FITS BOAT CARPET – I have the carpet and a template of sorts (1st photo below)– so probably need to check measurements > cut & edge trim.The grey ‘carpet’ (top) was what came with the boat 15 yrs ago, fitted perfectly but looked like it should be in a Haines Hunter. I fitted other carpet (2nd photo below) but have never been happy with the job. So help (paid) wanted. Drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org