Tooroorong > St. Helena


As purchased 4 years ago


mocking up the new house 1

getting closer.




Moreton Bay Video – Dec 2017



Hello woodys – today’s WW story is a goody, it started off with an order from Australia for some WW t-shirts, several emails later I discover that the recipient of the t-shirts, Andrew Christie is a serious woody. I will let Andrew tell the story of his acquisition of the classic launch Tooroorong (later to be re-named St. Helena), read below. Enjoy – I did 🙂
ps check out the cockpit canopy ‘wings’, new to me but with the hours of sunshine they get in Australia, they are a great idea.
“St Helena is a 32 foot long timber cruiser.  Her hull is Queensland Beech glued with resorcinol and clenched with copper nails. Her decks are ply sheathed in dynel and her cabin top is made from Australian Red Cedar.  Her hull is also dynel sheathed below the waterline.  She is powered by a Yanmar 4JH3-HTE turbo diesel. When built she had a petrol Chrysler.  She has a two burner Force 10 stove in her galley, and two refrigerators, one forty and one eighty litres which run permanently from four solar panels on the roof.  Her electronics are built around a Raymarine 12 inch Axiom pro.  I have hunted the internet for classic fittings like the half mile ray on the roof a new old stock genuine morse controller.  Many of the brass fitting were cast on patterns I had made or from old ones I found in boat yards or boot trunk sales.
I believe she was designed by Clem Masters (RIP) a prolific designer and builder from Sandgate, but the builder is unknown.  Her registration papers say she was built in 1968.  Although I don’t know the builder, she is however built to a very high standard and was completely rot free and sound when I bought her.  It is better to be lucky than smart.  The long term owner before me, Mort Hudson, sadly had developed alzheimers which meant he had to sell her, but this also meant he could not recite her history.  Mort had named her Tooroorong after his wife’s peanut farm. It seemed to be a tactic that had worked for him and a theme which would follow.
Her original name might have been Venetra.  Mort’s wife Barbara mistakenly recalled her name was Helena during the restoration which resulted in the decision to change it back. My wife was keen to go back to the original name before we learned of the error but we decided on St Helena as many classic Moreton Bay boats bear the names of local places and by that time we thought of her as Helena.  It is important to keep your wife happy as we see below.  
I believe St Helena was a southern boat as before I spent two years restoring her she was enclosed and had a small trunk cabin aft which was pretty difficult to live with and not suitable for a sub tropical climate.  The restoration is a whole other story.  We had planned some quick work and a $15,000 ceiling.  I should run a government with my ability to blow out a budget. Two years later in an enclosed slipway on Breakfast Creek is proof enough of that …
As it turned out, brother in law loved wooden boats.  He is an intellectual but also an artisan.  He had a peculiar wooden shoal draft sailing boat to I think an Ian Gartside design which he kept in Cabbage Tree Creek.  He had also built a beautiful strip plank canoe of cedar which was bright finished.  And he collected Wooden Boat Magazine.
Anyway, my wife’s sister, who, what shall I say, might be viewed by some as a hard hard woman, took a dislike to his boat.  She was embarrassed because the purist in him would not use an engine and crunched into the jetty on docking and she found the sailing experience uncomfortable. This whole boating business was a folly and an annoyance. She started speaking at family gatherings about how it made good financial sense to be rid of the boat.  Whatever (said slowly and with bitterness) I thought. More noise.  
I did however become concerned when I heard Johnny start parroting her narrative.  While she wore the pants he told me that he was not worried it would sell because it was such a peculiar boat that it would appeal to very few people. Who knew that the only other person in Australia who would be interested was looking for such a boat to try an experimental junk rig on.  I said to him after the event, “why wouldn’t you just have made a typo with your phone number in the advertisement – your wife would never realise”.  We are all wise after the event.
Shortly after it was advertised my wife came to me, “Jimmy’s sold the boat”.  “That’s not good”, I said. “You watch, this will be the end of them”.  Well within months they had separated and the blood letting began.  As part of his punishment boxes of Wooden Boat Magazines were hidden under my house.  
And so I came to stand on the top of that very slippery slope.  I read those magazines.  One by one. Then religiously.  The 18 foot catamaran I had in my late teens whispered in my ear.  My favourite book as a boy was The Dove.  This was going to be bad.
I started looking at sailing yachts.  I wanted a Herreschoff. It had to have a bright mahogany house, teak decks and brass, brass, brass.  Anyway, as I stood on the most lovely one in Sydney Harbour about to make my dream a reality I remembered just in time the lesson above.  In my family a sailing boat is a divorce. I decided a cruiser would be more likely to keep me in the family business.  God bless my wife. She put up with the restoration while I told her outrageous lies about how much it was costing. But despite this now she suggests we use the boat more than I do. Provided we take the dogs.  Those damned dogs and their hair.  On my beautiful boat.  Never mind, happy wife.  Happy life.  I think I got the good sister.
She doesn’t know I am still looking for a yacht.  I saw a lovely Dark Harbour 20 in England the other day.  The quote to freight it out here wasn’t that unreasonable.  Surely the house renovations can wait a little longer.  What could possibly go wrong?”

