Woodys Riverhead Tavern – Winter Cruise Yesterday was one of those days where the weather forecasters got it wrong -big time. Took the dog for an early morning waterfront walk between the showers and the ferries on the harbour were sounding their fog horns – fast forward 2 hours and the suns out, water glassy flat and we are going boating. Quick side trip to collect our quests – Margo & Jamie (MV Lady Crossley) from Westhaven and we are off.
A great turn out for mid-winter, saw 60+ woodys gathering at the historic waterside Riverhead Tavern for lunch – special thanks to those that came by car and helped with berthing the boats at the wharf. As always – click on photos to enlarge 😉
Nice to meet some new faces and if there was an award for most travelled attendee, woody Bruce Rowe on board – Ngarimu would be the winner. Bruce and his ‘decky’ mate – travelled from Thames to attend. The boys left Thames on Friday, stayed at bottom end of Waiheke, then off Stanly Point / Bayswater on Saturday night and will be heading home today. Talking to Bruce, Saturday night sounded heaven – tucked up in their warm bunks, rain on the cabin top, listening to the Auckland Blues rugby game, then the NZ v India cricket test – not a lot of sleep was had 🙂
We were also graced with the company of John and Diana Olsen on their steam boat – Dancer, The Olsen’s towed Dancer from Cambridge and launched her at the old Salthouse yard to make the trip up the creek.
Check out the Woodys Classic Weekends Event Calendar at the link below, for upcoming outings – our next one is an overnight BBQ cruise up the Clevedon River on the weekend of 14 > 15th August – a heads up – numbers will be restricted due to berthing / anchoring limits -so RSVP early.
Following on from yesterdays teaser and results oops – I’m a launch person wont know an L Mullet boat from an H Mullet boat – no one died, its a new day, we move on.The winner of the actual Lipton Cup, hosted by the Ponsonby Cruising Club – L division (22’) was Orion, 2nd went to Limited Edition, with Tamerau 3rd.The H division winner was Corona. As of Sunday night there were no results posted on the PCC website – so at some stage soon 🙂 go there for details.
There are lots of tales around how the PCC obtained the magnificent trophy, which was crafted by the same jewellers as the Americas Cup – you can read more about the history of the cup here https://www.pcc.org.nz/history
I was land based, using a long lens so some are a little fuzzy, but you get the vibe of the day. Sorry if your boats missing – drop me an email and I’ll check the photos, took lots, but some had other boats in the background etc. As always click on photos to enlarge.
Good to see Geoff Bagnall floating around on his launch, must have escaped Gisborne for the weekend 😉 Photos below ex Don MacLeod
Back in 2014 we did a great story on the 34’ replica Herreshoff steam launch that Chris McMullen is building in his spare time, back then it had been 30 years in the making and now its approx 37 years, but when I called in last week, there had been some significant progress. Have a read of the 2014 WW stories to take in the magnitude of the project – everything , including the steam engine built by hand. When Chris started the project he didn’t have the benefit of the internet or google to help but in recent years he has uncovered numerous old photos that have helped with the project.
Some Background: Herreshoff Manufacturing Co build # 263 was a steam launch called “Cassandra Junior” and Chris believes that is the steam launch shown astern of beautiful 287′ S.Y. “Cassandra” in the photo below, she was stowed on the port side launch of the yacht. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Co built approximately twenty of this type of steam launch in the 27f’ > 34′. The H.M.C build # 227 – Vapor, refer photo below, was 30′ and built for the Steam Yacht “Yacoma” but Chris understands she was never used on that ship. A model of “Yacoma” at Mystic Sea Port Museum shows a steam launch but Chris assumes the ship had a more convenient modern motor boat.
The last b/w photo below is the tender for the steam yacht ‘Wanderer’ (photo below) called ‘Wanderer Junior’. She was Herreshoff build # 270, she is American and measures 27′ 11″. Built 1909. In the back ground of the photo is the ‘Ida Lewis Yacht Club’.
The engine on Chris’s launch has been run and currently getting a tidy up before being re-installed. The main reason for the visit was to get an update on the restoration of Haunui, the 1948 Colin Wild launch – happening nearby – check in one Wednesday for that story. I took Jamie Hudson, skipper of Lady Crossley , an almost sister ship, built one year apart, fascinating to get Jamie’s view on the two boats.
