A Townson 22 Story – Born Slippery > Ceilidh

BORN SLIPPERY > CEILIDH > BORN SLIPPERY


This a great story with a long tail. I first rubbed up against the boat back in 2009 when a co Kiwi based – WoodenBoat Forum follower named Graeme Tearle, lived in Thames,  mentioned online he was considering buying a Townson 22 – known as a Pied Piper (Piedy) on trademe in Auckland. Turns out it was sitting on the hard at the Devonport Yacht Club (I was a member back then) so I took some photos for him. Graeme bought the boat, below is an edit of his postings on the WBF, he has a unique style of chat and the yanks on the WBF loved him –

“But this boat has issues. For starters, her name. “Born Slippery”. Ye Gods, whatever was he thinking. So my daughter Abby came up with a new name. “Ceilidh”. Pronounced “kay-lee” it is Irish (or Scots) for an informal get-together featuring traditional song, dance and drinking. In other words, a party. My kind of party (I’m half Irish). Perfect. Next, her cabin shape is all wrong. 
Ceilidh has the original, shorter roof, which designer Des Townson lengthened when he redrew it, and I suspect he may have lowered the roofline an inch when he did so. Either way, Ceilidh’s cabin is too short & too high for my tastes. If you can’t stand upright in a boat, there is little point in adding an inch or two to the roof height and you still can’t stand up. It just spoils the aesthetics. Also the cabintop is built in the original style with internal roof beams & a 9mm ply skin. The new style has a laminated roof with no beams. This is vastly preferable; nothing to hit your head on & a much easier paint job. So the whole cabin top has to come off. This has the added bonus of allowing me standing room inside while I do the rebuild, and I can replace the ply coamings with varnished mahogany, as they were with Candyfloss (a previous Piedy he built) In my own personal, very biased, opinion, such a beautiful shape deserves nothing less.

The cockpit has been hacked about in the modern way with an open transom. I will fill the transom back in again & add an aft deck forward to the mainsheet traveler, then an aft coaming across it, aft of the traveler. There can be no lazarette here as the rudder shaft comes up thru the cockpit floor aft of the traveler, making a bulkhead impossible. Also, she has a rise in the companionway of about 300mm, to stop water entering the saloon should the cockpit flood. What absolute nonsense. This is the Hauraki Gulf guys, the best cruising grounds in the world, not Cape Horn. I’ll cut it out, fit a lintel about 50mm high, and should the weather become so severe that I fear a wave might jump into the cockpit, (yeah right, it is sooo going to happen) I’ll fit the first washboard & lock it in place. The ability to easily step thru the companionway without having to clamber over what amounts to a bridgedeck is a boon beyond measure on a cruise. The existing tiller is an ugly stick. I’ll build a new, properly shaped one.”

Graeme did an amazing job restoring the yacht (sadly all the work-in-progress photos on WBF have been lost) and bought Ceilidh by road up to Auckland for a Des Townson exhibition at the Viaduct and motor sailed her back to Thames – memory is hazy but I think I lent him a life jacket and a VHF radio for the trip. Graeme’s past post on the WBF was  c.July 2014 and I think he sold the boat in June 2014.


Fast forward to mid July 2022 and the son of old family friends – Gavin Woodward tracked the boat down to a mud berth in Thames and was trying locate the owner, dockside chat was that she had been abandoned. Photos below showing Ceilidh looking very sad.


Fast forward to mid September 2022 and Andrew Sander – a previous owner of the boat , tracked her down and re-bought her. Andrews words “Spent Sunday preparing and Sunday night on the high tide dragging her from her mangrove and rat infested grave, she’s now in a berth in Thames Marina. Her next adventure is going to Tauranga for cosmetic work, a weight loss program and a new set of sails. Then it’s back to Auckland to catch up with her old Piedy mates where she will live. Looking forward to some great racing and antics. Get a Piedy up ya (again)”

Photos below of the extraction at Thames.Wonderful that these iconic craft are held in such high regard that yachties go to these lengths to keep them sailing.

ANYONE GOT A POT OF THIS WOODY PRODUCT?

Steam boat woody – Russell Ward contacted me as Russell and some of his fellow steam boaters are bemoaning the loss of Davis Slick Seam. The trailer boaters swear by it. It holds the leaks until the seams take up and it squeezes out -doesn’t set. Stops the incontinence when you launch.

Anyone got a spare tin or know what might have been in it? It was black, had some waxy filler apparently, stayed put and wouldn’t go hard. It is no longer being stocked. West are not answering emails, it is obviously not a big seller.

So woodys what would have been in it -NO EPOXY but maybe some of the filler they use. But it was tarry looking.

Seaforth

SEAFORTH

The launch Seaforth has made a couple of appearances on WW, links below to those stories – the 2015 one has lots of chat and photos.

