Little Jim – A16 – Coastal Classic Race Report

Little Jim – A16 Coastal Classic Race Report

Today’s story and photos comes to us from Little Jim’s skipper and owner James Mortimer and crew – Ash Smith, Rodrigo Salas, Janez Mikec, Max Goutard, Erwann Jooris.

I’ll let James share the story with you, as always – click on photos to enlarge. Enjoy 🙂

“After four long months out of the water at the Milford marina yard over winter, I know that Little Jim had been wanting to stretch her legs and get a good long sail up the coast. She feels fast with her newly reinforced decks, rebuilt rudder, and all over paint job. Or maybe it’s the long winter without any sailing that has made her crew push her along that little bit more.

The weather forecast for Labour weekend had been looking challenging, with light northerlies and rainy weather predicted. On Tuesday night we got together on the boat to go over safety and systems, not at all confident that we would even start the race. Over the next two days the forecast slowly got a little better, with the wind direction moving ever so slightly toward the east. On Thursday night, we made the call to go, knowing full well it was going to be tough. 


Early Friday morning and with enough food and beer to supply a small army, we got ourselves into racing mode and set off for Devonport. There is something special about this race, with more than 150 yachts lining up across the harbour, a sense of anticipation building as the gun gets closer, an adventure ready to start.

We made an early call to cross the channel toward Rangitoto and escape the worst of the incoming tide. Little Jim made excellent ground on most of the fleet who were busy short tacking up Cheltenham Beach in very little wind. A long tack due east across the top of Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands allowed us to finally turn north and lay the outside of Tiri Island and and make some miles to the north. As it turned out, the short stretch between Tiri and Kawau Island was to be the best sailing we would get all day, with a perfect NE’er of 12 to 15 kts, and boat speed above 7 kts.

On any Coastal Classic, there is a decision to make off Takatu Point. Is the boat and the crew in good shape and ok to go on. In any adverse weather this is no small call to make. As all boaties know, crossing Bream Bay can be brutal, and there is no decent shelter until Tutukaka. An easy decision this time, and it was champagne sailing as we passed Cape Rodney. It didn’t last though, and as afternoon slid into evening the wind eased away and turned back north. A frustrating night of slow tacking between the Hen & Chick Islands and Whangarei Heads began, with not a lot of northward miles being made. What the wind failed to deliver the night sky made up for, with an impressive meteor shower, a crystal clear Milky Way, lots of phosphorescence, and an incredible sunrise.

At 8.30am, we made the difficult decision to pull the pin on the race just south of Elizabeth Reef. The forecast was light until afternoon and we had little hope of reaching Russell before cut off at 3pm. 

Ending the race early wasn’t going to put a damper on the weekend though and we spent the next three days sailing downwind back to Auckland under spinnaker via the Poor Knights Islands, Tutukaka, the Hen & Chicks, and Kawau Island. 

Little Jim, built in 1934, was the oldest boat to enter in this year’s race, and it is a fitting testament to the skill of New Zealand’s early boat builders and designers that we can often keep up with boats that are 60 or 70 years younger! 


Can’t wait till 2021”

LITTLE JIM

A16 – bermudan rigged, she was designed & built in 1934 by Arch Logan & Bill Couldrey.
LOA: 42’10”, LWL: 28′, BEAM: 9’1″, DRAFT: 6′

Muratai II

MURATAI II

I received an email yesterday from Peter Grant and as I started to read it I was thinking – this is a doozy and I’m sure Harold Kidd will be able to shed some light on the the history of the boat and the accuracy of the tale.


Recently Peter was working at the Queenstown boat shed and I was asked to look at the Muratai II, tied to her jetty. His online search for information only came up with one photo (b/w above) ex the Hochen Library at the University of Otago.
Peter mentioned that the current Kiwi owner of three years now lives in Switzerland and has never set foot on the boat and is disillusioned with the supposed refit progress and the boat yard in Invercargill is tired of waiting for it to be sent down, so have washed their hands on the project.

