Awariki – A Peek Down Below

AWARIKI – A Peek Down Below

Back in November 2021 after 32 years of ownership we sold the 1922 Dick Lang built launch – Lady Adelaide (link below) for Kerry Lilley. In reply to the question “what’s next” Kerry walked me along the dock to Awariki, a 32’ 1967 Owen Woolley built woody. Kerry has a long connection with the boat having worked on her when he was an apprentice.

First thing that hit me was the space – compared to Lady Adelaide, Awariki was a ballroom down below. As purchased she was a little tired, but no better person than Kerry to take her on.

Fast forward to the 2022 Woodys Classic Weekend at Clevedon Cruising Club and we get to have a sneak peek at the almost completed refit. As you would expect, very impressive. 





The 30’ kauri launch – Nerrida was built in1969 by Shipbuilders. Forward motion is via reconditioned Ford 110hp 6 cyl. diesel Ford 110hp 6cyl diesel As per a lot Shipbuilders craft she has a semi workboat look to her.

While the interior fit out looks like they used the same people that do the Fullers ferries, there has been a lot of recent work done. From the number and size of all the chilly bins, the seller must be a serious fisher-person.
(Thanks to Ian McDonald for the tme heads up)



Today’s story is another example of the effectiveness of WW – Grant Parker yesterday posted a comment on a WW story that appeared back in Oct 2014 – the 2014 story was on the c.1962 McGeady built launch – Challenger. 

I have reproduced Grant’s comments below, 

“The 38ft ” Challenger built by McGeady. was owned by my family in Tauranga in the late 1970’s > early 1980’s. After the Bradshaw family of Rotorua owned her  she was sold to the Finn family also  from Rotorua.

My father Bert Parker from Rotorua purchased the Challenger from Ray Finn. When he sold her she went to Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds where an older couple lived on her for a number of years.

The next owner was the owner of a trucking company in Nelson, he went bankrupt and she was sold again. The last I heard was she ended up North, maybe Bay of Islands, possibly the Opua area.

Our family had some great memories, the photos above of – Challenger, show her in her former glory with varnished coamings etc.

The photos show Challenger in :  downtown Tauranga, Whale Island off Whakatane and South East Bay Mayor Island.”

Grant maintained an interest in the whereabouts of Challenger and once tracked her down in Havelock, then the ship broker in Nelson supplied the copy of her 4sale listing.  

Purely from reference as to how our classics can morph over time and owners – I know which one I’d like to own 🙂

Link here to the 2014 WW story – lots of photos and chat there

Update from a woody – photo below is captioned Onerahi Whangārei / February 2022. This is very sad……. 😦

Woodys Classic Clevedon Cruise Report – Sept 2022 – 50+ Photos

6.45am – The Start
The magic hour for boat photography
Heading up the river
Dave Giddens – Auctioneer Supremo


Just back from a near perfect weekend cruising with a great bunch of classic wooden boat enthusiasts, up the Wairoa River to the Clevedon Cruising Club for an overnight shindig. 

The weekend had all the right ingredients – great weather, cool boats, nice people + mouth-watering food, that always = a winner. Todays photo gallery comes to us from my cameras and Jason Prew’s new out of the box iPhone 14 Pro (I need one, I’m buying one).

By now regular WW readers will be familiar with the format of the weekend – we meet off the entrance to the Wairoa River and then weave our way up river to the Clevedon Cruising Club. The flotilla berths at the CCC dock, in front of their clubhouse, then we ‘open’ the boats for club member to view. Happy hour tends to start early up the river, and this weekend it was even earlier. Later in the day we retire to the clubrooms for a shared BBQ dinner, and live music.

This year the club organised a number of raffles and a mystery auction – the club and Woodys collectively raised over $3,500 for the new fuel jetty. Well done to everyone involved – I indirectly won a new bilge pump (my cabin boy, bid on a mystery package and one of the included items was the pump – and my bonus – he doesn’t own a boat)

Boats participating in the cruise were – Allergy, Awariki, Lady Clare, Lady Ellen, Merita, Mokoia, My Girl, Ngaio, Ngarimu, Raindance, Smooth Operator, Trinidad, Waikaro.

I’ll let the photos tell the story. Below are two videos which highlight the two extremes of classic wooden craft – Raindance at 7.5 knots and Jason Prew’s – My Girl, doing est. 24 knots 🙂 Thanks to Jason and Ant Smit for the footage.

As always – click on photos to enlarge 😉 ENJOY. Details on more Woodys Classic events below.

Ps that dessert plate wasn’t mine and I’m too nice a person to name the owner…… and equally no story as to why there is a photo of a skipper dipping wet on his duck board 🙂

My Girl

San Costanzo


One can only assume the San Costanzo, built in 1969 by Curnow & Wilton started life as a work-boat and was then, date unknown, converted to pleasure use.

