Le Reine > Patina


Todays photos were sent in by Mike Mulligan and are of his families old launch Patina which his father sold to buy the launch Ngaranui (tomorrows story) in the 1970’s

The 39’ Patina was built  by Erine Lane at Picton in 1913, from double planked kauri. Lane built her for C.W. Philpotts of the Sounds Motor Launch Co. as a passenger vessel. Originally named La Reine (The Queen). 

As launched she was fitted with a 20hp Bolinder semi-diesel reversing engine. Late she went fishing out of New Plymouth with a Fairbanks- Morse and also spent time in Tauranga. Around this time she was converted to pleasure use.

In Sept 2019 she was for sale at Chaffers marina, Wellington.In Feb 2020 she was still for sale – photos below and here – https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/02/29/patina-2/

(thank to Harold Kidd for early details)



Today’s story is another example of the effectiveness of WW – Grant Parker yesterday posted a comment on a WW story that appeared back in Oct 2014 – the 2014 story was on the c.1962 McGeady built launch – Challenger. 

I have reproduced Grant’s comments below, 

“The 38ft ” Challenger built by McGeady. was owned by my family in Tauranga in the late 1970’s > early 1980’s. After the Bradshaw family of Rotorua owned her  she was sold to the Finn family also  from Rotorua.

My father Bert Parker from Rotorua purchased the Challenger from Ray Finn. When he sold her she went to Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds where an older couple lived on her for a number of years.

The next owner was the owner of a trucking company in Nelson, he went bankrupt and she was sold again. The last I heard was she ended up North, maybe Bay of Islands, possibly the Opua area.

Our family had some great memories, the photos above of – Challenger, show her in her former glory with varnished coamings etc.

The photos show Challenger in :  downtown Tauranga, Whale Island off Whakatane and South East Bay Mayor Island.”

Grant maintained an interest in the whereabouts of Challenger and once tracked her down in Havelock, then the ship broker in Nelson supplied the copy of her 4sale listing.  

Purely from reference as to how our classics can morph over time and owners – I know which one I’d like to own 🙂

Link here to the 2014 WW story – lots of photos and chat there https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/10/25/challenger/

Update from a woody – photo below is captioned Onerahi Whangārei / February 2022. This is very sad……. 😦

Wairoa River / Clevedon Drive By Tour

Wairoa River / Clevedon Drive By Tour

On the weekends Woodys Classic Weekend cruise to the Clevedon Cruising Club I had the services of a cabin boy (relax, he’s my neibour) so I handed the wheel to him for most of the trip up the river. This freed me up to snap some of the moored wooden craft, I’m sure a few might be f/glass or even steel – but still an amazing collection ’semi-hidden’ away, that us Auckland marina dwellers never see.

Enjoy the tour. AND make sure you check out the last photo below – seems the CYA A Class skippers have been playing bumper boats again.

Seems the CYA Classic A Class Fleet Are Playing Crash & Bash Again

One of the classic launch owners returning to their berth in Westhaven from the weekends Woodys Clevedon cruise – spotted a wee hole in Little Jim. Comment was it had the dimensions of a bow-sprite. 

Fingers crossed the culprit has good insurance………… A review of the RNZYS results page for Saturdays racing shows two classics with a DNF alongside their names – being Little Jim and Rawene, chances are that tells you the other vessel.

Things like this probably contribute to why only approx. 6% of the CYA classic yacht fleet race (outside of one-off events like the Mahurangi Regatta) their craft. Too much testosterone is a bad thing with a car steering wheel or yacht tiller in your hand – then again maybe it was too much oestrogen this time?

San Costanzo


One can only assume the San Costanzo, built in 1969 by Curnow & Wilton started life as a work-boat and was then, date unknown, converted to pleasure use.

She is an impressive woody – built from kauri planks and 49’ in length, with a beam of 14’9″and draws 5’4” – that canoe stern gets a big tick from me.

A Cummins 250hp engine sips only 8>9 L of diesel per hour when cruising. Add to that the 2200L fuel tanks and that is a long time between trips to the fuel dock.

Very well spec’ed, with a good survey result you could doing laps of NZ. Recently for sale on tme – thank you Ian McDonald for the heads up.

INPUT BELOW ex Brian Kidson –

“While doing some background into Curnow and Wilton boats I found this out from various sources…

This Jack Guard designed double ender was launched at the end of July 1965 for Mr Salvi Rocco of Wellington. It was built for crayfishing and longlining out of Island Bay. St Costanzo is the patron saint of Capri from where the Rocco family come from.
While Rocco’s had her, they took the aft wheel house off and had a new one built forward by a Wellington boat builder.
Rocco’s sold her to a Chinese chap in Auckland who used her for catching blind eels out of Tauranga. He only owned her for approximately two years before selling her to Tom Fishburn who then set her up for trawling. He fished her for ten to twelve years with his nephew Marcus Fishburn. By the time Tom bought her she had had an engine change from a Gardiner to a Cummins NH250 which is still in her.
It is said that she is a good sea boat and fairly dry on deck which is a credit to her designer. Guard’s of Nelson were unable to build her at the time. Her stern is very tight and bluff double ended, almost a ‘transom’ a credit to her builders. Not the only Guard design like it. The Marconi being another that comes to mind.
At some stage the ‘St’ in her name was changed to San Costanzo.
There was an article in the local newspaper, Nelson Evening Mail, at the time of launching.
Other names San Costanzo

Length 50ft

Beam 15ft

Draught 6ft

Date launched 31st July 1965

For Salvi Rocco, Wellington

Subsequent Owners Name unknown, Tom Fishburn, Marcus Fishburn, Sean Reichardt, Robert Lynds,

Engine(s) Gardiner, Cummins NH 250″


Woodys Classic Weekend Happening Now + Mystery Launch (Maitai)


As you are reading todays WW story, weather permitting 15 woody classic craft will be weaving their way up the Wairoa River headed for the Clevedon Cruising Club for an overnight trip.

