Tooroorong > St. Helena


As purchased 4 years ago


mocking up the new house 1

getting closer.




Moreton Bay Video – Dec 2017



Hello woodys – today’s WW story is a goody, it started off with an order from Australia for some WW t-shirts, several emails later I discover that the recipient of the t-shirts, Andrew Christie is a serious woody. I will let Andrew tell the story of his acquisition of the classic launch Tooroorong (later to be re-named St. Helena), read below. Enjoy – I did 🙂
ps check out the cockpit canopy ‘wings’, new to me but with the hours of sunshine they get in Australia, they are a great idea.
“St Helena is a 32 foot long timber cruiser.  Her hull is Queensland Beech glued with resorcinol and clenched with copper nails. Her decks are ply sheathed in dynel and her cabin top is made from Australian Red Cedar.  Her hull is also dynel sheathed below the waterline.  She is powered by a Yanmar 4JH3-HTE turbo diesel. When built she had a petrol Chrysler.  She has a two burner Force 10 stove in her galley, and two refrigerators, one forty and one eighty litres which run permanently from four solar panels on the roof.  Her electronics are built around a Raymarine 12 inch Axiom pro.  I have hunted the internet for classic fittings like the half mile ray on the roof a new old stock genuine morse controller.  Many of the brass fitting were cast on patterns I had made or from old ones I found in boat yards or boot trunk sales.
I believe she was designed by Clem Masters (RIP) a prolific designer and builder from Sandgate, but the builder is unknown.  Her registration papers say she was built in 1968.  Although I don’t know the builder, she is however built to a very high standard and was completely rot free and sound when I bought her.  It is better to be lucky than smart.  The long term owner before me, Mort Hudson, sadly had developed alzheimers which meant he had to sell her, but this also meant he could not recite her history.  Mort had named her Tooroorong after his wife’s peanut farm. It seemed to be a tactic that had worked for him and a theme which would follow.
Her original name might have been Venetra.  Mort’s wife Barbara mistakenly recalled her name was Helena during the restoration which resulted in the decision to change it back. My wife was keen to go back to the original name before we learned of the error but we decided on St Helena as many classic Moreton Bay boats bear the names of local places and by that time we thought of her as Helena.  It is important to keep your wife happy as we see below.  
I believe St Helena was a southern boat as before I spent two years restoring her she was enclosed and had a small trunk cabin aft which was pretty difficult to live with and not suitable for a sub tropical climate.  The restoration is a whole other story.  We had planned some quick work and a $15,000 ceiling.  I should run a government with my ability to blow out a budget. Two years later in an enclosed slipway on Breakfast Creek is proof enough of that …
As it turned out, brother in law loved wooden boats.  He is an intellectual but also an artisan.  He had a peculiar wooden shoal draft sailing boat to I think an Ian Gartside design which he kept in Cabbage Tree Creek.  He had also built a beautiful strip plank canoe of cedar which was bright finished.  And he collected Wooden Boat Magazine.
Anyway, my wife’s sister, who, what shall I say, might be viewed by some as a hard hard woman, took a dislike to his boat.  She was embarrassed because the purist in him would not use an engine and crunched into the jetty on docking and she found the sailing experience uncomfortable. This whole boating business was a folly and an annoyance. She started speaking at family gatherings about how it made good financial sense to be rid of the boat.  Whatever (said slowly and with bitterness) I thought. More noise.  
I did however become concerned when I heard Johnny start parroting her narrative.  While she wore the pants he told me that he was not worried it would sell because it was such a peculiar boat that it would appeal to very few people. Who knew that the only other person in Australia who would be interested was looking for such a boat to try an experimental junk rig on.  I said to him after the event, “why wouldn’t you just have made a typo with your phone number in the advertisement – your wife would never realise”.  We are all wise after the event.
Shortly after it was advertised my wife came to me, “Jimmy’s sold the boat”.  “That’s not good”, I said. “You watch, this will be the end of them”.  Well within months they had separated and the blood letting began.  As part of his punishment boxes of Wooden Boat Magazines were hidden under my house.  
And so I came to stand on the top of that very slippery slope.  I read those magazines.  One by one. Then religiously.  The 18 foot catamaran I had in my late teens whispered in my ear.  My favourite book as a boy was The Dove.  This was going to be bad.
I started looking at sailing yachts.  I wanted a Herreschoff. It had to have a bright mahogany house, teak decks and brass, brass, brass.  Anyway, as I stood on the most lovely one in Sydney Harbour about to make my dream a reality I remembered just in time the lesson above.  In my family a sailing boat is a divorce. I decided a cruiser would be more likely to keep me in the family business.  God bless my wife. She put up with the restoration while I told her outrageous lies about how much it was costing. But despite this now she suggests we use the boat more than I do. Provided we take the dogs.  Those damned dogs and their hair.  On my beautiful boat.  Never mind, happy wife.  Happy life.  I think I got the good sister.
She doesn’t know I am still looking for a yacht.  I saw a lovely Dark Harbour 20 in England the other day.  The quote to freight it out here wasn’t that unreasonable.  Surely the house renovations can wait a little longer.  What could possibly go wrong?”

