As has become my norm for Waitangi holiday weekend early on Saturday morning I pointed the car south and made my way to Lake Rotoiti in the middle of NZ’s North Island. 

2023 marked the 26th anniversary of the event and after a horror week of ‘once in a 100 years’ rain storms I had concerns that the parade might be postponed or cancelled. Well woodys as you’ll see from the above photo gallery, my fears were redundant.

The day started overcast with some light drizzle but this passed thru before the parade kicked off at 11am. Numbers were down a little from last year but conditions were perfect on the lake. 

Enjoy the gallery above – if you’re craft is featured above and you want a high res copy of the photo, drop me an email at the address below. Apologise if I missed your boat or if the odd photo is a little out of focus – just me in a run-about jiggling the throttle, looking out for other boats and holding the camera 🙂

My pick of the boat I’d most like tied up at my imaginary lake jetty is – ELLEN (#14), 26’ in length, built in 2004 in strip planked cedar from a plug taken off an old abandoned hull found in Kopu. Thought to be a ‘Milkmaid’ design by Bailey & Lowe. Powered by a 29hp diesel.  In my eyes just perfect. Photo below

Special thanks again to Dave and Glenys Wilson for the loan of a boat to get me out on the lake.

As always – click on photos to enlarge.

Lastly I never tire of the sound of big V8 (5.7L)  water exhausts. Shawn Vennell, the owner of Judy H, was lining me up for a prop shower – a few words of warning as to what my reaction would be, made him change his mind 😉


Endeavour Gets A Birthday


Todays woody – the 1953 A. Couldrey designed, Brin Wilson built launch – Endeavour is currently out at the Slipway Milford for some serious TLC. The launch as been owned by the Beachman family for many years, originally by Borrie Beachman, then sold to Jack Matich and converted to a motorsailer (photo below) for commercial fishing on the Kaipara Harbour. Borries nephew, Paul Beachman bought the vessel back and returned her to a sedan launch. These days Paul and son Brin look after Endeavour. I’m very happy to see the mast is down, I have been nudging Paul about revarnishing it for years 🙂

Endeavour has made several appearances at woody events and its always cool to see the whole family enjoying the boat.

Link to a previous WW story

03-02-2023 UPDATE ex Harold Kidd – ENDEAVOUR was designed by Bill Couldrey but NOT built by him. Brin Wilson built her for Borrie Beachman.

Ngaro Gets A Trip To The Beauty Parlour

Ngaro Gets A Trip To The Beauty Parlour

Woody Olaf Wiig resides off shore these days but as the owner of the rather imposing 1953,Lidgard built 48′ woody – Ngaro as often as he can he hops on the big silver bird and returns home. Then slips the lines and heads out to enjoy the Hauraki Gulf and beyond.

Over winter Ngaro spent a couple of months in the shed at Robertsons yard having her cabin tops and varnish redone. It wasn’t all lipstick – a new water tank was installed + a major engine service and a full new suit of canvas.As I have commented before Bgaio is one of th few woodys that no matter what angel you approach her from, she looks perfect. Well done Olaf and Emma for the custodianship of Ngaro.

See / read more on Ngaro here

Waitematawoodys Burgee Poll Results

Short, clear message here – 92% Say Yes I need to get production underway. More details soon 😉

Mason Clipper – Alibi

Mason Clipper – Alibi

Just prior to Christmas the owners of Alibi, a rather elegant Mason Clipper, quietly slipped her into Greg Lees shed at Sandspit. I understand that she’s in for a minimum of 3 months for a ‘makeover’ – we have seen some stunning makeovers from the shed in recent times. – Trinidad, Mahanui, Arohanui – so we look forward to following with interest – nudge nudge Greg Lees, photos please 🙂

(Photos ex Mason Marine Clippers fb)

Photo below Oct 1979 – Sea Trial on the Waitemata Harbour ex fb via K Ricketts

INPUT EX ALAN SEXTON – Copy of original Sea Spray article below + more photos from her recent haul out at the Sandspit yard.

You will note the she still has her original engines twin straight 6 Chrysler Mitsubishis.