Is This The Future Of Woody Boating?



Is This The Future Of Woody Boating?

Normally on Boxing Day you would expect a boatbuilders yard to be very quiet – but if your were anywhere near Greg Salthouse’s Greenhite yard on the 26th Dec you would have witnessed a very special event. The yard launched two sister 10m weekender boats – ARIHI and GRACE.
Below is the story behind these two stunning launches, as told to me by Delayne Salthouse –
“Nick Peal has been with Salthouse Boatbuilders for over 38 years, and in that time construction methods have morphed and developed to achieve better this, faster that, lighter these or more efficient those. While those improvements are important and incorporated where needed, for the likes of Nick there is nothing better than getting back to the beautiful basics of a traditional build.
You can imagine the excitement when the yard received a brief to design & build two traditional looking 10m craft  that would reclaim some of the classic lines and charm of New Zealand’s coastal cruiser. This is in sharp contrast to the imported ‘plastic creations’ we see so many of in New Zealand boating in these days.
The concept plans and line drawings were done by Chris Salthouse, from these Nick has crafted Arihi & Grace utilising double skin ply, with solid timber keelson and gunwale, The boats were then heavily sheathed with double bias glass to make a robust, strong and lightweight boat.”
They are powered by a Hyundai 270hp stern leg, will cruise at 25-30 knts, and top out at around 37 knts. There is a huge super king front island berth + quarter berth with ample saloon seating that can also be a berth. Head, shower, simple cooker, fridge, large cockpit. PLUS Trailerable !!!
The boats are very easy on the eye and I have already had people asking me – who, what, where in terms of the designer / builder.
Well done Greg, Delayne, Chris, Nick & the team at Salthouses – I think you are onto a winner here.

The Launching

Arihi Splashes

Grace Splashes

Photo below sent in by Steve Finnigan – lots of zoom used on the camera/phone



Riwaka Channel – Marina



Now I used to think the channel up the creek to Auckland’s Riverhead Hotel was narrow and shallow. Well the photos above of the Riwaka Channel take things to another level (low). To quote John Burland who took the photos – “the channel is narrow, winding and mobile”. That is an understatement.
John has pulled together a collection of photos showcasing some of the woody craft at Riwaka Marina, for those not familiar with the area, Riwaka is located between Motueka and Kaiteriteri , in NZ’s upper South Island.
John’s is very talented with a phone/camera and they will make woody Cameron Pollard’s day i.e. a lot of very practical vessels and very little varnish on display 🙂






Several months ago I took Raindance out for a charge the battery run, and while heading up the harbour I spotted the Pollard Brothers towing another acquisition to their fleet.
On-route I assumed to West Harbour.
Then just before xmas I was sniffing around the WH hardstand and I spotted the same launch I had seen being towed. Turns out her name is Olivette and she has received some TCL.
What do we know about her, I seem to recall a trademe listing?

Orakei Hard Stand




Today’s photos come to us via Lew Redwood’s fb, and show a selection of launches & yachts hauled out. The probate date is somewhere in the 1920>30’s.
The 2nd photo shows a magnificent collection of rear ends 🙂 Whilst I would never be able toID them, a woody like Simon Smith (convalescing at home, should be able to 😉
I’ll give a 2019 Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Calendar (see below) to the woody that correctly ID’s the most bums 🙂
I’ll have to get outside help to judge the winner. Entries (this time) via the WW comments section.
Closes Jan 7th, 2019.

Varuna – Sailing Sunday





VARUNA – Sailing Sunday

I have been following the re-fit of Varuna on James Dreyer’s fb page (Seven Oceans Boatworks) for several months. Varuna is owned jointly by Barry, Judy & James Dreyer.
Varuna is a 1939 Yankee One Design, by Starling Burgess. She was built by the well known yachtsman/ boat builder – George Andrews at Redcliffs, Christchurch in 1938/9. She is two skin kauri french carvel construction, unlike her sister ships, the US built Yankee One Designs that are single skin.
Varuna has undergone a major re-fit at the Shelly Park Cruising Club, yard in Howick, Auckland.
You can see more of the project by clicking the link below 😉

Lady Ellen Restoration Update – December 2018



Lady Ellen Restoration Update – December 2018

Owner Bruce Mitchinson sent in the photos above & report below:

“The focus over the last few weeks has been on the exterior and cockpit. We have gone through 65 litres of high-build surfacer, and sanded half of it off, to get the topsides and below waterline fair.
Barrier undercoat applied to the topsides and another round of sanding to take out minor blemishes.
The above photos show polyurethane undercoat going on the topsides last Friday, the wet look gives a taste of what’s to come after the finishing sand and the top coat goes on later this week.
While we are on a roll, the cockpit will be painted, the deck head will be undercoated, and the interior bulkheads finished off before interior work kicks off again.
Everything is ready for the bottom paint so we might get this on before my painter goes on holiday.”
To see/ read more on this restoration project – enter Lady Ellen in the WW search box 😉