Waitemata Woodys hits 4,000,000 views and celebrates with a gallery of over 100 classic wooden boat photos

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If you think being passionate about wooden boats is niche – think again, there are a lot of us out there. Waitemata Woodys has just passed 4 MILLION views and we celebrate with over 100 classic wooden boating photos

Never in a blue moon when I started this site could I have seen it becoming as popular as it has. Along the way the site has morphed to also become an awesome information source for just about anything connected to wooden boating. Some facts:
370,000 people have visited the site, most of them come back – some daily, some weekly, some just when they need to know something
2,469 stories
20,000+ photos published
A 50,000+ photo library
It wouldn’t have happened without in the early days a few fireside chats from people way more worldly in the wooden boating community than myself. The list of people that have shared their family photo albums, stories and knowledge with us is huge and  the site just wouldn’t be what it is today without these people.
I’ve made so many friends, and been fortunate to rub shoulders with a lot of you in person.
So where to from here?, I would be a lier if I said I had not considered pulling the pin a few times, its a big ask publishing a wooden boating story 365 days of the year, but for every one dark day when I’m questioning why I do it – I have 100 days where someone tells me that the first thing they do every every morning is check out Waitemata Woodys, or that they print the stories and once a week when they visit grandad they read them to him, because he is nearly blind, or when we uncover the provenance of someones boat, or when we find someones long lost family boat etc etc
Aside from thanking you all for your support and asking you to keep following Waitemata Woodys – I only have one request – please keep sending us your stories & photos – you may be thinking they won’t mean much to us, but at some stage, someone will send in something and SNAP, they match & we have the makings of a great story. Email them to   waitematawoodys@gmail.com
The following link takes you to a Waitemata Woodys story that epitomises all that’s good about the site – you wouldn’t find content like this anywhere else – it’s gold
And in answer to all the emails re when I will be doing another Waitemata Woodys t-shirt run – the answer is before Christmas, so start saving your pennies. I’ll do another post soon re taking orders 🙂
Again many thanks to everyone. I hope you all still enjoy the site as much as I do pulling it all together. Shortly I will be sharing with you some exciting news on how WW will become even more relevant to wooden boat owners, but for now I have pulled together a random selection of 101 woody photos that have appeared on the site – enjoy 🙂
Alan Houghton – founder
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Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade 2017 – 160+ photos



Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade 2017 – 160+ photos

Another stunning long weekend weather wise & also on the woody front – this weekend I was down at Lake Rotoiti (Nth Island) for the annual classic & wooden boat parade. Holding hands again on the trip with Chris Miller. For the last few years we have positioned our selves in one shore based spot & snapped the boats as they have passed, this year we were very kindly offered the use of a RHIB to get out on the water & get amongst the fleet. The RHIB was provided by LRC&WB Association Rear Commodore Fraser Wilson, Fraser deserves a lot of credit for the above photos 🙂 . Given that CM is a professional photographer we decided that I would be the boat boy & helm the boat & CM would snap the photos, that was a good call because he is rather good 🙂
Being afloat meant that we could get a lot closer to the boats & the crews. So woodys the photos above are CM’s & below are a few of mine + a collection that I took while ashore for the post parade picnic.
I was asked to judge the awards for 7 categories, these awards are highly contested as they are only handed out every 5 years. The winners are featured at the end of todays story.
I would also like to like thank LRC&WB Commodore Grant Cossey for his help & support & as always the LRC&WB Secretary & event registrar – Rachel Jamieson, who is the real hero of this event & the association.
You can also view more on the event at CM’s blog – http://www.buggeritweareoff.com
Remember to click on photos to enlarge. Enjoy – we did 😉
20th Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade 2017 Winners

Mahurangi Regatta Weekend 2016 – 130 photos


Mahurangi Regatta Weekend 2016

There are many magic things about classic boats, one of them is their ability to attract great weather. Classic wooden boaties have  just had another stunning long weekend at Mahurangi. While the number of yachts racing in the regatta maybe by down on previous years, the number of boats in the harbour was amazing -& I would say that in terms of genuine wooden classics there were more motorboats than yachts in the harbour.
The below is not an attempt to capture ever classic there, it’s just a photo essay of the event. If I missed your boat, sorry, but access & time were not my friend. You’ll see lots of woodys, a little FG (pretty ones) & some photos to show you the mojo of the weekend. It has a motorboat slant, but that’s the way I hang 😉 The classic launch parade saw a record turn out of 21 classics.