Today’s story comes to us from Ross Dawson and dovetails with the story earlier in the week on the launch – Midnight II. Both sparked by Ross’s visit to see Peter Chamberlin in this retirement village. I will let Ross tell the story ‘
“The Yacht “Midnight” 34 tons according to press reports of the period, was brought out from the UK and generally under the command of Charles Chamberlin snr., with newspaper advertisements and comments indicated Charles had a paid crew. On the other hand according to Brian & Jan Chamberlin’s family history,…”the cutter ‘Midnight’ appeared on the scene (1853), having been built to Charles’s order by Henry Nicol, a noted North Shore builder.”
There are many newspaper references during the unsettled times around 1865-70, that Charles made the vessel available as an armed cutter, manned by naval volunteers to patrol the Hauraki Gulf and beyond. On one occasion she ‘rescued’ Governor Sir George Grey from potential capture from his Kawau Island home. Another records Midnight arriving in Auckland 4.3.1865 from Tauranga bringing first news of the murder of Volkner near Opotiki.
Other shipping news was more prosaic…”Midnight arriving Auckland from Ponui with 9 bales of wool.”
In 1870, the NZ Herald reported Midnight had a 16 day “stormy passage’ to Tonga, and later the death by drowning of her Captain Courthoys at Levuka. I understand Midnight was lost on this voyage, refer below.
Briefly (& anyone interested can find the full account in the Daily Southern Cross newspaper of 12.6.1871)…”the Midnight sailed from Levuka on Saturday last, on a pleasure trip to Mologai (sic) (Malogai Island)…the vessel was hove to outside the reef for the night, but due light winds and strong currents, drifted onto a shoal about 2.30am. Every attempt was made to get her clear. All anchors being lost. In the morning a schooner was sighted and a boat was sent over the reef. Mr North, mate of the Midnight asked for a loan of a kedge, or to take a line to a shoal a short distance to windward. The boat returned to the schooner (America) and to the astonishment of those on Midnight, the America made sail and left all hands to their fate. The crew built a raft and with some assistance from a vessel from the island Midnight was abandoned and they made for Passage Island, eight miles away. They were rescued on Tuesday by the schooner Mary sent from Levuka in search of Midnight. It was assumed Midnight slipped off into deep water sometime on the Sunday night that the crew left the stranded vessel. (Story from Fiji Times May 20 1871)
As far as sorting who built Midnight…either in England or by Henry Nicol in Auckland, I have not come across any definitive information. But trawling through the Daily Southern Cross, one is amazed at the large number of ships of all sizes that traded out of Auckland, many locally built.
Henry Nicol who apparently came to Auckland from Scotland aged 23 was an amazingly prolific shipbuilder, initially from a yard on what is now the corner of Vulcan Lane & Queen Street and soon after from his yard in Mechanics Bay, hard up against the slope of the rising land toward Parnell (well before the extensive reclamation extending out toward the current waters edge).
The Daily Southern Cross of 1853 when the 97ton ‘clipper schooner’ “Waitemata” was launched, reported Nicol had built since 1849…647 tons of shipping,…Moa 281 tons;Hawkhead, 22 tons; Eliza, 55 tons;Julia Ann, 28 tons; Rose Ann, 39 tons; Favourite, 28tons; Te Tere, 27 tons; & Waitemata, 97 tons. Not to mention 5 half-decked boats from 10-18 tons!
Possibly Nicol produced the Midnight shortly after the above as the family booklet “Ponui & Beyond” by Brian & Jan Chamberlin states…”In 1853 the cutter Midnight appeared on the scene, having been built to Charle’s (Chamberlin) order by Henry Nicol.
This whole story has a slight personal note as my Gt Gt Grandfather Joshua Robinson, with a team of his carpenters worked for Henry Nicol, although my family record indicates that Joshua was employed by the well known trader William Smellie Graham on his various construction projects, including Nicol’s building of trading vessels for Graham. My Robinson history states…that ” Nicol built 43 vessels in the first 10 years, all work done by hand until 1856 when machinery was installed for sawing timber.”
Just to give a glimpse of Nicol’s work ethic….The DSC of 24.2.1854 tells us…”launch schooner 40tons, Tamatenaua. Cutter 30tons nearing completion. About to lay keel for schooner 112-120 tons”….all with saw and adze…the chips must have been flying!”
Harold Kidd Input – MIDNIGHT was built by Henry Niccol in 1863 according to the Register of British Ships No 57810. She replaced Charles Chamberlin’s VICTORIA.