Marline Gets A Top Chop

MARLINE – Gets A Top Chop


Back in September 2019 I spotted the launch – Marline coming up Milford Creek on-route to The Slipway yard. As it turns out she was being hauled for a heart transplant – a wonderful new Yanmar 120hp was being installed. The top two photos above show here in the ‘creek’. At the time I thought – very nice woody, but ……….. pity about the low rise block of flats on top.

So you can image how pleased I was last Thursday to walk in to The Slipway shed and see a team in the process of demolishing the flats. Marline was built in 1950 by Leon Warne in St. Marys Bay, for his own use. Son Ken gave me a guided tour of the boat and detailed the work in-hand. And she will be returning to a more traditional configuration 🙂 Marline is approx 35’ x 11’ 4’ and draws 3’6”. She had a reputation as ’the party boat’ and once aboard its easy to see way – an 11’+ beam on a 35’ boat makes for a lot of living space.I love the original cabin lights – Leon Warne cast them, son Ken still has the mould……….. now that has got me thinking 😉


The gallery of photos below, ex Ken, give us a peek into her past, as you will see, she was successfully used for Game Fishing for many years, out of Tauranga

Around The Yards – The Slipway Milford

L>R Marline, Connie V
Disturber
L>R Lucinda, Disturber

Around The Yards – The Slipway Milford


I was passing thru Milford last week, so took the opportunity to drop in on the team at The Slipway (Geoff Bagnall’s yard in a previous life).I can report that I was pleasantly pleased to see so many woodys hauled out and in various stages of repair – from the annual bum clean right thru to major refits.The one that caught my eye the most was the 35’ Leone Warne built launch – Marline, more on her on Monday, I now have so many cool photos from her past.
The woodys below are at the yard, where possible I have included a WW link to see / read more on each one.


The Slipway yard is one of Auckland’s very few ‘railway’ hail out facilities and both deserves and needs the support of the wooden boating community. If we lose yards like this we will be forced to use yards that tend to have equipment designed for big while plastic boats and that are not wooden boat friendly in terms of planked boats. So woodys support the guys that support us. Contact Jason Prew for details on haul out rates and on-site services. jason@slipway.co.nz

Connie V – https://waitematawoodys.com/2019/12/23/connie-v-saved/
Lucinda – https://waitematawoodys.com/2018/09/30/lucinda-4sale/
Disturber – https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/04/19/disturber/
Marline – https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/04/16/marline/
Lonestar – a visitor from Hawkes Bay 😉 more on this project later.
Gweneviere – another visitor from Hawkes Bay and possibly a project.

Classic Wooden Boat Cruise – 72 photos

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S/S Romany

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Arohanui

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Trinidad

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Matira

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Ann Michelle

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Lady Crossley

Raindance CCC trip Aug2020

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CLASSIC WOODEN BOAT WEEKEND CRUISE TO CLEVEDON  – 72 Photos 

Lets be honest, a large chunk of 2020 has been very average – locked marina’s, no on-the-water boating and cancelled events. After spending the weekend on-board Raindance, cruising up the Clevedon river and over-nighting with 12 other woody boats at the Clevedon Cruising Club, I realised what I had missed the most was the sense of fraternity that comes with being in a space shared with people who love the same things as I do – woody boats. 
 
The trip up the Wairoa River revolves around a tide window, so it was a very early start for some of us, helped by coffee on-route, the smart ones left on Friday and were enjoying breakfast in a bay as we were sliding down the Tamaki Strait. We were meet at the river entrance by CCC member Barrie Abel who ‘piloted’ us up the river – no opps, so thank you Barrie.
 
Awaiting for us at the CCC wharf was Russell Ward with his steam boat – Romany. The gent deserves a medal – all day Saturday and Sunday morning he was taking the CCC members and families + the woodys for rides. Romany is coal fired and as Russell tells everyone getting aboard – “if its metal – its hot, if its varnished – its dirty 🙂 . I’m a big fan of Romany, but the star was Cooper the English springer spaniel – I could have taken him home.
 
