The Restoration Of Melodeon

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The Restoration Of Melodeon

Now woodys if you know Dick Fisher you  will know that Dick likes BIG things – big classic boats, big projects, big (zoom zoom) cars. Chatting with Dick recently he informed me he had a project on the go, his words “something to keep me out of trouble” so of course I said ’send me some details – givens Dicks other two boats – Akarana, the 60’ 1960 AJ Collings designed and built by WG Lowe, ex Auckland Harbour Board pilot boat and Hamal, the 1975 purpose built exploration ship – I suspected the project would be a doozy. Photos of Akarana & Hamal below.
Dick and Colleen have a stunning track record of converting ex work boats into the most amazing classic cruisers so WW looks forward to following this project, we will be giving Dick a friendly nudge for updates.
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I’ll let Dick tell us what he is up to, remember click in photos to enlarge 😉

 
“The story so far goes a bit like this……
We purchased Melodeon from Greg Hayes in April 2018. Greg had owned & fished with her for the past 25 years. 
One of the photos above shows her at her semi-permanent berth at the Whangarei Town Basin prior to our buying her.
After the successful negotiation of price with Greg, who had expressed the wish for Melodeon to only be purchased by someone prepared to restore her.
We lifted her out at Dockland 5 in Whangarei, her estimated weight at this point was in excess of 50 ton. We removed as much equipment as were able which included 9 ton of lead balast. This would explain why when blasting the paint from the hull we uncovered seven (7) waterlines this made her draft aft at 7 ft. 
 
With the assistance of Boat Haulage Ltd we moved her to our workshop at Kamo & then commenced dismantling decks, bulwarks, wheelhouse & removed the engine & fuel tanks etc. She was then high pressure water blasted & garnet blasted all of the paint off inside & out.  She was then moved inside the same shed where Akarana had been for 5 years during her restoration.
 
The hull was copper fastened of 3 skin construction.. unfortunately the 2 inch Kauri decks were iron fastened & unable to be saved.
 
To date we have treated with preservatives the inside of the hull & currently has a holding undercoat.
 
The last few month I have been focused  on restoring the T8 Kelvin engine which was in reasonable condition. Main items needing replacing were a set of 8 exhaust valves , a complete gasket set plus other small items. I was able to purchase these from  Kelvin Diesels in Glasgow, a subsidiary of British Polar Engines. We have found this company & their staff most helpful in procuring parts. The engine is now complete & running very nicely. 
 
Up to date the work has been carried out mostly by myself & my son Richard when he had time. The engineering side of the restoration we can manage ourselves.  We now realise we need a skilled boat builder to assist us with the woodworking aspect.
It is our intention not to alter the overall design, with the exception being the wheelhouse which needs to be a little bigger.  
 
We are fortunate in that Greg Hayes has passed on to me the Marine Dept files dating back to October 1934.
Some salient points for you:
Plans, specs & building was carried out for Melodeon by Chas Bailey & Son in Auckland.
Original engine was a German Deutz/110BHP / 2 cycle diesel/ @ 450RPM this was replaced by the current T8 Kelvin.
Propeller:  4 blades /59 inch dia x 48 inch pitch – 3.3 to 1 reduction
Dimensions: Overall 57ft Beam 15ft6in draft 7ft
The existing T8 Kelvin was installed new in 1960 & the estimate from info we have, is that she has run well in excess of 100,000 hours.
Melodeon fished using different methods all around NZ, during the 1939/45 war the US Navy commandeered her for service in the Pacific.
  
This is an ongoing project for me in my dotage & its keeping me out of trouble.. in fact it’s a pretty big job….as the TV Ad goes…”
 
A Heads Up
Two cool things you may have overlooked in the last week
1. Do check out the link that Hylton Edmonds posted in the WW comments section. Its to a National Film Unit movie that features the then police launch Lady Shirley going about its duties on the Waitemata Harbour – fast forward to the 5:10 mark to catch the start, its a great watch and lots of our woodys make appearances – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mlqfwtybXE
2. Put your hand in your pocket and spend NZ$5 to subscribe for two months to the very informative and entertaining Vblog – OFF CENTER HARBOR. The guys at OCH have offered up this deal to WW readers so you can get your classic boating fix during the lockdown – details here  OCH $5 Deal
Akarana (L) – Hamal (R)

