Wairoa River / Clevedon Drive By Tour

Wairoa River / Clevedon Drive By Tour

On the weekends Woodys Classic Weekend cruise to the Clevedon Cruising Club I had the services of a cabin boy (relax, he’s my neibour) so I handed the wheel to him for most of the trip up the river. This freed me up to snap some of the moored wooden craft, I’m sure a few might be f/glass or even steel – but still an amazing collection ’semi-hidden’ away, that us Auckland marina dwellers never see.

Enjoy the tour. AND make sure you check out the last photo below – seems the CYA A Class skippers have been playing bumper boats again.

Seems the CYA Classic A Class Fleet Are Playing Crash & Bash Again

One of the classic launch owners returning to their berth in Westhaven from the weekends Woodys Clevedon cruise – spotted a wee hole in Little Jim. Comment was it had the dimensions of a bow-sprite. 

Fingers crossed the culprit has good insurance………… A review of the RNZYS results page for Saturdays racing shows two classics with a DNF alongside their names – being Little Jim and Rawene, chances are that tells you the other vessel.

Things like this probably contribute to why only approx. 6% of the CYA classic yacht fleet race (outside of one-off events like the Mahurangi Regatta) their craft. Too much testosterone is a bad thing with a car steering wheel or yacht tiller in your hand – then again maybe it was too much oestrogen this time?


HEADS-UP CLASSIC LAUNCH, WORK BOAT & CRUISING YACHT OWNERS (shared with the entire WW community as it should be of interest to all)

Next Tuesday (2nd August) the Classic Yacht Association of NZ will hold its 2022 AGM – 7pm @ RNZYS

On the meeting agenda the only item under general business is ‘Report on the status of the expanded classic vessel marina / dock’, while on face value this might be seen as a positive sign – it will not be – let me give my view of the probable gist of the  report.

1. Given the agenda item is after the election of a new committee – the previous committee will have already pushed flush on this e.g. ‘’it will be up to the incoming committee to…….”

2. The report should be dubbed the toffee apple report i.e. it will have layers of sugar coating on / around it

3. The report will be a test of the genuiness (I made that word up as I need to be careful what I say) of the situation i.e. what’s not said rather than what is. 

4. There will be mention around everything still in negotiations etc etc but the reality is that a small group of CYA members have been working on a new waterfront marina for the exclusive, long term use of classic yachts i.e. primarily A Class, ideally gaff rigged. This goes against what has been ’shared’ with the other stake holders (Panuku and Maritime Museum) – fyi one of positives of living in an open society is that almost anything tabled in / around the Auckland Council can be viewed – below is taken from a report published in a late 2021. 

5. The new Heritage Basin discussion will be verbally rolled into an umbrella waterfront discussion – that we will be told will cover all classic vessels – I’m only interested in the Heritage Basin area – what should be New Zealand’s waterfront home  of our vibrant , traditional classic wooden boating movement. The real loser in all this is the New Zealand public who will miss the opportunity to experience our classic boating heritage. Instead they will see a classic yacht ‘car’ park.


SIDE ISSUE – I believe there won’t even be a need to vote on the election of a new committee – there are only enough people standing to fill the available positions. A little sad that the role/s have so little appeal. Personally I think it Is actually a strategy to keep the fiefdom functioning.

RELAX – There is always a woody story

Today’s woody is Delmar, that when I first got involved in the classic boating movement was very much on the scene and participated in some of launch events.

While mooching around East Tamaki last week I spotted Delmar fresh from a visit to the beauty parlour – looking very smart.

Can anyone give us an update on Delmar.

Jenanne Raises The K Class Bar

Jenanne Raises The K Class Bar

Last week the Bill Couldrey built, 1945, K Class – Jenanne glided back into the water at the Milford Slipway after some serious TLC.

Note the boot topping colour – very flash for a 77 year old lady. 

Me thinks sunglasses will be needed for the rest of the K fleet crews 😉

Rehia Gets A JPPJ

Rehia Gets A JPPJ

Back in Dec 2021 we advised that the 1939 Colin Wild launch – Rehia had a new owner and that she was hauled out at the Slipway Milford for some pressing systems work before her summer cruise. Link here to that story. https://waitematawoodys.com/2021/12/18/rehia-finds-a-new-home/

In the last month Rehia has been out again for a Jason Prew Paint Job (JPPJ) at the Slipway Milford, at the same time the ‘rolling’ maintenance programme continued – lots of bits added and removed to make family boating easier and more enjoyable.