The previous owner who has owned her for 28 years and where she is still berthed, wants it gone of course.
Prior to his ownership she was a passenger launch on the lake in the company of another 36 footer Moana, powered by a Ford engine of some type.


Apparently the Muratai II was built in Auckland, or somewhere northward, for the then King of Tonga (edited) who wouldn’t settle as he was unable to enter into the vessel due to his size.
Muratai II is 42′ LOA, kauri, and fitted with a very tidy 3 cylinder GM of 65hp which was installed in 1946.


So Mr Kidd and other woodys, can we tell Peter any more about this vessel and her history?

Harold Kidd Input – HMMMMMMMM. King of Tonga??? Which one? MURATAI is wrong. Way back she was MURITAI (correct Maori) then SOUTHERN STAR. My guess is that she was built for the passenger trade in Lyttelton by Chas Bailey 1911 (he built the yacht ONELUA for King George of Tonga shortly after) and gravitated to Lake Wakatipu by 1922. A Trade Me ad recently said she was built for the King of Tonga in 1924. The monarch at the time was Queen Salote. Tourist BS I think.

Paloma

PALOMA
The above photo of the launch Paloma comes to us via Lew Redwoods’s fb. The corresponding story supporting the old press clipping from the March 26, 1929 edition of the New Zealand Herald newspaper, states that Paloma was owned by a Mr W. Sinclair and was destroyed by fire, followed by an explosion, during the previous weekend. The incident occurred off Kauri Point and the cause was unknown.
Do we know the name of the designer / builder and year launched ? 

Harold Kidd Input – Built by Colin Wild to a design by W.H. Hand in August 1926. Power by a 4cyl Daimler truck engine. Lots of torque but low revs!


WW SITE USAGE

If any of the readers are wondering why we post stories like the above, I’ll explain – when I started the waitematawoodys site its primary purpose was a channel to chat to like minded true-blue wooden boat admirers, on a regular basis about wooden boating stuff. But over time as the site became more popular, the daily visitation numbers and the focus of the visits / readership changed. Now on an average day, 62% of people are reading the story of the day and 38% are using the search box (or google) to find / research intel on a particular vessel or designer or a combination eg Colin Wild launches from the 1930’s, some obviously do both – we like that 🙂 .

So woodys, stories like today’s are all about building the back library up, and then at some stage in the future, someone will search using maybe W. Sinclair’s name and up will pop Paloma and if we are lucky that person might be related to Sinclair and have some old photos, and those photos might prompt someone else to comment – its called user-generated content (UGC) and it really turbo’s the google search ratings.
And a funny – ex UK cartoonist Mike Mockford

Beaulieu River Wooden Boat Gathering

Beaulieu River Wooden Boat Gathering
Today we join the crew over at classic yachtTV when they attended the Beaulieu River Wooden Boat Association get-together at Buckler’s Hard, UK.

It is a great read with stunning photos and words from the very talented Emily Harris. Clicking on most photos will enlarge them. Enjoy 🙂
Hopefully a lot of you will be afloat today enjoying the public holiday.

LINK TO STORY HERE http://www.classicyacht.tv/journal/an-invitation-to-beaulieu?fbclid=IwAR0t3bb2r60BESnqE44izKexo6HXSu5mVDSIROjHFPGvmCAd59Q5J7DyZyU

A Peek Inside Six Boathouses + Next On-The-Water Woody Event

A Peek Inside Six Boathouses + Next On-The-Water Woody Event
Every year The New Hampshire Boat Museum, runs a fundraising event in the form of a ‘guided’ tour of boathouses on their local lakes – this year due to CV-19 rather than cancel the event, they want with a virtual concept. I think its very cool, the use of a drone to film the approach to the locations  and meet the owner interviews is a winner.

Sadly you can not fast forward, you have to watch the whole tour but you can halt it and start again where you left off.At the end of the video is a link to donate if your were feeling that way inclined 🙂 Enjoy.