Lastly, not all are 100% in focus & sometimes the sun was working against me but at the end of the day, its all about the boats.
Enjoy 🙂

ps remember to follow the St Ayles Skiff Raid over the next week – details here  http://nzcoastalrowing.org/

As always – click photos to enlarge






John Dory & Little Tawera




Image 1_2

PRIZE GIVING (aka the Wairiki / Jason Prew show)







Once again waitematawoodys, Chris Miller & myself are rapped to have worked with the Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Assoc. on the production of their 2016 calendar.
The calendar is chocker full of photos from the amazingly popular 2015 Classic & Wooden Boat Parade. The calendars make excellent Christmas presents for those ‘hard to buy for’ friends & are great value – $10 for 1, or $8 each for 5 or more.  There is a limited amount printed so get in quick, last year they sold out very quickly.

If any woodys are interested in buying contact Rachel Jamieson via this email link

Postage is $2.40 for up to 7 calendars, $5 for more than 7 or courier ($6 North Island $7 South Island  –  RD extra).
Payment is via direct credit – please use your surname as reference and email Rachel when you make the payment. Remember to add the postage 😉

The bank account number is:    12 3155 0140546 00  Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Assoc.

This is one of those cool win/win situations – its a great way to support the wooden boating movement & you get something back i.e. a cool calendar. Order now.
ps sorry for the slightly wonky cover photo – Rachel needs a few photography 101 tips 🙂

Woody Weekend

Waters Fine ww


At last a long weekend 🙂 Always seems such a long time between the last & the first long weekends. I know my log book says its over 5 months since I went past North Head but in my defense Raindance has had a winter of mechanical maintenance.

For woodys looking for some boating this weekend there are a couple options, which hopefully will not be too disrupted by the weather.

Myself & a few others will be mooching around Waiheke Island & at this stage plan to get together somewhere for a catch up on Sunday afternoon (late). Nothing cast in stone & will post something here on ww on Sunday.

For those looking for something further afield its the Kawau Boating Club season opening weekend – plenty to do & I imagine the AB’s game will be screened at the KBC clubhouse. More details below.

And – photos please. Pack the camera & take a few classic woody photos & then email them in to ww.



Today’s post features a launch by the name of Dixie, I do not know much about her but I have been aboard. I was tipped off early this year that she might be for sale & had been sitting at her Westhaven berth unloved for quite a while – unloved might be the wrong word, maybe unused would be better. What I do know is that she was glassed several years ago by Wayne Olsen & aside from the ‘low maintenance’ angle, this had the added bonus of strengthening her up, her original owner wanted a fast launch & ordered her ‘light’. I was told she was more than capable of hitting 18knts. You will see from the above photos that post glassing the owner did little more e.g. the portholes have not been trimmed out & re-fitted. Her owner has an engineering business & that side of the vessel was very impressive, all she needed was a renovation to bring her back to her finest.  In fact most of the hardware was on-board just not fitted. Given the rectangular shaped portholes she could be from the McGeady stable?

I learned recently that she sold for as they say ‘a song’, someone has a acquired at a very low entry point the makings of a nice classic wooden boat. Fingers crossed she gets the time & attention she deserves.

Anyone able to added for details on Dixie?

Harold Kidd Input

She started life as AQUARIUS, built by Owen Woolley in 1966 for motorcycle legend Len Perry. About 1995 Perry sold her to Steve Harris  who renamed her DIXIE. She had a Perkins H6 354TD horizontal/slant 354cu in engine, quite a rare beast, introduced in 1960.

Shamus has advised that Adonis is a sister ship built on the same frames but just a wee bit longer.
HDK confirmed that ADONIS was 40ft, built by Owen Woolley for Martyn Uren, a really fine man, in 1965. She had twin 100hp Fordson diesels. She was later owned by Bob Green.