She is an impressive woody – built from kauri planks and 49’ in length, with a beam of 14’9″and draws 5’4” – that canoe stern gets a big tick from me.

A Cummins 250hp engine sips only 8>9 L of diesel per hour when cruising. Add to that the 2200L fuel tanks and that is a long time between trips to the fuel dock.

Very well spec’ed, with a good survey result you could doing laps of NZ. Recently for sale on tme – thank you Ian McDonald for the heads up.

INPUT BELOW ex Brian Kidson –

“While doing some background into Curnow and Wilton boats I found this out from various sources…

This Jack Guard designed double ender was launched at the end of July 1965 for Mr Salvi Rocco of Wellington. It was built for crayfishing and longlining out of Island Bay. St Costanzo is the patron saint of Capri from where the Rocco family come from.
While Rocco’s had her, they took the aft wheel house off and had a new one built forward by a Wellington boat builder.
Rocco’s sold her to a Chinese chap in Auckland who used her for catching blind eels out of Tauranga. He only owned her for approximately two years before selling her to Tom Fishburn who then set her up for trawling. He fished her for ten to twelve years with his nephew Marcus Fishburn. By the time Tom bought her she had had an engine change from a Gardiner to a Cummins NH250 which is still in her.
It is said that she is a good sea boat and fairly dry on deck which is a credit to her designer. Guard’s of Nelson were unable to build her at the time. Her stern is very tight and bluff double ended, almost a ‘transom’ a credit to her builders. Not the only Guard design like it. The Marconi being another that comes to mind.
At some stage the ‘St’ in her name was changed to San Costanzo.
There was an article in the local newspaper, Nelson Evening Mail, at the time of launching.
Other names San Costanzo

Length 50ft

Beam 15ft

Draught 6ft

Date launched 31st July 1965

For Salvi Rocco, Wellington

Subsequent Owners Name unknown, Tom Fishburn, Marcus Fishburn, Sean Reichardt, Robert Lynds,

Engine(s) Gardiner, Cummins NH 250″


Marlin Waters 1960


The above 12 minute film just popped up on YouTube – a recently reedited (enhanced) film from the old New Zealand National Film Unit and comes to us via Archives NZ and Snooks Fuller.

The film – ‘Marlin Waters 1960’ was filmed in the 1960’s in the Bay of Islands New Zealand and features classic big game fishing in the Bay Of islands. 

We see very early footage of Snooks Fuller and the Lady Doreen and his regular client from America “Poppy”. Also featured is the launch – Margaret Joy. Lots of old footage of Otehei Bay, early Kingfish Lodge and Poor Knights Islands.

While personally I’m not a fan of targeting these beautiful creatures, the film is wonderful insight into the glory days of big game fishing in the far north. If you look closely there are many other classic wooden launches caught on the film.


Does anyone know if Rangiora is still kept in Wellington and also contact details for the owner – email to

Korawai – Getting The Treatment – Updates

KORAWAI – An Update

In late January 2022 I help relocate the 1962 Owen Woolley built 36′ sedan launch – Korawai to her new home in the Bay of Islands. Her new owners had big plans for her and it’s great to see that a refurbishment program is now under way. 

Korawai has recently been hauled and now tucked away in the shed at Ashby Boatbuilders in Opua. First item was to remove all the glass (to be replaced) and restore the varnished coamings. The owners have very good taste so I’m sure there will be more on the list 🙂 

We will keep you updated.

Relocation trip

A Peek Down Below Story

UPDATE 14-09-2022 Say goodbye to the old varnish

UPDATE 15-09-2022

UPDATE 24-09-2022 Primer & one coat.  7>9 to go 🙂

Happy Owner

Lola – NZ37 + Easterly – Picnic Boat


Todays story comes to us from retired boat builder Allan Hooper, just back from an extended trip to visit family the USA (Carlsbad just north of San Diego). I’ll let Allan tell the story :-

Prior to leaving I made contact with Morgan Spriggs the current owner of Lola, an NZ37. Lola was built at Jim Young’s NZ Yachts in 1969-70 while I was the foreman. 

I was very keen to see the boat after all these years. Morgan has spent  a lot of time restoring Lola and she looks as good as the date she left the factory apart from a few alterations and replacements. Morgan was excited to meet me and be able to talk about the build of the boat.

The hull construction is 4 skins of 1/4’” Kauri cold moulded with all of the back bone, floors, transom and bulkhead boundarys set in the mould. The hull was sheathed in Epoxy and glass. After the hull was taken off the mould the bulkheads and the interior were put in place and gunwales fitted.

The cabin,  cockpit and decks were built on a separate mould complete with paint work, glazing and hardware. Then in an operation taking only a couple of hours, was lifted and placed on the hull, located over the bulkheads, glued and fastened down.

The techniques developed to build these yachts enabled a NZ37 to be built from start to finish in 4 weeks.

