Tuarangi > Silver Fin – Update

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I was recently sent the above photo of Silver Fin (Tuarangi) by Brian Wagstaff & Bryan was able to supply some background on her below –  from past WW stories we know that Tuarangi was built by Lidgard Bros for a H.S White & launched in 1950. White sold her in 1951 to Bruce Winstone. She was 42’x40’x12’x4’3″ and originally had twin 90hp 6-cylinder Redwing petrol engines. During Whites ownership, she blew up while refueling at Whitianga. You can read the story in detail here   https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/06/13/wairangi-2/

Eric details the post incident recovery, sale & rebuild below. By 1959 she was renamed Silver Fin. I’ll let Eric tell the story.

“My father Eric Wagstaff purchased the boat from the Bruce Winstone. I would assume some insurance company might have been involved . The boat was collected from Whitianga and towed to Tauranga by a boat called “Rainbow” which was old bridge decker owned by Eric. The Rainbow had a marinised Rolls Royce engine and was built for the Mills Bros who I believe were Bay of Plenty farmers. The roof section from Silver Fin was basically upside down and pretty much in place on collection. The boat was beached at Beach Road, Otumoetai.

The boat was lifted onto a transport trailer by Bert Godfrey, the founder of the NZ Lumber Company and moved to Eric’s joinery factory in Judea.  We enjoyed many a trip on the Silver Fin. She was chartered for game fishing for a while in the days of Bob Gray etc. The top was replaced with what you see and Eric consulted with Willy Oliver, who was a friend, on the design of the new cabin. Eric was born in Wellington to a well-known yachting and boat building family and had it not been for the 2nd World War (he was a fighter pilot) and returned to Maunganui at the end of the war were he meet my mother (now 96 and still alive) in Tauranga where he stayed and established a joinery business. The motors were replaced with 60hp Fordson diesels converted by Lees marine, I believe. The boat was sold to Dr. Kennedy the family doctor (who delivered me in 1949). He for some reason painted the boat green which I remember clearly. The rest of it you pretty much have on record. I will try to find some old photos of the rebuild.”




Mystery Launch 02-03-2018



The above photo shows Radio Hauraki’s original floating base (pirate ship) Tiri with an amphibian airplane alongside. Most likely dropping off / picking up crew.

The question for us woodys is – what is the launch in the photo – should not be too hard to ID, given her distinctive design / style.

The photo comes to us via the ‘NZ Cars Boats >>>> Utes Pre ’75’ FB page. Apologises for the slight grainy look.


My Big Woody Adventure


My Big Woody Adventure 

Several months ago David Cooke tapped me on the shoulder & asked if I would like to join Barbara & himself aboard their 1965 Salthouse built classic motor-yacht, Trinidad, on the first leg of their circumnavigation of New Zealand – Bay of Islands (East Coast of the North Island) > down the West Coast to Picton (top of the South Island). The short answer was hell yes.

Fast forward to Saturday January 20th 2018 & the Cooke’s, myself & Jamie Hudson (owner of near sister ship – Lady Crossley) are having our last land based dinner at the Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club. Very appropriate that it was fish & chips. An early night was called & we woke at 5.30am Sunday morning to prepare for departure – photos & trip details below – read on & enjoy the journey – I did 🙂

A slightly different format today – magazine style i.e. photos & copy to support them, have also captioned some. When you are doing 3 hours on 3 hours off watches, food plays a big part of the day – so there are a few food shots. When Barbara deemed I needed to be punished for some misdemeanor she would not tell my what was for dinner & keep me guessing all day. To a serious foodie, that was cruel.


Dinner at Whangaroa Sports Fishing Club

We left Whangaroa early on Sunday (21/01) – approx. 515 nautical miles ahead of us. Conditions were a little damp & a combination of sea mist & low cloud meant we saw little of the Northland coast. In fact North Cape / Cape Regina was only an outline.


