A Recount Of Our Classic Wooden Craft DNA 

CLICK The Headline – Grace Under Sail to view

A Recount Of Our Classic Wooden Craft DNA 

Recently I was sent a link to an article that appeared in the New Zealand Geographic magazine back in 2000 – in fact issue 45 , Jan-March. The article was headlined – GRACE UNDER FIRE, written by Vaughan Yarwood with supporting photos from the late Henry Winkelmann and more recent photos ex Hamish Ross and Paul Gillbert.

The stars of the article is the 42’ 1908 Logan built gaff rigged cutter – Rawene, and her then skipper Russell Brooke.

This is a brilliant insight into the early days of boating in and around Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, I’m sure there will be some mix ups re dates, skipper/craft names but overall we get to see and read the history of these magnificent craft, a lot of which are still sailing today.

Have a read, its only 10>15 minutes, longer if if you linger over the photos 🙂  – even a die-hard motorboat owner like myself found it a fascinating read.

LADY AVA – Unseen Sinking Photo

LADY AVA – Unseen Sinking Photo

Back in June 2020 we ran 1/2 a story on the 1931 Ernie Lane (Picton) built launch – Lady Ava (once named Miss Ava). The original story was about her sinking but due to the then owners situation it was decided to ‘dilute’ the story e.g. no photo of her demise. Link to the 2020 story below.

Well three years have past so today you get to see her joining the submariners club. Last I heard she was secured near/alongside the Leader Boat Builders shed on the Panmure River. Photos below taken not long after her recovery.https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/06/04/alpheus-a-peek-down-below-lady-ava-sinks/

Can we get an update on Lady Ava’s current situation.

Update: More photos below ex Mark Laughlin

TARANUI – A Peek Down Below

TARANUI – A Peek Down Below Taranui

The 1965 John Gladden ketch motor-sailer is one of those rare vessels that you have an immediate attachment to – it has everything it needs, in the right place and proportionally correct, which is hard for a designer to get right on a 36’ vessel. Her designer was a UK resident named Francis James. Her first owner Gordon Robertson, an engineer by trade and a very skilled amateur boatbuilder, had input in the finishing. All the cast bronze fittings throughout Taranui are impressive. 

Built from kauri, carvel planked , Taranui has a 9’ beam and draws 5’. When the wind drops there is a 62hp Nanni Diesel engine, installed new in 2000 by the Salthouse yard.  The eagle eyed will note that her name (big tern in maori) appears on her bow with a hyphen, this is a songwriters oops – its Taranui.

Stepping on board is a treat, she is a boat that you could easily call home for extended periods of time – in fact her owner of 26 years has been off shore 3 times (in Cat1 each time) – destinations being Tonga and New Caledonia. I’ll let Richard tell us about the trips.

“Our first trip to Tonga in 2000 was a wonderful family experience. We were there for 3 months with out 3 young children. Sailing back to NZ from Tonga was my first solo ocean trip, and Taranui proved herself to be a very easy boat to manage solo. I also sailed solo to New Caledonia and back to NZ twice. On one of these trips we spent many months living aboard with family and friends flying over to join us aboard. Taranui has also taken me on a solo 3 month trip around NZ, including Stewart Island were I was joined again by family and friends and got to explore most of the fiords. Other family cruises have been to the Marlborough Sounds and numerous excursions exploring the Northland coast and islands including Great Barrier and Coromandel. Taranui’s most recent voyage was a cruise from Auckland to the Bay of Islands and on to Whangaroa – skippered by my daughter and partner. We’ve had great fun with Taranui and been so lucky to own such a safe and comfortable ship”

Guess what woodys – after 27 wonderful years of love and attention – Taranui is for sale. She presents in suburb condition fully retaining her original character and pedigree and what’s special about Taranui is that she’s ready to use, now, sail away.

