SS Kotare







Today’s photos of the steam boat Kotare come to us from John Wicks. I’ll let John tell the story.

“On my way back from our “walkies”, approaching the launching ramp (Hobsonville-nee-Westpark Marina), the dog’s ears pricked up, then I heard some hissing and farting. As the ramp came into view, I could see steam and smoke rising, and Lo! and behold – the little steam launch Kotare which been launched from her trailer.

By the time I got down onto the pontoon, she was full steam ahead and straining at her mooring ropes, smoke and steam everywhere. Glorious!

Her crew was fairly busy fiddling with valves, levers and suchlike, but I did learn that she was preparing for a steam meet at Greenhithe this Saturday, and a few other details;

  • She’s a woody, quite new, strip planked and glassed.
  • Her owner/skipper (that’s him inboard working on “stuff”) built the whole thing, boat, engine et al.
  • The engine is a 2-cylinder double-expansion one, plus she has an auxiliary electric motor tucked away aft.
  • Just now they’re using diesel to heat the boiler, but they’re turning vegetarian in the near future.

The other bloke in the grey shirt is part of the outfit, though I’m not sure just what part. The couple on the pontoon, I’m in the dark shirt and white cap, her in the orange T-shirt, just turned up purely by chance – in the neighborhood, came down to have a look at the marina. They’re from the West Coast and – would you believe – they have a small steamer on Lake Brunner! Spooky, possums!

Having been warned many years ago that steam is almost instantly addictive, I walked away before harm came to me, and took the broadside shot from behind the safety of a metal fence.”

Russell Ward Input – Famous wooden boat exponent Pete Culler said “Stay away from steam, it’s very addictive -one sniff and you’re hooked.” He was an oars and sail man though and he’s right.
The Auckland Steam Engine Society is meeting at Rame Road reserve Greenhithe Saturday 24 March 2018. High tide 1.30 or so. Fill yer lungs and feast yer ears and eyes.


Regrettably the steam event Saturday 24 March has been cancelled because of the adverse weather. We’ve never had a steamer melt in the rain and our fearless leader Alan will agree that damp days are often the best!

One of the best boating days ever 🙂 Alan

Input from Daniel Hicks – 

The boat was built by Paul Eaton, and is based on a Simpson Strickland launch of around 1900. Selway Fisher in the UK drew the plans, and it is listed in their catalogue as the 23′ Golden Bay design. Paul started by building the engine, a John York designed compound (3 + 5.25 * 3.75) from a castings kit from Elliott Bay Steam Launch Co in the US. Paul then built the hull and had a boiler designed (based on a steam car boiler) and the pressure vessel professionally made. The whole lot has come together over 17 years!

Kotare has a number of interesting features, as mentioned she is both a steam and electric vessel, being able to be propelled by either form of power, or propelled by steam with the electric motor charging the batteries. Another unusual innovation is the fact she is fitted with a Rice type propeller nozzle!

Yes Kotare is complicated, but Paul wanted to try lots of things out, and have lots of back up systems in place. The machinery may appear to take up a lot of the boat, but it always does in a steamboat, and Kotare is better than some, she just appears worse because of the location of the electric drive system directly behind the steam engine.

Wednesday was launch day, and I was there as I’d offered to help and provided the tow vehicle, my only claims to fame on this one. She floated very close to her marks, she steamed well and goes fairly well, despite a number of snagging issues being apparent. A pretty successful first day out, and superb effort from someone who hasn’t built a boat or a steam engine before!


C’est Ia Vie



C’est Ia Vie*

The above clinker runabout is owned by Stuart Donaldson, who is keen to learn more about her past. Stuart has been told that it was designed and possibly built by John Spencer in the late 1960’s /early 1970’s.

Thanks to woody Baden Pascoe who spotted her at Okahu Bay boat ramp over the weekend & took the photos.

Baden commented that she appears to be a very professionally built boat.

So woodys – anyone able to supply more intel on this clinker runabout?

(*French translation = That’s Life)



Woody Jet Boat

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Woody Jet Boat

Including the words ‘jet boat’ in the story headline could be slightly off putting to some, but today’s boat just ticks so many boxes it was an automatic Monday story.

The hull design is inspired by a picture on the workshop manual for the Hamilton Jet Rainbow unit, and is typical of the period of the unit (1956).
The jet unit has been completely rebuilt, including all new gaskets and bearings, and a freshly rebuilt impellor.
The engine is a 1956 Ford 100E Prefect (which the Rainbow unit was designed for). It has been professionally re-conditioned, was re-sleeved, and has new pistons, valves, bearings, oil pump, gaskets etc. All major parts that were re-used (block, head and crank) were crack tested before being re-machined. I.e. No expensive was spared.
The engine is cooled by a modern savage heat exchanger and runs a modern sand filter.
The 12’ hull has an aluminum planning surface (to aid longevity) but is otherwise constructed mainly of recycled kahikatea, rimu, Southland beech and kauri. The sides are Fijian kauri marine ply.
The Art Deco style trailer is a work of art, it was custom built by Ted Sagar of Rivercraft Marine exclusively for this boat.