Click on blue text above and then scroll down and click to play


WOODY CLASSICS RIVERHEAD LAUNCH CRUISE – SUNDAY 8 NOVEMBER – RSVP NOW

RVSP To waitematawoodys@gmail.com  Boat name and est. number of crew

RSVP – boat name & est number of crew to waitematawoodys@gmail.com

The Refit of Windborne

The Refit Of Windborne
Today’s story is on the schooner – Windborne, by John Gander, via Dean Wright, John and family refitted and owned Windborne for many years. Its a great read by one of our best woody boatbuilders. I’ll shut up and just let John tell the story – enjoy, I did 🙂 Remember – to enlarge a photo, just click on it 😉

‘Windborne’ was built in 1928 by Cornish boatbuilders Gilbert and Pascoe at their yard in Porthleven and launched as the cutter ‘Magnet’ after launching she took part in the Fastnet yacht race. She again raced in the Fastnet in 1930 but this time re rigged as a schooner, and has continued with this rig.

On sailing to the United States her name was changed to ‘Huguenot’ and registered in San Diego. On being purchased by the Charleson’s a Canadian family from Vancouver, the owner wanted to retain the name Huguenot and she was renamed ‘Windborne’ a very fitting name for her, and she was Vancouver registered. On sailing her to the U.S. port of Blaine just south of the Canadian border Mike and his wife Karol began getting Windborne ready for a voyage to the south Pacific.

The family visited many Pacific islands during their cruising and then headed for New Zealand and on the last part of the voyage encountered heavy weather and Windborne suffered some damage to her bulwarks and rigging. Being designed on the lines of the Bristol Channel pilot cutters and soundly built she is a very sea kindly vessel and delivered the family safely to Auckland.

Bev and I had not long completed ‘Deepstar’ and were planning on building a large sailing craft for our family use, however time was getting on, so before it was too late and our children left home we decided to look around for a suitable vessel. We were introduced to Windborne on her mooring at Herald Island and went for an afternoon sail with the Charleson family, and could see she was worth and deserved an extensive refit.

Her planking is Pitch Pine on sawn Oak frames fastened with galvanised soft iron spikes, I was not familiar with these timbers in our Picton boatyards so flew back to Picton to talk with Peter Jorgensen at his Waikawa boatyard. Pop as he was affectionally know, with his years of experience in Danish boatyards was of course very familiar with these timbers, iron fastenings and European construction, and his knowledge was very helpful when I surveyed her as I did on returning to Auckland and putting her on the grid at Westhaven.

We took possession on the last day of July 1980 and made ready for the voyage to Picton and with a capable crew we sailed from Auckland on the 7th of August. Winter is not the always the best time to head down the east coast and it was somewhere off East Cape that we found that the forward skylight was only held in place by the shiplap joint and no through bolts. With a couple of sections of bulwarks missing and a good sea running this deficiency was made evident, and the hand bilge pump showed it’s worth. I always sail with a fairly comprehensive tool kit and with a selection of fittings and fastening in the ships inventory the skylight was secured in place.

To undergo the refit I planned, we needed to have Windborne undercover and were fortunate to find we could have the use of Finn Jorgensen’s big shed at the Waikawa yard for a limited time before it was required for their next commission. On the 24th of December we hauled out and made ready to have the masts lifted out, and started the job of burning off the topside paint. As is often the case fastenings deteriorate around the waterline area but it was not possible to pull the old spikes out of the oak frames so additional galvanised ship spikes were driven adjacent to the original’s, two planks below and three planks above the waterline.

On the last day of December ‘Windborne’ was hauled up into the shed ready for the major refit, and what better way to spend new years day for a family than to spend it working with earnest tearing up the canvas like material covering the decks, I was suspicious that this was laid over the 2 inch Baltic Pine decks because of leaks, the ruination of many fine vessel’s. I was relieved to find the timber was in a good state of repair so the decision was made to retain the deck. Removal of the deckhouse was fairly quick and easy but more time was required to remove deck fittings, deck prism’s, and other deck furniture until we had a clean flush deck. The bulwarks were fastened to grounds over the covering boards with the frames extending to the cap, this is an area of potential leaks. On removing the damaged bulwarks and beltings and sawing off the frames at deck level, the new bulwarks were to be fitted on the outside of the sheer strake as was our practice at the Carey yard.