Photo of Len Perry below ex HDK

A bonus 2nd post today – Some South Island Eye Candy

Some South Island Eye Candy
I’m going to drift a little from the topic of boats & point you in the direction of something very cool. The ww followers that are Classic Yacht Association members will be familiar with Chris Miller who had the launch Rorquel. Well Chris swapped the boating life for life on the road (bought a camper van) & did something that would be tempting to some of us but few would have the balls to do it  – he has rented the house out for a year & hit the road. First part of the adventure is a tour of the South Island.
I had been beating Chris up for a long time to start a blog & even came up with the name for him  – ‘bugger it….. we are off’, well the blog is live & given that Chris is a professional photographer the photos he is posting on the blog are pretty wow. Check it out here http://buggeritweareoff.com/


photos & details from Michael Marston

Todays post features Revenge, an ex Kaipara Harbour work boat, converted to pleasure use. Her new owner Michael has just relocated her to Lake Rotoiti & she was relaunched there last Thursday (01-10-2015), photos below. Her details are as passed onto Michael so he would love to get clarification & if possible uncover more on her past. Revenge was built 1905 & is a carvel planked counter stern design, made from kauri with puri cross floors and pohutukawa ribs, fixed by copper nails and roves. Originally she had a mast which is now on show at the Matakohe museum
She is 36′ LOA with a 12′ beam & 3′ draft. Engine is 6.2 litre D-Series Ford truck engine 150 HP matched to a Newage gearbox. This all turns a 22″x18″ prop.

Until recently she spent all her life on the Kaipara Harbour. Early configuration was a small wheelhouse up front, with the deck fitted for cream can collection throughout the Kaipara Harbour. Its also believed she hauled logs throughout the Kaipara Harbour.

Her previous owners (from 1965) had her rebuilt in 1995 with new floor boards, wheel house and engine as per the condition you see today, for live aboard retirement cruising of the Kaipara.
Revenge will be a welcome addition to the Lake Rotoiti classic fleet.

So woodys what do we know about her – Zach what do the Kaipara guys say?

Launch Day – Lake Rotoiti

Harold Kidd Input

All I have is that she was built by Thompson at Aratapu in 1905 as a sailing fishing boat for Morgan Bros who sold her to Edgar Brown who sold to the Fisheries Department around 1930. She was skippered by Bunny Tilby as a fisheries protection vessel. In 1942 her then engine, a Kelvin Ricardo 24-30hp diesel, was removed and sold by tender. The Department sold her to Tilby in 1948. He sold her to Colin McPike who sold her to Bill Pook who sold her to Bob Moyle in 1968. Moyle converted her into a pleasure launch.
A lot of that is from the Matakohe Museum’s archives and may be pure anecdote.

ps I have since found confirmation that The Fisheries Branch of the Marine Department bought her in late 1930 and fitted the Kelvin-Ricardo in October 1930. That probably replaced the Twigg. The Kelvin-Ricardo was a “paraffin engine” rather than a diesel.

Zach Matich input

I know early on she had a Twigg 40hp in her, and I think she was towing metal from Green Hill for the Hobson county. She has very full underwater lines especially in the bow area,my great uncle said that she used to pound badly in a head sea so much so that all that was left on the cup hooks in the galley were the handles!! Bob Molye had Eric William convert her to pleasure ie new cabin,bulwarks and hull work etc. The Ford came out of one of our family boats which Bob brought just for the 6 cylinder ford and on sold it with Revenge’s old 4 cylinder ford. I’ll have a dig for some photos

Zach photos below  🙂

08-10-2015 Update from Michael Marston

Michael just sent in the photo below which he received from the last owner, who bought her from Bob Molye (who had her from circa 1965 – 2012).
Only the hull looks familiar, with the wheelhouse looking as though it is back-to-front compared to today.
Michael is hoping the picture will jog more memories, with stories to flow onto ww.
As for the where about’s of her mast at the front (see photo), one story has it as a flag pole on a front lawn at Tinopai whilst someone else says it is at Matakohe museum. The good news being it seems the mast still exists in the area.



The Des Townson Story & The 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition – Part 2 – Sailing Sunday

The Des Townson Story & The 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch  Exhibition – Part 2 – Sailing Sunday

Today’s post features the yachts, both keel & trailer, that are on display at the Tino Rawa Trust hosted exhibition & gives you a peek at the collection of memorabilia & models also on display.
The show is open today from 10.00am > 4.00pm at the Viaduct – details in yesterdays post (scroll down). So if you are looking for something to do post chapel ;-), come on down.

I’ll let the photos tell the story. Enjoy

Remember click on only photo to enlarge 😉

Updated – dropped down to the exhibition late this afternoon, primarilly because Colin Pawson told me I had over looked the best Townson yacht on show – Caper. I did have one photo of her, but most of the time I do what I’m told 🙂 so back I went.

So glad I went back & introduced myself to the owner & had a wee tour – simply stunning, & yes would get my best in show. Check out the bilge photo, I suspect the pump does not see a lot of use, a duster would be all that is required 😉

I also had a peek on-board the launch Aristos, she too is a work of art.