She was launched in 2007. Her owner has another project planned, shed space is required, so now is the chance for someone else to own this little beauty.

You can view / read more on the original build at the Jet Boating NZ website – link below

And I want the truck – always had a soft spot for the Willys Wagons.

Woodys at Kawau Island


Woodys at Kawau Island

The above photo of Kawau Island is ex Lew Redwoood via the facebook page ’New Zealand Cars,Boats,Motorbikes,Trucks,Vans,Utes,Pre 1975′  -the photo is tagged ‘ Pleasure craft at anchor in Mansion House Bay. 

How many woodys can we ID?, I know Nathan Herbert was a little excited to see the family launch Pacific in the shot (top right).

If you are on facebook – you should ‘follow’ this page, there are some very cool old woody photos that pop up from time to time.

Aussie Boat Porn

I have featured several times The Australian Wooden Boat Festival that happens very 2 years in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The video below is a 100% publicity video for Tasmania & the event – but dam its good. Have look, you’ll be blown away by the number of stunning woodys. Thanks to the USA based on-line membership only video website – for making the video available. Its a great site, I’m a member.

CYA Classic Yacht Regatta 2018 – 50+ Photos





















CYA Classic Yacht Regatta 2018 – Day Two – Race 2 – 50+ Photos

Popped out early on Raindance to catch the start of the regatta – not much of a day for photos, overcast………. but the stick & rag boys would have been happy with the breeze.

If there appears to be a high degree of repetition with the photos – thats because there were not a lot of classics competing. A-division had a good turn out but you could count the rest with out having to take our shoes & socks off.

Maybe everyone sleep in & they turned up for the afternoons race ?

Numbers aside – bloody impressive sight when they are all powered up. Things got a little tense at the start – some very un- corthinthian yachting language was heard, more often then not, the worst culprits always seem to flying a small blue burgee…… 😦

Below – My Pick For Best Photo (not mine, ex Jason Prew’s FB page)

When you arrive 5 mins late for the start you have to do whatever it takes to get into the race – it’s not often you see Jason out of the cockpit, let alone on Wairiki’s rail 🙂


Spotted In Nelson



Spotted in Nelson

While Trinidad has been sitting in Nelson waiting for a weather window to start the 2nd leg of their circumnavigation Nelson > Milford Sound), Barbara Cooke has been sniffing around the marina with her phone camera. The two small woodys above are an interesting mix – one would like to think the clinker motorboat does not venture too far from port. The deflated dinghy along side is a worry 🙂

The canoe stern yacht on the other hand looks very salty.

Anyone able to ID these two woodys?


Lake Rotoiti 2018 Classic & Wooden Boat Parade – 240+ photos















Lake Rotoiti 2018 Classic & Wooden Boat Parade – 240+ photos

Last weekend marked the 21st birthday of the Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade.

The parade is one of the icon wooden boating events in New Zealand, with each year between 70 & 100+ classics on display. The LRC&WB Association are very active & hold many events thru-out the year, but the parade is the highlight. You would struggle to find a more inclusive, welcoming group of people that each year open the parade & picnic to anyone with a classic or woody boat – sail, power, big, small.

On the day we ‘enjoyed’ a mix of weather from fine > light drizzle > rain > fine, this didn’t stop everyone having a blast but taking photos was a challenge at times – a little bit of editing hopefully has help out 🙂 The photos of the ‘speed’ boats doing a demonstration run (health & safety red tape means it can not be called a race) were shot with a very long lens, so a little soft focus.

Post the picnic, several boats headed off to the Manupirua thermal pools, which are only accessible via boat. To an Auckland boaty the concept of pulling up at a jetty, tying up, & enjoying a soak in a hot thermal pool is rather special + its licensed, so one can enjoy a refreshing beverage, very civilised. 

I would like to thank LRC&WB Association past commodore – Fraser Wilson, for the generous loan of his RIB, sure makes getting around & taking photos easy. 

Each year my LRC&WBP experience is extended & 2018 saw Robyn & I hosted at Florence & Rod Prosser’s waterfront property. Berthed at Rod’s jetty is the 1882, 25’ counter stern day launch – Firefly, which now has a playmate in the recently acquired 1930, 23’ Chas Robinson built motor-launch – Rainbow. There are several more boats in the stable but I won’t out Rob on the exact number 🙂 

In addition to their holiday home, Rod & Florence run a very funky, cool lakeside bach called ‘The Love Shack’ – its available for rent (via BookaBach, see link below). If you a ever looking for accommodation in the Rotorua area I would highly recommend it – see photos below – AND its got WiFi !!!!!

I hope you enjoy the photo gallery as much as I do attending the event. 



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