Happy New – todays the first story for 2023 and Pacific is a very fitting woody to welcome in the new year with – during the winter of 2022 Pacific sent time on the hard having some delayed maintenance issues addressed and some creative comforts added. I’ll let owner Nathan Herbert tell the story:

“Bit of an update is due after Pacific’s most recent haul. In past attempts, the prop shaft wasn’t able to be drawn out more than 150mm so I had always been nervous about the situation up there. This time with the help of Seagar Marine and The Slipway Milford, we by brute force and a makeshift large slide hammer removed the shaft. It was found to be pitted, and then very badly pitted in one section where she ran in a highly noble bronze bush about tube centre. Three bearings were subsequently rammed out; one lignum vitae, one fibrous and one bronze. The Tube was found to be thin walled gunmetal and had almost completely de-zinced to mush. The mystery bitumen bath on the keelson was found to be a crude repair some decades old, hiding bad corrosion. A boring bar was made from the old 3.6m tail shaft extended to 5m and with unholy effort the remnants were removed and the hole gradually bored out to accept a fibreglass stern tube. This tube was epoxied in, with two Vesconite and one rubber  cutless bearing installed, topped off by a Chatfields  blue water dripless seal. 

Interior works included re-configuration of the saloon to cater for modern(or at least 1970s) needs and finished in kauri and honduras mahogany. A lightweight cradle was made for the RIB when in commission, and a Francis  searchlight fitted to the bridge deck.

There are always extras attended to along the way such as minor/insidious leaks but they fade in the memory compared with the newfound smoothness of a new, dry drivel ine”

2021 saw major updates to the zoom zoom – link here

Divine Intervention


DECEMBER 2022 – Expensive ‘Undercoat’

DECEMBER 2022 – Ready To Launch


Sometimes its faith based, sometimes its via loved ones and other times its from friends – what ever activated the aha moment, let’s just be grateful it happened.

The 1930, LC Coulthard built launch Lucinda was recently hauled out at the Slipway Milford for some annual TLC, which included a new paint colour for the coamings. I was asked by the owner last week for my view of the colour – I was honest and polite and relied

1. It’s your boat, paint it what ever colour you want

2. Its only paint, change it next time if you go off it

3. Are you prepared to be that boat e.g. when someone asks another boatie where in the bay they are moored , the answer will always be ‘ to the left of that red boat and 2 back’.

Well there was an intervention and we have another colour scheme – each to their own opinion but it gets my tick 😉

Well done Jason D for making the decision to order more paint 🙂

The ports even got some TLC.



Woody John Dawson recently saw the launch – Wakaiti advertised on tme and she popped on a search on fb and John sent in the above photos.John commented that he believes she was built c.1922 by Dick Lang. The look of her hull supports this, but in the photos above ex Mark Powell we see her being relaunched post a rebuild at the Chas Bailey & Son yard in Auckland. The work was done for Mark’s father Bill Powell.

Rumour has it she may have started life as a work boat in the Mahurangi area, would like confirmation of this and if anyone can add to her life story that would be great.

Make Sure You Grab A Copy Of NZ Life & Leisure magazine (Jan/Feb issue) Impressive 8 page article on the 1935, Arch Logan / Colin Wild built classic yacht – TAWERA.

Stunning photos and stellar words from Mike Mahoney e.g. ’There’s a joy and purity in sailing these boats that is hard to explain. Perhaps it is being at one with nature , on the water, driven just by the wind.’ At $12.50 it will be the most inexpensive, feel good moment you have this summer 🙂

History of Arahi


Recently the owner of Arahi, Gordon Lane, dropped me a note and when Gordon said he had been doing some research on her provenance, he wasn’t joking – of course I replied – ‘email it to me’, turns out to be quite a tome 🙂

So I‘ll hand over to Gordon to tell you about Arahi – the 32’ 10’6” beam, 4’ draft ex work boat, powdered by a 4LW Gardner with a Gardner 2UC Gearbox.

Links below to previous WW stories, lots of details, chat and photos.




MV Arahi’s recorded history starts with her purchase by the then Auckland Harbour Board in 1940.

While it has been suggested that, from her design, she is older than 1940 I can find no record of a previous life or a builder. In any event, she was built very ruggedly, as a workboat, if not with finesse.