Read and view more on Lola here

Morgan‘s father Robert owns a beautiful picnic boat, Easterly (photos below), an ex  Maine lobster boat on which we toured the San Diego bay.

It was used by Denis Connor is a chase boat when he was sailing in the Americas cup. Robert Spriggs has owns the boat for 22 years and it is in as new condition, you could have eaten your lunch of the engine or engine room floor.

The teak cockpit sole is the best laid teak I have ever seen, the timber selected is absolutely perfect, as was the whole boat.

The waterfront at downtown San Diego has a beautiful collection of maritime exhibits including a sailing immigrant ship the “Star of India” which was a regular visitor to New Zealand in the 1800s, once a year it is taken out for a sail.

Further along the waterfront is the USS Midway launched in 1945, she was finally laid up in the 1990s. If you’ve never been on an aircraft carrier it’s well worth a visit. 3.5 acres of 3 inch thick steel makes up the flight deck. It is an interesting harbour to visit and extremely busy as it is alongside the international airport, a military airport, a naval base, several marinas and the city. When you go out on the bay you see it and hear it all.

A Call For Help


Woody Bruce Ryrie has taken on a project – a c.1960’s Couldrey classic launch that he acquired from the Firth of Thames. Unfortunately no name, so the first ask is does anyone know more about the boat?

The second ask is a little bigger, as you can see in the above photos there are a few planks that need replacing and Bruce would really appreciate a hand with the work, or even some guidance.

The launch is hauled out at Clevedon.


It has recently been brought to my attention that our friends at Auckland Council are very anti boating – read below a summary of what’s been happening –

It’s not only the government that thinks it knows best.  Auckland City has determined that the Haulout at Okahu bay, known as the Orakei Landing, will be shut down and the area will become a park reserve!  The local board, despite overwhelming submissions against any change, decided in its woke way that the Landing haulout facilities, which have been a part of Auckland since the year dot, should be closed to provide another park.  The haulout has and is being used by many owners of traditional wooden boats where owners as well as professionals work on them near to their homes.  With the closure of this there will be no inner harbour haulouts on the Southern side of the harbour.  There are also a number of professionals who will be out of a job or whose businesses will be reduced because of losing this facility.  Auckland once touted itself as the city of sails.  It seems it no longer thinks this is part of its makeup.In credibly the committee of the RAYC sent out an email to its members encouraging them to vote to close the Landing.  That was done in a way which unless you read it carefully and understood what was happening would have led to many members completing the form supplied to submit for closure!  It all smells a bit.

If you are even slightly motivated to voice your concern re the closure of the Okahu Bay haul out area – I suggest to use the channel I find works best with local politicians – they hate negative publicity – contact the chairman of the  Orakei Local Board – Scott Milne direct via Facebook and leave a message – link here


Local Board members that voted in favour of closing the hardstand*: 

· Scott Milne: / 021 876 326 

· Sarah Powrie: / 021 142 2913 

· Margaret Voyce: / 029 880 9900 

· Troy Elliott: / 021 658 769



The 40’ carvel planked – Heather was built in 1965 by Doug Robb and spent her first 35 years as a commercial fishing boat. In 2000 Miller & Tunnage converted Heather to pleasure boat and installed the 1996 Gardner 6LXB, which was brand new at the time. Like all good Gardners she is very efficient e.g. at 5.5 knots, running at 800rpm, she sips 1L pnm. Normal cruise speed is 7.5 knots, but can be taken up to 9.5 knots max.

To use the old car dealer term – Heather comes with all the fruit, incredibly spec’ed and all set for some serious cruising.

Thanks to Ian McDonald for the tme heads up

04-10-2022 INPUT FROM Philip Trow

“Hi, Philip here….the present owner of Heather (2022). It is great to see a correct and largely accurate report on Heather. A couple of things to add: MV Heather was originally built by the Heberley family of the Marlborough sounds. She is named Heather after Heather Heberley (NZ author of some note). 

Heather has been a particularly reliable and forgiving vessel for myself and previous owners. I have taken her around most of the South Is and I know previous owners have also used her for some great trips around the North is. She is very economical to run (1l/nm @ 800rpm/5.8kts exactly and circa  9l/hour at 1050rpm/ 7kts average.) Large 1200l+ tanks give her a very usable range. She also has a 6kw gen set and 800watt+ solar panels to handle long periods at mooring or unattended. As of writing she has less than 3600 hours from new on the Gardner 6lxb. That is very few hours on a Gardner.

Heather was rebuilt around 2000 and a great deal of heavy duty good quality equipment was installed. All of the fittings and equipment are much more robust than you would typically find on a pleasure vessel.

MV Heather has benefited from myself and previous owners who have maintained her to a good standard and also spent significant amounts keeping her up to date with features like AIS, drip free shaft seal and Blackwater.

I have retired from aviation, and now have a larger “Bluewater boat”, hence Heather is somewhat regrettably on the market.”