After some wonderful ‘air-traffic control’ we managed to get everyone either alongside the wharf or rafted to another boat that was alongside – soft bumper fenders along the entire wharf makes for very civilized berthing. However – no names, but one woody had to leave the Saturday night BBQ to check that their diesel fired on-board central heating outlet wasn’t roasting the fenders 😉
 
The day was very leisurely with most people enjoying a dockside lunch and CCC members dropping down to view the boats and people having steam boat rides. One woody took the opportunity to buy some fuel from the club’s dockside bowser, seems he forgot to check the level before departing, staring to become a habit……….
In addition to the activities afloat we were treated to some eye-candy in the car park – a stunning 1947 Ford Coupe and a replica 1945 Fairliner Torpedo speed boat.
 
Come 4pm we invaded the CCC club house for the main event – as always amazing hospitality from the club and to use that old saying “a good time was had by all”. It was announced that our visit will be a compulsory event on the club’s annual calendar – so woodys – no excuses for missing out next year. Date to be advised.
 
Check out the outdoor heater – a piece of kiwiana and it worked a treat.
 
Overnight it was a tad nippy, with several re-filling the boat water bottles in the early hours of the morning. But we woke to a stunning day and departed at 10am for the trip home.
 
And the Clevedon Coast Oysters were divine – photo below was my lunch – another set were dispatched as a appetizer – 8.5/10 – not Bluff but on the day as good 🙂
Special note of thanks to David Cook (Trinidad) who is my sidekick pulling these events together 🙂
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Tides Out 🙂  (photo ex Alan Good)

CCC tide out

Southern Woodys – Work Boat Wednesday

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Southern Woodys – Work Boat Wednesday
 

Iain Forsyth, owner of the 1961, 42’6″’, Miller & Tunnage built ex work boat – Meola, has recently returned from a trip to the other island. Ian commented that he stopped off at Carey’s Bay and saw Pakeha (recently featured on WW) on the slips after a large refit by Carey’s Marine and ready to launch.


Iain snapped the above gallery of workboats. It was opportune timing as the Bluff fleet were in port and getting ready for the season. Now I’m sure they aren’t all woodys but as per the NZ Classic Yacht Association rules (see below) metal is all good 🙂 
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Woody Lake Taupo Boat Tour + Woody Event Details

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WOODY LAKE TAUPO BOAT TOUR + WOODY EVENT DETAILS
One of WW’s most local supporters is Bay of Islands woody, Dean Wright – today Dean takes us on a recent mooch around Lake Taupo’s shoreline, click photos to enlarge –  Enjoy 🙂
WAIROA RIVER – WOODY OVERNIGHT CRUISE
Back in November 2019 we had an amazing woody weekend at the Clevedon Cruising Club. At the time everyone expressed a desire to repeat the trip up the Wairoa River asap, then CV-19 popped up, so we pulled the hand-brake.
Well folks the cruise is back on and for now there are two things to do:
1. Circle August 8-9 in the diary
The CCC is a brilliant venue, with dock-side berthing, undercover BBQ / dining facilities and a great group of members that make the trip so special.
And its dog friendly ! – so fido gets to come along.
Woody Classics Weekend Clevedon #2 copy

Classic Wooden Boat Riverhead Cruise

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Classic Wooden Boat Riverhead Cruise

Yesterday’s creek (river) cruise to the Riverhead Tavern was another successful gig on the Woodys Classics Weekend calendar. 14 boats made the trip up the creek and with no ferries working, we had the wharf to ourselves. Always nice to be greeted at the wharf by the publican and woody boater – Stephen Pepperell. We enjoyed brilliant support and service from the rest of the team at the tavern insured the day went like clockwork and 85+people enjoyed a great catch up, chat and lunch. The sun shone at the right times (most of the day) so a good times was had by all. Wonderful to see the support from the people that made the trip by car.
Details on the next event soon 🙂
MORE PHOTO’S @ link below
My crew for the day Chris Miller has posted some great photos on his weblog, I was concentrating on helming the ship and given CM is a pro photographer I left the camera work to Chris. Enjoy 🙂

An Epic Tale of Whalers, Fishermen,  Farmers & Commercial Launch Masters

Prima Donna built by Lanes 1911 for Herman & Darcey Baldick 001

Primadonna built by Lanes for Ernie & Darcey Baldick 001

Primadonna and One of Bob Swansons boats 001

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An Epic Tale of Whalers, Fishermen,  Farmers & Commercial Launch Masters
 

The story below without doubt is the best to appear on WW, author Pete Beech talks at one stage about writing a book – he needs to. Surely there is a funding channel available – what’s the literary equivalent of ‘NZ On Air’?

