ENA – Australia’s Finest Steam Yacht

ENA Australia’s Finest Steam Yacht
The other day I stumbled across a photo of an amazing classic woodys named – End, I assumed that it was of US / Europe  origins but a quick search online and there she is next door eg Australia. Some background 

Ena is a 116′ steam yacht that was designed by Sydney naval architect Walter Reeks and built by WM Ford Boatbuilders, Sydney, in 1900  for Thomas Dibbs, the commodore of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. It was used as his private vessel for entertaining guests on Sydney Harbour and Pittwater until the beginning of World War I. In 1917 the yacht was purchased by the Royal Australian Navy and used as the auxiliary patrol vessel HMAS Sleuth in the waters around the Torres Strait and Thursday Island, before later being used as a training ship tender based in Sydney. In early 1920, the navy disposed of the yacht and it returned to private use until later in the early 1930s when it was sold to Tasmania.

Based in Hobart and under different owners SY Ena was used for a number of purposes including transportation of produce and fishing. It was converted to diesel power in the mid-1940s and renamed Aurore. After sinking in the early 1980s, the yacht was re-floated and eventually restored as a steam yacht close to its original configuration.

Ena subsequently circumnavigated Australia, as part of a visit to Western Australia during the 1987 America’s Cup and then served as a private charter vessel. Ena is now owned by the Turner family, one of Australia’s leading maritime families ( they founded the Sydney Maritime Museum) and she is based in Sydney at the Australian National Maritime Museum where it is part of the National Maritime Collection, and is also listed on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels.

Ena considered to be one of the finest examples of an Edwardian period steam yacht in the world.

Maire – Where Is She Now

Kawau Island 1950’s
1954 ex K Ricketts
Early 1980’s
Post 1989

Maire – What Became Of Her

Woody Greg Philpott is on the hunt for the ex work-boat Maire, Greg has pulled together the below intel on the vessel but the trial drys up late 1998 >> on wards. Greg would also like more inset into when she was operating in Auckland in the 1960’s/1970’s. Have a read and let us know if your are able to close the story off. 

Maire was built by Roy Lidgard, in his boatbuilding shed in Smelting House Bay on Kawau Island around 1949. She was approximately 42 feet long and originally powered by a 4 cylinder, 88hp Kelvin diesel.

Maire was used by the Lidgards for their own use, towing and workboat activity mainly to tow logs from the Coromandel and barges of ships dunnage that had been milled by the Lidgards on Kawau Island for supply to Union Steam Ship Company ships in Auckland.

She was acquired in the mid 1950’s by Alwyn (mostly called Allan) Horsfall who was then the owner of the Mansion House property on Kawau Island.

It looks like she ended up in Auckland for much of the 1960’s and 1970’s and ownership possibly rested with a Theo Brian Thomas who was based around Panmure. From there Marie was sold to Andrew Paterson who converted her for charter fishing use in the 1980s and operated her firstly out of Sandspit and later out of Whitianga. During his time of ownership of Maire, in July 1981, Paterson removed the Gardner engine and gear box to install a GM motor and also changed the wheel house windows giving them a forward rake.

Marie was sold in 1985 to Neil Hopkins who also operated her out of Whitianga along with his son Grant. Next owner was Ross Packer who owned her from 1996 until 1998.

It is at this point that the trail goes cold; she was sold and believed to have been relocated up north to either Mangawhai or Mangonui. And her name was changed. At one point, one of the previous owners was contacted by the Marine Department questioning why all identifying pieces from the boat (life rings, name board etc.) had been found on a beach at Great Barrier. She was also later apparently seen up on the hard at Te Atatu as an unfinished project.

INPUT from Grant Thomas 

I had also been wondering what had happened to Maire. My Dad was Brian Thomas and he bought her off Horsfall approx. 1962.

I never realised she was originally used for towing etc but that would explain the extra lower belting etc. We owned her for 10 years and used her as a snapper fishing charter boat in the weekends plus went cruising on her in the early years. I was told that Horsfall sold her as she drew too much for the Sandspit run. Lidgards then built the Kawau Isle which looked just like the Maire but less draft.

Maire was 40 foot and drew 5 foot 6″ but 6 foot steaming. She was very slack bilged and use to roll  badly. We kept her up the Tamaki River at Waipuna Rd on the jetty Dad built. We used to slip her at Owen Woolleys yard but she was 20 tons and really too heavy for that slipway. So Dad built his own slipway which is still operating today. I have a great photo of her on the slip.

We did all sorts of commercial work with her, she was a very capable vessel and she was always kept well painted.At the same time we owned the HDML Alert and so there was always a huge amount to do. I spent most of my younger years working very hard trying to maintain these two boats. We also ate a hell of a lot of fish as my Dad was a top fisherman and Maire was a popular boat to charter.

INPUT from Colin Silby

Maire was sitting awaiting repairs shall we say at the Te Atatu boating club when sold. The new owner renamed her Lola May after his mother and sailed her down to Christchurch. On her return back up she settled on a sand bank off Waihi. As the tide dropped she lay over and flooded. I was involved in her salvage and brought her to Westpark where she was on sold.

The waitematawoodys X Factor

The waitematawoodys X Factor

One of the great things about the WW site is its ability to bring together past owners of woody classics with the current owners. Two examples in recent weeks

1. Alan Warren dropped me a note re the launch – Pirate , that was owned by Keith Warren in the period 1989>1994. Alan included the above stunning photo and commented that the photo was mounted near the kauri saloon table. Collectively we were able to get a high res copy of the photo to Pirate’s new owners.

2. Over the last year I have been trying to coordinate with Kennedy Warne for his 90+ year old father Ken Warne, son of Leone Warne who designed and built Pirate, to visit the boat – covid popped it’s head up every time there was a planned meeting – well last weekend the stars aligned and the family got to visit Pirate at Pine Harbour marina . Owners Tracy and Alan were shocked and thrilled when the Warne’s handed over the original line drawing done by Leone Warne for the boat. 

UPDATE ex Kennedy Warne

The below photo (of Dad with the Gilders in Pirate’s saloon) was taken when we meet the owners. It was just so good to reunite Dad with a launch that he had seen being built when he was a nine-year-old boy at Russell. We were able to supply Alan and Tracy with a couple more photos from when she was launched, and, as you noted, with the pencil plans, with their edges well chewed by sliverfish. Interestingly the plans showed she was originally planned as a 42-footer. At some point Leon must have decided that wasn’t enough, and she grew. 

There is an interesting story of how she was named ‘Pirate’ – it’s recounted in Neil Illingworth’s book ‘Fighting Fins’, refer the relevant pages below. 

Tracy & Alan Gilder + Ken Warne

Classic Yacht Association – Canada Woody Rendezvous

Classic Yacht Association – Canada Woody Rendezvous

After two days of woodys that are lacking somewhat in wow eg paint and varnish, todays story on the CYA Canada’s Fathers Day – Bell Street Rendezvous certainly delivers on both those fronts.

The YouTube link popped up on one of my feeds and it wasn’t until I saved the link for reposting on WW that I noticed that the video was 10 years old 🙂 . But given we are looking at classic wooden boats, thats all good.

Enjoy – suggestion – mute the sound, a little OTT.

And isn’t it nice to see a classic yacht association that celebrates its classic motor boat / launch fleet and doesn’t treat them as second class citizens.