MANUKURA – Restoration Update

MANUKURA – Restoration Update

During my frequent visits to Thames I used to see Manukura the 50’ c.1960 Shipbuilders built launch on the hard stand at the Thames marina, always looking a little sad. Then in 2021 we got the good news she had a new owner and work had recommenced on her restoration, and that the plan was to transport Manukura to Whangamata where the work would be finished. Link here to her history and time in Thames.

I was contacted earlier in the week by owner Allen Watson who advised that Manukura is in the process of a major refit. All new wiring, plumbing, gear boxes, shafts, engine mounts for the Ford 120hp 6 cyl diesel engines plus a new lay out inside. The photo gallery above gives us a peek into the work.

Photo below is dated July 2021 

Winter Woody Yard Report #1

Marjorie Rosa

Winter Woody Yard Report #1

Over the weekend Lake Rotoiti’s favourite boatbuilder – Alan Craig (Craig Marine) held an open day at his workshop in Paengaroa (Te Puke) , the first three photos above are from the day. The blue hulled launch in the first photo is the 1930 Sam Ford built launch – Marjorie Rosa in for deferred maintenance, will be looking shipshape again very soon.

Read / view more on her in the below WW links:

A new convert to the wooden boating world is Geoffrey Fiebig, who recently purchased off Jason Prew a Frostbite named Meteor, sail #13. Geoffrey as you will see has started the thank less job of stripping the interior planks. 10/10 for attire, the new WW cap completes the look 🙂

30-05-2023 UPDATE – a nameless woody drew to my attention that many (30+) years ago a Tauranga newspaper article appeared about a young man/teen named Jason Prew who dragged Meteor out of a derelict shed on a lake and restored her to go sailing. Note the miss spelling of the surname Brew -see below

Anyone else have a project underway – if so, share some photos – email to

SILVER SPRAY – Heads North

SILVER SPRAY – Heads North

I was contacted last week by John Briers the ’newish’ owner of the 1926 Joe Slattery launch – Silver Spray.

Sliver Spay has made numerous appearances on WW – search her name in the WW search box to see / read more on her provenance.

John purchased the launch off boat builder Glen Burnnand, who gave her a serious birthday back in 2019.

The recent work at Glen’s Orakei Basin shed included upgrading the boats electrical battery systems, and she received several coats of varnish and repainting throughout, plus lots of other modifications.The mid term plan is to relocate Silver Spray to a  new home in Russell, Bay of Islands, on a mooring in front of the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, that will be a nice addition to the vista from the house bar. 

Silver Spray is powered by a Perkins 4108 and has a very impressive turn of speed for a 26′ woody.

I have to say that when John mentioned the recent work I was hoping the two ‘Haines Hunter’ cabin top windows (refer below) would have been replaced, never mind a wee job for the woody boys in Opua 😉

Clevedon Woody Mooching

Lady Gazelle
Mystery Couldrey

Clevedon Wood Mooching

Had a good excuse to point the car south yesterday so took a side trip to Clevedon and mooched around one of the ‘private’ docks.

Very pleased to see that work is underway of Lady Gazelle, you may recall back in March she came to grief during Cyclone Gabrille (WW story link below) – a new owner has stepped up and we look forward to her relaunch.

The mystery Couldrey has been put out graze but is all rugged up for winter. Last appeared on WW back in August 2022 – link below

I spotted the 36’  c.1950’s launch – Antares , one of the better looking launches to come out of the Supreme Craft factory. More on her a future story. Previous WW story and lots of photos here

Also a few boats, below, looking unlikely to see the ocean again.

Kaha – Help Wanted

KAHA – Help Wanted

Back in January 2022 WW was contacted by Geremy Hinton who advised he and his father had acquired an old wooden motor-sailer named – Kaha. All they knew about her was a possible build date in the early 1900’s.

The top photo shows Kaha as found / purchased.

Since early 2022 they have been undertaking an extensive refit, as seen in the photos below.

Geremy and his father would like to learn more about Kaha, so today woodys we are reaching out to see what the collective WW minds can come up with.

Post WWII Boating On The Waitemata 

Post WWII Boating On The Waitemata 

Another old movie day – same source (Lew Redwood fb post / link to some film footage from c.1945 that is stored / saved on Nga Taonga – the NZ archive of film, television and sound.)Given the date everyone must’ve been so relived to be emerging from the doom and glum of WWII and back boating again.

Todays footage is a potpourri and tagged ‘Personal Record. Taylor, AG. (Akarana Regatta, Northern Cruise, Othei Bay, Oyster Inspector, Zane Grey’s Gallows). Approx. 12 minutes in length. 

A great mix of sail and motor boats – towards the end, the flying boat landing in the harbour amongst the pleasure craft is something you wouldn’t see in todays PC world.




The clip is one of many filmed by AG. Taylor, that have been doing the rounds for some years. He held many film evenings at yacht clubs during the 1940’s and 1950’s and 60’s.

A.G. Taylor was the father of John Taylor (Ex Stewart 34 Paprika) and grandfather of Team NZ’s Andrew Taylor. He sailed with ‘Boy’ Bellve on the Ngatoa and used to film their cruises, the Richmond Yacht Club picnics and follow his sons (who owned the M-class Mercedes 1939-1949) around filming them during races. Film stock was a mix of colour and black and white.

Some years ago, Point Chevalier YC (I think) discovered a collection of his film reels in their old clubhouse attic that had been left behind after a long-forgotten film evening. They copied them to videotape and were selling them as a fundraiser for their new clubhouse.

