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 😉

A Recount Of Our Classic Wooden Craft DNA 

CLICK The Headline – Grace Under Sail to view

A Recount Of Our Classic Wooden Craft DNA 

Recently I was sent a link to an article that appeared in the New Zealand Geographic magazine back in 2000 – in fact issue 45 , Jan-March. The article was headlined – GRACE UNDER FIRE, written by Vaughan Yarwood with supporting photos from the late Henry Winkelmann and more recent photos ex Hamish Ross and Paul Gillbert.

The stars of the article is the 42’ 1908 Logan built gaff rigged cutter – Rawene, and her then skipper Russell Brooke.

This is a brilliant insight into the early days of boating in and around Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, I’m sure there will be some mix ups re dates, skipper/craft names but overall we get to see and read the history of these magnificent craft, a lot of which are still sailing today.

Have a read, its only 10>15 minutes, longer if if you linger over the photos 🙂  – even a die-hard motorboat owner like myself found it a fascinating read.

TARANUI – A Peek Down Below

TARANUI – A Peek Down Below Taranui

The 1965 John Gladden ketch motor-sailer is one of those rare vessels that you have an immediate attachment to – it has everything it needs, in the right place and proportionally correct, which is hard for a designer to get right on a 36’ vessel. Her designer was a UK resident named Francis James. Her first owner Gordon Robertson, an engineer by trade and a very skilled amateur boatbuilder, had input in the finishing. All the cast bronze fittings throughout Taranui are impressive. 

Built from kauri, carvel planked , Taranui has a 9’ beam and draws 5’. When the wind drops there is a 62hp Nanni Diesel engine, installed new in 2000 by the Salthouse yard.  The eagle eyed will note that her name (big tern in maori) appears on her bow with a hyphen, this is a songwriters oops – its Taranui.

Stepping on board is a treat, she is a boat that you could easily call home for extended periods of time – in fact her owner of 26 years has been off shore 3 times (in Cat1 each time) – destinations being Tonga and New Caledonia. I’ll let Richard tell us about the trips.

“Our first trip to Tonga in 2000 was a wonderful family experience. We were there for 3 months with out 3 young children. Sailing back to NZ from Tonga was my first solo ocean trip, and Taranui proved herself to be a very easy boat to manage solo. I also sailed solo to New Caledonia and back to NZ twice. On one of these trips we spent many months living aboard with family and friends flying over to join us aboard. Taranui has also taken me on a solo 3 month trip around NZ, including Stewart Island were I was joined again by family and friends and got to explore most of the fiords. Other family cruises have been to the Marlborough Sounds and numerous excursions exploring the Northland coast and islands including Great Barrier and Coromandel. Taranui’s most recent voyage was a cruise from Auckland to the Bay of Islands and on to Whangaroa – skippered by my daughter and partner. We’ve had great fun with Taranui and been so lucky to own such a safe and comfortable ship”

Guess what woodys – after 27 wonderful years of love and attention – Taranui is for sale. She presents in suburb condition fully retaining her original character and pedigree and what’s special about Taranui is that she’s ready to use, now, sail away.

If a wooden craft like Taranui is on your bucket list – drop a line for more details

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



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



The John Lidgard built launch – Kingfisher* was built c.1965, her owners Noel / Thora and son Gary Sparnon finished the boat off at the Lidgard shed in Glen Eden. With Noel being a cabinetmaker the fit out was to a very high standard. When launched she was 43’, with a beam of 13’6” and drew 3’6”. Her hull is 3 skins kauri with the 2 inner skins on opposite diagonals and the outer skin full length fore and aft + f/glass. 

As launched she was named Avenger and kept at Te Atatu.The Sparnon family did not keep her long because by 1968, the family were living in Paihia, Bay of Islands.

Prior to Avenger there was Olympia II, also built to hull & decks stage by John Lidgard c.1962-63, with Noel S again fitting out the interior – link to previous WW story below.

Noel S also built the Avenger II after her, having bought a 42′ molded Cookson hull, onto which he added & completed all the varnished teak coamings & interior himself, at his daughter’s property in Avondale, Avenger II was later sold.

Noel S never actually kept any of his boats very long after they went in the water. Kingfisher was quite unique  when launched having a fly-bridge styled in to her coamings making it visually part of the boat i.e. not appearing to be an add on or afterthought.