When she slipped back in, she had quite a thirst and the mobile big sucker pump had to be brought on-board. Owner Joe spent a restless first night aboard, but the old girl settled down in the next 24 hours.

Woodys Riverhead Tavern Classic Launch Cruise

My Girl
Te Hauraki

Woodys Riverhead Tavern Classic Launch Cruise

Saturdays weather forecast was a wee bit gnarly but with the promise of an improvement later in the day – Harbour bridge > Kauri Point – unpleasant. Kauri Point > Herald Island – average. Upper Harbour > Hotel Good.

The time ashore was perfect, great location, service and the food very good. Return trip ok, except for between the Hobsonville and Te Atatu area – SW wind was whistling thru from the Waitakere Ranges.

We had 10 woodys turn out, 4 of them being newbies to the creek – Awarua, Manu, Margaret Anne and Waione – nice boats, nice people 🙂

Thanks to everyone for a great day.

(most photos have captions – scroll over to view)

Gay Dawn + Woody Riverhead Tavern Cruise


At the recent CYA round Rangitoto race > cake day > BBQ one of the participating launches was the c.1953 Bill Waters built 34′ bridge decker – Gay Dawn. Gay Dawn has made several appearances on WW, links below, but today we get to also see her underway. Gay Dawn is built like a brick outhouse – carvel planked kauri, hardwood ribs and a pohutukawa stem. 

Forward motion comes via a Ford 120hp diesel engine, that delivers an impressive turn of speed. 

After a spell in the Bay of Plenty (Tauranga) GD is back home in Auckland. 

2013 https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/08/18/gay-dawn-2/

2019 https://waitematawoodys.com/2019/07/05/gay-dawn-down-below/

Update 11-04-2022 Please to see that Gay Dawn has lost the bow rail (ex a Haines Hunter?) – looks very cool nude. Fingers crossed its a permanent thing 🙂


Not to late to RSVP to waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Full details will be emailed out to RSVP list.

Flashback Friday – Menai and Valsan

Menai c.1947/8
Menai c.1947/8
Valsan c.1947/8


Recently I was contacted by Pat Menzies the youngest son of Clive Menzies who bought the launch Menai from Arnold Baldwin. In a previous WW story Harold Kidd refers to Clive as ‘C.B. Menzies’, link to that story below. After reading the numerous WW stories on Menai, Pat decided to share a little more information that he hopes may be of interest to us. It is a good yarn so I’ll hand over to Pat and let him tell the story.  https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/09/02/menai-valsan-her-owners/

“First, a little background about Arnold Baldwin “Baldie” to his friends (unsurprisingly). He is referred to as “involerd in the paper and printing industry”. But he was a bit more significant than that. Born in Canada, he emigrated to New Zealand some time pre-war and founded Universal Business Directories Ltd. By the 1950s and continuing through most of the next half-century UBD’s metropolitan provincial editions were the first place to look for detailed information about businesses of all and any sorts and the advertising revenue they engendered had made Baldie quite a rich man. Very rich by the standards of the day. I presume he must have been in the RNZ Volunteer Reseve pre-war and was appointed skipper of the Menai during the war years when it was commandeered the Navy and put to Coastal Patrol duties.  (I believe that virtually every harbour which had a fleet of launches had some commandeered by the Navy for this purpose, but the Menai is the only one I know about. After the war I understand Mr Reynolds, the original owner did not want it back and Arnold was able to buy it. By the late 40s he was looking for a bigger boat and bought the Valsan, selling the Menai to my father.

Dad and Arnold were at the time (and for a number of years thereafter) flag officers of the Auckland Motor Yacht Club and were able to organise the various transfers to suit their calendars and cash flow. Dad sold the “Taufale” a 28 footer launch which he had bought in 1944 (I think. May have been 1945.) I was only about 5 at the time so my memory of such details is non-existent.

Dad owned the Menai through to some time in the early 1960s when he sold it to a then well-known local architect – surname Dalton. I did know his first name but have long since forgotten it. He, after quite a short period on-sold it to Alan (I think) Martin who was at the time CEO of TVNZ Auckland and did a lot of work on the boat. It then went through a number of owners before Peter Smith bought it and turned it into the film star beauty she is now.

The reference to Horry Whimp as an owner is quite mysterious.  He was, as stated, the manager of the UBD printing works, had worked for Arnold for many years and had the perk of being boat husband, first for the Menai and later for the Valsan.  It could very well be that Horry had the use of the Menai over the 48-49 season while Dad and Arnold were trading their paths to each owning only one boat – and that Ken Ricketts (who is/was a couple of years older than me) simply assumed he owned it.

