During the week I was contacted by Stuart Windross in regard to the mullet boat Vagrant, built in the early 1920’s by his grandfather Jack Greenhalgh. I’ll let Stuart tell that story below.
Then out of the blue while I’m on fb & up pops on the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard page the pictorial of Vagrant being salvaged after sinking at her moorings in Okahu Bay 3 weeks ago. Vagrant was raised and barged ashore on Tuesday, then brought up road by Boat Haulage arriving at the WTB yard on Wednesday.
I understand that Vagrant was saved from the crusher by Dino Herbisone, who will carry out her repairs at the WTB yard.
It would be amiss of me to not mention the wonderful contribution to our wooden boating community the Pam Cundy & George Emtage offer up at the WTB yard. I do not think the word NO is in their vocabulary, they so generously offer up the yard to help stop the demise of heritage craft and then pair the boats up to capable tradesman or people that can repair them if need be or indeed use and enjoy them. The yard can be contacted via email at
“Further to the discussion regarding the builder of the mullet boat Vagrant I have followed up my post confirming it was built by my grandfather Jack Greenhalgh with a delve in the family photos.
Attached please find photos of Vagrant N17 under construction and one of her sailing close to the camera in light winds bow on. These are verified as they have her name inscribed on the back.
The other pics below, are of what I believe to be an 18 footer named Vim that my Pop John (Jack Greenhalgh) also built prior to Vagrant. From one of the photos it is pretty clear that her number is V34. I wonder if you have any info about her fate as she seems absent from online records and the literature.
John (Jack) Greenhalgh was born 20 June 1901 at Riverhead and died 13 July 1984 at Waitakere Hospital. He was the middle child of 11 born to Edward Walls Greenhalgh and Helen Ramsay (nee Paterson). His grandfather John William Greenhalgh, originally a coalminer from Wigan UK arrived in NZ in 1886 to oversee the establishment of paper mills at both Mataura and Riverhead. His father Edward Walls Greenhalgh also worked in the paper mills both at Riverhead and Mataura later living in Richmond Road Auckland. At the time of building Vagrant he would have been 24 and obviously younger when he built Vim. He kept the scale half models of their hull shapes (shaped from Kauri) throughout his life. My Auntie may know of their whereabouts. I believe that both of these boats were built in the back yard of his parents home at Richmond Road. As you will see the set up was fairly basic!
Albert Greenhalgh (Alby Jack’s brother) was born in 1906 and I understand was a sailing partner. The two brothers were very close, marrying sisters (Doreen) Vera and (Florence) Rita Lee. Alby and Rita’s son Keith is still active in the Reactor sailing fraternity and daughter Beverley’s husband Jaape Pos was a boat builder (at Sea Nymph I think). Another cousin was Roy Parris (the well known launch builder).
Jack and Vera married in November 1926 and soon purchased a new home in Kingsley St. This transaction probably necessitated the sale of Vagrant. A later craft (a dinghy I believe the kids used for fishing trips and floundering in Coxs Bay) was built in the front room of the marital home much to the displeasure of his new wife.
A mischievous and witty character he was always ready to enthrall us with a prank or yarn. I recall his stories of searching shoreline pohutakawa for suitable bends for stems or knees and cutting the corners off square balks of timber to fashion his masts. He was a very patient worker in wood or metal.
I have included a photo of Jack and Vera Greenhalgh(with my Mum) c1938
I am not 100% sure if all the fleet shots are of Vim but the colour scheme suggests so (unless Vagrant’s cabin sides were painted darker at some stage).
Apologies for the picture quality as the originals are very small and showing their age”.
Looking to get out on the water this summer but do not want the launch?, this 15 kauri clinker day boat could be perfect. She was originally designed and built with an inboard motor.
Beautifully restored with new kauri duckboards, teak rubbing strip etc.
Her custom built trailer must be worth more than the starting bid on trademe (thanks Ian McDonald).
I understand the boat has had little use over the last 4 years so has been shed stored for the majority of this time. May need some sea time to take up as with all clinker boats.
Included -Seagull outboard (purchased as reconditioned 2 years ago.
Her owner has had her for 40 years.
Any Lake Rotoiti woodys looking for another boat 😊
Today’s woody is Helene, a 33’8”, 1918 Miller & Tunnage ex workboat. Helene has a 9’10” beam & draws 3’3” & is built from solid kauri.
In her trademe listing (thanks Ian McDonald) there is no mention of an engine, I assume there is one………..?
In her past life as a commercial fishing boat she worked out of Akaroa. At some stage someone has done a smart conversation for pleasure use.
Can anyone fill in the gaps as to past & what engine she has?
Harold Kidd Input – The last time she was on Trade Me was in 2010 in Picton. She then had a 80hp Toyota diesel. No comment. 1918 is wrong as she was built in December 1913 for George Currie as a private launch (in fact as an “auxiliary yacht”). I’m not sure Miller & Tunnage were the builders but it’s possible. Miller Bros launched the big Sundstrum launch NORANA the same month (probably the same tide) so it wasn’t them. She was later in Lyttelton around the late 1920s.
Waitematawoodys T-shirts – Now On Sale
In case you missed yesterdays story, scroll down to read how to ensure you will not be mistaken for a plastic boat person 😊
Lady Joan has appeared on WW before (link below + photo at end of story), at the time it was hoped that she would be restored, unfortunately that didn’t happen & now she is looking like be a scrapped for parts. Thanks to T Foh who spotted her tucked away on trademe in the motors/boots-marine/parts-accessories/other section. How was anyone ever going to find her there 🙂
There is a lot of chat on the previous WW story as to her possible provenance, read & you decide.
So Woodys, if you are looking for some low cost fitting, check out the trademe listing
I have been contacted by Taupo woody, Shawn Vennell regarding the very smart woody – Ella B.
Ella B is a ‘Monte Carlo’ design, barrel-back, classic inboard mahogany run-about. She was built in NZ by Bill Brassington, & measures 24’6” with a 7’6” beam.
The zoom zoom is via a brand new 5.7 litre 350 BFI marine V8 Kodiak engine complete with a Borg Warner 71c model 1.1 velvet drive transmission. The build quality & attention to detail is amazing + all components in the build were brand new, with the trailer being custom made by Bill.
Unfortunately due to health issues, Ella B is reluctantly for sale. This is a turn-key boat, fill the tank & you are off. I suspect the seller is very realistic in terms of a price, interested parties can contact Bill’s son Glen, via email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss Ella B in more detail.