The Des Townson Story & The 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition – Part 1

The Des Townson Story & Aristos

Yesterday I was privileged to attend the opening of the 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition, now if you have been living under a stone & are not aware of this annual event hosted by Tony Stevenson & the Tino Rawa Trust, the concept is simple but a winner. Each year one of our wooden boat designers is profiled & a collection of their craft is assembled & displayed. In recent years profiled designers have been – Jack Brooke & Colin Wild, in 2015 the event celebrates the life & work of Des Townson MNZM. In the nicest way, Des Townson was a freak, every boat from a 2.4m pram dinghy to a 12m cruiser/racer he designed was a work of art. A Townson will always be the prettiest yacht in the bay, their classic styling & purity of form was a winner on launch day & remains so to this day, over 3,500 Townson yachts have been built – that alone is impressive.

Today on ww I have featured Des’s one & only motorboat, Aristos, the 11.4m displacement launch built by Noel May. Tomorrow I will open the flood gates & post photos from the opening function & the fleet of stunning yachts on display at the Viaduct.

The event runs today & tomorrow, between 10am & 4.00pm at the Viaduct, alongside the draw bridge & in front of the old Team NZ base, entry is free & if you are passionate about beautiful boats you need to be there – the collection of craft on & off the water & Townson memorabilia is amazing.

As part of the celebration – the Tino Rawa Trust have produced a glossy journal profiling Des Townson’s life & designs – its available at the exhibition marquee for $20 & this wonderful publication complied by John Macfarlane, has to  be, a must have in your collection. I have two copies to give away to woodys – I’ll make it simple, the first two woodys that correctly name the design of the Townson yacht that was the most popular i.e the most built (excluding the Electron model yachts)- I’ll give you a clue- it shared its name with a popular model of automobile, wins a copy. Because some of you struggle to work out how to use the ww comments section 🙂 I’ll split the prizes – one via email entry at waitematawoodys@gmail.com & one via entry in the comments section. You can only enter once 😉

Now Aristos – even with the addition of a flying bridge & her once varnished coamings hidden under battleship grey paint, she is a Townson & that means that no matter what angle you view her, she is simply beautiful. Why only one was built I do not know, maybe there is a story there?

So folks, make your way to the waterfront this weekend & take advantage to this once only exhibition that showcases one of our most successful & talented craftsman.

Now the owner of Aristos, Ray Haydon, is a very clever & talented man with his hands – a wee example of his skills can be seen on the bow of Aristos, Ray has designed & crafted an anchor turner (ensures the anchor is presented correctly when retrieving by winch) – it looks a little like a big bottle opener, but I can assure you it will be ‘fit for purpose’. Rather than paying for the imported Italian ones, someone needs to market Ray’s design 😉


photos & details from Alan Craig ex Ken Ricketts, rewritten by Alan H

Well folks I now know the first boat I will be checking out at the 2016 Lake Rotoiti Classic Wooden Boat Parade 🙂

Manowai has spent the the last year tucked away in boat builder, Alan Craig’s boat shed, Alan has recently taken over the former shed of Tony Mitchell at Lake Rotoiti.

Ken has known the boat for over 70 years, first going aboard when he was around 8 years old.

Alan Craig advises that Manowai  is 32′ with an 8′ beam & now owned by Lake Rotoiti local Dennis Walsh, Dennis intends to keep the launch on the lake where she will be a stunning additional to the classic fleet.. Dennis bought her off a Mr Andy Culpin of Hampton Downs. It is understood he had kept her in a shed  for approx. 2 years & had started the restoration work & Alan has spent the last 12 months working on her. The target for relaunching is prior to Christmas 2015.
Alan commented that when purchased by Dennis Walsh she was powered by a BMC Commander, 4 cyl diesel, this is being replaced with a much lighter, brand new,  4 cyl. 40 hp Lombardini diesel, similar to what powers the launch Marjorie Rosa (ex Juliana) which also resides on Lake Rotoiti.

From the photos, the finish looks outstanding & given its been achieved just with elbow grease, lots of sandpaper & putty is a credit to Alan the boat builder.

Alan Craig has asked for help in sourcing  early photos of her & any info from previous owners.  The original builder & launch date are own known.

MANOWAI update ex Colin Brown via Ken Ricketts.edited by Alan H

Until today, I did not know that Colin B had significant roll in the refurbishment programme on MANOWAI.