We crossed the top of the North Island mid afternoon. Gave the Pandora Bank a very wide berth & pointed Trinny in a straight line to the South Island. The rain and drizzle continue into the first night but after that it was a dry run. We had a 10>15 knot breeze from NE most of the way & a 2>3m swell. The combination of a steadying sail & a wee headsail worked a treat, not for speed but simply to help steady the rolling motion. When both are set the wheel can be left and Trinny will hold her course.

They say an army marches on its stomach – well the Trinny crew certainly had no complaints with the gallery – we dined well 🙂


Stunning sunset


Stunning dawn, off Taranaki

The clock on the GPS says 3:58am & we were just off New Plymouth, the gas well / rig lights being the first thing we had seen other than H2O. Mount Egmont poking thru the clouds / mist. This was the view most days – same > same but very wow.

Lots of dolphins (& the odd shark)


The crew – Barbara, David, Jamie & myself below


Closing in on Stephens island at the northern end of the Marlborough sounds, the weather gods smiled on us for the trip across Cook Straight & with the GPS reading 9.6 knots it was a happy crew. It had been a dry trip, so we were hanging out for a cold beer once we had dropped anchor in Queen Charlotte Sound.

We arrived in Resolution Bay at approx. 6pm, a total travel time of close to 60 hrs. And immediately rafted up with friends of Barbara & David’s –  Rob and Mandy Carpenter who own the Warwick designed launch Pandanoosa. When the engine was killed it was so peaceful, but saying that the faultless beat of the 6LX Gardner was quite hypnotic.

I lost the bet on how long the trip would take (only by 45mins) & was forced to wear a bar napkin, take orders and serve drinks while displaying my best manners……….

We had a great night & a superb meal of Blue Cod aboard Pandanoosa.


Captain Cooke – peeling the potatoes for dinner


Bay Of Many Coves Resort



The Crew, brunch & bubbles

We awoke after a great sleep – we had been doing watches of 3 hours on / 3 hours, to the magnificent beauty of The Sounds. It’s just so big & so stunning. The next 2 days were spent mooching around the bays & coves sucking up the scenery(Pickersgill Island, Blumine Island, Endevour Inlet, Anapawa Island). Brunch at the Bay of Many Coves resort was a special treat, as were drinks at Furneaux Lodge.


This is my pick of the waterfront properties we saw. I will do another WW story soon on the boat sheds – some stunners.


Cabin boy Jamie doing his morning chores


A little sad when we had to berth Trinny at the Waikawa Bay marina & clean / pack up. End of the line for Jamie & myself but just the start for the Cooke’s – you can follow their cruise on the Trinidad Travels facebook page – link below


The return journey – I had always wanted to do the Wellington > Auckland scenic train trip, so suggested to Jamie that we took the overnight ferry from Picton > Wellington & caught the train home. A great plan, just had to kill 5 hours in the middle of the night in Wellington. I think Jamie thought Mermaids was a seafood restaurant………..

Train was very cool, a few issues with brakes overheating that extended the travel time – but I would do the trip again.


  1. The crew – Barbara, David & Jamie – perfect mix & just outright 100% nice people
  2. Trinidad – anytime aboard her is a treat, she is such stunning old lady, who has lapped NZ before, crossed the Tasman to Sydney & cruised the Pacific Islands.
  3. The food
  4. The sunsets & dawns off the West Coast of the North Island
  5. Queen Charlotte Sound & Picton town, very cool place to own a woody – I’ll be back.

For the overseas viewers I have included below a few photos of Trinidad, a rather magnificent ship – looking as always very regal. You can see / read more about her here













Greg Noble sent me the above stunning photos of Maxie; Logan Bros built the launch in 1903. These photos mostly show her in The Sounds. Greg’s granddad owned Maxie through the 1920’s. In recent times, Greg has seen her on Lake Taupo, with topsides reworked by Bruce Askew.

