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Yesterday, I was privileged to join a small group of friends of the extended Dreyer family at Omaha wharf to celebrate the re-launching of Laughing Lady, owned by brothers James & Michael.
 It’s hard to believe it was over 4 years ago that I first talked to James about the purchase of Laughing Lady in the USA & where would be a good home for her during her restoration. Given James overseas work schedule & desire to be hands on with the project, there really was only one option – the Whangateau boat yard, so that was where she went, just under 4 years ago.
With projects of this size & standard – the end result is always a reflection of the number & calibre of people that have ‘rubbed-up-against’ the vessel, in LL’s case there have been a lot – from Pam, George, James & an army of friends & family. As time ticked on & a re-launch date was set, more wooden boat artisans were roped in. Having seen LL in the flesh, the photos above do not do justice to the work that has been done on her, everyone should take a well deserved a bow.
I was very pleased to see that the project has been a restoration, not a rebuild, James & Michael have kept most things as close to ‘as-launched’ as possible – sure there is modern material & technology in play but its tucked away out of view – the GPS / nav unit is a perfect example, when not needed, it drops down out of sight – very James Bond.
Stunning boat, but the big question, where to keep her – anyone got a vacant boat shed for hire?
I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.
The old lady has had a lot of air time on WW – click the clinks below to view the process (top > bottom) – enjoy
This link will show you photos of her being re – floated

KOTARE – Sailing Sunday



KOTARE – Sailing Sunday 

I spotted Kotare (Maori = Kingfisher) last week on the grid at Rocky Bay, Waiheke Island. Her owner Don Fraser, was giving the bottom a scrub & a coat of anti-fouling. 

Don commented that the yacht had spent most of her life at Waiheke, excluding a few stints on the mainland.

 Don knows a little about her past owners e.g. she was owned & kept atRocky Bay in the 1970’s by retired merchant seaman Richard Powell.  However Don is very light on intel re her provenance – any woodys able to help Don out?


Woodys On Holiday @ Waiheke Island









Woodys On Holiday @ Waiheke Island

 Good morning Woodys – the 1st ‘live’ post in 2 weeks & I have to say I have enjoyed the break from the daily task of creating a WW story. Sometimes with everything else that happens in life its been a challenge, I’ll keep on with the daily stories but just a heads up, the frequency may change……… but business as usual for now.

I was amazed at the viewing audience over the Xmas / NY period, there were some huge days – the “Gunk-Holing Up The Weti River’ story had over 6,000 views in 24hrs, not bad for a ‘re-run’.

Despite the weather forecast & a broken freezer we got away on Raindance for 8 Days, came back a little early due to the weather bomb, & so glad that we did. 

For the 8 days we just mooched around Waiheke Island & had stunning launch weather + the water temp was amazing, warmest I can recall in a long time. 

I spotted quite a few woodys around the bays, if I missed getting a photo of you, either the light was all wrong or I was doing something else – so sorry in advance.

Last ones of Raindance were taken by Richard Darke from aboard his launch ’Seafarer’, many thanks Richard, I do not get many of Raindance, normally she is the camera platform.

A word of warning, last weeks storm has deposited some very ugly logs around the inner harbour, so keep a look out. It amazes we no-one (Akl Council etc) gathers them up, they will find there way back into the water & be an even bigger hazard. The one below was on Cheltenham Beach, Devonport.

If you have any photos from the holidays – email them in to


While ashore at Oneroa I picked up a flyer for The Island Grocer store, very clever piece of creative 😉

Island Grocer

Ballerina Restoration – Revisited



Haul out at Omaha





photos & details ex James Groenhart

I spied Ballerina at Mahurangi during the 2016 Regatta weekend & she was looking superb. James told me she had recently spent 5 weeks in the care of Colin Brown & Dave Walker at Jones Road, Omaha (same site as Anita Bay & Little Tasman). While she was structurally in great condition there were some areas that needed attention.

Colin & Dave completed the following work to a superb standard, & interpreted what James wanted perfectly, as well as being completely sympathetic to the character of the boat.

  • A new hardwood worm shoe was made & fitted.
  • Mahogany cabin sides & coamings were taken back & minor rot repairs carried out, particularly around the sliding side windows & timber fixed window beading.
  • Butterfly skylight hatch was restored & glass re set to stop leaks.
  • A new timber forehatch was made & fitted.
  • Duckboard deck was replaced.
  • Cabin top grab rails removed, restored & re fastened.
  • Repainted hull (using Altex ‘Classic White’), cabin sides & deck.

Great to see work like this recorded so thoroughly.

Click photos to enlarge.

Another Record Viewing Day Yesterday !!!!!!

Which Boat Today ? Revisited

Which Boat Today ?

If your names not Tony Stevenson that’s not a question many of us ask ourselves. When I picked up the Jan/Feb issue of the uber cool kiwi lifestyle magazine – NZ Life & Leisure, I discovered that there is someone else out there that’s been bitten by the classic boating bug, big time 🙂 Enter Charlotte & Richard Stevens, their menagerie of boats includes – ‘D’Urville’ a 70′ kauri, Laurent Giles designed motor boat, built by McMullen & Wing in 1975 – ‘Mickey Mouse’ a 1967 Ford 10 powered Albatross Motors speedboat – ‘Carvel’ their exquisite 1962 Norm Keen designed & built lake boat – a Frostbite, a Lazer, numerous canoes/kayaks & paddle boards AND a 45mph V8 powered ski boat. That ww followers is an impressive collection.