Next we moved below decks, unfortunately in later years any original furniture and fittings had gone to be replaced with ply, paneling and some pegboard, hardly befitting a traditional yacht, however we did expose the original tonnage and tonnage exemption carvings by removing layers of paint from the deck beams so we had something from her past. I had planned the layout we required so removed all bulkheads and the hull lining. This gave a good opportunity to make a thorough inspection from bilge to deckhead.

While I was fitting new bulkheads, Bev and our boys Wayne and Neville, began removing the rigging and paint from the spars. As is common in these vessel’s cast iron ballast is set in concrete between the floor timbers, however she also carried 2,775 lbs of lead ingots. At some time Windborne had been hauled out on a two bearer slip cradle and for a thirty five ton vessel this was grossly insufficient, the result was that she had damage to the underside of her wooden keel, so I made a casting box and we used the lead ingots to cast a blast keel to replace the damaged section. I next dressed off and sanded the the Baltic Pine decking and laid marine ply using epoxy glue to, and over the outside of the sheer strake.

By late February we were ready to start the new bulwarks and to help with our time schedule Finn offered me the use of one of his men, I chose Keith Hansen, Keith had learned his trade at the Jorgensen Boatyard and Keith and I worked well together ( I hope he still agrees with my comment ). We started on the Bulwarks using double diagonal Matai with a hardwood stringer, followed with new hardwood beltings.

Laying the 5/8” teak deck was a slower job, I don’t like decking laid straight fore and aft and wanted to follow the deck plan as far as practical and run the decking into the king plank in the traditional manner and this means edge setting the deck planking. We departed with tradition when it came to caulking the seams and used thioflex polysulphide with the accompanying mess that follows while the product cure’s. Next it was onto fitting the new Teak Cap and Taff rails. The new deckhouse was built on Kauri coamings and sheathed in glass cloth, all other deck furniture is Teak.

As our time in the shed was limited I was fortunate to be able to engage Bob Clerke a ships joiner, I delivered a load of teak at Bob’s workshop, and with measurements and patterns Bob set to and made skylights, hatches, a magnificent saloon table and other fitments to help with my fit out below decks all done in Teak and Kauri. The topsides were recaulked and my daughter Shirley stopped the seams with white lead putty in preparation to repainting. By the beginning of May the new look ‘Windborne’ was out of the shed.

Masts were stepped with an English silver coin dated 1928 under her main mast and a Canadian coin under the foremast, and on the 6th of May at H.W. she was sent down the rails but remained in the cradle, the summer had been hot and dry and we had pumps ready, next day with a bit of oakum caulking in a couple of seams she was ready to leave the cradle and lay alongside the wharf at our boat shed to complete the fit out below decks.

A year or so later I removed the Isuzu engine and replaced it with a 4 LW Gardner. For the following eighteen years ‘Windborne’ carried our family on many adventures in all sorts of conditions. Roger Carey told us boys that wooden boats are built of living things, and every wooden vessel has a soul, I strongly believe this.

This last few weeks I have I have visited ‘Windborne’ out on the hard at Whangarei receiving care and attention from her owner Avon, he is doing a good job she’s looking good, being well ventilated and with salt water over her decks, the best thing ever.

Tamaroa

The History Of Tamaroa – as told by Eric Stevens

“I am writing this as the owner of Tamaroa from early 1994 to the middle of 2010. She was in a sad state when I bought her and it was only the quality of the original hull construction which warranted her restoration.

Tamaroa was built by Collings and Bell Ltd for A.E. Fisher of Whangarei. at a date which I have not been able to confirm. At the time of sale I was told that she was the last boat made by Collings and Bell. “They sent her down the slip and closed their doors after her”.  When I tried to confirm this story I found that there were quite a number of ‘last boats built by Collings and Bell’ And whatever Tamaroa might be, she was not that. I have been told she was built in 1953 but my enquiries suggested she may have been built in the late 1940s. She certainly was built at a time when Kauri was short and all the larger timbers in the cabin sole above the engines and the cabin sole planking in the stern cabin were Southland Beech. So too were many of the finishing timbers.

