Havoc On The Water Front

Havoc On The Water Front

The recent stormy weather in Auckland claimed another woody at the end of last week. 

Young Luca Beachman was cycling home after completing his Herald paper round on Friday and spotted the 46’ launch Ussco ‘parked’ very precariously on the Tamaki Drive break water. 

Fingers crossed she was re floated with little damage, built of 4 skin kauri so should be able to withstand an oops. Can anyone update us.

Recently advertised for sale  – details here https://waitematawoodys.com/2023/04/14/mv-ussco-4sale/

INPUT EX BRETT KING – Ussco is hauled out at the hardstand at Half Moon Bay marina 

Raindance Gets Some Cosmetic Surgery

For the whole time that I have owned Raindance I have been faced with a do I / don’t I situation regarding the things attached to her hull – too short to be called bilge keels and questionable efficiency as anti-roll stabilizers. All the people whose opinion I value have said get rid of them. So in a weak moment last week at the Slipway Milford I said yes and wham-mo they were gone.

Will be interesting to see / experience the difference…………………

Looking even more like a greyhound 🙂

LADY BESS – Live Aboard Project

LADY BESS – Live Aboard Project

The 1922 Lady Bess was built by Leon Warne, St Marys Beach in Auckland. Originally built for passenger service around Waiheke Island and later in Tauranga. Then purpose modified for fishing charter work out of Helenville on the west coast of the North Island.

She is built of kauri, carvel hull, 48’6” in length and powered by a 471 GM Detroit engine, this gives her a cruising speed of 7>9 knots.

Interior is particularly stripped out ready for a new interior to suit her next life – domestic or back in charter.

Her tme me listing (thanks Ian McDonald) closes on 23-05-2023 and current bidding is sub $2500. Located at Gulf Harbour.

21-05-23 Input ex Alan Johnson (the nice one) – subject to final bidding but it looks like Lady Bess is off to Mangawhai

And from Bill Faulkner — She ran as a workboat for Harbour Transport on Tauranga harbour for many years. At least 1955 -1975 towing barges / logs from Bunns Mill on Matakana Island and ferrying workers / residents at the mill. I recall her coming into Coronation Pier circa 1962ish and the reverse gear failed at the optimum moment and she went under the pier and wiped the wheelhouse off. No injuries thankfully. A nice hull shape and one of the quickest displacement launches on the harbour. Great to see she’s still going strong.

Margaret Joy


One of the lines that pricks up my ears is “ I was going through some old family photos” – almost always there is an attachment of great photos linked to a woody.

Late last year David Engleback sent me a note that started with those words – turns out David’s wife’s grandfather – Gerald Wilson ( of Browns Bay) was aboard the launch – Margaret Joy in Feb 1955 and landed a 220ib. Marlin fishing in the Bay of Islands – as seen in the above photo weighing in at Russell and looking very happy. 

A google search by David popped up some previous WW stories on Margaret Joy, links below. Lots of speculation as to who designed / built her but todays photo confirms the name. Well done Robin Elliott back in 2016 getting it right.


2016 https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/04/02/mystery-launch-02-04-2016/

ORDER HERE waitematawoodys@gmail.com

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

Ocean Star – A Floating Apartment

OCEAN STAR – A Floating Apartment

Todays woody – Ocean Star, is probably the cheapest apartment / home that you could buy in NZ at the moment. The fact Ocean Star has a bath backs up the owners ‘live aboard’ claim 🙂

Ocean Star is 55’ in length, with a 15’ beam. Built in kauri to a Jack Guard design in c.1950.

If you wanted to leave the mooring a 160hp Detroit 471 diesel engine is below decks. As per the photos she is very well fitted out and at $135k ono seems a bargain. The price includes her Tauranga waterfront mooring.

Thanks to Ian McDonald for the tme listing heads up.

I see in the comments section that she in a previous life was a Govt. vessel servicing the Hauraki Gulf islands – can we learn more about her work-boat days.

15-05-2023 UPDATE: Photo below ex Chris Rabey, sent in by Russell Ward

ORDER HERE waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Dream Girl – Project Boat

DREAM GIRL – Project Boat

Todays woody while based in NZ started life on the other side of the world – at the Merritt boat yard in Fort Lauderdale, USA. Built in the early 1960’s she was originally named  – Tuna Teaser. Fast forward to the mid 2000’s and she is now named Dream Girl and pops up in Pago Pago (American Samoa) and then in Rarotonga. Sadly while in Rarotonga she sunk on her mooring in Feb 2006, fast forward again and she was freighted to New Zealand. Not sure of the timing between sinking and transport to NZ but before the sinking Dream Girl was powered by 2x 320hp Cummins giving her a reputed cruise speed of around 15knots and a top speed of 25knots.

Home these days is in West Auckland where she has been stripped back, damage repaired and is currently a hull and deck + a few original fittings.

What we know about her is that she is 40’ in length and appears to be strip planked and glassed.

Top photo and below from her ‘off-shore’ days.

While lacking the kiwi classic woody looks, if a fast classic sport-fisher appeals, Dream Girl could be a good entry point. You’ll find her on tme, if not already sold.

ORDER HERE waitematawoodys@gmail.com

Freedom DN.33 – A Peek Down Below

FREEDOM DN 33 – A Peek Down Below

Regular WW readers will know that I have a soft spot for converted workboats, Todays woody – Freedom started life as a cray boat, built from kauri in 1956 by Millers in Lyttelton and fished out of Dunedin. Later (date unknown) converted to a live-aboard.

Thanks to Ian McDonald giving us a heads up on a tme feature we get to have a look below. Freedom is 40’ in length and powered by a 1970’s 120hp Ford diesel engine. Being a southern lass, she sports a Dickensen heater – we like those 🙂

Can we learn more about Freedom

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.

Rosemary + WW Caps Back In Stock


Todays woody is / was a recent work boat operating out of Tauranga. I understand she was running fishing charters.

I believe the builder is said to be Lanes 1927 (I know…. Aren’t they all) 31’ in length with a beam of 9’6”. Forward motion is via a Ford 60hp diesel engine.

And that woodys is all we know about her.

Can we uncover more on Rosemary, there is nice hull hiding under the ‘recent’ additions 🙂

INPUT EX Mitchell Hutchings This Rosemary, and there are several, worked for some years out of Sandspit running ‘Rosemary Fishing Charters’ under the friendly and able ownership of Brian and Jocelyn Jones, with a short period during which a new owner took over. Last year Brian and Jocelyn moved to Kerikeri with the vessel and I believe she is for sale. Brian has some information on her previous life. She was in survey for some years, and I know the hull was glassed a number of years ago. I took these photos when she was hauled out at Sandspit in 2019 for some work.

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) + $6 p&p 

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

# Your name 

# Postal address

# Phone 

# Quantity

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.