A Townson 22 Story – Born Slippery > Ceilidh


This a great story with a long tail. I first rubbed up against the boat back in 2009 when a co Kiwi based – WoodenBoat Forum follower named Graeme Tearle, lived in Thames,  mentioned online he was considering buying a Townson 22 – known as a Pied Piper (Piedy) on trademe in Auckland. Turns out it was sitting on the hard at the Devonport Yacht Club (I was a member back then) so I took some photos for him. Graeme bought the boat, below is an edit of his postings on the WBF, he has a unique style of chat and the yanks on the WBF loved him –

“But this boat has issues. For starters, her name. “Born Slippery”. Ye Gods, whatever was he thinking. So my daughter Abby came up with a new name. “Ceilidh”. Pronounced “kay-lee” it is Irish (or Scots) for an informal get-together featuring traditional song, dance and drinking. In other words, a party. My kind of party (I’m half Irish). Perfect. Next, her cabin shape is all wrong. 
Ceilidh has the original, shorter roof, which designer Des Townson lengthened when he redrew it, and I suspect he may have lowered the roofline an inch when he did so. Either way, Ceilidh’s cabin is too short & too high for my tastes. If you can’t stand upright in a boat, there is little point in adding an inch or two to the roof height and you still can’t stand up. It just spoils the aesthetics. Also the cabintop is built in the original style with internal roof beams & a 9mm ply skin. The new style has a laminated roof with no beams. This is vastly preferable; nothing to hit your head on & a much easier paint job. So the whole cabin top has to come off. This has the added bonus of allowing me standing room inside while I do the rebuild, and I can replace the ply coamings with varnished mahogany, as they were with Candyfloss (a previous Piedy he built) In my own personal, very biased, opinion, such a beautiful shape deserves nothing less.

The cockpit has been hacked about in the modern way with an open transom. I will fill the transom back in again & add an aft deck forward to the mainsheet traveler, then an aft coaming across it, aft of the traveler. There can be no lazarette here as the rudder shaft comes up thru the cockpit floor aft of the traveler, making a bulkhead impossible. Also, she has a rise in the companionway of about 300mm, to stop water entering the saloon should the cockpit flood. What absolute nonsense. This is the Hauraki Gulf guys, the best cruising grounds in the world, not Cape Horn. I’ll cut it out, fit a lintel about 50mm high, and should the weather become so severe that I fear a wave might jump into the cockpit, (yeah right, it is sooo going to happen) I’ll fit the first washboard & lock it in place. The ability to easily step thru the companionway without having to clamber over what amounts to a bridgedeck is a boon beyond measure on a cruise. The existing tiller is an ugly stick. I’ll build a new, properly shaped one.”

Graeme did an amazing job restoring the yacht (sadly all the work-in-progress photos on WBF have been lost) and bought Ceilidh by road up to Auckland for a Des Townson exhibition at the Viaduct and motor sailed her back to Thames – memory is hazy but I think I lent him a life jacket and a VHF radio for the trip. Graeme’s past post on the WBF was  c.July 2014 and I think he sold the boat in June 2014.

Fast forward to mid July 2022 and the son of old family friends – Gavin Woodward tracked the boat down to a mud berth in Thames and was trying locate the owner, dockside chat was that she had been abandoned. Photos below showing Ceilidh looking very sad.

Fast forward to mid September 2022 and Andrew Sander – a previous owner of the boat , tracked her down and re-bought her. Andrews words “Spent Sunday preparing and Sunday night on the high tide dragging her from her mangrove and rat infested grave, she’s now in a berth in Thames Marina. Her next adventure is going to Tauranga for cosmetic work, a weight loss program and a new set of sails. Then it’s back to Auckland to catch up with her old Piedy mates where she will live. Looking forward to some great racing and antics. Get a Piedy up ya (again)”

Photos below of the extraction at Thames.Wonderful that these iconic craft are held in such high regard that yachties go to these lengths to keep them sailing.


Steam boat woody – Russell Ward contacted me as Russell and some of his fellow steam boaters are bemoaning the loss of Davis Slick Seam. The trailer boaters swear by it. It holds the leaks until the seams take up and it squeezes out -doesn’t set. Stops the incontinence when you launch.

Anyone got a spare tin or know what might have been in it? It was black, had some waxy filler apparently, stayed put and wouldn’t go hard. It is no longer being stocked. West are not answering emails, it is obviously not a big seller.

So woodys what would have been in it -NO EPOXY but maybe some of the filler they use. But it was tarry looking.