In the time I owned her I measured her up and made extensive CAD drawings to aid with her reconstruction. These show her as being 12.8 meters (42′) between perpendiculars and 3.3 meters (11′-10″) beam. By the time one took into account the strongman for the anchor and the boarding platform at the stern she was in modern NZMIA parlance 13.77 meters (45′) over all. Further, substantial strakes had been added to increase the width of the decks and these brought her overall beam up to a little over 4 metres (13′-1″).

When she was built she was fitted with what was reported to be a large Austin diesel engine. Irrespective of what the exact date of build might be, as far as I can tell, Austin were not at that period making diesel engines suitable for a boat of that size but they were using Perkins P6 engines. Also Perkins were supplying engine exchange kits to enable the fitting of the P6 engine to Austin trucks. The Perkins P6 was commonly used in larger boats at that time and it is most likely that this is what was actually used. Alternatively it could have been the almost contemporaneous and slightly more powerful S6.

At some stage Tamaroa was sold to a Mr Jeeves. Mr Jeeves was allergic to diesel fumes and had the original engine removed and two Scripps engines (marine conversion of the old flat head Ford V8) installed. This entailed fitting new shaft, tubes and logs to the hull. The engines were fitted with identical Borg Warner gear boxes with the results that both shafts turned in the same direction.

Tamaroa then passed through various hands until an Allan Brown bought her from a truck sales man whose name he can no longer recall. Allan Browne did not like the petrol engines and he started to convert Tamaroa back to the original diesel by replacing the port engine with a Nissan SD33 diesel engine. The Nissans come in a variety of configurations and this one was configured for industrial use in a forklift truck. For a time he ran Tamaroa with one engine diesel and the other petrol but not long before he sold it to me in 1998 he installed a second industrial SD33 identical to the first except that it had a slightly different flywheel housing.

When I bought her the interior was in a rather sad stripped-out and crudely rehashed state. However I had her surveyed by Jack Taylor and he gave a good report on the condition of her hull. The strength of the construction of the hull impressed him and was such that he took a lot of convincing that it was not a prewar boat. The cabin was a different matter: he kept repeating that they had left it to the apprentices. When I later got to replacing the glass in the cabin I found that the port side bore only a passing resemblance to the starboard with various nominally equal dimensions varying by several inches from one side of the cabin to another.

By the time I bought her most of the original furniture had gone and been replaced by a mish-mash of all kinds of strange things. There was a large armchair in one corner of the wheelhouse which in fact was a refrigeration cabinet. And when it rained the cabin leaked like a sieve.

I started the long process of fitting her out. When I removed what was not wanted I was left with a large empty space with a flush dunny on one side.  The engine changes over her life had caused the structural beams for the deck in the wheel house to be badly chopped around and I decided to replace the whole structure. This included the cabin sole in the wheelhouse. There was so little of the original left that I decided to refit the interior from scratch with a clean sheet of paper. It’s not original but it incorporate most mod cons and it works.

The aft cabin sole was planked and screwed down with immovable bronze screws. We had not been able to lift this for the survey. After I had bought her, all had to be laboriously cut out to give access to the hull. The completion of this work revealed a dreadful state of affairs. When the new shafts were installed for the twin screws. no sealant (tallow, pitch) had been run to fill the gap between the shaft tubes and the logs. The result was that over the years sea water had been seeping in past the stern bearing housing and evaporating through the timber of the adjacent planking and the shaft logs. The concentration of salt had given the timber the consistency of Weetbix and in places the sound planking was only 3mm thick. Nevertheless, as we had found at the time of survey, what remained was so hard that attacking it with large knife from the outside revealed no weakness. In the end more than 4 square meters of the bottom had to be replaced. This entailed new shaft logs, GRP tubes and shafts. Needless to say all this was sealed with copious quantities of epoxy resin.

