Alpha Spirit – A Peek Down Below

Todays boat has me a little confused, the tme listing had a build date of 1970 but that hull looks older to me. The listing (thanks Ian McDonald) tells us very little other than that the engine is a Ford 4 cyl 2715E. There is a video link below for a peek down below.

Interested to hear if she sold and is there a plan to – ‘bring her back’

Much excitement at the letterbox today – after what must have been a 4>5 month wait, my copy of the Toplicht 2021 catalogue arrived from Germany, my last one is dated 2014.Its really the holy grail of traditional boat stuff – 100’s of pages, what ever you need its here, and they ship worldwide.



Daryl Patterson’s email to me started out like a lot of the correspondence WW gets – “This is a very long shot but I’m looking for any information on my great grandfather’s boat, a 30 footer he built himself”
It turns out that Daryl’s GGFather –  William Skinner, was a member of the Whangarei Cruising Club and built Dawn in 1926, there is a good article from the Northern Advocate recording its construction below. The photos above are of Dawn on Whangarei Harbour between 1926 and 1931. Daryl’s family records has the boat being sold in 1934 to another WCC member – Percy J Basley. She disappears from the WCC records a short while later and Basley retired to Waiheke island. 

Daryl would greatly appreciated any intel on the boat from over the last 95 years.

Lisa Jane + Help Needed tracking down Bill Couldrey’s Boats

Lisa Jane
The launch Lisa Jane is currently on the Waitangi Yacht Club slip, looking at the photos, probably been there for a while and probably for a while yet. Dean Wright who sent me the photos commented that she used to be a charter boat in the Bay of Islands and owned by Peter Rosoman, who had the launch – Cara Mia before it. The rather large holes both sides of the hull indicate the ‘removal’ of a significant amount of rot.Dean’s memory bank is reminding him she may have hit a rock off Tapeka Point in the B.O.I., travelling at a good clip, maybe in the 1990’s. The same memory is also recalling she was capable of 15 knots.
Can anyone tell us about the boat – designer / builder/ date launched etc and what the future plans are.

Do You Own – Have Owned – Or Know Someone That Has – A  Bill Couldrey Boat
WW has been contacted by Jenni Mence who is researching the boats of boat designer/builder Arnold Francis (Bill) Couldrey for a book she is writing about him, and is currently trying to locate as many of his boats as as she can. I’ll let Jenni tale the story:
“Despite having made a great contribution to our maritime history, Bill is relatively unknown as a designer and builder. He worked for many years out of the ex Bailey and Lowe shed at Shoal Bay, Auckland, before retiring to Rotorua where he continued his design work. My husband and I have fully restored two Couldrey boats, a 1933 26 ft launch, and a 1950 38ft K Class yacht and these projects have sparked our interest in tracing and documenting the rest of his boats. Bill’s family have provided a list of the 83 boats Bill designed and/or built throughout his working life, which spanned from 1924 to 1975, and includes everything from sailing dinghies to launches and yachts. Unfortunately many of them are unnamed which has made tracing them difficult. I have recently published a large ‘coffee table’ book tracing the history of the K Class yachts, which includes many photos and stories of the boats, the people, and the racing, on the Hauraki Gulf throughout the 1950s and 1960s; and I would like to create something similar around Bill’s boats. As well as tracing the boats – in whatever condition they may be in now – I would also like to make contact with any previous or current owner of a Couldrey boat so that their experiences and stories may also be included in this book.”
So woodys can we help Jenni with any known boats, owners (past and present), photos etc. Even if you just know the name of a boats owner, Jenni will endeavour to track them down. Jenni’s K Class book was a master piece (see below), it would be great to help bring this one to life. Jenni can be contacted at or

Mystery Project Launch – Dorina


I understand that back in Feb 2021, the above 34′ launch sold on tme for approx $600, which was probably a fair price. I can’t make out her name, but its something like DORIMA ? and its rumoured to be built by Bailey & Lowe in 1927.There was no engine, being set up for twin outboards…….. At the time of sale, she was moored in the ‘Warkworth area’.

Can anyone let us know if she was bought with the intention of restoring?

Update – I was sent a copy of the front page of last weeks Hibiscus Matters’ by a WW reader named Viviene, a local newspaper the covers the area referred to locally as the Hibiscus Coast.Seems the boat is called Dorina and has attracted a lot of attention. As the paper states and confirmed by John Bullivant – The launch is/was apparently Dorina , and recently sank at Little Manly on April 10th. It was anchored off little Manly over Easter but apparently no-one returned for it. The owner was given till the 20th April to remove it, as the Harbourmaster had declared it a wreck. Don’t know how it was removed or what happened to it . It was on the front page of the Hibiscus Matters local paper on April 21.

The Back Story ex Ken Ricketts “She had recent new owners who a couple of weeks ago were taking her to her new home at Te Atatu. When they got to Whangaparaoa they realised they would not have enough fuel to get them to Te Atatu, so seeing Little Manly, in a nice calm state, at that time, decided to anchor there overnight, whilst they procured more fuel, and were to intending to continue to Te Atatu the following day. However during the night a southerly storm blew up and she took in water over the stern because the stern door was left open, sank. She was then beached at Little Manly, to be pumped out. 
A sad note is, that whilst there overnight people were seen removing her glass from her coamings windows, and I am told they also took fishing tackle and other equipment from inside her.I believe in a previous life, she had spent time at Thames, and at Whangarei as a live aboard. It appears she has not had inboard power for a good number of years but the prop shaft and rudder are still in place.” (photos below ex KR at Gulf Harbour in 2015)

photo at Little Manly ex Len Lawerance


This coming Tuesday night (4th May) is the Classic Yacht Association (NZ) annual boat owners meeting – where if you are lucky, between all the sailing talk, you might get the chance to discuss the past years and upcoming seasons launch related activities. Venue is the RNZYS, kicks off at 7pm. It’s always a hoot to listen to the debate on yacht race handicapping, course selection etc. See you there 🙂