The story came about via the recent WW story on the ex whaler chaser – Primmadona and her relocation from the South to Aucklands Waitemata waters. I will let Pete tell you his story, as he told me – its a cracker – enjoy
 
As an aside I spotted Pete’s ‘work’ boat – Tutanekai, mentioned in the story in Queen Charlotte Sound two years ago, I admired her then, sadly I was too busy pushing bacon and eggs down the gullet at the rather swanky, Bay of Many Coves resort, to say hi – my loss, but I’ll be back. Photos of her at the WW link below:
 
Previous WW Primadonna stories:
PART ONE
Kia Ora Alan,
Thanks for making contact, I was sent a link to your site by my sister who lives on her yacht in an Auckland marina. She thought I’d be interested in your story on our old waka, Primadonna.
You and I obviously have a lot in common, 40 yrs ago there were a lot of old Sounds launches coming to the end of their days, my old dad worked for Ernie Lane as a young man then for Jack Morgan and Rodger Carey.
He and his old mates had been Sounds farmers, whalers , fishermen and commercial launch masters, when ever they got together conversation would always revert to “Boats ! “
We lived in a bay down the Sounds, old pa could identify the older boats by the sound of their exhausts, before they rounded the points and came into view. The old guys would tell you who built them, what year, how much they cost, what they were planked out of, some were sister ships (2 keels cut out of the same log) where the logs were sourced from for the planking, what timber they used for the ribs, what make of engine they used, how much it cost, what horse power they developed and how many GPH they burnt and  what revs  they run at.
They took pride in knowing the whole whakapapa of all the old waka, how many hours the engines did until they were worn out and rebuilt or replaced, in those days after 5/ 10 yrs they would replace with bigger more powerful engines, they would also tell you how the engine was taken out of one boat and put into another and so on.
I grew up hearing all these oral histories and like a couple of your writers mentioned the accuracy of some of these stories was lost in the telling, then my old dad passed on and I got to thinking that if someone doesn’t write down these oral histories within 50 years, they will pass from living memory and be lost to time.
So I went around and interviewed a number of the old timers and collected all the photos I could, so pleased I did because those old boys are all gone now and their kids tossed out their photos.
It was funny, they just loved to talk about their boats, often their wives used to ring me up and say “could you come back and talk to dad again, hes driving me mad ! “
For years I have fostered an ambition to compile a book using this material and feel a bit precious about it, however no one has a monopoly over history and it should be shared, who knows the millennials may have no interested in our nautical treasures .
I have been a mechanic, a marine engineer, a fisherman, a commercial launchmaster a boat builder and for the last 30 years have run an eco tour with our old waka the near 90 yr old Tutanekai. I used to think that the day would come when people would regard the old classics like they do vintage cars and would restore them.
However it hasn’t really happened here and sadly many of our old classics have  been sold out of the area many finding their way to Auckland, I will miss seeing the beautiful counter stern of the old Primmadonna on the Sound, she is so much part of our local history.
I’m so pleased to see the resurgence of traditional boats in Auckland and sure a lot of credit should go to you for the sparking peoples interest in the classic wooden boats.
I remember when she was sold to a feller up on the Foxton River, he eventually put her up for sale but no one wanted her, so he rang me up and said “I’ll sell it to you for bugger all, if you don’t I’m going to cut the side out of her with a chainsaw and turn it into a road side stall. 
I contacted Ian Baldick, nephew of the original owner and said that old girl is your family heritage, you should buy her back, he said OK boy , you’re right, I’ll do it on one condition, that you come with me to bring her back home.
So away we went, made the deal, checked out the old Lister, changed the oil and fuel filters and set off for home, when we got down close to the bar there was a big swell and old Ian said theres something wrong, she’s not lifting to the swell, he said pull her up, he went down into the front cabin, lifted up the bunk swabs and found that the whole forward section was full of river boulders, (this had been done because when you run the old lady on full throttle the stern would suck right down until the water was level with the deck and if you were steering from inside the cabin you couldn’t see over the bow).