Now here is where the story gets a little unusual – Greg’s interest these days in the launch, is only as a working boat, not a cruiser. He has set his sights on building her anew, with original hull and sheerline, open fore and aft of a small doghouse, somewhere between what she had and that of Matareka 1 (her sister). None of the mod cons, oiled timbers rather than varnished, a tiller rather than a wheel and an electric power train and batteries stored in-line with her keel below waterline. He wants to build her on the grass 10m from the shore and in a very traditional and economic way. He has native timbers at hand: pohutakawa for her prow, keel, stern and gunwales and kauri for her splashboard and fore and aft decks, doghouse and floorboards.

However, Greg wants to have her hull delivered in two pre-made fiberglass pieces which he will fit either side of her spine. The whole job done in 3 months start to finish for two (older) men – Greg, a very hands on architect and his brother, a life long sailor.

Greg is seeking help / advice from the WW brains trust – he would like to talk this built concept through with some of your wiser members. He is thinking of guys who know the timbers well but in particular, needs help in confirming the exact dimensions of her hull – could any original drawings exist? He has sent a message to Bruce Askew who might have measured and drawn her in the early 1990’s. Any advice & leads would be much appreciated.

Input from Greg Noble“Yes, two boats appeared in Alan’s original article – both sets of photos are from my grand dad’s journal and I thought it opportune to share with WW at the same time. Of the two, the Maxie was my grand dad’s boat (Perceval Noble), my dad often talked of her and my aunt most recently recalled her being mored in the lower reaches of the Hutt River, close to Percy’s home, so she must have crossed the straight many times. Maxie is the sister to Matareka 1, both Logan, 1903. I have looked at her in Taupo and am delighted to see her alive and loved, but also frustrated that she has moved on and gone “up in the world” and is beyond any possibility of a return to her routes a working boat. By way of explanation for what might seem to most – madness, I believe the world is losing control of growth and that we all need to step back and refocus on a what is immediately around us. I find that I cant discuss this without an overwhelming negativity descending on both preacher and listener. So, I have set my mind to doing it – using traditional processes, local materials and skills together with the appropriate modern technologies in a creative and positive way that will serve a regenerating local environment and need. So, for anybody who dares to open the discussion with me, I promise to focus entirely on the creative task ahead, and I will spare you the drudgery of knowing the reasons why. Fingers crossed and thank you the air time”.

16-02-2018 Input from Ray Morey

MAXIE got an 8 page write-up in the “Wooden boat magazine” August 1995 no.125 story by Peter Freeman. There are some beautiful photo’s in there too.
Greg Noble, your concept has been done here where I live in Sth.East Queensland Australia. The boat concerned was built around 1900 and used to tow log rafts and later, log barges before becoming a fishing boat. The owner built an outside skeleton then stripped the inside, all ribs framing and such then used the hull as a female mold and layered up a fibre glass skin. He retained the original backbone, stem-keel deadwood and stern post. The power unit is a 110 hp. Iveco Fiat with 2:1 red. She is ready to go in the water now but the owner has health issues and probably won’t finish her. Photos below

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 !!!!!      https://www.bookabach.co.nz/baches-and-holiday-homes/view/2381

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



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MV Takitimu

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The above photo of Takitimu were taken by Adam Leyden while on-route from Picton to Marsden Point during the Manaia’s delivery trip. Manaia was featured yesterday on WW so scroll down to view.

Takitimu was built in 1921 by Bailey & Lowe, Auckland. Commissioned by the Gisborne Harbour Board as both a tug & pilot vessel. She measures 45’ in length, with a 11’ beam & a draft of 5’.

Originally powered by a 40hp Twigg petrol engine, this was replaced after 1 year by a 70hp Twigg. In 1945 this was replaced by a 100hp Vivian & then in 1970 with a Gardner 6LX, which continues to power her today.

