Rehia – Getting Dressed




REHIA – Getting Dressed
Question of the day – did Colin Wild build anything other than pretty boats?
The photos above (ex Ken Ricketts) show the 1939 Colin Wild launch Rehia hauled out recently at Gulf Harbour.
She was getting a fresh coat of paint – having last year had an extensive re-fit at the Horizon yard, her owner had allowed the seams to settle before the hero top coat.
She has to be one of the prettiest launches afloat – perfect from any angle 🙂

The photo below, ex Scott Taylor, show Rehia in her WWII livery. To read more on her, ex Harold Kidd, click this link

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Feb 1940 – Whats The Event?


Feb 1940 – Whats The Event?

Rather an impressive collection of woodys in the above photo, the image is dated Feb 1940 & is from the NZ Herald / Auckland Library collection via Harold Kidd via Lew Redwood.
Harold commented that with that date, the wartime reporting numbers on display would have been recently issued & given the ‘families’ on board there must have still been petrol readily available.
Lew’s thoughts were that gathering could possibly have been to welcome HMS Achilles home.

So woodys can we confirm the event &  ID the boats? – some will be easy & some not – to help I have posted a photo below with each boat numbered 1>9.

AUCKLAND FEB 1940 copy

Amakura II – A Great Story

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AMAKURA II – A Great Story

I was recently contacted by Michael Shields who relied the story below about the 1936, Colin Wild launch – Amakura II to me – its a get read – enjoy 🙂

“I spent several years on Amakura II, my step father Jim Somner, of Waipu and Somners Transport owned Amakura II for many years in Whangarei and did extensive work on her over that time, , Originally she had an open rear cabin and a single W12 engine, that is a V8 with an extra bank of 4 cylinders in the middle of the V, these same engines were used in landing craft in the second world war, this was removed and changed to twin engines very early on but if you dive down and have a look you can see where the single large prop was and where the very large prop shaft came out of the keel.
When lengthened the rear area was closed in forming a rear cabin.

She sunk during WW2 when after a few too many medicinal rums were consumed and the bow got caught under the wharf as the tide came up, water came up though the head in the bow and she sunk. Being a popular boat and crew everyone pitched in and a huge crane, called “Tiny”, was brought in and Amakura II was lifted up and cleaned up in time, before the Navy, who had heard that one of their boats had sunk came to investigate. The Navy found no evidence of any damage or sinking and everything was in order, although it was noted the rum rations were missing, having been used to pay for the help to clean her up.

She had a large machine gun mounted on her bow during the war and a photo of her in her drab paint hung in the main cabin.

During Jim Somners ownership he modernized and much altered her. He replaced the engines with twin Ford diesels which he then removed the turbos from for improved economy and also installed the custom made large fridge and freezer unit, removed the head from the bow, rejigged the shower and made the the large flying bridge which has now had the roof shortened as it used to extend almost to the rear end of the back cabin. Being a trucker, Jim was very good at getting things ship shape and working well.

I spent many years on her as crew for Jim and have many story’s of that time like when she ran around, caused the delay of the firing of guns at Waitangi Day and parties a board.”

You can read more about her history & past owners here

Michael – please send in more tales & any photos you might have. Thanks Alan.
(colour photos ex Heather Rose – b/w photo ex Ken Rickets)

Mystery Launches at Thames

Mystery Thames Boats

Mystery Launches at Thames

The above photo shows a group of ‘settler’ style launches berthed  at the Shortland Wharf in Thames.
Are we able to ID any of them & put a date on the photo? Are the bow numbers fishing registration numbers ? photo ex trademe via Peter Thorpy

Laughing Lady Update

James Dreyer has the foot to the floor on the final stages of the restoration of Laughing Lady & has master craftsman Paul Tingy roped in to help with the final details – the photos below show Paul’s reproduction of the original swim ladder & ‘new’ helm.

MV Mavis



Mavis started life back 1918 as a Lanes 40′ trawler. Fast forward to 2004 when she had a  major refit that included –  hull refastened and splined, new decks and cabin, new  John Deere 150HP engine and re-wired. Given that she was recently in MNZ survey, she is very highly spec’ed and looks like she could handle just about anything that mother nature could throw at her. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the heads up re the trademe listing.

Do we know anything more about her past?

Yesterdays story on the Classic Launch Parade just got better – more photos ex Jason Prew added, scroll down to view.

1945 – 32′ Classic Kauri Launch

1945 – 32′ Classic Kauri Launch

Now this launch is for sale & if you had a peek inside you would be very impressed & at the asking price of $78k you might think its a great buy. Well it is a great buy, but I do not think there will be a queue of classic woody buyers lining up – why? because someone has stolen its mojo – the thing that makes a boat special. Her name is Ranui & in another life was called El Alamein, you can read about her here
The Readers Digest version of her history is that she was launched in January 1945, specifically for use on Lake Rotoiti to help convalescing returned servicemen from World War II, many in wheelchairs, ease back into civilian life.