Menai was powered by a flathead Ford V8 with a marine conversion by OSCA, rated at 100hp. Whether that was as a car motor or marine I don’t know. It had a 2 to 1 reduction box and we cruised at 1750rpm on the rev counter.  Dad went through about three propellers and numerous re-pitchings and re-cuppings and finally achieved claimed figures of cruising speed of about 6.5 knots and petrol consumption of 1 3/4 gallons per hour. Pushing it up to 7 or 7.5 knots resulted in it squatting at the stern (“digging a big hole in the water” Dad used to say) and consumption soaring to about 4 gallons/hour.

Dad also fitted a Ford 8 auxiliary motor following a rather nasty experience when the motor stalled (a scale of rust in the fuel line, I believe) and left us powerless on a lee shore, either down the Bottom End or over on the Coromandel. I was about 11 or 12 and getting ready to drop the 45lb big pick when the motor fired up again. He also fitted another smaller motor to charge the batteries so we didn’t have to go cruising to have  electricity. He also fitted a gas powered freezer box under the starboard seat in the bridgedeck. Larger boats such as the Valsan generally had such facilities but the Menai was well up-to-date for its age and size. One of the perks of being one of Arnold’s friends was that ownership of the Valsan came with one of the boatsheds on Ngapipi Rd – the third from Tamaki Drive. Arnold ran a tight timetable. He had the shed from about Easter to near to Queen’s Birthday and then Dad and several other of his friends each had about 2 weeks or so, during which we worked hard to complete the season’s maintenance. Dad would go to the shed each evening direct from work and I would pitch on at the weekends working from dawn to as late as we needed. I remember varnishing the coamings in half-light of a winter evening was a truly awful task. But better than doing it in the open at Vos Bros or any other shipyard. At least we didn’t have dust to contend with”.

Ngarunui – A Peek Down Below + 4sale

Ngarunui – A Peek Down Below + 4sale 

The launch Ngarunui was designed by Jim Young c.1955/7, I’m unsure of the builder, was it also Jim Young – can anyone advise? Built from kauri planks, carvel on ribs, she measures 48’ in length, with a beam of 12’ and draws 4’8”. Power is via a 200hp Doosan L136T engine that gives her a comfortable cruising speed of 8.5 > 10 knots, at idle she will do 5 knots, so only slips fuel. A bonus is a 20hp Yanmar auxiliary with its own prop, not seen often these days but a nice comfort factor. The Yanmar also drives the freezer compressor.   As seen in the photos she really fits into the motor sailer category and comes with good set of sails – note the wooden mast shown in the photos above has been replaced with a new alloy one, but the wooden ones are available (needs repair).

With a combined fuel tank capacity of 1200L and 800L water Ngarunui is well set up for extended cruising. And of course a 12’ beam makes for a comfortable life aboard. Very well priced for 48’ launch presented in her condition.

For more details on the sale and specifications contact waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Ps photo below was from the 1967 Whangarei> Noumea yacht race start and shows Ngarunui with varnished coamings.



When designed and built by Owen Woolley in 1968 the launch – Acheron started life at 38’ and the build  took place in Woolley’s shed on the water’s edge of the Tamaki  River, Pakuranga. She was constructed of single skin heart kauri with hardwood ribs.  The design was a very popular concept for Woolley and he built several other boats later through a number of years that were more or less sisterships to Acheron. 

Post launching Acheron spent 4> 5 years on a pile mooring in the Tamaki River, on the Panmure side of the river, near Ken Rickett’s parents house. Ken supplied the intel for todays story and the photos come to us from her current Wellington owner – Tim Prescott.  

Harold Kidd has advised that Acheron was owned in 1973  by E & J Lane of Kohimarana, Auckland so given this date they may well have been the original owners.  

Acheron’s past between approx. 1974 and 1991 is mostly unknown, until in 1991 she was relocated to Wellington by a Des Deacon, who had purchased her.    Fast forward to 2005 when she was purchased by Tim Prescott. At this stage Acheron measured 44’ in length , with a 12’6” beam and draw 3’6’, the additional 6’ had been added to her stern giving her a bigger cockpit. In a December 2019 WW story on the launch Proteus, Neil Lineham commented he purchased Acheron in 1984 and had the extension done, by John Gladden, and with the additional 6’ she had a new top speed of 19 knots.  Linehan owned the boat between 1984 and 1987.

