W1 & W1 Junior Meet Up

W1 c.1942





W1 & W1 Junior Meet Up

The restoration of the Scott Payne designed ex RNZAF, WWII, craft W1 has been well documented on WW, as has been the building of a junior version by master model maker John Bullivant, enter W1 in the WW search box to read > view their stories.

Earlier this year Ken Ricketts played match-maker & intro’ed Francis Uren, the owner  of W1 & John B. The venue was Bayswater Marina where Francis keeps W1. Details & photos ex Ken.

The story started 49 years ago, when John B, had by chance an opportunity to have a look aboard W1. John & a mate, were out & about on the Tamaki River, exploring & they came across W1 & the boys decided to have a good look inside her. John B was fascinated with what he saw & W1 made such a lasting impression that 44 years later, when he started to build a model of W1, he could recall every detail. The build took 5 years, but as can see in the photos, the attention to detail & build quality is amazing.

When Francis Uren, saw W1 Junior for the first time he was blown away,  the intricate detail in build, propulsion & equipment, which is even complete, with the sound of 2 diesel engines being started, when John fired her up, & with water flowing out the exhaust pipes each side, when the engines, (2 special marine tiny electric motors, see photo below), are running.

The meet up resulted in two very happy woodys, who both had huge mutual respect for the each others work.


Swanson Sedan Launch

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Swanson Sedan Launch

This rather cute 26.24’ sedan launch was designed / built? by Swanson in 1969. She has a 9’10” beam & draws 3’3”, so a rather fat bottomed old girl. Her trademe listing says she has an inboard diesel engine but that’s about all in terms of specs. It does tell us that she comes with a fenders, boat hook & clock 🙂

Picton is her home, any Southern woodys able to shed some light on her?



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Looks can be deceiving, Irwyn falls into the ‘Spirit of Tradition’ category with her build date of 1997.

At 21.32’ & a beam of 7’6” she is wouldn’t be the biggest boat in the bay but she certainly has the salty look.

Planked construction & pushed along by a 24hp 3cyl Yanmar diesel, she has a leisurely cruising speed of 5 knots. Irwyn is currently for sale & with some TCL & a lick of paint she would make a very nice wee ship.

Thanks to Ian McDonald for the trademe listing heads up.

In Case You Missed The Advice – TODAYS CYA OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO FAIRWAY BAY, GULF HARBOUR HAS BEEN CANCELLED –  it was an early call to cancel but a peek at the below will tell you why 😉 But do not despair, I have a woodys event for you very soon, details in the next few days.





Mystery Launch   08-11-2017


Mystery Launch   08-11-2017

Long overdue for a good b/w photo & a mystery launch story. The above photo is ex Lew Redwood’s fb page, where Len commented that it was taken in 1916 & that the launch has BJB on the bow.

Using my enlarging capabilities on my computer, I think it actually says BJ6 – if that helps anyone ID the vessel?

Input from Harold Kidd – 

BJB was a 24 footer owned by Fred Brown of Ponsonby. My guess is that “B.J.B.” was his wife’s initials and that she had a previous name too. Haven’t had time to research that….Fred Brown is a hard name to track.
This image was taken at the Ponsonby Cruising Club’s Regatta of March 1916.
In July 1916 Brown sold her to C. Humphrey of the Hokianga and she was “railed up”. Odd that, because the railhead to the north was at Te Hana in 1916 and she might as well have been railed to Helensville. Surely she didn’t negotiate the Kaipara and the Hokianga bars. Both were pretty evil even then.
Any clues on what happened to her on the Hokianga apart from an obvious name-change?


Merlin – Sailing Sunday




MERLIN – Sailing Sunday

I recently received a note from Andrew Hewitt from Ashburton, concerning his 22’ yacht Merlin. Andrew became custodian of her three years ago, when she was put up for sale by a broker on behalf of her former owner’s widow (Peter Beaven, a notable Christchurch architect and heritage advocate).

Peter had had her hull restored professionally in Christchurch some time previously, but the earthquakes and his ultimate death intervened. Andrew completed the job, rigged her and commissioned a trailer for her locally. So she’s now, home from the sea in her retirement – converted for use as a ‘trailer-sailor’ and lives protected from the elements in a boat shed at Lake Hood (just east of Ashburton) – where Andrew sails her when time allows.

Andrew commented that Harold Kidd kindly supplied a little history on her and Les McBean (Dunedin) also did a quite an extensive one (link here Les McBean Merlin), but unfortunately they contradict each other J According to Les, it seems she dates from around 1902 by Mr Derwent Aitcheson of Waikouaiti, where she was originally a fishing boat fitted with an engine. She appears to have been based there and Moeraki, moving about in the general Otago area. At some time mid-century she was converted to a yacht, and was well known in Otago Harbour for some decades, prior to becoming derelict and ultimate salvation by Peter Beaven.

The registration number seems original (V9) – it is on an old cotton sail that came with her.

