Christina O

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CHRISTINA O 

A very long way from the Waitemata and made of steel but OMG, this legendary super-yacht is drop dead stunning.

Christina O has a very impressive heritage – built in 1943, she served in WWII at the D-Day Landings and later witnessed some iconic events. President John F. Kennedy first met Sir Winston Churchill aboard in the bar, and you will see from the photos on board the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy (later married to Onassis) have called it home.
She started life as a Canadian anti-submarine frigate and Aristotle Onassis in 1954 converted her into a luxury yacht. In 2016/17 she was totally refurbished to what you see above , but retains her ‘old world’ class and opulence. Today she is available for charter, with 17 cabins.The mosaic swimming is original and can be raised & lowered.
At 325’ Christina O is not the worlds largest or most expensive super-yacht but it would have to be the most famous.
INPUT FROM Russell Ward 

“Converting a warship to a private yacht showed that Onassis had a lot of style. They were a fine shape. Mind you he got a bargain –a well made ship that had not had a lot of use $34K. All the engineering systems were designed to be literally bomb proof and no expense spared. 
The River Class  were similar specs to the Loch Class (the RNZN had five ‘50s – 70s) but were traditionally built with fine lines and did not have the sheer broken into three straight lines as the later Loch class which were designed to be built in modules off site and taken to the slip for assembly. Most were steam powered with four cylinder triple expansion engines and oil fired water tube boilers. These engines made the ships amazingly manoeuvrable since a precipitating engine can be slammed from full ahead to full astern if the needs (like hunting and killing submargarines) arise. Also unlike turbines (some were so powered) they required comparatively unsophisticated spanner work to keep them going. Also turbines don’t reverse so easily.
I am not sure whether Christina O was diseaseled (I seem to think he kept her steam. Even if only originally). Unfortunately the media these days concentrate on the Jackie Kennedy, Christina Onassis herself, guests and the solid gold bidets marble bathtubs etc rather than mundane things like the engine rooms.
Oh by the way, the NZ Navy had one of these –the Lachlan- -a river class frigate built by Morts Dock in Sydney. She was our surveying vessel and frequently used to be seen when we were out cruising. Did a hellava lot of work updating our charts some of which died from Capt Cook’s work. She’d stooge in and anchor off the bay practically unheard and then shoot through in the morning. Not the drama, bells and on deck announcements with a real navy ship. I remember once she anchored off Stanmore Bay in the early ‘60s and we steamed off over to have a look as fast as Milli ll’s Stuart Turner would take her. But Lachlan evidently saw us coming and weighed and steamed off at a real old clip –she’d do 20 knots easy. Gone in a flash.
The Navy decommissioned her in ’74 and used her for accommodation for a few years. Her engines were removed in 1975 and Marie wouldn’t let me have one sadly. I got an admiralty pattern angle poise type light off her bridge (won’t tell you how!) and the desk from the sickbay (of course) when she was stripped prior to being knackered in the Philippines in 1993. I use the desk in my Mancave and always thought I’d put the lamp on one of my boats but never did as yet.
The Aussies had a sister ship Diamantina similarly deployed on surveying she had a similar lifespan.”
Lachlan

Mystery Napier Boat – Tautane > Centaurus

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Mystery Napier Boat – Tautane > Centaurus
 
Hylton Edmonds sent me the above photo of the unnamed Napier pilot taken by his late uncle TDE Edmonds who lived in the Hawkes Bay. Hylton recalls that it was taken sometime in the late 1950’s > early 1960’s and shows the pilot boat giving the ship ‘a bit of assistance’, which was common practice at the time.
 
Hylton was hoping one of the Napier / Hawke’s Bay WW followers could fill in some of the gaps re the photo e.g  a more accurate photo date, name, builder, launch date, and was she actually built as a pilot boat or later commissioned as one etc as she definitely  has an ex Fishing Boat – Miller and Tunnage look about her, and of course, what became of her?
UPDATE : Thanks to Michael O’Dwyers shape eyes we now know its Tautane – WW link below for details + photo of her today as Centaurus 🙂
19-08-2019 Input from Michael O’Dwyer
“Had a wee chat with an ex skipper of Tautane today.His name is Morry Trow,now 86 years old. Morry drove the pilot boats in Napier from 1967 through to 1983.He recalls Tautane being a good sea boat especially when driven with the 6/71 but the pilot house could get a little cramped with four people packed in.He regaled me with one account of having to remove an entire crew off a freighter all at once,the problem being one of the crew members had murdered a fellow seaman and the body had to come back too.Morry had taken out a number of policemen of course, so not having enough room and not that keen to have a tense situation on deck they ended up towing one of the lifeboats back with the perpetrator aboard duly escorted by the police.Tautane was replaced with the 120 tonne Athol Burns designed tug J.R. Harland in 1968 now Albatross V working adventure tourism in the Bay of Islands.”
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WCW Riverhead2019

Ruru

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RURU

I have been contacted by Lake Rotoiti boatbuilder – Alan Craig (Craig Marine) regarding a lake boat that he and the owner are looking for more details on. Ruru is 19’ in length, with mahogany hull and kauri top. Alan commented that she is well built with seam battens and ribs, the planks have hardly moved. The build date is thought to be in the 1930’s > 1940’s period and was built for Sir Frank Mappin.
The engine is an Austin Triton, it was removed 20 years ago and was never put back in, as you will note in the photos it got as far as the end of the shed.
The owner – George Joseph has had the boat for 60+ years, the last 20 of which has seen Ruru stored in the shed. The previous owner, owned most of the land between Moose Lodge and the Marae.
Can anyone help ID the designer / builder?
Harold Kidd Input
1. Lidgards built an unnamed runabout for Mappin in September 1935. The Austin TRITON (not TRIDENT – corrected AH) marine engine, based on the Austin 10 car engine, came out in 1935, so it’s a good match.
2. Got a Herald cross-reference on Mappin’s runabout. She was an 18 footer intended for Lake Rotorua. Rotoiti isn’t a huge step.