Beatnik + Mahurangi Regatta Reminder + Details On Sunday River Cruise + Auckland Anniversary Regatta Launch Race




Woody Colin Pawson sent in the above photo of the sloop Beatnik that he snapped during the week at Great Barrier Island. She is flying a CYA burgee, but doesn’t ring any bells with me, maybe a name change or a very new member?

Her ‘cockle shell’ clinker dinghy is rather cute.

Any of the woodys able to tell us more about Beatnik?


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If you’re a serious woody you will have already made plans to be at Mahurangi this coming weekend. As I have told you b4 it is the single biggest gathering of classic wooden boats in New Zealand. Lots to do & see for both yachts & launches + Saturday nights BBQ / dance ashore at Scotts Landing is huge.

You can find out more details at the link below. But for the launches, the classic launch parade meets off Scotts Landing at 10.15am, with a parade start time of 10.30am.

On Sunday at around midday there is a trip up the Mahurangi River to Warkworth – the Jane Gifford will lead the way, so we effectively have a pilot 🙂 It is a great trip & the event is being run to demonstrate support for the dredging / improvements to the basin. Details below.

I’ll post more during the week.


Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta – Classic Launch Race

If Mahurangi was not your scene or you get back early from the Mahurangi, this event is a must do to the ‘petrol-heads’ amongst us. After 100+ years the organisers of the AADR have resuscitated the regatta classic motorboat race. Details below ex Joyce Talbot

“It’s been 100 years or more since a race for power craft was part of the Auckland Anniversary Regatta. But this year, for the first time since the early 1900s, the regatta will feature a classic launch race – and we’d love for you to be part of this historic revival.

This “new” (old) event is the perfect opportunity to show off these wonderful vessels in front of a huge audience of spectators, and a chance to prove once and for all – who has the fastest launch of them all.

Time’s running out to enter the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Regatta and put yourself in the running to win cash, a huge pool of spot prizes including a holiday in Hawaii, and your name on our historic trophy collection.

Entries cost just $30, and every entry received will go in the draw to win a holiday in Hawaii plus loads more.”

Enter now at

Enquiries: 0800-REGATTA   Email:


Riwaka Channel – Marina



Now I used to think the channel up the creek to Auckland’s Riverhead Hotel was narrow and shallow. Well the photos above of the Riwaka Channel take things to another level (low). To quote John Burland who took the photos – “the channel is narrow, winding and mobile”. That is an understatement.
John has pulled together a collection of photos showcasing some of the woody craft at Riwaka Marina, for those not familiar with the area, Riwaka is located between Motueka and Kaiteriteri , in NZ’s upper South Island.
John’s is very talented with a phone/camera and they will make woody Cameron Pollard’s day i.e. a lot of very practical vessels and very little varnish on display 🙂

LADY KARITA – A Rolling Restoration




LADY KARITA – A Rolling Restoration

Lady K has been on the receiving end of what we call a rolling restoration for the last year+. Now based in the upper South Island, her owner Murray Shaw is very close to finishing a stunning re-fit. The photos above are from the camera’s of both Murray & mutal friend, John Burland & give us a peek at the standard of the work.

The last photos show Lady K relocated last week to the western entrance of Mapua Harbour.

You can read / view more on LadyK at the WW link below-

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I apologise upfront, clicking the link below will consume 30>45 minutes of your time today – but its a great read & Jason’s log includes some cool photos of his travels & lots of other woodys encounter along the way.
In case you missed this 1920’s b/w video showcasing life on Auckland’s North Shore, I have included the link below. Lots of blasts from the past there – enjoy

Lady Doreen – B.O.I.