We tossed all the boulders overboard and charged out over the bar, there were 3 very big waves, she rode up over the first then put her head down and dove under the second and in what seemed like an eternity finally lifted, rose over the third and burst out into the open sea, old Baldy said if we hadn’t thrown those boulders out she would of gone straight to the bottom !!!
He told me that she had been build too fine with not enough buoyancy in the bow, straight stemmed with no flare, he said that one time they we steaming out around Cape Jackson when they went thru the big rip where the Pacific and the Tasman seas meet there are often half a dozen big waves, he said that she responded the same way a stick does when you throw it into the water. He said you had to shut the throttle off and pull her out of gear,   she went down by the head and kept going down until her buoyancy finally made her shoot back out back wards just like a stick !  He said that on this occasion one of their mates was standing on the foredeck, he said that when this occurred he wrapped himself around the mast and held on for grim death, he said that when she popped out they went forward and couldn’t get their mate to let go of the mast, he said he had squeezed it that hard he ‘d squeezed all the sap out of it and they needed a screw driver to prize his finger nails out of the mast !
I also owned the old Fleetwing at one time, but that’s another story.
The old waka in my shed is a true classic launch, is just the bare hull and is in beautiful condition for its age, has been in my shed for 30 years waiting for attention, I’ll never get around to it , I only rescued it because I knew her history and wanted to see her preserved, she had a 5 HP Frisco Standard in her for years, shes only 6 ft beam, they didn’t start building them with 8ft beam until the twin cyl 8 hp Friscos came out in the 1920’s.
The Baldicks said that they flush decked her for gropher fishing and that when they were steaming around Dieffenbach Point in a strong southerly she would roll over that far that your shoulders would be in the water.!
What I could do is send you the story of her builder Ernest Berg who  was a real character, was bankrupted 3 times but kept reinventing himself, a real conman but he built beautiful boats, back at the turn of the century, 3 of them left that I know of.
That’s enough for now, Keep up your good work mate.
PART TWO
Kia Ora Alan,
My pleasure, always interesting to look at a series of photos taken of a wooden boat that shows how their superstructures  were changed to suit their roles and how their engines got bigger and bigger with advances in technology.
My old waka “Tutanekai originally had an 18 hp twin cyl Regal, that was replaced by a 40 hp 4 cyl sterling, then a 60hp, 6 cyl Hercules, a 110 hp  471 GM during the war, currently has a 120 hp GM and have a 6 cyl 340 hp Yanma  in the shed to replace the GM, ( but it refuses to die.)
My apologies, but I don’t know (or don’t remember )  what the original engines were in the Primadonna,  most of the early launches back in the 1920’s had 5 hp single cylinder Frisco standards when they wore out were replaced by 2 cylinder 8 hp Friscos, they were replaced in the 1940’s with car engines then in the 1950s with truck or tractor diesel engines like 4 cyl Fords or GM’s , (lucky ones had Gardners ! )
When Alf Baldick finished whaling he used the Primmadonna as a farm boat and for transport to and from town, there were no roads in the Sounds.
He sold to a guy McManaway who was a gropher fisherman, he did away with the rear wheel house to give him more deck space and fish hold, he built a pilot house over rear of front cabin. He sold to Rex Baldick, Alfs nephew, he was farming in East Bay and spent a lot of time hunting, you would often see her at the Picton wharf with stern deck covered with carcasses of pigs and deer.
Rex sold to Ken MacArther who fished her out of the Wairau Bar, she caught fire on him, he took the 4 cyl Ford out that Rex had put in and replaced with a three cylinder Lister.
That was the end of her commercial fishing era, she had several owners and more changes to her superstructure, they replaced the rear wheelhouse, when I had it she had a coal scuttle that stuck up above the cabin top so you didn’t have to duck , getting in and out of the cabin. Before Ian Baldick bought her back into family ownership he threw the Lister out and put a reconditioned 4 cly Ford back in her, cut the coal scuttle off and replaced with a sliding hatch, put a new S/S shaft in her and did a great job of tidying her up. When he retired he put a line hauler on her for gropher fishing and spent a lot of time out fishing and deer shooting, when he past on she was sold but a couple of owners latter his son in law bought her back again for running the whanau to and fro to their bach.
Sad that she has been sold out of the Sounds, but who knows some day she may find her way home, it has happened before !
Nga Mihi,
Pete.
Woody Classics Weekend #5 Riverhead
RSVP waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Te Kouma Woody Mooching