She was “strengthened” by the Board and had massive echo sounding equipment fitted. She was then employed as a hydrographic vessel for the next thirty-eight years. She carried out extensive shallow water survey work throughout the Waitemata Harbour as well as on the Manukau Harbour and its bar which needed regular surveys. It is probable that she had various other duties as well. The large transducer equipment installed is still in place today and I am too nervous to attempt its removal!

In the early 1950’s she provided hydrographic information necessary prior to and during the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. 

In the New Zealand Herald of 29/06/1971 an article appears regarding a near miss she had while working, nearly being run down by a fishing boat whose whole crew were down aft filleting the catch. Although she had the right of way, flying a keep clear flag, she was forced to take action to avoid being run down.

She was under the command of Lieutenant Commander John Reith in a civilian capacity as the AHB hydrographer.

A Mr Colin Tubbs is recorded as his assistant and Mr Alan Hammond also formed part of the crew at that time. It is probable that she had at least one additional crew member when doing hydrographic work.

This was during a period in the early 1970’s when the Auckland Harbour Board was investigating the possibility of port development in the upper Waitemata Harbour in that area between the Point Chevalier peninsula and Te Atatu. To establish the position and type of wharf structures, and the dredging required, the extent of the soft marine deposits between the seabed and a depth of 25 metres had to be determined over the whole area. To do this equipment capable of “seeing” through layers of mud and soft rock strata was required.

She was fitted with a state-of-the-art Precision Depth Recorder (PDR), 10 kilowatt transceiver and a towed transducer assembly (the “fish”). Much of this work could only be done on a rising tide often in water less than 2m deep requiring the “fish” to be tied alongside the port quarter to keep it off the seabed.

Clearly the science precluded the practicality of the development, as we know it never happened.

An engine logbook exists covering the period 27/04/1967 up until her sale by tender 04/05/1978. 

This gives her run hours, rpm, bunkering, operating temperatures and pressures.

During the period April 1967 to November 1968, from the logbook, work included Soundings, Yard Work, Manukau Harbour, Manukau Bar, Bridge Barge, Pilot Duties, Tug for the moorings punt, docking the Daldy and Hikinui, as well as picnic trips on Anniversary Day. 

After November 1968 the skippers rarely recorded duties in this log and kept to fuel and oil usage etc..  

Maintenance history prior to April 1967 is unknown but it seems probable that sometime between 1955 and 1967 the engine was changed to the current Gardner 4LW (Engine No. 103459 – 1955). (The writer would like to know what engine predated the Gardner)

Following Harbour Board protocol regular servicing, slipping and routine repairs were carried out throughout the period.

To Private Ownership:

Arahi was put up for tender in early 1978 and when tenders closed and she had a new owner on 4th May 1978.

She was immediately slipped at Baileys yard on 26th June for belting repairs and extensive new fitout and maintenance was carried out at the time. Of special note was the comment that a hull inspection found it to be “First Class – Very Sound”!

At this time her name was changed to Te Rama-Roa.

She was intended for fishing by the new owner and much work was carried out to this end including a “1000lb winch and 60A Alternator”.

However, for unknown reasons she never went fishing and was sold to a Mr Ken Morris of Tauranga and later Tryphena. (Ken, a knowledgeable engineer, has been of great assistance to me putting these notes together.)

She sailed from Auckland to Tauranga on 30th November 1978 to start her new life.

Ken Morris’s Boat:

Ken promptly renamed her Omatere after an earlier launch he’d owned but later decided to change her name back to the original Arahi.

He did many fishing and pleasure trips from Tauranga to Mayor Island, White Island etc. but Arahi’s working days were by no means over!

Ken had decided to move to Tryphena and build himself a house and to do this substantial materials and house structures had to be shipped from Tauranga and Auckland to the island.

Ken acquired a 40ft wooden barge and Arahi, a harbour hydrographic boat, commenced a new career as a coastal tug. She made many trips backward and forward between Tauranga, Auckland and Tryphena before the project was finished.

Her last trip as a tug was a “grand finale” towing a 50ft steel barge with a village hall on board from Tauranga to Tryphena.

Notwithstanding when the serious work was finished, Arahi was still both the Auckland shopping transport and family launch making several hundred Colville Channel crossings to Auckland.