As always the CCC crew turn on a great gig for the waitematawoody trip. The day starts with the flotilla being berthed at the CCC dock, in front of the clubhouse, then we ‘open’ the boats for club member to inspect. Happy hour tends to start early up the river 😉 Then we all meet at the club room for a BBQ dinner, raffles, outdoor fires are lit and then the live music kicks off at 8.30pm (almost my bed time) – should be a hoot.

Now there’s always a boat story – today its a mystery launch that popped up on Lew Redwood’s fb, the photo below is dated 1933 and the location is off Hen Island – looks very familiar so hopefully we can put a name to the craft.

19-09-2022 Input ex Nathan Herbert – The launch is Maitai.


And A Not Great Example Of How to Promote Your Woody Event The word ‘TIMBER’ doesn’t really have the same gusto as ‘WOODEN’


Bay Of Islands Woody Sightings

Bay Of Islands Woody Sightings

One of WW’s spotter in the Far North – Dean Wright was heading out from his home bay, , last Friday and snapped the above woody photos of Quest, Norseman and Tranquila.

Dean commented that Norseman was run as a charter boat out of Tutukaka for years by the late Phil Bendle. She now lives on a mooring at Rangitane, up the Kerikeri River. Good link below to a brief insight into Phil Bendle’s life. 


Marlin Waters 1960


The above 12 minute film just popped up on YouTube – a recently reedited (enhanced) film from the old New Zealand National Film Unit and comes to us via Archives NZ and Snooks Fuller.

The film – ‘Marlin Waters 1960’ was filmed in the 1960’s in the Bay of Islands New Zealand and features classic big game fishing in the Bay Of islands. 

We see very early footage of Snooks Fuller and the Lady Doreen and his regular client from America “Poppy”. Also featured is the launch – Margaret Joy. Lots of old footage of Otehei Bay, early Kingfish Lodge and Poor Knights Islands.

While personally I’m not a fan of targeting these beautiful creatures, the film is wonderful insight into the glory days of big game fishing in the far north. If you look closely there are many other classic wooden launches caught on the film.


Does anyone know if Rangiora is still kept in Wellington and also contact details for the owner – email to waitematawoodys@gmail.com



Tony Marr sent in the above photo, dated c.1942 of Motukaraka, on the Hokianga Harbour showing the Launch – Omakura that his grandfather, George Harding, owned.

Tony commented that George operated the boat between 1920 > 1950, mainly fishing for mullet. In a previous life, Omakura was a creamery boat.

In the caption it states that the houses on the hill are Wi Gundrys, and the factory managers. The factory is behind the mangroves on the right, with the pump house and water tank above it. At the road there is Gundry’s building and General Store. Omakura is moored in front of the net stand.

Tony is keen to learn more about Omakura and what became of her.

Help Support A Great Boating Club

Next weekend is the Classic Woodys woodyCruise up the Wairau River to the Clevedon Cruising Club, thanks to the woody skippers that have RSVP’ed, fyi we have closed off accepting ‘entries’ but if any woody readers are feeling warm hearted, how about supporting the club in its fundraising for a new fuel jetty – read below the CCC flyer and buy a raffle ticket/s on $5. Lots of cool prizes. The contact for the tickets is Carol Parkes cparkes@outlook.co.nz

I’ll be emailing skippers tomorrow with full details on the weekend.

Queenstown Charter Launches

Murata II

Queenstown Charter Launches

The photos above come to us via Brett Tomkies fb and show Brett’s great granddad and grandads Queenstown based charter launches – Kelvin and Muratal II.

Do we know what became of the boats?

Help Needed Identifying This Launch


Recently WW received an email from Colin Davies in regard to the launch featured above. I’ll let Colin tell the story :- 

“Back in the 1930’s my late father Laurie Davies of Miramar, Wellington owned the above launch. Photo taken in Marlborough Sounds. Except for the photo I knew nothing and I have been trying to piece together the puzzle.
Based on the design of the wheelhouse, rectangular windows, stem and stern – I think Joe Jukes designed her and possibly built her, or Rex Rix built her. Similar but smaller than the ex work boat – Wild Duck. On WW there is a photo of Wild Duck attending the Flying Boat with a smaller sister ship (refer #1 below).

I also found several photos on the National Library website taken by Whites Aviation.  The key photo is the one looking south, Kilbirnie hills in the right background. The flying boat in the lower right, centre Wild Duck stern on and another launch on starboard side tied up alongside (refer #2 below). There is also a  bow on photo of Wild Duck on the left showing the side of another launch on the very left edge of the photo (refer #3 below). I am interested to know the name and whereabouts of the second launch and if it is still afloat. Based on all these photos I think it is my late fathers launch.

I estimate the length at 38 feet,  almost the same as Saint Antonio 40 feet, again similar above waterline hull shape. (refer #4 & 5 below) of St Antonio)”. 

Can we help Colin with his search to ID the launch and possibly uncover what became of her ?