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TE KOUMA WOODY MOOCHING

Dennis Macconaghie sent in the above collection of photos from Te Kouma Harbour. Dennis had just finished a charter and in his words ‘did a quick flick around the harbour to take a few picks of some local woodys’. Many thanks Dennis also good to see what’s wintering on the Coromandel side.
I have to say the all white double-ender (1st photo) is very salty – anyone able to enlighten us more on her?
Input from Jim Lott
The ketch shown in the photos is Aorangi II, a Bert Woollacott 34 ft design (Ladybird?). She was built by Ron Evans who lived at Bucklands Beach out of full length kauri planks over frames, launched late 60’s. From about 1977 until 2017 she was owned by AAH (Hubert) Schulte of Howick and berthed at HM Bay. Around 1980 the original Kelvin engine was replaced with a Yanmar and centre line shaft.
LAUGHING LADY STRUTS HER STUFF
Always look forward to getting the email from WoodenBoat advising my digital copy of WB is available for download – so pleased to see James Dreyer’s Laughing Lady has made the front cover of the July/August issue – well done James and everyone that rubbed up against her during her restoration.
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WCW Riverhead June2020
RSVP waitematawoodys@gmail.com

The Evolution of Pleasure Craft Communication

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THE EVOLUTION OF PLEASURE CRAFT COMMUNICATION

Next time you pick up a mobile phone to chat to another boat or log a trip report via the Coastguard APP, spare a thought for the boats of days gone by that had only one option (other than flags) for communications at sea. As a child I was fascinated by all these strange random words Zulu Mike Bravo Lima etc – my father being an ex-army comms man, morse was his thing. On holidays, myself and brothers were ‘made’ to listen to ships at sea and try to record the message, the winner i.e. most accurate, would win a chocolate.

WW follower Ken Ricketts is of an age that he has seen and experienced the evolution of New Zealand maritime radio communications and recently he wrote a comprehensive chronicle on the subject, which you will find below. It is worth a read to either educate or refresh yourself on the huge advances that have been made in the field. The story is peppered with a few tales directly relating some of our woody fleet (scroll over photos to ID the woodys) so hopefully that will keep those of you with a short attention span –  awake 🙂 Enjoy

Maritime radio-telephony in Auckland pleasure craft, had its first & humble beginnings in 1946, at which time, Ken’s father, Ralph Ricketts, entered the fray, with the second ever such installation, in Auckland, (the original first one was on the REHIA owned by Bill & Phyl Ryan at that time — who told RR about it) RR immediately bought, (as ultimately almost everyone did, once they knew about them ), an ex WW II war assets double side band, (DSB),  ZC1 MK II R.T., for  20 pounds, & fitted it to the Rickett’s launch – JULIANA, after which RR had a visit from a Govt radio inspector, who took diagrams of aerial format & layout, made various notes on his file of the installation, checked RR’s ability to use the set, made a test call himself, to “ZLD Auckland Radio,” sited  at Musik Point at that time, on the entrance to the Tamaki Estuary, & made sure RR had a “Restricted Radio Operators License,” which was required in those days, by all radiotelephone operators, on all pleasure craft, – now long since discontinued, & he allocated JULIANA the call sign of ZMYP.

REHIA 1948

JULIANA & AOMA c1953

Originally, there was only one call frequency, & that was 2012Kh, in 1946, used for all purposes, but not too long after that, 2012  was reallocated exclusively for harbour control use, to the Auckland Harbour Board, & pleasure boaties were allocated 2182, the international distress frequency for initial calling to government shore stations, & 2162 for ship to shore working, & 2456 & 2638 for ship to ship gossiping. 

The 2162 working frequency, was later changed to a duplex frequency, with 2162 for listening to ZLD, & them receiving on 2207. 

The frequency of 2045, was allocated around 1950, for use for transmission between privately owned shore stations & boats, such has Port Charles Radio, (the legendary Jim Smith owner/operator ), Gt. Barrier radio , Awaroa Radio etc. 

These shore stations were used extensively, for many years, from around 1950, by many commercial fishing boats, working throughout the Gulf, many of whom, reported in daily their positions, usually around 6 pm. There were also many pleasure craft which used the service, & RR was one of them. He joined the Port Charles association for most of his boating life with legendary Jim Smith the owner/operator. RR or Ken would call Jim every evening at around 6pm & report in our position at that time. 

You paid a small annual fee usually, to join their non profit associations, to cover their running costs & they kept records of your locations, times of calls, assisted in any way they could, with any problems you may have had, etc., & these associations usually operated, for several set times, of about 15 to 30 minutes, each day. Ken thinks some may still exist on the VHF channels, possibly there is one on Gt. Barrier Island.  