This particular clip is a mish-mash of dates and assembled in no particular order. There is a brief and blurry clip of the 1939 World’s 18-foot series shot from the Westhaven wall, as well as a much better clip of the 1948 Series (where you have that spectacularly overloaded and listing ferry). There are several Regattas depicted.

I agree with Simon below regarding colour film. When I first saw these films (almost 30 years ago) John Taylor told me that his father ‘got the colour film from America’.

Also, in several of the colour clips, A-7 Rainbow is shown in gaff, she was laid up after 1940 and briefly returned to racing in 1945 but broke her mast and was again laid up until sold to Leo Bouzaid in 1948 who converted to marconi rig in 1949.


Dream Girl – Project Boat

DREAM GIRL – Project Boat

Todays woody while based in NZ started life on the other side of the world – at the Merritt boat yard in Fort Lauderdale, USA. Built in the early 1960’s she was originally named  – Tuna Teaser. Fast forward to the mid 2000’s and she is now named Dream Girl and pops up in Pago Pago (American Samoa) and then in Rarotonga. Sadly while in Rarotonga she sunk on her mooring in Feb 2006, fast forward again and she was freighted to New Zealand. Not sure of the timing between sinking and transport to NZ but before the sinking Dream Girl was powered by 2x 320hp Cummins giving her a reputed cruise speed of around 15knots and a top speed of 25knots.

Home these days is in West Auckland where she has been stripped back, damage repaired and is currently a hull and deck + a few original fittings.

What we know about her is that she is 40’ in length and appears to be strip planked and glassed.

Top photo and below from her ‘off-shore’ days.

While lacking the kiwi classic woody looks, if a fast classic sport-fisher appeals, Dream Girl could be a good entry point. You’ll find her on tme, if not already sold.


Restoration of Alma G II Begins

Alma G II


WW was contacted by the Opua based boatbuilders – CMC Design with a heads up that the 1927 ex game boat Alma G II had arrived at their yard where Craig McInnes and his team will undertake the work. Projects of this magnitude are the norm for the team –  the woodys Lady Crossley and Otehei being two examples.

Sian Steward at CMC Design supplied some wonderful insights into Alma G II’s provenance and the people that rubbed up against her – I’ll let Sian tell the story:

“The Alma G II was commissioned by E C Arlidge in 1927 to be built by Collings & Bell of St Marys Bay.  Timed for Zane Grey’s second trip to New Zealand, Grey asked if the boat could be named after him.  A familiar sight in the game fishing era alongside other classics such as the Alma G (another E C Arlidge boat, built in 1922), Manaaki (also owned by EC Arlidge for a period, later sold by the Arlidge Bros to Eric Sanderson of Whangaroa/ Totara North in 1932 for 172 pounds), Otehei and Lorna Doone.  The sons of Ernest, Francis and Mervyn, known as ‘Arlidge Bros’ took to the family boating business around age 19 and were the original skippers of the Alma G and Alma G II respectively.  Advertising them as the most ‘up-to-date boats in the Bay’ ‘being speedy and comfortable’ with all the latest fishing tackle and swivel chairs for deep sea fishing and available for ‘picnic parties’.

The boat was originally launched as the Zane Grey. Subsequently, rumour has it that Zane Grey and the Arlidges had a falling out, and the boat was renamed Alma G II around 1931.

The boat stayed in the Arlidge family for many decades until it was reluctantly let go around 1975. Dave Smith fully restored her, and she was relaunched in 1977as the Zane Grey.  Most recently she was left to settle down the line in a paddock awaiting the moment where the new owner could tackle a large restoration project. 

Tugging at the family history heartstrings, the Arlidge family had kept an eye on the happenings of the boat over the years and approached the recent owner to purchase her back into the family fold.  They are now embarking on a restoration project with CMC Design to relive many childhood memories and get this family legacy ready to be enjoyed again by many more generations of the family.

The Arlidge family have kindly shared some of the classic photos of the Alma G II in the Bay of Islands.  The Short Sunderland flying boat is dropping off some prestigious game fishing guests (many of whom were Arlidge Bros patrons over the years including Lady Ashley Dodd, the French flying ace Pierre Closterman, Zane Grey of course, his brother RC, and Carrie-Fin and Ham Guild as a few examples of the era).The story as far as we know for this photo is that it was the Admiral Earl and Lady Mountbatten on their visit in April 1956. In the photo with the black marlin is a young Mervyn Arlidge.”

We will follow this project and keep you updated.

Photos below are from previous WW stories where Alma G II has featured.

ex Hylton Edmonds
ex Harold Kidd (Alma G II on the right)
ex Gordon / Gary Stanborough
ex Dave Stanaway

Endeavour -Re-Launched

ENDEAVOUR Re-Launched 

Yesterday the A. Couldrey designed / Brin Wilson built launch – Endeavour, slipped back into the water at the Slipway Milford after some serious TLC, still  a few jobs to complete on the list and maybe a topsides paint job – but she is looking so smart with her coamings varnished.

You can read / see more on the project here.



On Friday Chris McMullen dropped me a note to say the 34′ steam launch was now running and had just completed its first sea trial. Chris commented the boat is doing hull speed at about 150 PSI but the boiler should produce 250 PSI, but needs some adjustment as the smoke is as a result of the burner not working properly. The hull floats as per the design and the machinery is all working as it should.

I have included below links to past WW stories on the project. If you are time poor, the 2021 will give you an insight into the project.

WW July 7 – 2014
WW July 11 – 2014
WW April – 2021