The original central rudder had been retained when the two Scripps engines were fitted. At the same time two wing rudders were installed in the propellor streams in order to give better low speed steering. The rudder shafts and glands were in a sad state and the only reason they had not sunk Tamaroa at her moorings was that the glands were about 5cm above water. The general design and condition of all this was such that I decided to remove the original rudder and fit two new rudders to suit the new installation. Propellor calculations had suggested the original propellers were too small and spinning rather too fast for the Nissan engines. After much searching I decided to replace the original gear boxes with a pair of ZF which gave me a deeper reduction and allowed the use of larger propellers.

The evidence of the transom was that when Tamaroa had been first built the exhaust discharged through the transom on the port side. There was also evidence of a smaller exhaust along side the main exhaust suggesting she may have been fitted with a small auxiliary ‘popper’ engine of some kind. The original exhaust system was discarded when the two Scripps engines were installed. Instead each engine was equipped with its own ‘North Sea’ exhaust which discharged on both sides of the vessel at the water line. These employed large thin-walled bronze tubes fitted into the hull. I did not like these as they were old, had screw threads for securing nuts cut into them and most importantly, they had no seacocks.

I removed these and blocked one of the two holes on each side. Too the remaining hole I fitted a large bronze skin fitting with a gate valve for use as a sea cock. The two Nissans had been fitted with wet exhausts, the risers for which were just underneath the cabin sole which had become charred by radiated heat. Accordingly I had made for each engine a water cooled riser which discharged into a large rubber silencer.

The Scripps installation had required two additional outboard engine bearers which I thought were rather short. I had these extended to pick up the major framing bulkheads ahead and aft of the engines. The original water tanks were four, by now, battered 30 gallon hot water cylinders mounted in cradles underneath the wheelhouse. I found drinking warm, slightly green, tainted water to be unpalatable so I replaced these with stainless steel tanks to each side of the aft cabin. At the same time I had two aluminium 520 litre fuel tanks constructed which sat in the engine space on top of the forward end of the engine bearers.

Before Allan Brown had bought Tamaroa an attempt had been made to install an external steering and control station on top of the aft cabin. This used cable steering and holes were bored through whatever part of the vessel got in the way of the cable’s passage. Allan Brown had replaced this with hydraulic steering with a rather crude linkage at the rudders. A windscreen and dodger had also been fitted. I totally rebuilt all of this during the refit. I also installed dual Simrad navigation, radar and plotter control stations.

The refrigerated armchair was replaced with an electrically powered refrigerator and freezer. There was only one working alternator between the two engines and this was charging a very large lead-acid battery which tests showed was down to about 12% of its original storage capacity. With the increased electrical load had to totally rebuild the electrical system. I installed separate engine and house batteries charged by two alternators, one of which was of high capacity for the house battery, and installed two large solar panels on the roof of the cabin.

The galley was relocated from forward to the aft cabin. Two LPG cylinders were installed in a properly ventilated locker in the transom. A gas hot water heater was fitted to the aft cabin bulkhead and used to supply pressurised hot water to both the galley and toilet/shower area which now resides forward in the place where the galley had been.

Apart from up in the bows, all of the furniture is new. It was all designed to be held in place by screws so that it could be removed without any cutting and hacking. I had most of this work done by freelance boat builders.

The electrical side of the refit is a story on its own. There are literally kilometers of wiring throughout the hull and concealing this was a major task. I probably spent as much time on this as I did on everything else combined. Be warned, if you want mod cons in an old boat, there is a downside”.

Most of the photographs above of Tamaroa show her as she was when Eric sold her.

Dione – But Which One

DIONE
We are going to need so serious input today re the above launch – in the past on WW there has been a lot of chat around the number of launches named – Dione and their provenance. Today’s Dione is ex a recent Lew Redwood fb post and Lew competed that ‘she was the 1933 Allely’s launch in Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island’.