Wairoa River / Clevedon Drive By Tour

Wairoa River / Clevedon Drive By Tour

On the weekends Woodys Classic Weekend cruise to the Clevedon Cruising Club I had the services of a cabin boy (relax, he’s my neibour) so I handed the wheel to him for most of the trip up the river. This freed me up to snap some of the moored wooden craft, I’m sure a few might be f/glass or even steel – but still an amazing collection ’semi-hidden’ away, that us Auckland marina dwellers never see.

Enjoy the tour. AND make sure you check out the last photo below – seems the CYA A Class skippers have been playing bumper boats again.

Seems the CYA Classic A Class Fleet Are Playing Crash & Bash Again

One of the classic launch owners returning to their berth in Westhaven from the weekends Woodys Clevedon cruise – spotted a wee hole in Little Jim. Comment was it had the dimensions of a bow-sprite. 

Fingers crossed the culprit has good insurance………… A review of the RNZYS results page for Saturdays racing shows two classics with a DNF alongside their names – being Little Jim and Rawene, chances are that tells you the other vessel.

Things like this probably contribute to why only approx. 6% of the CYA classic yacht fleet race (outside of one-off events like the Mahurangi Regatta) their craft. Too much testosterone is a bad thing with a car steering wheel or yacht tiller in your hand – then again maybe it was too much oestrogen this time?



Tony Marr sent in the above photo, dated c.1942 of Motukaraka, on the Hokianga Harbour showing the Launch – Omakura that his grandfather, George Harding, owned.

Tony commented that George operated the boat between 1920 > 1950, mainly fishing for mullet. In a previous life, Omakura was a creamery boat.

In the caption it states that the houses on the hill are Wi Gundrys, and the factory managers. The factory is behind the mangroves on the right, with the pump house and water tank above it. At the road there is Gundry’s building and General Store. Omakura is moored in front of the net stand.

Tony is keen to learn more about Omakura and what became of her.

Help Support A Great Boating Club

Next weekend is the Classic Woodys woodyCruise up the Wairau River to the Clevedon Cruising Club, thanks to the woody skippers that have RSVP’ed, fyi we have closed off accepting ‘entries’ but if any woody readers are feeling warm hearted, how about supporting the club in its fundraising for a new fuel jetty – read below the CCC flyer and buy a raffle ticket/s on $5. Lots of cool prizes. The contact for the tickets is Carol Parkes cparkes@outlook.co.nz

I’ll be emailing skippers tomorrow with full details on the weekend.



When I was coming onto the Slipway at Milford the other day, this very smart launch  – Kotuku had just vacated the cradle I was heading for. Kotuku is a 26’ Pelin Mascot and has just had some serious TLC (9 weeks out). 

Powered by a 25hp Isuzu 2ab1, she would be very frugal on the fuel.

She wasn’t going far – she’s a river rat e.g. calls Milford Creek home.

Message For The Skippers That Did The Woody Trip Last Easter To Paeroa

Check your prop/s – seems there was a few solid items hiding in all that mud – Raindance’s prop was in need of some love from Dr. Cam at the Slipway Milford workshop. All 3 blades were similar to the one below 😦



Todays woody is the Bailey & Lowe 1915 built launch – Lapwing. Her specs are 26’ x 6’6” and in the above b/w photo she was powered by a 17-25hp Sterling engine that gave her a very impressive speed of 12 knots. Her original owner was Capt. J Davies and the photo comes to us from a supplement to The NZ Yachtsman – May 22, 1915 via Lew Redwood’s fb.

Lapwood is my marina ’neibour’ and I took the bottom photo on Sunday, sadly she very rarely leaves her berth.

Below is a link to a WW story on her from March 2013.

INPUT EX PAUL DRAKE – LAPWING was a Taupo ‘hire’ boat for a number of years from1929. She was brought to the lake from Rotorua by Englishman Donald Hunt, who had arrived in Taupo in the early 1920’s. He was a mechanic who also had dinghies for hire, and who became the agent for Johnson outboards – he supplied a Johnson Sea Horse to our grandfather in 1928, an outboard which we still have and which is still operational. Later he was also the agent for Gray Marine and supplied the engines for PIRI PONO when she was returned to Taupo with a damaged engine after WW2, when she saw service with the RNZAF at Hobsonville, Auckland. LAPWING was renamed PANDORA after an incident which left her reputation a little tarnished. With bow pushed up on a beach in typical Taupo style, a number of passengers proceeded to move towards the bow on the same side, whereupon LAPWING took a severe list and deposited said passengers overboard. Reputation being everything, LAPWING was no more, but PANDORA went on to be a popular hire boat! Donald Hunt eventually progressed to SUNBEAM (now in Tauranga as SEA BREEZE). PANDORA continued at Taupo for some years as a private boat, before disappearing from view.