Like all woodys, Merlin’s restoration is an ongoing thing….. the photos above ange from the fitting out/rigging stage at Andrew’s home to an early pic of Andrew under sail at Lake Hood.

Andrew is keen to discover more on Merlin past, to date he has made one or two connections through the Canterbury Classic Boat meets and tried both the Port Chalmers Maritime Museum and the two yacht clubs down there for info, but nothing forthcoming. The Museum at Waikouaiti knew of the builder, but didn’t supply any info when requested.

2017 Centreboard Cup – Herne Bay Yacht Club – Sat 9th Dec – Sloanes Beach, Herne Bay

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Pencil midday on Saturday the 9th of December into the diary, the Herne Bay Crusing Club are hosting their legendary Centreboard Cup Regatta. Its one of the coolest sailing events in town & the venue is rather special.

Details here   http://hbcc.net.nz/centreboardcup2017/

And check out my photos from a previous regatta. https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/12/20/whats-the-coolest-yacht-club-10-minutes-from-queen-st/

Anyone Looking For a Wooden Mast?

The Herne Bay Cruising Club have a 31’6″ laminated, hollow wooden mast that needs a home, the price will be very attractive if its for a classic yacht, if you want it as a flag pole expect to pay more 🙂 email Andrew Mason at    a.mason@auckland.ac.nz



Three Taupo Boats


PIRI PONO on her slip at Two Mile Bay, Taupo, in the 1960’s



PIRI PONO at her final resting place (Maritime Museum)


LUYVON awaiting restoration at Taupo Oct 2017


TUI at the Clinker Boat Exhibition


Post a visit by Paul Drake & his brothers to the 2017 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition & a side trip to the Auckland Maritime Museum, Paul sent me the above photos & the story below – which I have re-produced unedited as its perfect as is. Read & enjoy J

 In the mid  1920’s, two gents and their families fell in love with Taupo. Both of them commissioned boats from Auckland builders. Hawke Bay’s Guy Rochfort had TUI (16 feet and clinker) built by Percy Vos. TUI was on display at the recent Classic Clinker Exhibition at the Viaduct in Auckland.  Auckland’s Robert Laidlaw had the 17 foot speedboat  SEAHORSE built by an unspecified builder. After a weather related fright on the lake in 1929, Robert approached Collings and Bell, and the 28 foot PIRI PONO (faithful friend) was the result. Honduras mahogany and bright finished, no expense was spared. PIRI PONO is on display at the Maritime Museum in Auckland.  With her 150 HP straight eight Niagara, she weighed just over a ton and could do about 30 knots. Housed in her boatshed at Two Mile Bay, alongside Laidlaw’s house ‘Monte Vista’, access to the water was via a slipway. A private jetty and offshore mooring completed the picture. 

PIRI PONO was the fastest boat on the lake.  But by 1935, she had a rival in the form of local man Stan Gillies’s  LUYVON, locally designed and built by Jack Taylor and measuring 22 feet. She was light (about half the weight of PIRI PONO) and powered with a Dodge, driving through an outboard drive.  Informal drag races indicated that the boats were very similar in speed.  A more formal test was required. Regatta Day 1936 (probably) was the day. PIRI PONO had her bottom waxed, new spark plugs fitted, all surplus gear removed, and half her fuel pumped out.  The day dawned fine and calm, to PIRI PONO’s disadvantage. LUYVON and PIRI PONO lined up for the 20 lap race. LUYVON had the edge because she cornered faster – PIRI PONO would catch her on the straights.  Robert Laidlaw ordered his crew (son Lincoln) to the aft cockpit to get the bow up a bit. Stan Gillies was still ahead. Back came Lincoln, returning aft with the anchor. This was enough. PIRI PONO won and Robert retained his title as fastest man on the lake.

PIRI PONO was commandeered by the Air Force during WW2 and was the Commodore’s launch at Hobsonville. They replaced the Niagara with a Chrysler (Crown?) and built a cabin over the forward cockpits. Having won the war, the Air Force returned PIRI PONO to Taupo.  She was re-engined with twin Gray’s which are in her to this day. There are conflicting stories as to how this came about. One source has it that she was returned by the Air Force without an engine. Another has it that Laidlaw was disappointed with the speed produced by the Chrysler. Yet another has it that the Air Force wrote off the Chrysler while trying to reverse PIRI PONO off her transporter and into the lake (overheating due to lack of cooling water).

Laidlaw was an enthusiast. He was the founder of Farmers Trading Company. He was a very active Christian, and his name lives on in Laidlaw College, formerly the Bible College of New Zealand, which trains people for Christian ministry. He also has a rock named after him, informally at least. During an early evening spin in PIRI PONO, with 23 POB (so it is said), PIRI PONO struck, at speed, the large flat rock in Mine Bay between the islets and the shore at the eastern end of the bay. The damage must have been enormous and she quickly sank in a few metres of water. Passengers, some of them not-so-young ladies in fur coats, were rescued by nearby launches.  Jack Taylor’s PONUI and VICTORY salvaged PIRI PONO the next day and she was repaired in time for the following summer. 

