When I was catching up with lan Craig re yesterdays story I gave him a wind up re how hopeless he was at keep us updated on the work in his Lake Rotoiti boat yard. Seems the dig in the ribs worked as a few hours later I received the photos above of Rawene, taken from Waikeremoana when Alan went  down in February 2020 for some repairs on Rawene. The boat was hit on her mooring and broke a few ribs.The old photos below are on the wall in the store there.

It has been commented on WW that she was built in 1928 by L.C. Coulthard. Read & see more about her here https://waitematawoodys.com/2017/12/14/rawene-a-peek-down-below/

Sea Spray

During the week I was chatting to Lake Rotoiti boat builder Alan Craig and he mentioned that he was scoping out a 1956 built, 17’ kauri clinker run-about on tme for a client. The boat had a J. Logan builders plate and we both wondered if it was ’the-real-deal’. On these matters there is only one go to guru – so a quick email to Harold Kidd confirmed that Sea Spray was indeed built by Jack Logan, and HDK had had a lot to do with Jack Logan and the Chappies, who had a twin to his boat on Lake Okareka. That intel was enough for Alan to buy the boat.

Alan understands that for a lot of the boats life, it was north of Tutakaka.
The new owner has x2 Arona 10hp engines and gearboxes, which fingers crossed,  one will go into the boat.Having witnessed the work of Alan’s yard – Sea Spray will emerge as an awesome addition to the woody lake fleet. Alan has promised to keep us updated with work-in-progres photos 🙂

Anyone able to add to the boats provenance?

Haunui Restoration

In between the CV-19 lock-downs one of Auckland’s most beautiful classic wooden motor launches changed ownership – the Colin Wild designed and built 1948 launch – Haunui was sold by Owen Cashmore. In a previous life Haunui was owned by Harry Julian. Haunui was almost immediately hauled out at a private yard and master wooden boat builder Paul Tingey was engaged to return Haunui to her glory days. I showed her new owners over her ‘cousin’- Trinidad and they accepted the challenge to equal her presentation. 

As can happen when dealing with 72 year old wooden artifacts, on close (pulling boards off) inspection the old girl had a few issues, so the decision was made to undertake a total refit, including engine. Haunui is single screw, but has a smaller auxiliary engine > shaft > prop on the starboard side. I believe an electric unit will replace the small diesel. The Gardner sadly is coming out, fyi – prior to going into Haunui, rumour is it came out of a Sydney Harbour > Manly ferry, so was very run in ;-). Her owner has told me they will restore the engine over time but the process involves utilizing a foundry that will have to custom cast the parts that are needed. In the meantime Haunui will receive a new heart transplant. 

As you can see from my photos above, the refit is on a rather grand scale, but Mr Tingey is the man for the job.
We will follow this project and keep you updated. As always, click on photos to enlarge 😉

The photos below are dated 2014, ex Rod Marler, and show Haunui hauled out at Orams yard in Westhaven. 

Wanda II Refurbishment


Mooching around The Slipway Milford yesterday I spotted a familiar looking shape, closer inspection revealed Wanda II was hauled out as part of her ‘rolling’ restoration. Previous WW stories tell us she was built in 1948 by the Lane Motor Boat Co. for Fred Porter. She measures 38’6’ and is powered by twin BMC Commodore 55hp diesel engines.

Her current custodian / owner has virtually gutted the interior and is refurbishing her to better match the demands of classic woody family cruising. Whilst the latest fittings and systems are being utilized, her owner has a very sympathetic eye to detail so I’m confident she will look fantastic.Milford wooden boat builder Geoff Bagnall was onboard while I was there replacing / sistering some ribs. I think that is what he was doing 😉

Great to see her at Milford, hopefully providing motivation to Cam Malcolm, head honcho at the Slipway, to accelerate the work on his – Connie V, one of 3 sister ships – Wanda II, Connie V and Doreen. Connie V is currently directly in front of Wanda II inside the shed.   

In the top photo, the woody alongside Wanda II is – Uhuru Jack, getting some TLC. She would have to be one of the oldest residents of Milford Creek Marina.

photo ex Ken Rickets c.1940’s
photo ex Chris Horsley c.2014


The above photo of the launch Paloma comes to us via Lew Redwoods’s fb. The corresponding story supporting the old press clipping from the March 26, 1929 edition of the New Zealand Herald newspaper, states that Paloma was owned by a Mr W. Sinclair and was destroyed by fire, followed by an explosion, during the previous weekend. The incident occurred off Kauri Point and the cause was unknown.
Do we know the name of the designer / builder and year launched ? 

Harold Kidd Input – Built by Colin Wild to a design by W.H. Hand in August 1926. Power by a 4cyl Daimler truck engine. Lots of torque but low revs!


If any of the readers are wondering why we post stories like the above, I’ll explain – when I started the waitematawoodys site its primary purpose was a channel to chat to like minded true-blue wooden boat admirers, on a regular basis about wooden boating stuff. But over time as the site became more popular, the daily visitation numbers and the focus of the visits / readership changed. Now on an average day, 62% of people are reading the story of the day and 38% are using the search box (or google) to find / research intel on a particular vessel or designer or a combination eg Colin Wild launches from the 1930’s, some obviously do both – we like that 🙂 .

