1910-1920’s Mystery Launch & Yachts on the Waitemata Harbour
The above photo comes to us from the Auckland Museum, Bourne collection – via Lew Redwood’s fb.
It shows a smallish motorboat towing two gaff rigged yacht.
Can we ID all 3?
FLYING 15 4sale
I have been contacted by Rachel Jamieson, the driving force behind the Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Association, asking for help finding a new owner for her parents 20’ Flying Fifteen yacht. I’ll let Rachel tell you about the yacht –
“ She is currently named Ffelony & registered as ff 851. From what I can find out she was launched in 1966 as Aphrodite, then renamed ffelony in 1971.
My parents raced her in Wellington in the 1980’s and were calling her flying forties, as they were in their 40’s. she does not have a name on her.
Next she came up to Lake Rotoiti where she has been ever since, only taken out of the shed occasionally in summer and not for the past 5-6 years at all except to re-coat the deck with Sikkens.
She appears to have a few sets of sails, all quite old as they have not been replaced since she was raced.
She has stainless steel lifting eyes for crane-age launching which is what was used when in Wellington.
She has a launching trailer, but it does need repair, the main part of it is galvanised so not to bad, but the uprights at the back to guide the boat on have rusted away…
Overall the boat is in not too bad a shape, she is complete and sailable. It is a wooden hull (glassed over), plywood decks with aluminium mast, boom and spinnaker pole.”
She has a no reserve starting price on trademe of $250, so someone will get a bargain. Talking with Rachel, their #1 issue is finding a good home for the yacht. She has been in rachel’s family for the last 40 years.
Viewing is in Otaramarae, Lake Rotoiti – please email Rachel to make a time. email@example.com
BIG PHOTO GALLERY STORY TOMORROW (Monday) FROM MY NEW YEAR CRUISE.
If you search the words Little Jim in the WW search box you we see numerous references to a very stunning yacht, owned these days by CYA Chairman James Mortimer. She was designed / built by Arch Logan and Bill Couldrey in 1934, photos below.
Outside of the die-hard classic yachties, few know there was another Little Jim, B7, pictured above.
This LJ was a B class Keeler owned by J. Mitchelson.
Sadly she was driven ashore and totally wrecked at Catherine Bay, Great Barrier Island, after being dismasted in a gale on Christmas Day 1934?. The only good news was that the crew of 5 escaped drowning & reached the shore.
07-01-2019 Input from owner – James M
Little Jim started out life as a schnapper boat in 1900 under the sail number AK1 when it was built for a fisherman named Charles Vieri. Once converted to a pleasure boat for racing and cruising by the Feltham brothers, she sailed as B7 under various owners until a syndicate including Mitchelson purchased her in 1931. It was Xmas Day of ’33 she was driven onto the rocks in Katherine Bay. The story goes that after the rig snapped in two about 6 feet above the deck, and while cutting everything away a shackle got caught between the rudder and stern post, not only making a huge sea anchor with the still half-attached sails and rig but also losing any form of steerage. They managed to get two anchors down once in Katherine Bay. These held for some hours before the warps of one then the other finally frayed under the load and she went ashore. A few items were salvaged, including the small circular porthole you can see in the current cabin top in your last photo above. Legend has it that a leg of ham washed ashore, which fed the crew on Xmas Day over a campfire in the scrub behind the bay. With the insurance payout of 230 pounds plus a generous gift from Mitchelson’s aunt, Little Jim A16 was launched on 19th November 1934, a pretty impressive feat in less than 11 months! She went on to win the Anniversary Day race just two months later and has been sailling and cruising the Waitemata and Hauraki Gulf since. For anyone interested there is a great history of the two boats captured on Peter Brooke’s boatbuilders page here: http://www.classicboating.co.uk/Little%20Jim%20H.html
I have been following the re-fit of Varuna on James Dreyer’s fb page (Seven Oceans Boatworks) for several months. Varuna is owned jointly by Barry, Judy & James Dreyer.
Varuna is a 1939 Yankee One Design, by Starling Burgess. She was built by the well known yachtsman/ boat builder – George Andrews at Redcliffs, Christchurch in 1938/9. She is two skin kauri french carvel construction, unlike her sister ships, the US built Yankee One Designs that are single skin.
Varuna has undergone a major re-fit at the Shelly Park Cruising Club, yard in Howick, Auckland.
You can see more of the project by clicking the link below 😉
Unfortunately I could not attend this years Centreboard Cup regatta as it clashed with the finish of the Rudder Cup Motor-boat race. Woody Andrew Mason very kindly sent me the report below & the photos above.
“Despite a poor forecast, the day was perfect without even a drop of rain. The wind was a consistent easterly, making for great sailing for the old mullet boats in this year’s Centreboard Cup. The racing got underway off Sloanes Beach, Herne Bay, at 1pm, with Nick from Hopetoun Brown (and ex Supergroove) providing the start signals on his horn. The mullet boats were then individually serenaded by Nick as they crossed the finish line. After fun and games on the beach, the crowd was fed by a Hawke Sea Scout sausage sizzle, and then entertained by the Hopetoun Brown duo. Thanks to Hopetoun Brown, Hawke, the Ponsonby Cruising Club, the Richmond Yacht Club and the Herne Bay Cruising Club for supporting this 2018 Centreboard Cup.
Hopefully someone will send in the race results 🙂
We were out walking the dog yesterday morning & spotted Prize sitting pn the Devonport Yacht Club slipway waiting on the tide for a re-launch after a winter hauled out getting some serious TCL.
I have a mate that really knows how to wind me up – the photo below of his bach fridge after a morning dive is just too much – looks like his Christmas dinner will be a goodie 🙂
Recently Chris Smith had been searching for the whereabouts of the yacht Argosy. Chris has just advised that he has just found her. She is sitting on the hardstand at Panmure Yacht club, where she has been for some time now. Unfortunately she has had a hard time and in particular she was damaged when another boat came off her mooring and hit her. The insurance company wrote her off apparently and she was bought by a scrap dealer, who no doubt saw value in her lead keel. Outwardly any damage is not readily apparent. The haul-out yard manager talked about ‘cracked ribs’.
Her current future is seriously in doubt as her haulage fees are somewhat overdue and the yard is talking about disposing of her.
She was built in the 1950’s at Papatoetoe by two brothers to a design by the British designer, Alan Buchanan, who was well-known for designing nice wholesome yachts. Kauri planked to the best of Chris’s knowledge.
HDK has commented that she is a workmanlike and handsome looking little yacht, not beyond repair. A great restoration project. Buchanan is a very good designer. She would be a worthwhile project for the right person.
CYA Rudder Cup Motor- Boat Race Results
The link below will take you to James Mortimers movie from the race start – tomorrow on WW I will have photos from the pre-start, start & the race + from the prize giving – but I can confirm the following results
The photo above (ex Auckland Museum Winkleman collection via Lew Redwoods fb) is captioned ‘1900s “Sunbeam” on the slip’. I know nothing about her but she looks very slippery.
Hopefully one of the woody rag & stick boys can tell us more about her.
I spend a lot of time trolling the archives of trademe for anything wooden boat related & buy a lot of ’stuff’. Yesterdays courier van visit, dropped off a copy of book titled ’Selected MotorBoat Designs – Volume 16’. It was first published in 1934 & contains complete designs & building instructions for 35 motor boats of many styles. While the cover is very faded, the interior is mint, particularly the sets of line drawings.
Will give me something to read today, given the the CYA Patio Bay weekend was cancelled.
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”.