Meanwhile, TUI led an uneventful life, and lived afloat in a Taupo Boat Harbour boatshed. LUYVON lived in a boatshed nearby, but was kept dry (and light) by being lifted clear of the water on a cradle once in the shed. LUYVON also survives, still owned by the Gillies family, and has been awaiting restoration for some 30 years now. 

The book by Ian Hunter, ‘Robert Laidlaw – Man for our Time’ makes a very interesting read.

UPDATE 01-11-2017 Photo below showing TAMATI in the Lake Taupo Boat Harbour, with the fishing lodge (ex TONGARIRO) in the background, and the Collings and Bell PIRI PONO in the fore ground.   

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INONIE (Enone, Aenone) > India



I have had a request for information on the wee ship Inonie, seen above. Firstly, some background, Inonie was built by Robert H. Shakespear in Auckland in the early 1900’s. He built her in his stable loft, after hours, mostly by candle light. The carving on the bow was done by his wife, Elsie.

When complete the Shakespear’s used Enone to get to & from Little Barrier Island, & also to transport produce and farming goods between Little Barrier, Tiri & Auckland.

At some stage her name was changed to India.

These days she is owned by Rick Osborne who lives in Renwick, near Blenheim, in the Marlborough region, & possibly has been re-powered with a steam engine. I’m sure Russell Ward will be able to confirm this & even maybe supply a photo.

She was also owned at some stage of her life (perhaps a long time?) by Grant Tylden who was Robert Shakespear’s nephew (on his wifes side).

So woodys – can we flush out more info on Enone’s past?, particularly mid > old life.

(Photo credits & details – J Russell via the Hocken Collection, University of Otago and Nathan Herbert)

Now Robert Shakespear had a great eye & pair of hands – the clinker below, Maire, he built at Little Barrier Island.


Input from Russell Ward

I first came across (I’m sure it wasn’t Enone. Ionone? Maybe Inone?) when Neil Cox -an electrician at Ngunguru had not long bought her from Jim Francis (Lady Margaret). He also got what was reputed to be her original engine -or at least an early one- a single cylinder Zealandia. Hoyland and Gillett made a lot of them from their works at the bottom of Stanley Street -just opposite the pub. They ceased production around WW1 and Gillett took up selling cars while Chas Hoyland went to live and make boats at Clarks Beach on the Kaipara. He was quite a racer at their regattas around WW1 and is worth an article in himself HAROLD!

But I digress.

Neil was obsessed with making her into a steamer -he probably got infected like many others by my 17′ steamer Gypsy. He made up a 4″ x 3″ O B Bolton design single cylinder engine from patterns sold by Winters in NSW. He also had made a fine coal fired, vertical fire tube boiler to Stuart design updated to pass NZ Marine Dept specs. Same as I have in Romany -I paid him a portion of the design and certification fees for the rights to use the design.

I didn’t think that Neil got a lot of joy out of her and I don’t recall him using her much. Captain Percy Ginders would confirm. A lot of his problems were that he had a grate or thick steep plate in the firebox that was perforated by well spaced 3/4″ holes. It was insufficient to let enough air through to get a good fire going, but Neil was selling up and off.

I bought the Zealandia from him about the time I launched Romany and Neil -departing for Oz- sold off Ionone to an antique dealer at Sanson (I think) late ’90s.

I didn’t see much of her until she appeared at one of the early Lake Rotoiti (St Arnauds) events. She was called India by then but again, she didn’t see to be steaming.

Rick Osborne bought her a few years back and at last she has a worthy enthusiastic owner. He has done her the honours and has also ditched the Bolton engine for a twin cylinder engine that will be much easier to live with.

Input from Harold Kidd

Neil Cox was a good auto-electrician and a member of the Vintage Car Club with Jim Francis, vintagesteamer and yrs truly. I visited him in 1990 when he moved up to Ngunguru to discuss the rewinding of a magneto. Even then such people were becoming thin on the ground. I was very taken by this craft (and more by the Zealandia than the steam plant, with which things were not going well).

Her name was spelt INONIE. When I knew him, Bob Shakespear had a garage at Gills Road Albany where he had a collection of interesting cars including a Stutz Straight 8. He sold INONIE to Jim Francis about 1960 when she had an Australian Simplex engine. In fact, her first engine was a 3hp Kapai, not a Zealandia, and she was first launched in March 1910.

The inter-related Hobbs/Shakespear famiilies had used her at Whangaparaoa to take produce out to their Logan keel yacht FRANCES to take to Auckland markets.

Shakespear worked for the Logan Bros and was involved in ILEX and built FRANCES at Logans’ yard as a close twin to VICTORY. He also built the clinker keeler PANDORA to service his little farm on Little Barrier where he was custodian for a while….big story.

Further Input From Russell Ward – photo below of India at Lake Rotoiti (Sth Is.) 2011. Also photo of the wee Zealandia engine that Jim Francis said was in her when new.