Auckland Coastguard was also allocated the frequency of 2128, (from recall), for ship to Coastguard use. 

By the early 1950s ZLD had introduced a radio telegram service to land based recipients who had a telephone number available, as the address & the telegrams would be sent by ZLD to any entity via that phone number ( & later delivered in hard copy via normal post to the address of the phone number), & if a reply was quested, or anticipated, they would telephone it through immediately, whilst the ship waited on standby, & ZLD would call back with the reply ASAP. 

The cost, was fairly expensive for the era, & on a cost per word basis & the costs were charged to the landline phone number. This service stayed in place as far as Ken knows right through in to the VHF era.

Land based parties, could also send radio telegrams to boaties, with the address, via the P & T telegram phone number, which must include the call sign & was as follows; (as a example) Mr. Smith Vessel ZMYP JULIANA C/- ZLD AUCKLAND RADIO. 

ZLD at the end of its 3 or 4 hourly daily weather forecasts & shipping information, would give a list of all telegraphic traffic held for all vessels including of course, & very importantly, their call signs, & most would listen to these broadcasts, as often as possible, & advise friends on other boats, if they were near at the time, that  ZLD had a message for them.

By about 1983 this communication with the outside world was taken a step further, &  ZLD introduced a VHF radio telephone service, which many mature old time boaties may recall, where a ship could call ZLD, on channels 22 & 23, in the  Auckland region, give them a landline number, which they would dial & then patch your call to ZLD through, to enable you to talk direct, to the subscriber, which whilst it was a good service, it had its shortcomings & limitations, shall we say, as any boatie who by chance or otherwise, dialled into ch. 22 or 23 on his boat, would inevitably be privy to what were sometimes surprising, & very private conversations, also necessarily, only one party at a time in the conversation could speak, & the other had to listen, & one had to say “over,” at the end of each segment of conversation, to enable the other party to know when to respond, 

Calls to boaties from landlines could also be booked with ZLD & ZLD would call them back, when they were able to make contact the vessel, the land based party wished to contact.

There was one other form of radio communication which evolved & inevitably found its way in to the boating world for a period in the 1970s/80s & that was  Citizen Band (CB) radio transmitting communication equipment, for short distance communication, unrestricted in it use, & it could be used by any person, at any place for any lawful purpose, but it was restricted, to a very low aerial output power in all sets, which could be bought & licensed extremely cheaply, much more so, than proper marine  purpose built equipment, & this medium became popular for a period, in the  1970/80s, with some  boaties, mostly in the smaller cheaper craft range, where cost was a really important issue for some, but whilst it was cheap, it had many shortcomings, including its very short transmission range, & as there was no structured organisation of any type, either private or govt., monitoring it, one simply in event of distress, had to rely on someone within the range for your set, hearing your call, & helping as best they could, one way or another. So whist it was so very limited in its rescue value, nevertheless it was better than having no communication at all, if in need of help. 

These sets had a good number of preset channels  & operated on the HF 26.500 Mh band in NZ., which was a different frequency range to many other countries, including Australia, which used 27.500Mh), & call signs were allocated to owners on a regional basis, depending on where you lived.

Ken installed one on his 40′ launch TIARRI, when launched in 1979, in order to have maximum possibility of assisting boats, in times of distress or breakdown. TIARRI’S main call sign was ZM3199, which, along with the radio, Ken took from his first boat, FLYING SCUD, which was issued to F.S. in December 1953, when she was built & launched by Roy Lidgard, just after the advent of the letter number era – only 1100 numbers in to the new system.  

TIARRI

FLYING SCUD 1975

There were the very odd exceptions, to the above early days policy, & call signs, mostly around the 1940s era, almost all of which, were for boats, where they were owned by the owners of private islands, in the Hauraki Gulf & Northland, & perhaps the Sounds, where they had a licensed, private, island based set, on their island, & a special boat call sign allocated to their boats, for keeping in touch with their home bases, usually where these boats were their sole means of access, to the outside world, & these sometimes, were of a number letter combination, with just one or two numbers usually, & had just one specific frequency, to operate with.  

All transmitting in DSB & SSB sets was technically very accurately totally controlled, often by a plug in type internal “Chrystal Control unit,” or similar, for each frequency,& fitted to all sets for all transmitting frequencies. 

There were later several lower end of the High Frequency, (HF) band, frequencies added in the 3, 4, & 6, Mh bands, mostly used by off shore boats, out at sea. 