There are still some gaps in her ownership records, Ken Rickets has established that she was bought c.2015 off a policeman who had been living aboard her for an unknown length of time up to 2015, at Westpark Marina, by Richard & Bernadette Schofield. During their ownership they re-conditioned her Ford 120hp diesel engine and Borg Warner gearbox. 
 She was sold c.2018 to her present owner, then Mangonui resident Brett Walford. Now retired Brett has moved to Great Barrier Island and has the boat for sale, still based at Mangonui. 

Brett W also changed her name to Kingfisher*, he commented to KR he made the change because as she cruises around 8 knots and this is an ideal trolling speed to catch kingfish.

Both of the last 2 owners have spent collectively large sums on maintenance and upgrading of the interior and equipment, hence she is in very good condition and more or less just as KR remembers her when launched.  Keen to fill in any ownership gaps, in particular Noel Sparnon’s son, Garry Sparnon, who may still be in NZ and hopefully he gets to view this story and might be able to embellish it more. (Update – have been in touch with Gary Sparnon , he is still in NZ, father Noel died 3 years ago aged 96. Gary was very happy to read todays story, but has nothing to add. He will however keep a look out for any old photos. AH)

(Thanks to Richard and Bernadette Schofield, and Brett Walford and wife for providing access to the data and images and Ken Ricketts for pulling this story together – edited a lot by Alan H)

Photos below are pre March 2017

Milford Yard Update



Lots of woody activity at the Slipway Milford. The launch – Dauntless being hauled for a quick dose of TLC, more on her here

The 1953 A Couldrey designed, Brin Wilson built launch – Endeavour , under tent, is coming to the end of her refresh – most impressed with the new name board on the stern – nice touch. The gent in the photo is Luca Beachman, the great grandson of her original owner, Borrie Beachman and has been beavering away on the project – no doubt securing his future path to ownership 😉 More on her here

Just across the yard at the Milford Cruising Club slip – the launch Ngahi, photo below, was being relaunched after an extensive re- fit/refurbishment – hopefully we will see interior photos soon. More here




Yesterday I came across this amazing photo / plan on Lew Redwoods fb – it originally appeared in the NZ Herald on 7th December 1955.

Up there with the ‘how come we missed out on a waterfront sports arena a few years ago – probably see answer – stifled by small minded Auckland City Council bureaucrats.

In 1955, plans were being discussed to turn the Meola Reef, Westmere, Auckland area into, well, basically the Western Springs version of the Wynyard Quarter.

Shipbuilding firm Roy Lidgard Ltd proposed to the City Council and Auckland Harbour Board “a beautiful marine base in the Waitemata Harbour between Westmere and Pt Chevalier.

There would be no big boat building on the site, and buildings put up to service yachts and launches would be of pleasing design, surrounded by trees, shrubs and lawns.” There would have been American-style jetties, parking for 220 cars on the peninsula, at least six tennis courts, a club pavilion, and a small beach on the opposite side of the boat installations.

It fell through, of course, and has wound up in the collection of “Ideas that never quite made it off the drawing board” in Auckland’s history.

Inaugural Southern Lakes Classic & Historic Boat Gathering

Proud owners of proxy. 40 historic and classical boats from all over the South Island gathered in Queenstown at the weekend for the inaugural Southern Lakes Classic & Historic Boat Event, which included a mass cruise behind the TSS Earnslaw.Click out this ODT link to view / read a report on the day

NGAHI – Gets A Makeover

NGAHI – Gets A Makeover

Back in July 2016 the launch Ngahi made a brief appearance on WW – link below, at the time there was some good chat in the comments section but we never did establish her design / build date.

Fast forward to early March 2023 and Ngahi had just emerged from Glen Burnnand’s shed after some serious TLC that included –  redoing the exterior with all new teak cabin sides, new glass, rebuilt swim platform, new teak sliding windows and detailing. Owner Ash Weeks is very cock-a-hoop with the work.Ngahi was whisked off to Ash’s factory for a completely new interior – Ash’s trade is high end commercial interior cutouts so we expect to see a wow interior.

We look forward to seeing the finished work.
In the mean time – anyone know anything about her provenance.