IDA – All Dressed Up & No Where To Go

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IDA – All Dressed Up & No Where To Go
Last night this 125 year old A-Class classic yacht was going to be the leading lady at the RNZYS for a party to celebrate her relaunch – but CV-19 put a stop to that 😦
So woodys today you get a peek at her tucked away in Wayne Olsen’s shed waiting for the green light to step out.
It seems unbelievable  that it was only July 2019 that I Iast visited the yard and now she is all set to splash (see link below for photos + details on her history and how she came home after ‘migrating’ to the Big Island.
Ida was designed by Charles Bailey Jnr and built / launched in 1895 by C&W Bailey gaff rigger
She is 58’ LOA, with a beam of 8’ – LOW = 45’ so there is a lot of bits hanging off her when she is in racing mode
Once again the classic yachting movement is indebted to John Street and his Classic Yacht Charitable Trust, they restore and maintain the cream of New Zealand’s A-Class fleet, and race the pants off every other woody in the fleet. Well done.
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Taranui (Gailene > Masquerade > Taranui) 

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TARANUI (Gaylene > Masquerade > Taranui) 
 
Today’s woody story comes to us via the collective input of many people – Harold Kidd, Grant Faber, Barry and Christine Johnston, Grant Richards – under the guiding hand of Ken Ricketts and edited (a lot) by Alan H.
Some basic facts – 
Taranui is 30’ in length with a beam of 9’ 7”. 
She was built in 1948 as an internally ballasted 350 sq. ft. sail area Bermudan ketch (D28). There is speculation that Taranui was built either on the Hobsonville Air Force Base, or nearby, of kauri.
Her current owner is Grant Richards, who supplied all the above photos, and she is kept at Gulf Harbour marina.
 
Her provenance (with a few holes) goes like this – 
 
She was built by G Neville in 1948, her first registered  owner is D.H. McMillan of Ellerslie, Auckland – she was kept at St Heliers Bay.
Her second registered (15-09-1951) owner was W. (Bill?) Ridley of Pakuranga who kept her at Panmure.
She passed to D Wintle in 1961 & then Ron Faber on 13-10-67.
Grant Faber (son of Ron) has commented that when she was owned by Don Wintle, she was kept at Northcote Point, where she was moored when Faber Snr. bought her. Faber Snr. continued to keep off Northcote but later secured a mooring for her in Westhaven. 
By the 1960’s one mast had been removed and later both masts & rigging were removed by the owner from whom Barry Johnston bought her off. That owner still had them & offered them to Johnston, but he declined, as it was his intention to retain her in launch mode. Barry Johnston made her present mast during her major 1996 -2000 refit.
Johnston bought her off a private advertisement in trademe in the 1990’s and cannot recall who from. He owned her for about 15 years and kept her at Westhaven.
When Johnston bought her, she was called Gaylene (changed by an unknown previous owner) and in a very sad state, with lots of rot in the coamings and decks, and other much deferred maintenance, which he spent the next 4 years getting her up to pristine condition.The work all being done, on a family member’s private slip, in the Whau River. In view of all the work he undertook, Johnson changed her name to Masquerade.
One day when Johnston was on a cruise, Grant Faber rowed over to Masquerade and asked Johnston if he could have a look aboard, as he believed his father Commander Ron Faber RNZVR OBE VRD, may have owned her in the period c.1964 -79. After an inspection, he confirmed it was indeed his father’s old boat. After being informed that her original name was Taranui, during her 4 year re-fit, Johnston changed her name back to her original name, which she still has today.
According to the APYMBA records (ex Harold Kidd) – her original engine was a 28 hp petrol engine, with a 17 x 10, 3 blade prop. 
Grant Faber has commented that when his father bought her, she had a marine converted, 6 cyl. petrol Chev car engine, most probably her original engine, this engine gave a lot of trouble so Faber Snr. replaced it with a brand new, 6 cyl Holden petrol car engine.
By the time  she arrived in the hands of Johnston, she had acquired an old 4 cyl. slanting Ford diesel c.60hp, which during his 4 year refurbish, he replaced with a Moon Engines converted Isuzu 4 cyl. diesel c.60hp – which she still has today.
 