Notwithstanding when the serious work was finished, Arahi was still both the Auckland shopping transport and family launch making several hundred Colville Channel crossings to Auckland.

Over the years Ken did much work updating and improving on Arahi’s equipment and accommodation most of which is still in place today. Notably major works were carried out over two months ending in March 1981.

These included re-siting the dry exhaust as you hit your head on the muffler every time you entered the engine room. Ken placed it centrally and later made a very special stainless steel funnel with a Gardner approved venturi exhaust system.

Other works were extending the cockpit roof and glassing the fore cabin roof.

During another refit the cabin sides were completely replaced with ply as the island kauri with which they were originally built developed extensive rot. At that time the Gardner was removed from the boat and given a top end rebuild, the bottom end according to Ken just didn’t need anything. (The Gardner had completed its first 10,000 hours in January 1975 and its second during Kens time and is sitting on 3,648 today and still running like a clock).

The years rolled by until Ken decided his boating days were over and it was time to move Arahi on.

So, in 2019, after 41 years a tired Arahi, in need of some worm repair work in the stem and general TLC was given to Merv Young of Auckland.

Arahi to Auckland and Wanganui:

She left Tryphena in 2019 and was assisted back to Auckland by Alistair Reynolds beautiful charter launch Felicitare.

She was taken up the Tamaki River and then trucked to Merv’s Otahuhu premisses for a seven month clean and tidy up.

After relaunch and a short time at Westhaven, Merv sold her on to a young chap from Wanganui and she was trucked down in late 2019.

She received plenty of attention on her arrival as the new boat on the river but unfortunately, she wasn’t to remain a river boat for long. Her owner, with changed circumstances, decided to sell her and this writer purchased her in February 2022 and trucked her back to Auckland and his Gulf Harbour marina berth.

After her time tied to the riverbank in Wanganui, she needed a thorough boatyard session and to this end she was placed in a shed at Te Atatu Boat Club from April to July 2022.

Back in Auckland: 

Boatbuilder Mr Wayne Deacon together with shipwright Mr Terry King worked on her repairs, with me getting in their way.

Arahi is exceptionally strongly built; her scantlings may be considered considerably more than those expected in a vessel of this size. 

Stripping and inspection showed all the heart kauri 1 ¼” planking was in exceptional condition. 

However, six full athwartship ribs and four half ribs plus two floors in the cockpit area needed replacement. It is thought that entry of fresh water over many years and the tight turn of the bilge in this area were responsible. These ribs were removed and replaced with epoxy laminated hardwood ribs spot glued and fastened with 3” silicon bronze screws in the same frequency as the original copper nails. This work provided a very strong construction, truing up the quarters planking, and in keeping with the rest of the vessel.

The exterior underwater hull was stripped to the timber, old putty removed, additional caulking carried out where required, puttying, priming and antifouling.

There are no below waterline skin fittings in use except the engine keel cooling. Where older through hull fittings existed, they were plugged on the outside and capped internally.

The rudder including stock and bearings were replaced with a new replica of the original.

The propellor has been replaced with a new one.

The original strut white-metal bearing has been replaced with a modern cutlass bearing in the same housing.

Topsides required some timber replacement around the port bow sponson and re-glassing. A small strip of the cabin roof was also re-glassed. Otherwise decks and cabin were a sound and waterproof.

A new anchor winch has been fitted on the foredeck to allow remote anchor operation in due course.

Inspection of the engine, a Gardner Diesel 4LW with a Gardner 2UC gearbox, situated in its own engine room forward of the helm station was satisfactory. Preventative maintenance was carried out on the engine “ram” type coolant pump and the identical bilge pump by Mr Dave Shaw of Shaw Diesels, New Zealand Gardner agents.

A new 70A alternator is fitted to replace the c. 20A dynamo as a first step toward a full electrical upgrade.

Bilge pumps, fuel systems and instruments have all been replaced.

As at the date of writing (December 2022) she is back at her new home at Gulf Harbour, and I am working hard to complete a full rewire prior to some summer cruising.