If a wooden craft like Taranui is on your bucket list – drop a line for more details waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Oops That Must Have Been Embarrassing


The woody above was spotted in Paeroa – probably a combination of things

1. One of more lines came loose

2. River in flood

3. Bad luck

Will be interesting to know how she was extracted, maybe a midnight autos tow before anyone from the council spotted it.

Oops happen to even the most experienced boaties – after the recent Woodys Riverhead cruise the skipper of the launch Awariki was turning her around at Tamaki Marina and misjudged things and gently touched the launching ramp. A four hour wait for the tide, no damage just a bruise ego 🙂

Post WWII Boating On The Waitemata 

Post WWII Boating On The Waitemata 

Another old movie day – same source (Lew Redwood fb post / link to some film footage from c.1945 that is stored / saved on Nga Taonga – the NZ archive of film, television and sound.)Given the date everyone must’ve been so relived to be emerging from the doom and glum of WWII and back boating again.

Todays footage is a potpourri and tagged ‘Personal Record. Taylor, AG. (Akarana Regatta, Northern Cruise, Othei Bay, Oyster Inspector, Zane Grey’s Gallows). Approx. 12 minutes in length. 

A great mix of sail and motor boats – towards the end, the flying boat landing in the harbour amongst the pleasure craft is something you wouldn’t see in todays PC world.

LINK TO WATCH THE MOVIES HERE https://www.ngataonga.org.nz/search-use-collection/search/F44551/



The clip is one of many filmed by AG. Taylor, that have been doing the rounds for some years. He held many film evenings at yacht clubs during the 1940’s and 1950’s and 60’s.

A.G. Taylor was the father of John Taylor (Ex Stewart 34 Paprika) and grandfather of Team NZ’s Andrew Taylor. He sailed with ‘Boy’ Bellve on the Ngatoa and used to film their cruises, the Richmond Yacht Club picnics and follow his sons (who owned the M-class Mercedes 1939-1949) around filming them during races. Film stock was a mix of colour and black and white.

Some years ago, Point Chevalier YC (I think) discovered a collection of his film reels in their old clubhouse attic that had been left behind after a long-forgotten film evening. They copied them to videotape and were selling them as a fundraiser for their new clubhouse.

This particular clip is a mish-mash of dates and assembled in no particular order. There is a brief and blurry clip of the 1939 World’s 18-foot series shot from the Westhaven wall, as well as a much better clip of the 1948 Series (where you have that spectacularly overloaded and listing ferry). There are several Regattas depicted.

I agree with Simon below regarding colour film. When I first saw these films (almost 30 years ago) John Taylor told me that his father ‘got the colour film from America’.

Also, in several of the colour clips, A-7 Rainbow is shown in gaff, she was laid up after 1940 and briefly returned to racing in 1945 but broke her mast and was again laid up until sold to Leo Bouzaid in 1948 who converted to marconi rig in 1949.

ORDER HERE waitematawoodys@gmail.com

The Demise Of Lorna Doone


We last saw the Collings & Bell built Lorna Doone on WW back in April 2018, at the time we learnt that she was built in 1926, and one of four launches for the Zane Grey Sporting Club. When launched she was powered by a Redwing engine that gave her a very respectable 16 knots of speed.

In the 2018 story (link below) Martin Howson advised that in the late 1950’s when owned by Des Shimanski Lorna Doona came ashore in a big easterly blow in Hooks Bay, Waiheke Island. She survived that oops and returned to life as a long-liner moored in the Tamaki River, near Bucklands Beach.

In todays photos sent in by Ray Morey we see Lorna Doone in Whangaroa Harbour, in Northland. Sadly in the bottom two we see her c.1970’s when she was wrecked on Peach Island, in the middle of Whangaroa Harbour. (as advised by Gavin Bradley)

Can anyone tells us the back story to the Peach Island incident – its a well protected harbour and the island is almost dead centre with good deep water both sides – see photo below.

