Mason B – Bay of Islands Woody Launching

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Mason B – Bay of Islands Woody Launching

 The caption on the photo / press clipping (ex Lew Redwood) reads “A new fishing launch takes the water from the builder’s shed. Mr W. Mason Bayly is the owner”

It was also tagged “Early preparations for the forthcoming dee-sea fishing season at Russell, North Auckland”
The date is August 1926.
Can we put a name to the boat, designer/builder, location?
Harold Kidd Input – She is MASON B, designed and built for W. Mason Bayly by Leon Warne and launched in August 1926 from Warne’s shed at Russell. She was30′ x 8’6″ and had a 30/40 hp Kermath. She replaced Bayly’s GISPA (ex-GLADYS).
Help Wanted
Any one have a base like the one circled below, tucked away anywhere? Or something similar. A woody friend has a spotlight but no matching base.  Any condition ok.
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What became of this 1928 Charles Bailey built launch


What became of this 1928 Charles Bailey built launch
The photo of the above launch was sent to me by Mark Jarvis and Mark commented that it was the boat that started his love of launches in the late 1950’s. Unfortunately Mark omitted to tell me her name…… Mark – can you enlighten us in the WW comments section 🙂
She measures 26′ and came with a Ford flathead motor in the front cabin then a new crate Fordson 60hp was fitted by his father.
Mark’s bunk was a shelf in the enclosed engine room. She was built by Charles Bailey in 1926 and was supposed to have started life as a pilot boat for Patea Harbour but Mark has found no evidence of that. 
This photo is from the 1950’s on the slip in Paremata. The slipway is still serviceable but the boat hasn’t been seen in a very long time. 
Mark’s family of six would cross Cook straight every year for 3 wks and cruise the Marlborough sounds.
Mark commented that it was a beautiful time in superb natural scenery when fibreglass boats still hadn’t arrived and the Cod came up 2 at a time on a piece of string wound onto a stick. 
Mark is hoping to uncover what became of this launch and whether she really was a pilot boat
Input from Harold Kidd
Sounds very much like RELIANCE built by Tom Le Huquet in 1913 for the Manukau which was used by the New Plymouth Harbour Board as a pilot boat the the Patea Harbour Board from 1938 and was in Paremata owned by Fenton in the 1950s then sold to B Bullock & Co of Wanganui. However RELIANCE was a 35 footer so maybe the histories of both both boats have been run together.
Whatever, she is terribly old-fashioned for 1926-8 with that dee-front cabin, although Chas Bailey did cling to that form for workboats for some time after they had become out of fashion for private craft.

CYA Double Banger – Riverhead Launch Cruise + Vintage & Veterans Yacht Race




My Girl



My Girl + Raindance


Monterey, Te Arahi, Altair, Manapouri

CYA Double Banger – Riverhead Launch Cruise + Vintage & Veterans Yacht Race

While mooching around under the Harbour Bridge waiting for the launch stragglers , I snapped a few photos of the yacht fleet tuning up for the start of the annual Vintage & Veterans yacht race – Photos below
The weather for the launch cruise was almost ideal, after we had arrived at the Riverhead Tavern and had planted ourselves in the bar, the rain started, so while we by dinning and chatting – the old girls got a fresh water wash down – perfect.
A good turn out for late in the season – 16 woodys – made up of 12 CYA members and 4 woodys that joined us for the day. I convinced one to join, but Jason Prew tells me I need to improve on my 25% conversion rate 🙂
Nice to catch up with those that made the trip by motorcar.
As always the food was excellent, just a wee hick-up with a power oops slowed the service down a tad but all good.
Sorry if I missed your woody with my camera – the fleet were very spaced out, so arrive times didn’t suit the need to sustenance 😉
As always, click photos to enlarge.

Rawhiti A2 + Rainbow A7 + Waitangi A6


Arcturus K8638


Little Jim A16

Photos below of Thelma sent in by Simon Smith

The Restoration of Rehutai






The Restoration of Rehutai
The 43’ launch Rehutai was built by Sam Ford in 1926 and has been owned by Tony Whyman, of Wellington, for the last 25 years, having bought her in November 1994 in Picton, off Lex Parkes, who Tony believes, had her for many years. Tony sailed her to Evans Bay, Wellington, where she still lives.
Post purchase Tony took her ashore and commenced a major refit & refurbish, from 1994  to 1997, the work we see above was undertaken by Tony and a boatbuilder working full time, with the help of others working part time.
When purchased she was powered by a ‘tired’ 6 LW Gardner diesel, which Tony replaced during the re-fit with a new John Deere diesel, derated to 186hp.
 Post the work, Tony and family ended up with a very smart woody that they use frequently and should be around for many more years to come.
(Photos and details ex Tony Whyman, via Ken Ricketts – edited by AH)


Last Chance to Check Out the Logan A Class Guff Fleet

If you haven’t yet seen the A Class Gaff Classic Yacht Exhibition – make the effort to visit the Viaduct this Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Details below & a sneak peek via one of Roger Mills stunning drone videos.