He first became involved with her about 2003, when she was owned by Ralph Power & worked on her for an 8 year period in total, with around 3 years in his shed at Kumeu & also in the shed in McLeod Rd, Te Atatu South. During this period she changed hands from Ralph P., to Andy Culpin who sold her to Dennis Walsh.

The work included replacing the planking “hood ends” where the planking is fixed to the stem, with a new apron & new big pohutukawa stem knee. He also replaced most of the interior, except the middle section, where the engine was fitted over about a 3 year period

Colin told Ken he believes she was built by Bailey & Lowe in 1921


How Waitematawoodys Works

Might Be Time For An Explanation On The Process Behind Waitematawoodys And A Call For Content

Firstly ww is a blog and a blog is simply a way to share information and thoughts on a subject and create a community around that blog. Unlike social media platforms (facebook, forums etc) you can create a blog in any way you choose, its a personal space and more importantly you can control when & how a message (post) appears. Its a little like a magazine in that an editor controls the look and content and the magazine reader just reads what is published. How a blog can differ is that the reader (or follower as they are called) can have the ability to interact (comment) and even supply content for consideration. But unlike social media the follower can not publish content direct. One of the reasons for this is to keep the blog focussed on its reason for being and not get hijacked off on unrelated (boring) subjects.

Alan Houghton (photo below) is the founder of the ww blog, Alan decides the content that appears each day. This content is a combination of stuff he knows about or has access to and stuff sent to him by others and while Alan holds the tiller, waitematawoodys is all about you, not him. Your comments, photos and stories are what make it all happen. All ww is, is a window into the amazing world of classic wooden boats.

As the blog has grown in popularity, now over 1.2 million views, more and more people have started to submit content to ww, this is very cool and we encourage contributions. Its a great day when the blog & its followers are able to uncover for people details on a vessel from their past. So please keep sending in your photos, film, words and questions about the diverse vessels, people, history, events and activities that make up our unique community. The address to email them to is waitematawoodys@gmail.com

The only thing we ask is that you clearly state what you know to be fact and what is memory based. Material based on the memory is great but we are all getting on and things can get a little murky, but ww files away everything and at some stage someone else could send in something that backs up the murky bits.

Note: waitematawoodys does not have staff or ‘official’ writers, there are a few enthusiastic people out there that submit information regularly and others that help with authenticating facts but we would encourage you all to have a look in the bottom draw for that old photo album and send in anything you think might be suitable.
A tip – rather than telling it to someone that might give the impression that they are knowledge and have the ability to get the story posted on ww, just send it direct to ww.

Orphans Day


Hows this for a cool idea, in the old days boaties used to rally around & hold an orphans day, where they took orphans (what a horrible sounding word) out on their boats for a magic day out. Not much chance of that happening now with all the PC rules & do-gooders out there.

In my early 20’s I sailed (on a Davidson 28, I know fiberglass) with one of life’s real characters, his name was Kaye Raymond Thode & someone should have written a book about that man, in my circle of yachting friends he was a legend. This was in the days of no cell phones & the skipper Dennis Ross had a few simple rules:

1. The boat leaves the dock at x.xxam, miss the boat & you had better find another boat to sail on for the next race
2. Anything discussed on the boat, stays on the boat
3. When away, personal hygiene was non negotiable – you weren’t even allowed to fa_t
4. Meals were always very civilized & you had to wear a shirt & sit at the table & no elbows on the table etc
5. Talking with a mouth full of food earned you a clipped ear

Well none of these rules applied to Kaye, he was uncontrollable BUT we all loved him & if his life tales had been published it would have been another Johnny Wray book.

I’m still bound by Rule #2 so my lips are sealed on the tales but you could be sitting on the rail, Kaye didn’t like that but there was no chance of ever getting Ron Lusty out of the cockpit & I don’t think the skipper, Dennis Ross, ever went forward of the mast 🙂  & Kaye would drop a clanger like “I grew up in an orphanage, we were poor & so all the kids were sent to an orphanage”, then later I hear from someone else that from his early 20’s Kaye organized a Xmas boating picnic for the kids at the orphanage he had attended – the picnic was really something with Kaye as Santa handing out amazing presents. I understand it was the biggest thing in the kids year. Kaye could be a total rogue but he had a heart of gold. Saying that when I knew him he was single, having been tossed out by his wife for diving drunk into a childs swimming pool & almost paralyzing himself, & my mother was a widower & I made it very clear to Kaye if I ever saw his car outside mums house I would shoot him 🙂