Ranui – A Peek Down Below

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RANUI – A Peek Down Below
The 48’ Rangi was built in 1948 by the Lidgard Brothers to mirror the USA Chris Craft vessels of the same era. Her power is via twin 120hp Ford diesels that see her cruising at a comfortable 8.5 knots/
Ranui under went a major refit in 2011 and again in 2017. Work included – complete hull restoration and full hull topsides, repainted, new glassed decking all round. Also vanish restoration, new electronics, new plumbing new toughened glass all round. In 2011 a total motor rebuild on both 120 Fords and engine bay upgrade.
Thanks to her trademe listing we get to see the total boat and it would appear that no money has been spared on the restorations – she is very well presented.

Castaway (Islander)

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CASTAWAY (Islander)
Castaway was built in 1947 by boatbuilder Dick Lang as his own boat. A bridge decker she is 33’ in length, has a 10’ beam and draws 3’.
Over the years there have been several engines (Chrysler Crown > Fordson 6cyl,100hp), these days her power is via a 1984 65hp Mitsubishi diesel (marinised by Chris Moon) that sees her comfortably cruising at 7 knots with a top speed of 8.5.
As launched Castaway was named ‘Islander’ but this was changed c1973 to Castaway. I recall there was an interesting tale around this, along the lines of the word Islander not being very PC 🙂
In the period 1985>1989 she underwent an extensive re-fit that included the hull being re-fastened and a new oak timber interior.
Castaway has been owned for the last 20 years by well known woody – Chris Leech, and cruised extensively from the Bay of Islands to Coromandel and Great Barrier Island. Castaway is now on the market following a ‘consolidation’ of the Leech families fleet. She is a very well equiped classic woody and with her 10’ beam very liveable.
You can read more on her past here.

Istalena

ISTALENA

Istalena

Can any one tell us about Istalena and what became of her?

Ken Rickett’s believes she may have been around 30’ in length and possibly a Carl Augustin design, possibly built in the late 1940’s > early 1950’s. And he recalls when he knew the boat it was powered by a Perkins Diesel. I know thats a lot of possibles & maybes – but thats how Ken rolls.
 
Below are Ken’s memories of Istalena from the 1950’s > !970’s  (edited a lot by AH) 
During this period, Istalena was owned by Gloria and Gordon Spencer, who lived aboard her much of the time in this period at Gt., Barrier Island.
They were very dedicated game fishing people and caught many game fish. Gloria had some record catches through the years.
Sadly Gordon passed away but she remained living on the boat. During this period she met Johnny Wray, who was living on his boat  the Waihape and they used to cruise in company in their respective boats.
The Spencer’s owned a Burmese cat that lived aboard and loved swimming and would jump into the water to try and catch sprats when a light was put over the side in the evening. They had a sugar sack hanging permanently over the stern of the boat, touching the water and the cat would simply jump in climb and out on the sack as it saw fit, and if they dared to go visiting on another boat without the cat, it would simply swim over. NOTE FOR RICK McCAY – you need this 😉
Apologises for the crappy photo – I suspect its a transfer from old movie footage.
NOTE: READ COMMENTS SECTION – LOTS OF DISCUSSION 

Rangi Rua (Rangi II)

 

 

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RANGI RUA (Rangi II)
 
I was recently contacted by Terry Hall in regard to his ex yacht Ranginui Rua, Terry commented that when he bought her she was named Rangi II (as seen in the sailing photo above) but when he tried to register her with Lloyds – London the name was refused as there was a passenger  ship with that name,  Terry had a Maori friend, a chief in Northland who suggested trying Rangi Rua –  Rua being #2 in Maori, he sent this off and it was accepted. Thence the ‘different’ name on the hauled out photos.
 
Rangi Rua was built by Mark Anthony in Freeman’s Bay and is a Woollacott 42′, Terry believes it was extended with extra frames. Her and a gaff rigged boat called Marpu were probably the last kauri boats to be built in Freemans Bay. Bad luck followed both yachts – Rangi Rua was lost in the Trans Tasman race in 1948 and Marpu was lost in the Pacific on its way home from Japan.
 
Terry owned Rangi Rua for many years and had her moored in the Town Basin in Whangarei in front of the wharf shed. He still has the log book which he kept when he sold her. In the photos of her on the slip, Terry is in the white overalls with his boatbuilder son, Frank and crew.
SUNDAY QUIZ
Yesterday Angus Rogers was doing what most of us were doing i.e. nothing 🙂 so he took an old photo out of its frame to clean the glass. Do we think Angus has ID’ed the yachts correctly ?  Sail numbers starting with A17 Ngatoa on right working left are A11 Ida, A5 Rawene, A3? Ariki and A16? Little Jim. Some of the anoraks may be able to identify the last two from their sails and shape and the yacht on the right with no numbers showing.
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