This cumbersome, & red tape process, of registration, continued for a good number of years, right through the initial era of “ Double side Band “ transmission, & in to the upgrading of that era, to “single side band” (SSB) transmission, circa 1970s

After single side band transmissions became compulsory, around the 1970s this required the purchase of a new set, & the only double side band frequency which was still legally usable, was the international distress frequency of 2182 Kh,  & this could only be used for calls to govt shore stations (ZLD for Auck)  or ZLW for Wellington, as examples),  for emergencies only, & craft which did not wish to outlay for a new SSB set, or alternatively still keep a 2182 set after they bought a VHF set after they were introduced, could modify & keep their old set, & were then reallocated a compulsory special “ZMX” based call sign, starting at ZMX2001.

These days ZLD has left Musik Point, & the government’s ZLD & ZLW (& ZLB in the South Island,) which all later came under the umbrella of Telecom, being the replacement that took over from the old P & T., which in turn, has now become a totally new entity, as “Maritime Radio,” & under the umbrella through various subsidiaries, to “Maritime NZ.,” being another different Govt Dept, with the  transfer becoming effective from midnight, & starting on the 1st October 1993 & the operators of which, are now all based in the Old Radio NZ Avalon building, in Avalon, Lower Hutt, Wellington, with transmission facilities, in Wellington & Taupo, plus a network of repeaters, scattered around the country monitoring the whole country, which is now all controlled from this one location.

In the later 1970s early 80s Very High Frequency, (VHF) maritime radio was introduced, which gave many benefits, with all its ongoing ever increasing refinements, & installation of shore based repeaters, on high ground, throughout the country, which  has now ultimately totally replaced the old Medium Frequency DSB & SSB sets, with many advantages to all users, for all local NZ & inshore boating, along with the discontinuation of licensing of individual operators, & inspections by govt inspectors, of all boats so fitted, with RT equipment. 

Also, Radio Spectrum Management, the govt department which these days controls allocates & administers all radio & TV transmissions, call signs & frequencies, has vested in NZ Coastguard, the authority to issue calls signs on its behalf, of a mixed letter number type, such as, (possible examples only), ZMQ 2947, ZMW4526, ZMR 2937, & so on, as a result of the huge demand for these, these days, & the time consuming process it used to be, for R.S.M.

Originally in 1946, this was all under the umbrella of the Post & Telegraph Department to later become Telecom, & remained so for many years, until 1987, when it all started to change & we have ended up, for a good number of years now, with RSM, as the entity in control.

The pleasure craft call sign evolution, & changes to it, are as follows;

As above, all craft up until c1953, were all 4 letters alone.

As they were beginning to run out of call signs, around 1953, the Govt. wrote to all pleasure craft owners, requesting they approve the replacement of their existing all letter call signs with a letter number combination, starting originally, with the first reissued call sign of ZM2001. 

It is important to note that the Govt., could not insist on this by law, & only request it, & if the owners did not consent to the allocation of a new call sign, the original then remained with the boat, & there are a few of boats that still have their original all letter call signs even today. 

Neither Ken’s father nor the owner/builder of GAY DAWN, Bill Waters, who RR bought the boat off in 1956, surrendered their original all letter call signs, for their respective boats, —  (see image above of GAY DAWN taken c1965, showing clearly, a typical DSB aerial set up as used for many of the DSB, SSB, medium frequency sets of that era), —  RR sold JULIANA in 1956 with ZMYP, (which was somewhere along the way, later either abandoned, or replaced, with letter number combo call sign), & now, as referred to below, is reinstated to her for life. RR bought in 1956 & sold in 1970, GAY DAWN, with ZMIV in place, which however, also later along the way, was replaced by persons unknown, with a letter number combo, at least once, note: ZMIV has now been reallocated to the Rickett’s family and used on the vessel ROSEANNE, which is owned by Ken’s daughter.

GAY DAWN C.1965

Such was the ever increasing size of the “snowball,” of pleasure craft sets, that it was not all that long, before the original issue of the ZM2001 to ZM9999 were all allocated, & we then saw the issue of  ZMA2001 to ZMA9999, followed by the final issue to the SSB era, which was ZMY2001 to ZMY9999. 

It is important to note, that all call sign issues right from ZM 4 letter, ZM+, ZMA, ZMY, & ZMX, & all Coastguard issued call signs are approved & provide for use of all VHF sets.    