08-05-2023 Input ex Alice Morrison – Whangaroa can get some gnarly gusts through the valleys. A few months ago, the wooden yacht ‘Hope’ ran aground in Waitapu Bay/Ota Point when a big gust came through as he was lifting anchor. It actually happened again around at Ratcliffs Bay a few days later.

Arizona – Gets A Happy Ending


Mooching around online I came across this great tale from Russel Subritzky, when you hear stuff like this it makes the rubbish we get feed in the mainstream media fade away – I’ll let Russel tell the story

“Arizona  my 42ft brdgedecker ..boat has a lot of history with my family..a photo of this boat towing a Subritzky  boat across the Kaipara bar was big new in 1933 as the boat had been presumed lost with all hands for over 9 mths..while doing its regular run to Fiji and surrounding islands it hit a reef..my grandfather was the skipper..the 10 year old cabin boy was to become my father..i asked my dad many times over the years how they survived..they chopped down trees and beached the boat using pulleys and ropes and hand cranked winch to pull boat ashore .repair holes and damage and get it back in water ..i would say something and he would bellow ” we were men” and i would say no dad you were 10 years old..but yes they were gone but returned  ..the boats name  ” the Greyhound” ..

So this boat was gifted to me because when it was for sale i called and related the story and about this boat being on front page news paper ..and the person on phone says to me did someone put you up to this and how do you know what is hanging on our wall..they had the original newspaper article..when i met the woman who had boat and we spoke and i walked around boat..she came out and said that the boat was mine..that she couldn’t believe how much the boat meant to me..So theres my little boat of family history for you.”

Russell also commented that the boat was currently out of the water (up north) and today her interior has been done and just needs to be re caulked and a paint job. I’m a little confused re the reference to the name ’the Greyhound’ – hopefully someone can explain. In the earlier photos there is KPA 98 visible on her bow, possibly a Kaipara number – commercial fishing? Zach Matich will know the answer. Back in December 2022 we ran a story on her with several photos – I’m assuming this was prior to Russell ‘acquiring’ the boat – link below to that WW story https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/12/08/arizona-where-is-she-cya-heritage-basin/

What more can we add to her story – we know that she is 36′ and possibly built in 1914.

Classic Wooden Boating – Kawau Island 1929 Movie


Sometimes I come across classic woody content that is just too good to not share, sometimes the format might be an old home movie footage or faded photos straight out of a shoe box – todays one such day. Mooching around the www I came across a Lew Redwood fb post that had a link to some film footage from c.1929 that is stored / saved at Nga Taonga – the NZ archive of film, television and sound.

The footage is tagged – PLEASURE ISLE, KAWAU ISLAND. Viewing it, it quickly becomes obvious that back in the day it was made to promote tourism / visitation to Kawau Island.

Mansion House Bay is wall to wall wooden launches and a few wind thiefs. Just too many to try and identify but some look familiar.

The images above are screen grabs from the movie footage. Below is the link to the movie – its great viewing – enjoy 🙂




WW was recently contacted by Eric Sanderson in regard to his uncles boat – Lady Fay. Best if Eric tells us the story – 

“The hull was built by  Orams and Davies Whangarei in the early 1950’s and finished off by my uncle Jack Sanderson with twin 3 cylinder Lister motors fitted.                                            Orams also build the Irene around the same time, either a year later or year before. The owners were good friends of Uncle Jack.

Lady Fay fished commercially out of Whangarei till 1967 and was sold to a car salesman or someone in the trade, and went to Auckland. Not sure of their name, then 2-3 years later boat was put into Ship Builders for a complete make over, the  Listers were removed and two Fords were put in and a bridge deck was added. This I was told  by another Uncle who lived in Auckland at the time. Must be some one from Ship Builders in the 1970’s will remember Lady Fays make over.

Boat was then named – Arthur Daley, I have talked to a owner in late 1980’s early 1990’s and he did not want to know his boat was 20 years older than he thought, and was sure it was build in the 1970’s, which fits in with when it went to Ship Builders for it transformation to bridge-decker. 