The vessel these days is ‘owned’ by a charitable trust (The Gisborne MV Takitimu Charitable Trust) & is available for excursions, tourism & conservation work. You can find the trust on facebook. Check them out, maybe even make a donation J






I was recently contacted by Adam Leyden who approx. 4 months ago purchased the ex Northland Harbour Board Pilot launch Manaia & is looking for any info the woodys may be able to provide on her past. Adam commented that there is a huge amount of history onboard the vessel e.g. log books etc. even a weekly stock take of the onboard bar from when she was a working boat, those boys knew how to party! What Adam would really like is some older photos and details of her many (10+ I believe) trips up to the Pacific Islands. 

Adam purchased Manaia out of Picton & has returned her to her home port of Marsden Point & is in the early stages of planing her restoration. Structurally, she is still in fantastic condition, as is the machinery, drive lines, steering gear etc. Cosmetically she has been let go a little and the priority is to get the decks resealed and re varnish (Uroxsys) the teak wheel house and main cabin. Below is some background that Adam supplied.

She is an A.J Collings design, built in Auckland by P. Vos and launched November 1963. She was built as a pilot boat for the then Northland Harbour Board. Although she was built as a work boat, the spec and fit-out was more at the super yacht end of the scale, launched with a bar, game chairs etc. she had a bit of a reputation as a party boat back then too! She was with the Harbour Board from 1963 to around 1990 and has spent much of her life in Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds since then. She has completed seven trips to Noumea as a support vessel for the Whangarei – Noumea yacht races, the first in 1967 and the last in 1984. Looking through the log books still onboard, she has been on several other adventures through the Pacific too.  

Her hull, machinery, drive lines, steering gear etc. are all in great condition still, probably because of the quality of materials and gear used when she was constructed. Sadly she has not had a lot of maintenance or use over the last ten odd years and there is a bit of cosmetic stuff to get on top of, fortunately she is still quite original and a chainsaw won’t be necessary to get her looking good again. The two 16L straight 8 Rolls Royce diesels performed flawlessly on our trip from Picton to Marsden Point and were surprisingly economical, we averaged 3.9L per NM at 10.5kns on the trip. She cruises at 10 knots happily doing 1800rpm. We did get a touch over 15knots out of her on a short burst, however that destroyed the fuel consumption and the wake was huge!

It would be great to find some photos of her back in her working days when her hull was painted royal blue! It would also be great to hear from anyone who has spent time aboard her or been off shore on her.”

The two below photos are from the beginning and end of her trip from Picton to Marsden Cove Marina



30-01-2018 Input from Richard Morgan

Manaia was certainly a striking vessel when painted navy blue and looked more like an Admiral’s Barge, or a Royal Barge than a Harbour Board work-boat. I presume she was built at the order of the late Ralph Trimmer, Chairman of the Northland Harbour Board, a prominent local lawyer, and strong advocate for Whangarei and its port. Without Ralph Trimmer the refinery would probably have been located at Picton or somewhere. Built ostensibly as a working vessel Manaia was at the same time a pilot launch, a floating board room, a pleasure boat, and a nautical sales office and tourist ship for visiting dignitaries. VIPs entertained on board would have been from other Port Authorities, shipping companies, oil company executives, and representatives from many organisations and governments that the Port Company wanted to influence. As noted, the “Grog Cabinet’ was legendary and we can be sure many well-lubricated lobbying sessions and deal-signing sessions were held on board. RK Trimmer was later prosecuted for various financial mis-managements, but no Whangarei resident felt he was guilty of these as the city and port had benefitted more under his leadership than from any council or board before or since.

In a discussion I had with the late Capt. Peter Wavish, a former Pilot and Harbourmaster for Northland Port, we discussed Manaia, and if I remember correctly, he said she was a beautiful ship, but rolled like a drunken sailor in sea-boots! So those trips into the Pacific Ocean must have been an experience never to forget for those with a land-lubber’s tummy.