Woody John Dawson sent in the above photos ex Gareth Dawson and commented that Seaforth had been recently hauled out at Stillwater Boating Club. Fingers crossed she receives the attention she deserves, having spent the last decade looking very sad, either hanging off a Orakei swing mooring or on the hard at Clevedon. Rumour has it she is also a member of the sub mariners club i.e. she sank once on her mooring 😦

Do we know what the plan is? SBC isn’t a yard that allows the ‘parking’ of old boats so she may have changes owners. The photo below is c.1986

Whakatakataka Bay (Orakei) 2015 https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/07/11/mystery-launch-11-07-2015/

Clevedon 2020  https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/08/13/mystery-clevedon-launch/

C.1986

Nerrida

NERRIDA

The 30’ kauri launch – Nerrida was built in1969 by Shipbuilders. Forward motion is via reconditioned Ford 110hp 6 cyl. diesel Ford 110hp 6cyl diesel As per a lot Shipbuilders craft she has a semi workboat look to her.

While the interior fit out looks like they used the same people that do the Fullers ferries, there has been a lot of recent work done. From the number and size of all the chilly bins, the seller must be a serious fisher-person.
(Thanks to Ian McDonald for the tme heads up)

Challenger

CHALLENGER 

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……. 😦

Mystery Bayswater Launch

MYSTERY BAYSWATER LAUNCH

Mooching around Bayswater Marina last week I spotted a new addition, she had slotted into the berth previously occupied by the unlucky Parma https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/08/04/classic-launch-parma-sinks-under-harbour-bridge/

No name but looks either recently done up or very well cared for. Owner must like the colour white 🙂

Can anyone put a name to the launch and ideally more details?

Thanks to input from a ‘Steve’ in the comments section – he reminded me it has been on WW before – link below – but we still do not have confirmation of name. https://waitematawoodys.com/2022/06/07/1953-jorgensenmystery-launch/

Input ex Murray Deeble – Was in the South Island and featured as the detectives launch in a NZ made TV series lay in Milford called Sea Princess for a while getting worse and worse.

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?

Woodys Classic Clevedon Cruise Report – Sept 2022 – 50+ Photos

6.45am – The Start
The magic hour for boat photography
Heading up the river
Dave Giddens – Auctioneer Supremo

WOODYS CLASSIC CLEVEDON CRUISE REPORT – Sept 2022

Just back from a near perfect weekend cruising with a great bunch of classic wooden boat enthusiasts, up the Wairoa River to the Clevedon Cruising Club for an overnight shindig. 

The weekend had all the right ingredients – great weather, cool boats, nice people + mouth-watering food, that always = a winner. Todays photo gallery comes to us from my cameras and Jason Prew’s new out of the box iPhone 14 Pro (I need one, I’m buying one).

By now regular WW readers will be familiar with the format of the weekend – we meet off the entrance to the Wairoa River and then weave our way up river to the Clevedon Cruising Club. The flotilla berths at the CCC dock, in front of their clubhouse, then we ‘open’ the boats for club member to view. Happy hour tends to start early up the river, and this weekend it was even earlier. Later in the day we retire to the clubrooms for a shared BBQ dinner, and live music.

This year the club organised a number of raffles and a mystery auction – the club and Woodys collectively raised over $3,500 for the new fuel jetty. Well done to everyone involved – I indirectly won a new bilge pump (my cabin boy, bid on a mystery package and one of the included items was the pump – and my bonus – he doesn’t own a boat)

Boats participating in the cruise were – Allergy, Awariki, Lady Clare, Lady Ellen, Merita, Mokoia, My Girl, Ngaio, Ngarimu, Raindance, Smooth Operator, Trinidad, Waikaro.

I’ll let the photos tell the story. Below are two videos which highlight the two extremes of classic wooden craft – Raindance at 7.5 knots and Jason Prew’s – My Girl, doing est. 24 knots 🙂 Thanks to Jason and Ant Smit for the footage.

As always – click on photos to enlarge 😉 ENJOY. Details on more Woodys Classic events below.

Ps that dessert plate wasn’t mine and I’m too nice a person to name the owner…… and equally no story as to why there is a photo of a skipper dipping wet on his duck board 🙂

Raindance
My Girl

San Costanzo

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″

EVERYTHING GOING WELL TOMORROW WILL BE A GOOD STORY WITH LOTS OF PHOTOS FROM THE WOODYS CLASSIC WEEKEND CRUISE TO CLEVEDON.

Woodys Classic Weekend Happening Now + Mystery Launch (Maitai)

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.

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’

DO NOT MISS OUT ON THE NEXT WOODYS WEEKEND – DETAILS BELOW

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. 

https://inaturalist.nz/projects/poor-knights-islands-marine-reserve/journal/18249-passing-of-a-poor-knights-icon