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?

1920’s Woody Restoration Project

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1920’s Woody Restoration Project
This 28’ kauri woody resides in Napier and in the sellers words is “partly restored”. At the moment she is minus a motor, transmission and running gear but they are available to purchase, being a Cummins 95hp B4 and Newage RPM Coventry transmission.
I do not normal mention the price on trademe (thanks Ian McDonald) but this one is $2,000 – subject to an inspection, she has the bones of a cool lake boat.
In her present state it would be easily to inspect the condition of her, note: the exterior has been glassed.
Can anyone help ID the launch?
Make Sure You Check WW Tomorrow – stunning photos from the launching of Mike Mahoney’s new addition to the fleet. Tease photo below

20th Lake Rotoiti – Antique & Classic Boat Show – 200+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos










20th Lake Rotoiti – Antique & Classic Boat Show – 200+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos

On the 1st weekend of March we travelled south to Nelson for a wee escape. Just by chance (yeah right says the wife) there was a classic woody event on. I have seen and heard a lot about the Antique & Classic Boat Show that is held every year on Lake Rotoiti, one hour south of Nelson but I had never attended. We were staying with good friends in Mapua so early on the Sunday the men folk packed up the car  and headed off. We arrived at the lake as everyone was dusting off  / polishing their pride and joy – I understand there was a social event on the Saturday night and a few looked a little ‘dusty’ themselves.
The venue is just mind blowingly spectacular – and I have not seen so much varnished wood in one place in NZ before. Combine this with a very laid back southern friendliness and we had a great morning.
The woodys on show ranged from vintage radio controlled speedboats, sailing dinghies and speedboats to 100 mile-an-hour hydro-planes. Check out the movie of the hydro-plane Elray III below.
The photos above are intended to give you an insight into the show, warts and all – it’s not a gallery of perfectly presented craft.
Enjoy, we did.

A Woody Tour Of Helensville / Upper Kaipara


Florance M

A Woody Tour Of Helensville / Upper Kaipara  

Following on from last Mondays stunning story on the boats resting in the Tamaki River (link below if you missed it), woody John Bullivant has been out & about again – this time his focus has been the Helensville & Kaipara Cruising Club. I have ID / tagged the photos where known, just scroll over to view the name). Again I’ll let John tell the story 🙂

“I did another boat hunting tour to Helensville on 6 Feb and found a few more wooden working boats and others parked on the mud at the fishing wharf and Kaipara Cruising Club . They are a friendly bunch at the club and allowed me to go onto the private jetties to take some photos, even unlocking a gate for me which was much appreciated. The couple I spoke to have a converted ex fishing boat (Waimiko I think ) with a 185HP Nissan and all the gear, which they say makes a perfect solid pleasure boat. 

The big Miller & Tunnage canoe stern La Vega ? also is Nissan powered but U/S at the moment and may be for sale ( hull looks in good nick and built like the proverbial BSH) and would make a great pleasure convert and sea boat. There are a number of interesting boats there including the nice looking bridge decker further up. Couldn’t get a good pic but looks like she’s having some work done? Also found Florence M (now with M painted over) on the hard there, back to the side she started on ? 

One thing that was of particular nostalgic interest (sort of ) was the little plastic ‘Scuppers tug’ (think that’s what the called them) tucked in the corner. If I’m not mistaken, this little boat resided at Half Moon Bay Marina way back in the early 80s when new, and I have an idea it was their little marina work boat, (I’m pretty sure it’s not from the other Half Moon Bay but would be a weird coincidence if it was). I even contemplated buying one when they came out (under $12,000 from memory) Stange place to find it.

The interesting little boat on the drums and the old planked Mullet boat? are on the Northern end of Helensville over the rail lines. All in all a great day out and finished of with great local fish and chips (found out the shop owner lived not far from me at Whangaparaoa before moving to Helensville,)  NZ is small,- once stayed overnight in the Hunterville motel, and the people who had recently bought it had lived not far from me in Bucklands beach, we Kiwis certainly move around along with our boats.”