SS Misty


Woody John Dawson sent in the above photos of the steam boat – Misty, photos ex  Gary Dierking.

John commented that the boat has been off the scene for over 20 years, are we able to establish what became of her?

Russell Ward – any thoughts?

Day Boat Without The Marina Costs

Day Boat Without The Marina Costs

Its always a a challenge to squeeze the bits  that make boating enjoyable into anything sub 20’, the owners of Tawa (previously Matariki) have managed to do it in a 16’ boat – so well done.

Built in 1958 by a A. Westrupp from double diagonal kauri (+f/glass) and presented in a very high finish – in fact she has won numerous awards at both the north & South Island Lake Rotoiti classic boating events.

The diesel heads amongst us would struggle to ID the 30hp engine – its a German MTU from an old WWII German submarine.

The bonus of Tawa is that she resides on a trailer so no marina fees and your boating locations are almost unlimited. (Thanks Ian McDonald for the tme listing heads up)

ATHENA – The Woody Buy Of The Year – $30,000 ono

Without going into details – the owner of the woody Athena has told me to find the right buyer and sell her – there’s even a B.O.I. marina on offer (extra)

Full details here https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/06/01/athena-next-caretaker-wanted/

Marlin Munroe


The 19’ Sutton and Mason 1966 built Marlin Marauder – Marlin Monroe made a very brief appearance recently on tme, probably brief because the asking price was $10k.

On face value that is a lot of classic boat for the money.

Built with double diagonal kauri and powered by Mercruiser inboard + stern leg that sees her topping out at 35mph.

The matching dinghy is a nice touch.

Ilex Crew Visit Motukawanui Island


I came across this photo a while ago and just love – it is of the crew from the yacht ILEX catching up with the locals at either Papatara or Horseshoe Bay on Motukawanui Island (the largest island in the Cavalli Island group, northwest of Matauri Bay, Northland)

Can we ID the yacht hauled up the beach and the significance of the number – RL 27

The gent in the white hat + pipe, holding the piglet does look familiar for other old photos.

I hope the crew were not negotiating the sale of the wee pig 😦

09-08-2022 INPUT ex Robin Elliott – This was taken by Henry Winkelmann in January 1906 during his 4th cruise on the Ilex.

His negative register records this and several other images that day as ‘Cavalli Islands, Group of Maoris an crew’. According to the Vivien Edwards’ book ‘Winkelmann’, the Maori were residents of the Motukawa Village on the island.
There is no mention of the fishing boat in this picture.

The Ilex crew had stopped off at Motukawa for a spot of random goat shooting.

HDK has written extensively on the easy going gun culture of the day. Sitting on your boat while at anchor and taking pot shots at anything that moved on shore was generally regarded as ‘fair game’. See ” ‘Huntin’ Shootin’ and Fishin’ ” Boating World Magazine October 1994.

During that cruise Henry Winkelmann took 45 photographs, both Full Plate and quarter plate glass, of Whangaroa Harbour, Stevenson Island, Whangaroa township, as well as breathtaking shots from the top of St Peters and also from the top of the Dukes Nose. All the while lugging about those heavy glass plates and the unwieldy camera equipment to accommodate them.
The man was amazing.
His entire marine negative collection (or rather what has survived the last 100+ years or so) is held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Many images are online and well worth some time to trawl through them.

Black Tulip – Where Is She Today

BLACK TULIP – Where Is She Today

Bay of Islands photographer Dean Wright took the above photos of the Clipper 23 – Black Tulip back in 1983. The location was School Road, Paihia.

A couple of unusual feature – shaft drive and a ’soft top’ hopefully will help us ID the boats current whereabouts and condition.

INPUT ex Murray Deeble – The famous Clipper Black tulip ex Lincoln Laidlaw (as seen on the cover of Seaspray) is retired at Milford . After her record breaking Auckland to Russel run when new with the Big V8 -she did a couple of Atlantic 100 races and disappeared, saw her at Sam Dorotich’s Superior Boats in the early 2000’s She has recently been sold -now powered with a Yanmar /BMW 4BY diesel -always been shaft drive.