If anybody can add factual information to the Arahi story I would really appreciate hearing from them, please feel free to contact me on either 0274 316 196

Arizona – Where Is She + CYA Heritage Basin

ARIZONA – Where Is She

Todays photos were sent in by woody John Dawson and show the 1914, 36’ launch – Arizona. John commented that Arizona had gone into hiding after supposedly being in storage somewhere in West Auckland. The last photo may or may not be of the West Auckland location.

In her day Arizona was a fine looking craft and we would love to hear that she is still around and either awaiting a restoration or even better, its underway.

So woodys can anyone enlighten us on the status of Arizona.


Last week it was asked on WW if anyone had any news on the NZ Classic Yacht Association and the executive committees determination to negotiate with Panuku and the Maritime Museum to establish a new waterfront marina (working title Heritage Basin) in Auckland that would provide pepper-corn rental berths for selected classic yachts. We had several phone calls – overview below:

1. Panuku are extremely gun-shy of anything that might be viewed as ill-conceived given the current economic climate and reported mayoral budget priorities. More than one ‘in-the-know’ person commented “its dead in the water”.

2. Seems the CYA’s committee are at loggerheads on the venture. In recent months three committee members have resigned – the vice chair, the yacht captain and a general committee member. This follows two committee members tabling their resignation in the 2021/22 year. Interestingly a CYA member who is a stickler for governance and protocol pointed out that the empty vice chair and yacht captain roles were filled by asking two CYA members to fill the positions. They felt that given the blurred membership status on the new yacht only marina, maybe a request for nominations from the wider CYA membership would have been a more appropriate decision. Whilst we can understand why people resign, sadly it only strengthens the views of the people they were at loggerheads with e.g. their voice / vote is lost and you would have to be very naive to think that when targeting replacements you wouldn’t look for people that shared your views. Saying that we are very encouraged by the appointment of Russell Brooke as replacement vice chair.

(and for the record – all of the above has been reviewed by a friendly legal adviser, so to quoted that person – “you are on thick ice”)

UPDATE – Now I know that only a % of you regularly read the comments section on each WW story, so I have re-posted todays post from Russell Brooke below.

On many fronts I’m buoyant to read Russell’s input to the WW story – the two primary reasons being:

1. Its pleasing to receive correspondence from the CYA on the the subject of the Heritage Basin project, in recent times it has been impossible to get any factual information on the topic – so well done Mr Brooke to stepping up to the mark.

2. Russell’s comment on all matters raised are – insightful, knowledgable and sage. I will enter into 2023 with high hopes that our movement can become again what it deserves to be. I’ll keep you posted 😉

“Thanks for the vote of confidence Alan. 

A short while ago I was writing to CYA about an issue (not the heritage basin) when I realised that in a storm help was needed more than yelling from the sideline. So I volunteered. The vice chair was the empty seat, and because I had chaired CYA many years ago during a difficult phase the team felt that was where I should sit.

I would urge you to welcome Tom Bertenshaw on to the committee. You and I have spoken before about the need for the “young to fall in love with these boats” if they are to have a future. I am stoked my daughter and her partner are loving Linda. The talk of the town now is Innismara and her young crew. Just brilliant! Tom brings that voice onto the committee.

I must also say how impressed I am with the people on the current committee – experienced, diverse and levelheaded. Our chair, Richard, is a wonderful man who is working incredibly hard behind the scenes. This committee is the opposite of divided, and the ability to have respectful robust conversation is, I believe,  a sign of its ability. 

Re Heritage Basin – There are rumours flying everywhere. We can all see what is going on in Auckland. Despite all that my view is that we need to have a Heritage Basin brief ticking away or ready to go. The new committee received the draft brief yesterday and it is scheduled for discussion at the February meeting. My personal thinking though is that the next months are really busy for CYA, and if there is no urgency for the Basin we may well defer it until we have time to get the cart back behind the horse and produce a project brief that is supported by all the classic boating fraternity. Then we can seize any opportunity.

Of bigger concern to me is where are all the small yachts? A major part of the 30s to 50s yachting scene in NZ was all the small keel boats and backyard boat builders. I would love to see this fleet develop. It may be that racing is not the thing and that more “dinghy raid” type activities are better. Love to hear from skippers of these boats.

I’ve taken a bit of your page – hope it helps. Happy to catch up regularly with you for a Q &A on the forum if that helps build our Classic Boat community.” Russell Brooke