I believe the boat is now named Compass Rose and is still in Auckland and for sale.

So woodys can we help Eric fill in any gaps and and history on the vessel. (sorry about the photos – very poor quality)

06-05-2023 INPUT EX ASHLEY SIM – As previously mentioned by Alan Keane – the broker I bought Arthur Daley through – I purchased her in 1993 from Greg and did quite a bit of work on Her. The twin Fords had quite a vibration so I installed rubber engine mounts and it made a big difference. They were sweat running engines with lovely controls. I also fitted out the forward cabin with a double berth and extra head. I sold her in 1995 – through Alan – to her current owner.

NEW COLOUR WAY – limited run                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               1. One size fits all  2.100% canvas/cotton, 6 panel, adjustable brass clasp  3. Colour is camel with dark brown embroidered logo. 4. Tonal under peak lining.

Price is $38 (gst inclusive) + $5 p&p 

What’s next – email me at waitematawoodys@gmail.com & advise:

# Your name 

# Postal address

# Phone 

# Quantity

Restoration of Alma G II Begins

Alma G II


WW was contacted by the Opua based boatbuilders – CMC Design with a heads up that the 1927 ex game boat Alma G II had arrived at their yard where Craig McInnes and his team will undertake the work. Projects of this magnitude are the norm for the team –  the woodys Lady Crossley and Otehei being two examples.

Sian Steward at CMC Design supplied some wonderful insights into Alma G II’s provenance and the people that rubbed up against her – I’ll let Sian tell the story:

“The Alma G II was commissioned by E C Arlidge in 1927 to be built by Collings & Bell of St Marys Bay.  Timed for Zane Grey’s second trip to New Zealand, Grey asked if the boat could be named after him.  A familiar sight in the game fishing era alongside other classics such as the Alma G (another E C Arlidge boat, built in 1922), Manaaki (also owned by EC Arlidge for a period, later sold by the Arlidge Bros to Eric Sanderson of Whangaroa/ Totara North in 1932 for 172 pounds), Otehei and Lorna Doone.  The sons of Ernest, Francis and Mervyn, known as ‘Arlidge Bros’ took to the family boating business around age 19 and were the original skippers of the Alma G and Alma G II respectively.  Advertising them as the most ‘up-to-date boats in the Bay’ ‘being speedy and comfortable’ with all the latest fishing tackle and swivel chairs for deep sea fishing and available for ‘picnic parties’.

The boat was originally launched as the Zane Grey. Subsequently, rumour has it that Zane Grey and the Arlidges had a falling out, and the boat was renamed Alma G II around 1931.

The boat stayed in the Arlidge family for many decades until it was reluctantly let go around 1975. Dave Smith fully restored her, and she was relaunched in 1977as the Zane Grey.  Most recently she was left to settle down the line in a paddock awaiting the moment where the new owner could tackle a large restoration project. 

Tugging at the family history heartstrings, the Arlidge family had kept an eye on the happenings of the boat over the years and approached the recent owner to purchase her back into the family fold.  They are now embarking on a restoration project with CMC Design to relive many childhood memories and get this family legacy ready to be enjoyed again by many more generations of the family.

The Arlidge family have kindly shared some of the classic photos of the Alma G II in the Bay of Islands.  The Short Sunderland flying boat is dropping off some prestigious game fishing guests (many of whom were Arlidge Bros patrons over the years including Lady Ashley Dodd, the French flying ace Pierre Closterman, Zane Grey of course, his brother RC, and Carrie-Fin and Ham Guild as a few examples of the era).The story as far as we know for this photo is that it was the Admiral Earl and Lady Mountbatten on their visit in April 1956. In the photo with the black marlin is a young Mervyn Arlidge.”

We will follow this project and keep you updated.

Photos below are from previous WW stories where Alma G II has featured.

ex Hylton Edmonds
ex Harold Kidd (Alma G II on the right)
ex Gordon / Gary Stanborough
ex Dave Stanaway