Acheron is powered by two TS3 model 3DB-215 Commer diesels, which have been in her since new. They drive thru two 22″ diameter x 21″ pitch 4 blade propellers. The current photos of the engine bay confirm that they have recently been taken out of the boat & had a major overhaul by a TS 3 expert. 

Are we able to fill in more of the blanks in her past in the 1972 > 1991 period?
Not sure Mr Woolley would approve of the radar arch ………………. but tastes change with time 🙂   

Update ex Paul Holdsworth – Owen Woolley built Acheron for Eric Lane an executive at NZI Insurance, my farther an engineer worked on Acheron’s Commer diesels that had a distinctive rumble to them. Owen built a smaller launch for Eric before he commissioned Acheron which was very similar to Allen Williams Banshee design. Before having these Woolley designs built Eric owned the Colin Wild Talua with mooring in Okahu Bay which was immaculately kept and regularly haul out onto the handstand at Okahu.  

Update ex Ken Ricketts – post a lot of ringing around and emails  Ken believes below is an accurate record of the boats owners – Built by Owen Woolley 1968, owned by E & J Lane 1973, bought off a Mr Furness (probably off the Lanes) & sold to Neil Lineham in 1984. Sold by Lineham c.1987. We have a 4 year gap, then Des Deacon bought her in 1991 and trucked her from Auckland to Wellington.

In 2005 Tim Prescott, the current owner purchased her, possibly from the estate of Deacon. 

As mentioned above Lineham had John Gladden extend the stern by 6’, this work was done by John Gladden. Lineham was an engineer and has a substantial knowledge of the Commer TS 3 engines, he went to much trouble upgrading the horsepower of Acheron’s engines and making them quieter than is usual, for these engines. 

Her radar arch was fitted in Wellington by or for Des Deacon. It was Tim Prescott, who has had the latest refurbishment of her engines done, by Mark Erskine a very talented TS3 engine expert,  who Ken believes worked on the engines in – Invader and possibly Royal Falcon. Her top speed is now around 13>14 knots.

19-03-2022 Update ex Alan Sexton – Acheron was described above as being single skin kauri, I doubt this, per the article (refer Sea Spray below) all this series were built with multiskin diagonal planking. One change on boats after Acheron, eg Proteus and Accolade was the addition of the topsides knuckle.


Annual CYA Round Rangitoto Race & Cake Day BBQ

I made a late call to mooch down to Issy Bay to catch the tail end of the annual CYA round Rangitoto Race and Cake Day BBQ. Well thanks to the loyal launch group the day wasn’t a waste of time, as what seems to be the norm these days – not one classic yacht bothered to attend 🙂  Pacific cleaned up the prizes – first in the race (i.e. closest finisher to their handicap time) and first for the best looking cake – well done Nathan, Darren and crew. I’m sure the other results will be on the CYA website. Got to love the judging panel – 3 very well behaved kids – I suspect their focus was on getting first dibs on the cakes 🙂 Special thanks to Jason Prew from the Slipway Milford for organizing the BBQ and prizes ex Manson Anchors and Lawson Dry Hills wines.

SEQUOIA – A Peak Down Below + 4sale

SEQUOIA – A Peak Down Below + 4sale

The 36’ Sequoia is a rather special woody, almost every detail on her is unique to the boat. Designed and built by Lewis McLeod in Helensville in 1938, McLeod was a seriously talented gent and as well as boats, crafted several motor vehicles. He built Sequoia from a single Kauri log, how he obtained the log is one of the many stories that make up her provenance. Her owner has traced and documented her full history, which includes – being raced at regattas in her youth as well as a game fisher and charter boat.
Stem to stem she measures 36’ and has a generous beam of 10’9” and draws just 3’.

Built using the traditional carvel plank method and copper fastened. Powered by a Ford 60hp diesel that was rebuilt by one of NZ’s most respected motor engineers. McLeod was always interested in speed and the 60hp engine combined with her hull shape (refer the flat dead rise in the out of water photos below), gives her a comfortable 8.5 knot cruising speed, but if you use the upper rpm’s she can exceed 12+ knots, an example of McLeod’s design skills.

Her owner has had Sequoia for 20 years and between 2007 and 2009 undertook a full out of water restoration / refit. Recently she received a full repaint of the interior and exterior, as well as being re-caulked and puttied below the waterline. In the photos above you can see she sleeps 6 and has all the amenities of a proper galley and head. 

Yes Sequoia is for sale – but not for long, its a hot market for boats her size (fits in an 11m berth), level of presentation and maintenance / service history.
Contact waitematawoodys@gmail.com for more details