Recently, Grant Faber sent Ken Ricketts the note below:
 “Of nautical interest, the ensign staff shown in one of the photos, and the ensign, was passed to Dad, from my grandfather (Roy Drummond). It came from his launch Te Whara. He purchased it and fitted it to Te Whara in 1921 specifically for the visit of the Governor General visiting Whangarei in his ship Tutanikai. The launches of the day formed a guard of honour in the harbour. This ensign which is of real bunting made by Le Roy’s (the noted marine canvas makers) flew on Te Whara until Pa sold her, then on Taranui, then on my launch Te Whara 11). It is currently framed and hanging in my library showing remarkably little wear for an ensign coming up to 100 years old.” (edited)
 

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Classico – Launch Day

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CLASSICO

A few weeks ago I was tipped off by Adrian Pawson that one of his buddies – James Ledingham, had ‘acquired’ a very special Frostbite named Classico, one of things that makes her special is that she was built but never launched, so effectively is a new boat. Adrian is the owner of – Kiteroa, the ex Brooke family boat, which Adrian has restored and ’tweaked’ a little, thats her in the photos with the orange hull.

I was onto James quick smart to get more details. But before that I have to say how cool it is to see these ‘young’ sailors getting into the classic wooden dinghy sailing scene. The guys sail out of Taikata Sailing Club in West Auckland (Te Atatu), on a good Sunday there are upwards of 15 Frostbites racing. Both Adrian and James would be too modest to say this – but both work at the very pointy (high tech) end of world sailing, which makes their passion for these woodys even more special 🙂

Adrian also supplied for our review (see below) a copy of Doug Sharp’s secret copy of the ‘Frostbite Go Fast Tips’ by Kevin Lidgard.

I’ll let James tell the story –

“Recently I was fortunate enough to purchase ‘Classico’ a wooden frostbite dinghy.

What made this boat unique, aside from her immaculate timber detailing, was that she was brand new and had never been sailed. Something of a rarity in the frostbite class these days.

‘Classico’ is the result of a labour of love by her builder and previous owner David Strickett (Brother in law of Rex Maddren – a well-known Frostbite sailor and champion in his day). Looking for a wooden boat project and with a love of the clinker style, the Frostbite dinghy was a natural choice for David to get stuck into. Having picked up his wooden boat building skills at Carrington Tech under the guidance of Robert Brooke (son of Jack Brooke, who designed the original frostbite back in 1937) he was certainly well equipped to tackle such a build. Robert helped him source some temporary frames from Wakatere Boating Club and he got stuck in.

The boat is built in kauri, the majority of which was sourced from a farmer in Mangamuka, just south of Kaitia. The exception was the single piece transom, which came from a kauri slab that David already had in his garage.

Many hands make light work and during the build David sought help with the planking and ribbing from Robin Dew, who had built several wooden Frostbites himself. Whangarei boat builder Nick Rodokal also lent a hand in constructing the gunwhale, having previously built David a Lotus 9.2 (Pursuit).

David kitted the boat out with modern aluminum spars, a Quantum Mylar sail, and the latest Harken deck gear. Adding a touch of performance to the classic kauri hull.   

It was a bittersweet moment to launch ‘Classico’ down at Taikata Sailing Club on the first Sunday of March 2020, ahead of the regular afternoon sailing. She would have been equally at home in a museum (or the lounge!) and once wet and raced, unlikely to ever be quite be as immaculate again. However, they are such great boats to sail I was looking forward to getting out and seeing what she could do. She was appropriately blessed by another frostbite legend, Doug Sharp, and champagne was poured. A successful first sail ensued with minimal leaking.

While the quality of the boat couldn’t be faulted her performance was an unknown. However, she certainly seems to be fast (when the skipper sends her in the right direction) so far grabbing a 2nd in the first race of the Taikata Sailing Club winter series held earlier in March.