LADY DOREEN – Bay Of Islands

A story for the Woodys mooching around the Bay of Islands over the New Year.
Woody Dean Wright visited Snooks and Lola Fuller last week and came away with (another) box of old photo negatives to scan. There are some goodies, which Dean has ok’ed sharing with you all. More soon 😉
Today’s photos are of Lady Doreen.I love the wheel, no doubt from a Ford Model T.
And Happy New Year 🙂

2018 Rudder Cup – Motor Boat Race – 60 + Classic Wooden Boat Photos


My Girl









Lady Crossley

2018 Rudder Cup – Motor Boat Race – 60 + Classic Wooden Boat Photos

Friday 14th December , was only the third time in one hundred & ten years that the Rudder Cup race has been run – previous dates were 1908. 2008 & now 2018. Always in December, always the same course to Sail Rock & back, always overnight & always 108 nm in distance.
The background to the race has been well documented on WW so I will not re-hash the details – WW search Rudder Cup for more details.
2018 saw 15 classic Woodys assembling on the start line in front of the RNZYS for the 7pm start. The fleet were joined by almost as many fellow woodys who gathered to see the fleet off. John Street fired a magnificent cannon (details of which will appear on WW at a later date) to start the race.
Conditions were overcast & a little damp but that did not stop the skippers & crew from putting on a stunning sight for the crowd assembled on the foreshore.
By North Head the fleet had established itself in terms of boat speed & positioning – the race is a sealed handicap event, with skippers not knowing their handicap until the prize giving. This year, technology via the PredictWind race tracker app, allowed skippers & shore based woodys the opportunity to view the position & speed of the boats in ‘real-time’. Helped make the hours slide by quicker.
I had a very comfortable race aboard Barbara & David Cooke’s sensational Salthouse motor-yacht Trinidad. The mix of vessel, company, catering & banter was perfect – a good time was had by all. Not a lot of sleep (zero for myself & the skipper), but when dawn came around we all had found our second wind, or maybe it was Brian Fulton’s scones topped with brandy butter 🙂
We ran a sweep onboard Trinidad as to our finish time & I won – only 10 seconds off my prediction of 12 hours / 40 minutes.
Results below – you will see that Trinny won her divisional prize, which made Captain Cooke a happy chap 🙂
VINTAGE DIVISION (1919-1949) – WAITANGI (note: no photos below of skipper Ian Cooke – as RNZYS commodore, Ian was attending another function)
Todays photo gallery of the race, comes to you via the camera’s of numerous woodys – thanks go out to Graeme Finch, Rod Marler, yours truely – Alan Houghton. Some are not any where near perfect – boat speed, sea conditions & a very long tele-lens are not a good mix if you are aiming for great photos.
I’m sure I’ll get sent more in the next few days, so will update when & if we get more. If any of the skippers want a copy of a photo – drop me an email at
I would like to thank the Rudder Cup Race Committee for pulling the event together, a huge amount of time & co-ordination goes into one of these events & with out the folks below, it would never have happened:
Jason Prew (Chair), Nathan Herbert, Barbara Cooke, David Cooke, Alan Houghton, Joyce Talbot (Wonder Woman), Chris Collins & Baden Pascoe.
I would also like to mention the support we received from the Classic Yacht Association committee in stepping forward & underwriting the event – a progressive move from the then new CYA Chairman, James Mortimer. Thank you James.
ENJOY – As always, click on photos to enlarge + I have been extra nice today & captioned most of the photos 😉
Photos below from the prize giving at the RNZYS on Saturday night – weather was perfect & the food VERY good- well done RNZYS team.
A few ‘tired’ eyes – most of these guys had been awake for 24+hrs 🙂

CYA Chairman James Mortimer + Brett Evans – Sterling – Winner 2018 Rudder Cup


Sterling Skipper & Winning Crew


CYA Chairman James Mortimer + David Cooke – Trinidad – Winner Classic Division


CYA Chairman James Mortimer + Iain Forsyth – Meola – Spot prize winner


Peter Boardman Skipper – Lady Margaret (D. Lang) Spot prize winner


Ferro Skipper – Dick Coughlan – Spot prize winner


Ronaki Skipper – Daniel Thomas – Spot prize winner


Korara Skipper – Anatole Perry – Spot prize winner

Happy Days






Back in July 2017 I ran a story on a ‘barn find’ 1928 woody that Lake Rotoiti boat builder Alan Craig at Craig Marine, was about to start work on.

Now Alan & his team do not muck around, last week he sent me the above photos, with a note saying that he had collected the rebuilt 1938 Osco marine flathead V8  engine. The term rebuilt is somewhat of an understatement 🙂
I told Alan that HDK would have kittens when he saw the photo of the engine. The engine work was done by Rob Cowley in Hamilton at Robs Rods and Restos.
The plan is to have her in the water this Christmas. And I’m pleased to advise that Lake Rotoiti will be her home 🙂
Photos below to remind you what she looked like. You can see & read more here.
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