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Woody Waiheke BBQ





Not sure what these two were up too but the t-shirt gets the WW of approval

Woody Waiheke BBQ

Saturday (30/03/2019) saw a group of hardy, the barometer was not saying summer, CYA members gather in Putiki Bay, Waiheke Island for a post CYA yacht race BBQ. The photos have been enhanced, it wasn’t quite that sunny 🙂

The bay filled up with a good collection of woody yachts and launches. The CYA committee even put on a band – well done guys.
Special thanks to Chris Sadler for the use of his launch – Moeraki as the start boat for the yacht race. Moeraki is a very smart looking woody, I have always admired her – great to see her out on the Waitemata. You can read / see more on her here (lots in the comments section).
Woody launches in the bay included – My Girl, Lucille, Waimea, Puawai, Lucinda, Matuku, Summer Wine, Wirihana and Mahanui – some I suspect were moored there.
Special thanks to Jason Prew and Mark Edmonds for the (phone) photos.
As a special treat for the skipper of Lucille – I have include the youtube video below 😉





I have been contacted by Murray Wilson the owner of the 40′ ex workboat – Sterling, he bought her a couple of years ago and is in the middle of a ‘rolling’ restoration. Murray has been told that she was built by Ernie Lane in Picton in 1926 to tow logs out of the Sounds.

It’s rumoured that Sterling was involved in an incident in Tasman Bay in the 1960s or 1970s that involved the boat being found with a scallop dredge in the water, engine running and no one on board. When the dredge was lifted the skipper came up with it. 

Murray is keen to confirm and learn more of Sterling’s history.

Input from Harold Kidd – This STERLING was built by Ernie Lane in Picton in 1925 for L.J. Steele as a passenger vessel to carry 60 pax and had a 1924-built 3 cylinder 27hp (rated) Sterling marine engine bore 4.5″ x stroke 5.5″, dimensions 34′ x 9′ x 3’9″. The engine was changed to 27hp Ruston-Lister diesel by 1940 when she was owned by N.A. Steele and converted to a fishing boat under No. PN29. There was a Marine Dept enquiry in 1946 when she ran on rocks in the Tory Channel with the loss of two lives.

That 34ft loa was the MOT Thames measurement length. She was a 40 footer really.
Historical notes below from recollections of Lex Wells, recorded by Mike Davidson
Lex Wells has lived all his life in the Marlborough Sounds and has worked on and owned
many working boats in the fishing, scalloping and mussel industries. Lex is now over 80 and
has extensive memories and knowledge of many of the working boats and launches in the
Sounds. Arguably there is nobody better informed about Sounds vessels than he is.
History of the Motor Launch “STERLING”
1. The “Sterling” was built by Ernie Lane in the late 1920s for Matt Steel and joined his small fleet of passenger launches.
2. Matt Steel sold his fleet to Queen Charlotte Launches in the late1940s. Lex is not sure if
“Sterling” went to Queen Charlotte Launches as part of that deal; she might have been sold earlier.
3. In the 1960s or 1970s, “Sterling” was sold again and used for fishing and scalloping out of Nelson. One day, in the 1970s, the “Sterling” was found drifting, unmanned, on the scallop beds. The skipper had been working by himself. His body was found in the dredge when it was lifted.
4. After this accident, “Sterling” was sold to a new owner and went fishing out of Taieri
Mouth and was based there for many years.
5. “Sterling” was then bought by Ronnie Wells (a cousin of Lex’s) in the late 1970s or early 1980s and he brought her back to the Sounds. He used her for quite a few years in the scalloping and fishing industry, operating out of Havelock.
6. “Sterling” had a Gardner engine in it when Ronnie Wells bought it. At some stage
afterwards that engine was destroyed when an oil filter failed. It was replaced with a Russel Newbury (RN) engine. That engine was too old and had been poorly maintained and it eventually died one day when “Sterling” was working at sea. Lex towed her with his vessel into Havelock where a four cylinder Ford engine was put in “Sterling”.
7. Ronnie Wells then sold “Sterling” to Sunny Sunbeam and his business partner (might have been his brother). She was taken to Picton where a lot of work was done on her, including new top planks on the hull and a new and much larger cabin on the deck. She was taken back to Havelock soon after.
8. Sunny Sunbeam later sold her and she was taken away from the Sounds by her new owner.

Soul Survivor (Fairley)

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Soul Survivor sold recently on trademe for $100 to someone from Thames. The listing stated she is 23’6”, double ended kauri carvel planked ex commercial fishing boat (named Fairley) and was built in 1927, by Miller & Tunnage (Port Chalmers, Sth Island) and She is pushed along by a ‘vintage’ Yanmar MX 8hp diesel.
She has spent the last 12 years on Lake Rotoiti, Rotorua, but the last 5 years on the hard. She made the journey from Dunedin by truck in 2006.
Anyone know who bought her and / or more on her past?

Corsair – Bridge Decker

Janet & Bruce Pullan, owners of the woody – Ann Michelle, came across an old bridge decker launch ‘resting’ in a paddock in the Waikato.
The boats name is Corsair, she is 34’ and the only information supplied by the owner was that she was built by a boatbuilder on the North Shore, started before WW2 and finished after the War. He believed the name was original.
I know its a big ask – but does anyone recall a launch that matches these specs?