HAPPY DAYS (Te Toa) The photo above ex Baden Pascoe shows the launch Happy Days, moored on the Manukau Harbour. At the time she was owned by Ward House, who bought her off Merv Young. Before that she was used as a log tug pulling a barge from Matakana Island to the Tauranga Town Wharf.
Today’s tale comes to us from Bay of Islands woody – John Gander via Dean Wright and covers a wee oops that the 1967 Jorgensen built woody workboat had in Port Hardy, in the Marlborough Sounds in the mid to late 1970’s. As always,I’ll let John tell the story.
“Our phone rang in the early morning and there was a certain amount of urgency in the callers voice ‘Rutherford’, the ‘Matai’ is aground in Port Hardy, get your gear together, I have a chopper standing by at Omaka get here as quick as you can.
The caller was Bill Rutherford, marine assessor, I had done a lot of salvage work and repairs with Bill, and I knew the Matai and Gerry Fissenden her then owner-skipper.
Maitai is a carvel built launch designed and built by Peter ‘Pop’ Jorgensen at his Waikawa Bay boatyard for Ray Roach. Ray was a well known and very experienced commercial launch man in the Marlborough Sounds, and with a majority of properties in the Sounds having no road access at this time, tow boats with a punt astern or alongside were a common sight, often loaded with building materials and machinery, or farm stock.
Pop Jorgensen’s brief was to design and build a manoeuvrable, strong tow boat with a good towing post, to handle a sixty foot punt, she was powered by a 4-71. N series G.M. with a 3:1 reduction with a four blade Nalder propeller, and launched in 1967.
I arrived at Omaka airdrome as the helicopter was being made ready, a quick loading of my tools including dive gear, tanks and air lift bags. We didn’t know at this stage if Matai would be above or below water, there was one possible complication. It is very rare to see fog in Blenheim, but this day was one of those rare days, thick fog not ideal for flying in such restricted visibility. With a heavily loaded helicopter with three of us aboard the pilot’s option was to fly just above the main highway and follow it to Havelock, I was relieved to see the fog was clearing as we flew out over the water at Havelock, it was here that the pilot thrust a lands and survey map into my hand, saying you know the way guide me in the right direction.
I was a bit concerned at this low altitude flying it takes a bit of getting used to, but one thing we wouldn’t have far to go before a splash, and it was a bit of a relief for me, as we just cleared the hills at Port Ligar to fly across Admiralty Bay to Port Hardy, d’Urville island. As we flew over we could now see the predicament that Matai was in.
There was a gale of N.W. in Tasman Bay and the Cook Strait, and Gerry had left the punt anchored with a load of sheep aboard in Wells Arm, and was then making his way in East Arm towards Allman Bay when right on H.W. Matai went up on an off lying rocky point, it was about a 3.2 m.tide that was falling and we could see the urgency of the situation.
A great thing about a chopper is that a quick fly around gave us a good look and we could see that some props were needed and fast before she healed over much more, there were some sizeable Manuka trees further up the hill but nowhere to land nearby on the flat at hight tide. As the pilot brought one skid to rest on a rocky outcrop on the side of the hill, I was given instructions to keep my head down when I got out with sharp saw in hand, he didn’t have to emphasise these instructions. In quick time I was up the hill to cut three good size Manuka and then slide these down to the waiting dinghy, it was a wet job but we had these in place with not too much time to spare and Matai was made secure as she continued to dry out.
Bill put a call out and the Trawler ‘Marina May’ left Motueka to make her way to d’Urville Island in heavy seas, she had a rough passage but arrived before high water in the late afternoon and a tow line was made ready. Her skipper Robie Bloomfield positioned her just right and with a gentle hand on the power, eased ‘Marina May’ ahead quietly and with her own engine assisting Matai cleared the rocks and was afloat and away from the point.
It was three days before the sea subsided enough for us to leave and see Matai on her way, but she had comfortable accomodation and Bill and I were still on the payroll until we left Port Hardy. I think the Insurance company was well pleased with only a slipping and a small section of keel batten to be replaced”.
The 1928 Collings & Bell built 36’ launch – Manaaki appeared on WW back in 2015 (updated in 2018) and now thanks to a tme listing, we get to see down below.
Powered by a 75hp Ford, Manaaki has a 95 year old history of game fishing in the Bay of Islands, which she is still doing today. Check out the WW link below for lots of history and old photos on Manaaki https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/08/10/manaaki/
Lisa Jane The launch Lisa Jane is currently on the Waitangi Yacht Club slip, looking at the photos, probably been there for a while and probably for a while yet. Dean Wright who sent me the photos commented that she used to be a charter boat in the Bay of Islands and owned by Peter Rosoman, who had the launch – Cara Mia before it. The rather large holes both sides of the hull indicate the ‘removal’ of a significant amount of rot.Dean’s memory bank is reminding him she may have hit a rock off Tapeka Point in the B.O.I., travelling at a good clip, maybe in the 1990’s. The same memory is also recalling she was capable of 15 knots. Can anyone tell us about the boat – designer / builder/ date launched etc and what the future plans are.
Do You Own – Have Owned – Or Know Someone That Has – A Bill Couldrey Boat WW has been contacted by Jenni Mence who is researching the boats of boat designer/builder Arnold Francis (Bill) Couldrey for a book she is writing about him, and is currently trying to locate as many of his boats as as she can. I’ll let Jenni tale the story: “Despite having made a great contribution to our maritime history, Bill is relatively unknown as a designer and builder. He worked for many years out of the ex Bailey and Lowe shed at Shoal Bay, Auckland, before retiring to Rotorua where he continued his design work. My husband and I have fully restored two Couldrey boats, a 1933 26 ft launch, and a 1950 38ft K Class yacht and these projects have sparked our interest in tracing and documenting the rest of his boats. Bill’s family have provided a list of the 83 boats Bill designed and/or built throughout his working life, which spanned from 1924 to 1975, and includes everything from sailing dinghies to launches and yachts. Unfortunately many of them are unnamed which has made tracing them difficult. I have recently published a large ‘coffee table’ book tracing the history of the K Class yachts, which includes many photos and stories of the boats, the people, and the racing, on the Hauraki Gulf throughout the 1950s and 1960s; and I would like to create something similar around Bill’s boats. As well as tracing the boats – in whatever condition they may be in now – I would also like to make contact with any previous or current owner of a Couldrey boat so that their experiences and stories may also be included in this book.” So woodys can we help Jenni with any known boats, owners (past and present), photos etc. Even if you just know the name of a boats owner, Jenni will endeavour to track them down. Jenni’s K Class book was a master piece (see below), it would be great to help bring this one to life. Jenni can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org