Now I have another life outside of being a wooden boat blogger & that is in the world of consumer & B2B marketing – mostly via the digital channels these days – so I can hear you asking yourself whats the relevance of this to today’s story? Well Ranui is in charter & these days calls Lake Taupo home – So wearing my marketing hat, if I owned a boat with the provenance that Ranui / El Alamein has I would be doing two things:-
1. leveraging every inch / ounce of her life story to make a trip on her something special, hell I’d even by donating $xx dollars from every ticket to the local RSA etc etc.
2. The other thing I would be doing was making her look as classic as possible – that’s her X-factor – the tourist’s would be telling people “I went for a very laid back lake cruise on this amazing 1945 wooden  boat that used to help with the rehabilitation a returning WWII solders etc etc.

So what has someone done? bought a few sheets of plywood & put a top hamper on her. Well it is their boat & they can do what they like (see Cameron P – I’m softening) – I’m sure the attraction of getting a few more paying passengers aboard won them over. But in my eyes they have knocked $25+k off her sale price & halved the visual / emotive appeal of the charter business.
If I was a few years older I’d buy her & borrow Mr Prew’s tungsten tipped chainsaw 😉 & go make a few bob on the Lake. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the heads up on the boat.

Have a look below at the photo of her back in the 1940’s, what she looked like in 2015 & as she appears today on treadme. As they say “different strokes for different blokes” – Its still a good buy for a 32′ motor launch – But not me.









Greyhound + Johnny Wray On TV + Bargain Woody 4sale



Greyhound was an ex WWII 40′ high speed launch .Ex Air Force out of Hobsonville. One of four launches built in the late 1930’s >early 1940′, as Waitemata chase boats for the Catalinas. They were W44; W45; W46; and W88 (now in Wigram Museum). Greyhound is thought to be W45.  She is a sister ship to Jaguar, already featured on woodys  (16.8.2014). The above photo are ex John Bullivant & the present owner, Mark Allen (trademe) via Ken Ricketts.
Allen bought the boat in December 2014 in Tutukaka & motored it down the coast to Whangerei and then took it by road to Helensville, where it resides today. It was out of the water for 6 months being re-glassed & repainted.
During the war it had two engines and would do between 30 and 40 knots, plane over the water. These days she is powered by a 120hp Ford diesel(12 knots), that is currently undergoing repair. If you are looking for a project with some history, I understand the vessel is for sale.

Input from John Bullivant“below is a photo of Jaguar I took in the 70s. She is on the ramp at Bucklands Beach Yacht Club having just been hauled out. The Hansens who owned her had an engineering business in Harp of Erin producing grease guns amongst other products ( I still have one of their grease guns). Jaguar definitely had two stroke diesels at the time this photo was taken (used to love the sound of them). She was moored at little Bucklands beach, pretty much straight out from the owners house for years. I lived on The Parade at Bucklands for many years and saw many well known boats come and go up and down the river including Imatra, Jaguar, Golden Lotus (Alan Harnish and later Rick Irvine who put the cabin on her for diving use) Tarapunga, Alert, Carroma, Jane Gifford, Romo, Rainbow and Rainbow ii and hundreds more. Fleetwing Junior (with cabin) was moored almost in front of our place (belonged to a school friends parents at the time)
Coincidentally there was a plywood yacht of around 45ft named Fleetwood moored about 200ft from her as well.
It was a great place to live in the 60s and 70s and 80s as the river was like Queen st most weekends, but as the price of gas went up there seemed to be fewer launches going out regularly. I’ve noticed a big drop off in weekend boating in the last 20 yrs (maybe it’s just me) but I’ve been out sailing on a few perfect days between Browns Bay and Rangi and been all on my own with not a boat in sight. The first time that happened I thought I was missing something – like a Tsunami warning, a very odd feeling to be out there on your own on a perfect day, would not have been like that in the 70s as the whole area would have been populated with boats of all types.”


The Johnny Wray & Ngataki Story –  On TV Tonight (Sat 18th)


Just a quick heads up that Television NZ will be screening tonight (Sat 18th) the latest series of ‘Te Radars Chequered Past’ on TVOne at 8:05pm. In the opening episode Radar retells the story of Johnny Wray & Ngataki’s creation. I’m told its a cracker & not to be missed – but if you do miss it, in this wonder digital world, you will be able to view it later ‘OnDemand’ link below.
Enjoy 🙂

36′ Grand Banks – ‘NO SALT’ – Must Be Sold – Offers over $50,000 will buy her
Check out the trademe link
Owner contactable on 021 025 46184