The Origin of Callisto

Original interior
Original galley
Launch day – Waipu River

The Origin Of Callisto

Today woodys we get to go on a virtual trip back in time – to the early 1970’s and finish off in 2022.The hero of todays story is Callisto, the 50’ sport cruiser that Jack Barrott built in Waipu, Northland over 3 years in the late 1960’s > early 1970’s.
Firstly some background on Barrott – his family owned a saw mill and native forests in Northland (back in the days when you were allowed to do that). During this time the Ministry of Works had a wee problem – a giant kauri tree – named ‘Packwood’ was about to fall over and block the main road north, on the Brynderwyn Hills, so the decision was made to fell it – Barrott’s mill was the obvious choice. So this giant kauri and other trees from their private native forests provided the timber for the construction of Callisto.

In the early 1960’s well visiting the USA, Barrott came across the latest motorboat designs in Florida – known as Sportfishing boats – he liked what he saw and made a half-model and drawings, which he showed Whangarei boat builder Alan Orams, who then drew full plans and would help Barrott during the building process. The backbone and frames were in fact constructed at the Orams yard, then transported to Waipu for assembly in Barrott’s shed. Construction is very traditional, with kauri used for most of the structural members and exotic timbers else where. The 42’ keelson came from one solid kauri log, as did the floors, ribs, hull and deck beams.

The design of Callisto with its flybridge, as compared to the traditional sedan top launches of the time, was years ahead of the market and even today, 50 yrs later, she is still a looker amongst a marina of white plastic boats. Post launching Callisto spent approx. 15 years moored in and around Whangarei Harbour – her next owner was a Bob Doughty, who changed her name to – Challenger’ in c.1987. Fast forward to 2002 and she changed hands again – this time to Steve and Elizabeth Cowie – who quickly changed her name back to Callisto (fyi – Callisto is the 3rd moon of Jupiter). The Cowe’s undertook an extensive refit that included modernising her interior. A bonus was that Steve Cowie was fully expecting to have to remove the 30 yearly twin Caterpillar 3160 – 10.5L, 210hp, non-turbocharged engines, that had never had the heads off. When inspected by Cat technicians they were found to be in top condition and given a clean bill of health. In fact they remain in the boat today. Being semi-displacement Callisto cruises at 10>12 knots and tops out at 14. 

Callisto passed thru several sets of hands – the trial looks something like this (if I have it wrong, let me know) – Jack Barrott > Bob Doughty > Ken Carter > Steve Cowie > Kurt Settle and in 2018 ownership went to the 3 Forsyth brothers (Kent, Rhys and Tobias) and their families who share the use, costs and maintenance but mainly the love of being out on the water in Callisto, She gets used extensively around the gulf and most summers to the Bay of Islands but with more farther afield adventures definitely in the long term plans.

Callisto has just completed a 3 1/2 week full hull repaint in the shed Pine Harbour Boat painters, The result of the finish achieved being simply magnificent with the quality of workmanship second to none. Whilst in the shed the brothers made the most of things with an additional kauri knee fitted to the duck-board, teak cockpit re-caulk and tidy up and some new bronze rudders cast at the Foundry in Silverdale.
As I say often – some boats are lucky in they owners – Callisto is one of them 🙂

Do People Still Tune Into waitematawoodys Over The Holidays ?


Short answer – YES, in fact these holidays more than ever. On Jan 4th we hit a record for the highest number of individuals ever logging on in a 24hr period. Other than Xmas day, every day was bigger than the average (normal) daily viewing. Thanks for the support, seeing the above skyscapers makes the effort of doing a daily story worthwhile. Best Regards Alan Houghton 

The Wooden Boat Centre – A Peek Behind The Door

The Wooden Boat Centre – A Peek Behind The Door
Today we have a short video, narrated by Paul D’Olier from The Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin, Tasmania. The video #2 in a series is titled ‘The Boat Builders’ and show cases the courses being run at the centre. I have listed below a link to the another in the series – wonderful images and words, do check them out.

The videos are bought to us by the good folks at The Australian Wooden Boat Festival, if you haven’t already , put a line in the diary for 10>13 Feb 2023, this event is a serious bucket list item for all woodys.


Wilson’s Boat Yard. 

The Restoration of Rogue

The Restoration of Rogue

Scrolling thru the USA WoodenBoat Forum yesterday my woody antenna popped up when I saw a new thread on the New Zealand yacht Rogue – the 1892 gaff rigged 32’ cutter built by Chas Bailey Jnr. , it was in fact his first design.

The restoration of Rogue has been a happening thing since late 2007 and a lot of the time under the radar, not helped by her residing in Wellington.In the 2015 > 2018 period there were some unexpected ’speed bumps’ that derailed the project, and her owner relocated north to Auckland. So in early 2021 after a 120 year absence Rogue followed her owner and returned to Auckland and slipped into Wayne Olsen’s shed at the Horizon Boatyard. There the restoration has moved along at a good clip, and CV-19 aside, we can expect a splash date in early November.

I would be surprised if there was a better documented history on a classic vessel in New Zealand, and the restoration project is jaw dropping – an amazing commitment to one of New Zealand’s magnificent maritime artefacts.
Below are links to the most recent project monthly updates , but given that most of us are in lock-down, I would encourage you to click on this link https://rogue1892.com/rogues-restoration/ and scroll (its a long way) to the bottom and follow the project from day one.

Enjoy 🙂


FEBRUARY 2021 https://rogue1892.com/2021/02/

MARCH 2021 https://rogue1892.com/2021/03/

APRIL 2021 https://rogue1892.com/2021/04/

MAY 2021 https://rogue1892.com/2021/05/

JUNE 2021 https://rogue1892.com/2021/06/

JULY 2021 https://rogue1892.com/2021/07/

AUGUST 2021  https://rogue1892.com/2021/08/

Leeway > Melanie

Leeway > Melanie
Today’s launch photo comes to us from the Andrew Donovan Collection. No name on the flip side so we will hopefully get an ID from some of the Bay of Island woodys. That is assuming its a BOI boat and photo.

Harold Kidd Input – LEEWAY/MELANIE was built by 20th Century Boats (Brian Donovan) in 1959. Last word was in 2015 when she was for sale by a Havelock owner. Brian of course was Andy Donovan’s brother.


TREAT YOUR BOAT OR YOU THIS CHRISTMAS

BOI woody – Dean Wright filmed a short video to show you and I some cool drinking mugs that a Bay Of Islands potter, Lynda Harris, makes and personalise for your boat.

Each one is hand painted from a supplied photo. They are fired in batches of x60, so subject to orders, the lead time can be a little while (that was an Irish answer).

Cost is $45, which is very reasonable for a functional art object. If you are interested in the artists contact details – email me waitematawoodys@waitematawoodys