The article is a both a great read & a wonderful visual insight into the life & boats of Charlotte & Richard & we thank them for sharing it with us.

Todays post has been reproduced with the permission of Fairfax Media. The spectacular photos are from the camera of Tessa Chrisp & the words from the typewriter of Rebecca Hayter (NZ Boating editor). Check out the magazine at their website

Note: if the images above are a little hard to read – you can view it here as a PDF file, click the blue link 😉

Lake Rotoiti

Restoring & Installing a Gardner in Arethusa – Revisited

Restoring & Installing a Gardner in Arethusa

story & photos ex Dean Wright

It not often I get sent info on a boat & it jumps the queue & appears on ww the next day. If you have been following on ww the rolling restoration Dean has been doing on Arethusa over the last few years you would know two things, Arethusa is in very good hands & Deans a very talented commercial photographer. So the links below to Deans latest project – the restoration of a Gardner 4LW & subsequent installation in Arethusa are well worth check out.



Some history below

Arethusa ticked over 96 this year. She started life as a gaff rigged cutter, built by Bob Brown (designer of the Z class) at Sulphur Beach, Northcote. She’s carvel planked kauri, 33′ 4″ LOA with a 12′ Beam. With the aid of a fair bit of ballast she weighs 10 tonnes. She’s had an interesting life, more details here

Electro-Chemical Damage In Wooden Boats Update – Revisited

rudder electrochemical damage


A Special Post By Chris McMullen

Recently I received a note from Chris where he questioned if the story we posted last year on ww about electro-chemical damage to wood  was a little too long & were people reading it. Well I can tell you that the post is the single most visited story on ww, ever, & gets read by people all over the world. Its frequently referred to on the hugely popular WoodenBoat Forum in the USA. The link below takes you to the original story.

For the impatient ones out there 🙂 Chris has done a ‘Readers Digest’ version & refers to a vessel that recently featured on ww.
I encourage all of you to read today’s story & if you own a classic wooden boat – read both versions – the problem is the biggest risk to the life of our classic boats.

In Chris’s words:
“I received the above disturbing images of another woody being destroyed by an owner who I believe is unintentionally loving his boat to death.

The use of anodes and bonding on a wooden boat is fatal. The cathode or protected metal makes hydrogen gas and this combined with saltwater makes Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda). This chemical is used to pulp wood in the paper making industry. Not on my boat thank you! I say again, there is no reason to use anodes and bonding on any boat. The only exception, steel hulls require anodes. If copper or bronze are being corroded it is due to a positive DC leak and Zinc anodes will not help. Find the electrical leak is the cure. If there is brass or manganese bronze underwater it will corrode due to the
zinc in the alloy. Anodes will possibly stop the corrosion but at the expense of wood damage. A better plan is to replace the brass with proper marine bronze.

Bronze and copper should last indefinitely in the sea. To prove that statement, I ask you to look at the Roman coins and artifacts salvaged from ships wrecked in the fourteenth century. There was no anodic protection and the metal is well preserved. So what is the difference to the copper and bronze on your boat? There is absolutely no difference so why waste your money buying anodes that will in time destroy
your wooden boat.

Three or four bottles of wine will cost the same as anodes and will make you and your boat happier.”

Note: ww is read all around the world, if there is water & boats, there are people reading ww. So a little about the man for non kiwi’s  – Chris is one of NZ’s most respected boat builders (retired) and at one time was the Lloyds (Honorary) Wood Boat Surveyor in Auckland. Chris’s (the original company) ‘McMullen & Wing’ built and repaired wood, steel and marine aluminium vessels. They built the first welded aluminum vessels in NZ. Chris is the current holder of the Classic Yacht Association of New Zealand ‘Outstanding Achievement Trophy’ for services to classic boating.

14-05-2016 Photo Update
Gavin Gault sent in the below photos of a Nova skeg floor that he believes were probably damaged due to engine – anode bonding failure. Pretty graphic !!


10-07-2016 Reply from Chris McMullen

“Wow. Thank you Gavin Gault for sharing your very graphic images. Very sad, small consolation but yours will not be the only wooden boat affected by this scourge.
Maybe, at last some of the Flat Earth Society will start to believe what I have been saying. The worst detractors are some in the Marine Industry who have been preaching the Anode, Bonding party line for years.  Now there is no where to run for cover,  they continue to conjure up excuses and it seems, refuse to accept a simple scientific fact.
“If you have a positive and negative electrode in salt water, the negative cathode or protected metal makes hydrogen gas and this combined with salt water makes Sodium hydroxide.”
This chemical is also known as caustic soda and removes paint and destroys wood.  There is no doubt about this fact. You do require a power source and bonded dissimilar metals ( zinc and copper) provide sufficient current to do the damage, but slowly.
If there is a negative DC leak (to the sea)on a bonded boat the process is accelerated. If there is a positive leak any metal becomes an anode and will waste away. It is important to isolate the DC power from contact with the sea. Again bonding is just asking for trouble. Please remove Anodes and Bonding from your wooden boat now!
Chris McMullen”

06-09-2106 In case you were not to sure what to look out for – the below photo should be a wake-up call to a few woodys 😉