All letter only call signs, which are all just 4 letters alone, must still be issued by R.S.M. direct, & are mostly reserved for all Govt vessels,(eg., all the Police DEODAR launches were & still are, all allocated ZMIH, during their term of service to the Police), also some very large off shore fishing vessels, & some NZ based pleasure boats, that cruise off shore, or are capable of cruising offshore have these call signs allocated as well. 

Other pleasure craft, that have some classic, historical, or other special significance, are also issued these, at the discretion of RSM.    

Ken has enjoyed a close & good relationship with RSM, for many years, & there are some interesting background stories relating to the issue of some of these special allocations of all letter call signs, which Ken has been associated with, & some of these are as follows. There are a tiny number of pleasure craft that were built prior to about 1953, where the owners did not approve replacing their original call sign, which the dept. would have requested, but could not insist upon in c1953. 

Two examples of this are as follows; 

One with its original 1946 issued call sign is RAKANOA, which still has her original call sign ZMTF as issued when new, & the other, is Owen Foster’s WAIRANGI, also with her original call sign of ZMTM.

RAKANOA c1948

WAIRANGI 2020

A fairly recent approval exception, is the issue of ZMPY, to Peter Loughlin’s Colin Wild built LADY MARGARET, which was first issued to her, in 1941, by the Navy, & is recorded as such on her British Ship registration, (see below), & as a classic craft, with this history of her call sign, Ken assisted Peter, to secure this for her for life, when he bought her.

LADY MARGARET

LADY MARGARET Registration certificate P1 (TOP) jpg

Likewise Francis Uren’s “W1”, was issued with ZMWI in 2014, which is another detective story. W1 was originally brought to NZ by the Royal New Zealand Air force in 1941, as their extremely fast, & prize patrol craft, & given in the circumstances, the logical Air force number of “W1”, which has now been reinstated to her, as her name, by present owner Francis, after a long period of being known as CARROMA.  

W1 c.1942

As she is now W1 again, Ken approached RSM, gave them her history, & they in turn, approached their counterparts in the military, to see if they could uncover her original WWII call sign, but unfortunately all those records have been lost, so as an alternative, RSM offered Francis the call sign ZMWI. – They could not offer ZMW1 as international radio spectrum law, prohibits that type of call sign, worldwide, so she now has ZMWI for life, free of charge.  

W1 2014 - 1

El Capitan is another interesting story, as she now has ZMEC. It goes like this; She was built c1961, by a farmer, in a shed on his farm, to a Chris Craft design, in Ohakea, & he carted her around on a big trailer, & used her at Taupo, & the Sounds, until 1976,  after which time, she sat in a shed on his farm, never to move again, until bought by Tony Mitchell, of Lake Rotoiti, off his estate, post 2000. When Tony bought her, she had a Coden 2+ Mh multi channel, medium frequency, marine RT,  which would have been fitted almost certainly, when she was new, which has now been replaced with a VHF, but for which, there had never been a marine call sign issued, as the original owner, was also a radio ham, with a “ZL#### ham radio licence & call sign, which automatically allowed him to use this call sign for his boat. Ken provided on Tony’s behalf, all relevant info to RSM, & requested, & they approved, ZMEC (El Capitan), which she also has for life.

EL CAPITAN 2012

Ralph Rickett’s JULIANA, now renamed MARJORIE ROSA, now also of Lake Rotoiti, has been reallocated for her life, her original call sign ZMYP, as issued to RR in 1946. Ken told RSM of her history, as the second ever pleasure craft in Auck., to have marine RT, in 1946, & they have approved the reissue to her of her original ZMYP, to Fraser Wilson, her present owner, for her life. 

Marjorie Rosa : Juliana 2019

Marjorie Rosa : Juliana 2018

Story told by Ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H.

Brin Wilson 1958 Classic Wooden Launch – Mandalay

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Brin Wilson 1958 Classic Wooden Launch – Mandalay

Today’s woody was designed by Brin Wilson and built in 1958 by Dave Jackson, so that makes her a special woody. Carvel planked and measuring 35’9” with a 11’1″ beam and drawing 2’11”.
She is powered by a Moon Engines – reconditioned (2000) Ford 120hp diesel, that sips 7L an hour at a cruise speed of 7>8 knots.
Anyone able to put a name to the boat. I understand her owner has had her for approx. 30 years. Its Mandalay (thanks Geoff Bagnall)