Now this is where it gets confusing – previously (June 2018) Lew posted a photo of the launch below and commented it was ‘the Alley family launch, Dione, at anchor at Matiatia, Waiheke Island’. At the time Harold Kidd commented as below (after photo)


On the recent photo fb post HDK comments that he doesn’t think neither of them are named Dione. Now woodys you can see why a simple country boy like me is a tad confused.Anyone brave enough to add their input ? 🙂

NEXT SATURDAY – 26TH SEPTEMBER

RSVP waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Total Wooden Boat Porn

Total Wooden Boat Porn

Over the last week I have had numerous woodys asking if I had seen the YouTube video on one of the UK’s stunning new motor boats – the Spirit P70. My answer was yes I had, so today I thought I had better share it with you. Built by Spirit Yachts to a very simple owner brief – it must be able to cover (non-stop) 1000nm at an average speed of 18 knots, she tops out at 23.5 knots. And budget? – somewhere between 4 and 5 million pounds. That woodys gets you are very swanky vessel, every single item is bespoke – check it out.

Arethusa’s New Woody Wheelhouse

ARETHUSA’s NEW WOODY WHEELHOUSE


Back in late 2019 Arethusa’s Bay of Islands owner Dean Wright, a professional photographer by trade, and well known to WW readers gave me the heads up that the 1917, 33’ Bob Brown built, ex gaff rigged cutter, was in for a treat – a new wheelhouse. Since then I have been pestering Dean on a regular basis for photos, even threatened to drive up and take them myself 🙂 Problem was, the mans a perfectionist and didn’t want to send anything in to WW until it was all shipshape. Well woodys as you can see from the above, its very shipshape, in fact in my eyes – perfect. Well done to the team. I asked Dean to tell use about the project, so I’ll hand over to him. Remember you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them – Enjoy 🙂


“Over the years we’ve got keen on changing Arethusa’s wheelhouse to be more in keeping with her age, so at 102 she’s undergone some cosmetic surgery 🙂

We lost 8″ inches of headroom in wheelhouse when we installed the Gardner, so we’ve gone up in height 6 inches and forward 8 inches and gone for more traditional upright windows fw’d.

Boat builder John Gander did the job in his Waipiro Bay workshop. He started by taking patterns off the existing wheelhouse and fw’d cabin top. He replicated the curve of the fw’d cabin top in ply and built the new wheelhouse around that in six sections. He also laminated the new wheelhouse roof, allowing for a good eyebrow fw’d and a smaller one aft.

John learned his trade at Roger Carey’s yard in Picton in the 60’s and 70’s, where beautiful work boats with great looking wheelhouses were the order of the day. John built one of my favorite Carey designs, Hinewai for his own boat and we’ve replicated her fw’d opening half window on Arethusa. 

Once the wheelhouse was complete, we hauled Arethusa at Ashby’s in Opua and got to work with the skill-saw. In no time we’d reduced her to a convertible. We were lucky for Northland’s drought everything stayed reasonably dry and also that we got everything closed in and back in the water before Covid shut the yard down.

I’m in awe of how boat builders can build something like this away from the boat, then fit the pieces with a minimum of shaping. Fitting and gluing the six sections to the existing house went really smoothly.

The wheelhouse is built from 2″ Iroko. This is the first outside varnish we’ve had on Arethusa, we hand brushed 2 coats of Cetol as a base and six coats of Schooner Yacht Varnish.

Over lock-down, the apprentice made new interior joinery, gone are the Warehouse plastic drawers and chipboard frame 🙂 Moved the batteries under the new bench unit so we can now stand at the wheel. John laminated me up some lovely curved trim for the front of the oven unit. Our old manky plywood dash got an upgrade to kauri and the old wheel got a fright with a good scrub and a varnish.

Outside we made nav light boxes and dorade boxes.  We had to move the aluminium framed front hatch fw’d, a more traditional looking one in Iroko is on the to-do list. The liferings also got a birthday.

Here’s some before and after pics and also some that I hope will give some idea of the process. Thanks John for all your incredibly skilled design and build work, we’re really stoked with it.

We’re always keen to learn more of Arethusa’s history, especially the 1955-2000 period in the South Island. If you have any stories we’d love to hear them.”

Links to previous WW stories on Arethusa
https://waitematawoodys.com/2019/12/11/arethusa-new-wheelhouse-project/
https://waitematawoodys.com/2017/12/31/restoring-installing-a-gardner-in-arethusa-revisited/
https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/11/01/arethusa-winsome/

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