I plan to race her regularly down at Taikata Sailing Club, where the Frostbite fleet is thriving – with 12+ boats on the start line every fortnight. Wooden boat enthusiasts are welcome to come down to the club and have a yarn. There are a good number of well-kept and restored timber Frostbites amongst the fleet, and no shortage of stories! 

The name ‘Classico’ stems from a holiday dinner in Tuscany where David and his wife were enjoying a bottle of traditional Chanti wine – Chianti ‘Classico’.”

Frostbite Go Fast Tips 1

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Choptank

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CHOPTANK

Todays WW story falls into the eye candy category and will spin the wheels of the workboat group.
The 62’ Choptank was brought to my attention by Australian woody – Andrew Christie, who spotted her on the WoodenBoat Forum.
Built in 1938 in Virginia, USA by O.W. Payne Palmer and named – Julian.
Later name changes were – Callis Brothers, then – Callis Brothers II.
She has just had a complete rebuild at the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where her name was changed to – Choptank.
Choptank is what they call a ‘Chesapeake Bay Buy-Boat’.
Make sure you check in tomorrow (Sunday) – great story coming u 😉
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Marlin

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MARLIN
Woody Baden Pascoe recently sent in the above photos of Marlin seen here in the top photo at Whitianga c.1968 after being re-powered with a Caterpillar 320. 
At this time she was owned by Alf Clow (photos are courtesy of the Clow family). Alf bought Marlin off Rolly Smith who used her for game fishing. It is believed that prior to Rolly Smith she was owned by the Thames Harbour Board (who went bust).
 
The thinking is Marlin was build by Sam Ford, but there is know knowledge as to the launching date.
The second photo shows the new Cat 320 being lowered into Marlin, seems a rather large donk for the size of the boat. Thence the last photo of her flying along with Clow family on board.
The dinghy on the stern is from the hands of Howard Pascoe 🙂
Any woodys able to shed more light on the history of Marlin?
Input from Barbara Cooke – Rolly Smith was my uncle. He purchased Marlin during the early years of WW11 for the purpose of deep sea fishing but due to government fuel restrictions this wasn’t permitted. He and his young family farmed at Fletchers Bay, top of Coromandel. After the war they returned to Whitianga where Rolly operated Marlin for chartering and game fishing. In later years his son Bruce skippered Tuatea, another game fishing vessel in Whitianga.

 
Input from Ross Dawson – Papers Past, Thames Star 11.3.1926 tells us…”the Harbour Board’s new launch Marlin, was brought down from Auckland on Tuesday by the Dredgemaster,..Mr Roche” and in the same newspaper 31 March 1926 says…”…the launch passed government inspection on 10.3.1926….fit to ply with 8 passengers within extended river limits when not towing and with suitable canvas over the cockpit, or with 16 passengers within river limits proper….length 31.75 feet, breadth 8.25 feet, depth 2.87 feet, horsepower 30-35, crew 2. Registered as “Marlin” …” So, no builder but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a reference to the launching about Jan – Feb 1926, in the Auckland newspapers.

The Thames newspaper notes Marlin being in Whitianga in 1933.

 
Input from Harold Kidd – Can’t say I was confident about my last posting. Did some more digging and found that the Thames Harbour Board commissioned this launch from Sam Ford as a towboat, largely used for their dredge. She was unnamed but was completed in early 1926. Her dimensions were 31’6″ loa, 8’3″ beam and 2’6″ draft and 2.87tons displ. Things can’t have worked out as she was up for tender in August 1928 (again unnamed). The Secretary of the Harbour Board was later charged with embezzling a large sum from the Board and it folded shortly afterwards.
So the memories of all concerned were absolutely spot on!
Now we have to sort out what her name was before it was changed to MARLIN. Lovely boat! How nice it’s Sam Ford. 
I’m just in the process of preparing a series of Boating NZ articles on him. This boat just shows the breadth of his skills at much the same time as WHAKAARI and before his Art Deco cruisers.
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Annalisa

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ANNALISA
Annalisa was launched in 1960 and is a 36’ Roy Parris built launch.
Powered by a Ford 120hp Lees diesel engine. Current home is Mangonui, Northland and that woodys is all we know about this woody.
Can anyone tell us more about Annalisa’s past?
(thanks to Ian MacDonald for the tme heads up)
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