So woodys, stories like today’s are all about building the back library up, and then at some stage in the future, someone will search using maybe W. Sinclair’s name and up will pop Paloma and if we are lucky that person might be related to Sinclair and have some old photos, and those photos might prompt someone else to comment – its called user-generated content (UGC) and it really turbo’s the google search ratings.
And a funny – ex UK cartoonist Mike Mockford

Woody Classics Weekend – Riverhead Tavern Lunch Cruise

Woody Classics Weekend – Riverhead Tavern Lunch Cruise
Saturday night in Auckland was evil, rain, thunder and lightening – up and down several times during the night, each time thinking – Sundays woody cruise will be cancelled. But once again the weather gods smiled on us and half way up the river the sun came out and stayed out all day. Saturday nights weather scared a few boats off making the trip but most decided to join in via car.

A very pleasant afternoon was had in the Tavern’s Boathouse, which we had reserved for the group. Wonderful to catch up with everyone and to welcome several newbies to the group.Hats off the Jim and Karin Lott who made the trip up the river in their 38’ Stewart yacht – Mokoia. Make a note yachties – sub 2m draft and you are all good 😉

You will notice from the upper river photos that after all the rain, the water was very muddy – worst I have seen it – makes you wonder about all the farm land ‘converted’ to high density housing in the area. When we first started woody trips to the Tavern, most of the surrounding land was either forestry or pasture.

Took a detour on the way back into the viaduct, almost feel embarrassed asking the bridge control to raise the bridge for Raindance 🙂 , to check on the John Spencer / Classic Yacht & Launch gig at Kairanga Plaza, Wynyard Quarter – scored a VIP berth, thank you Tony Stevenson.Not as many photos as normal , for once I spent most of the afternoon chatting, special thanks to Chris Miller who grabbed my camera a few times and snapped some goodies.


All woodys that answer the following question correctly, go into the draw for a copy of the above – As always, entry ONLY VIA EMAIL to waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Q“What was the longest yacht John Spencer designed and built”?

Entries close 8pm 09-11-2020


Today’s woody would have started out in life back in the mid 1920’s a work boat. Her tme listing (thanks Ian McDonald) tells us that her present owners family have had the 36’ Bonitto for over 40 years.

In the late 1970’s > early 1980’s she was refastened and completely re-built. During this period she received a new Ford engine and Borg-Warner transmission, this set up gets her along at a cruising speed of 8.5 knots. Current home is Pelorus Sound, Marlborough region, upper northern section of the South Island.

Bonitto is presented in very good condition and could easily see another 50 years of service, in my eyes she is the perfect platform for a work boat restoration, along the lines of Dean Wrights – Arethusa, WW link below



Wilde Life

The above launch recently popped up on tme and Nathan Herbert pointed her out to me. The description was very loose “Boat needs painting. Does run but needs some loving”. Actually maybe not the loose 🙂 Looking at her side on, she would have to be a contender for the TV1,TV2,TV3 award i.e. 3 TV screens.There is a mix of styles going on but deep down could be an interesting boat.

Would appear to be moored at Herald Island, West Auckland. Will have to check her out, on route to the Riverhead Tavern on Sunday for the Woodys Lunch Cruise (details below).
Anyone able to help us out with more details?



Back in early October we did a story on a collection of boating books and photographs that David Campbell-Morrison rescued from the rubbish bin. The owner of the collection was a D.F. Thompson and the material was from / dated the early 1930’s to the mid 1940’s. Any photos were of yachts except for the photo above. 

Can anyone help with identifying the motorboat, location and crew? Its quite a distinctive design so hopefully someone will recognise the vessel. Given it appears to be an aerial photo and the number of crew on-board and that the crew have all turned out on deck, my wild guess is that it may be performing a role of ‘mother-ship’ in an offshore yacht race.

06-11-2020 Input from Harold Kidd – MIRANDA was a 55ft twin-engined steel launch built by E.D. (Bill) Edmundson at Thorndon Quay and launched in June 1953 after 7 years of work.. She became the unofficial flagship for the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club and did a trip to Sydney and back in 1960-1.

REMINDER: Starting this Friday > Sunday – Auckland’s Waterfront Celebrates Yacht Designer John Spencer – Details Below 

The Best of Colin Wild + Herreshoff Steam Launch

The Best of Colin Wild + Herreshoff Steam Launch
The top two photos of the Brooke families 1927 Colin Wild launch – Linda comes to us via Mitchell Hutchings fb ex the Williamson Family Collection. Linda at the time was moored at Herald Island.

The bottom photo I took today of Wirihana tucked up in Chris McMullen’s shed for her winter TLC. Wirihana is another of Wild’s big motorboats, built in 1933.

It was great to see that CMcM’s Herreshoff steam launch (below) is coming along – engine installed 🙂