Today’s photo c1950’s was sent to me by Ken Rickett’s ex Dianne Hopson & is of Orphan Day. Ken Rickett’s reports that some of the boats that were involved every year were Valsan (Arnold Baldwin – Valsan, was a key mover in the events), Rehia (again Bill Ryan – Rehia, was also heavily involved),  Hukarere , Gay Dawn, Tasman, Lady Eileen, Margaret S, Apache, Tiromoana, Lady Joan, Aurora, Moanalua, Faye,Royal Falcon &  a lot of others.not sure if its the same day as Kaye’s but it must have been a blast for the kids. Somewhere in that fleet is the launch Hukarere.

How many other classic’s can we ID?

C & B Junior

photo & details ex Barry Davis

The above stunning photo of C & B Junior was one of two photos that Barry Davis ‘found’ when poking around the Collings & Bell boat sheds after the yard closed down as a result of the reclaiming of the area for the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Barry ‘found’ this photo on the floor in the then very derelict older of the two C & B boat sheds just shortly before it was finally pulled down in 1961, a good two years after the business had closed. Barry has had the photo & one other (Dorothy – a previous ww post) filed away for decades & how thanks to  ww they can be viewed. Junior was built by C & B in 1913. And while a wee thing at 20′ x 5’6″ x 3′ she is in my eye perfectly proportioned, not an easy task in a boat this size.
Given the inscription on the photo, she may have been built for W.H.M. Davis, or perhaps that was the photographer?

So woodys what became of C & B Junior?

ps photo below (ex Harold Kidd) of the Collings & Bell yard, with the 36′ Carrie-Fin on the slip. Carrie-Fin was later shipped (on Makura) to Tahiti for a wealthy American sport fisherman, Eastham Guild.

Update from Harold Kidd

She was built by Collings & Bell for themselves as an advertisement for their skills, one of several such launches they built as demonstrators. Her actual name was C & B JUNIOR. Davis was the photographer. She was launched in April 1913, a few days before this image was taken. Her dimensions were as stated . She had a 10hp 2 stroke Eagle engine. Alf Bell had most of the running of her, entering quite a few launch races with her.
She was a trend-setter with her dodger, something quite new at the time, and obviously immensely practical.
Collings & Bell sold her to J Harris of Grey St., Onehunga in early 1914. He renamed her CYNTHIA. In late 1914 he fitted a 9-12hp 4 cylinder 4 stroke Aristocrat engine. In 1917 he sold her to D. Herd and she “disappears” shortly after, probably a name change.

Collings rarely published his lines because he thought of himself as an innovator, especially with his hard chine “concave-convex” planing hulls.
It seems that when the St. Mary’s Bay yard closed a lot of material was left lying around. Barry liberated the two lovely images of C & B JUNIOR and DOROTHY, but hundreds of Charles Collings’ own glass plate negatives were either shied into the bay by apprentices or left lying around, mostly cracked or broken. I have a number of these, all much the worse for wear but hugely interesting.
An earlier launch of the same dimensions was exhibited at the Auckland Winter Show in 1910 with a smaller dodger. That one was was really the trailblazer and was one of several of their launches called just C & B.

Terribly minor point; for whatever reason, when C & B JUNIOR was sold to Harris, Collings & Bell fitted a 6hp 2 stroke Perfection engine in place of the Eagle. They were agents for Perfections and I suspect that the Eagle may not have proved satisfactory. The Perfection was built in Detroit by Caille and one of the better American marine two-strokes (of which there were a great number).


Hukarere – 1949 McGeady

Story compiled by Alan Houghton from info ex Diane Hopson (daughter of original owner Les Ravenhall), photos ex Diane & Ken Ricketts
The building of Hukarere, which means ‘foam driven by sea’, involved two key people; Mac McGeady who built the hull & her owner Les Ravenhall, a builder who spent his summer holidays outfitting her. Ravenhall was assisted by his two brothers Ron & Wilf. His three daughters – Diane Hopson aged 11 at the time & her elder sister aged 13 & the ‘baby’ aged 3 were all involved as well. In the summer of 1948 New Zealand was in the middle of a Polio epidemic, so school was out for an extended period, giving the daughters a lot of free time to help out.
It’s said that McGeady based the hull on a Chris Craft design that Ravenhall saw in an American magazine in 1948 (refer clippings below).
Diane recalls the hull arriving & being placed on the front lawn, neighbors in those days must have been a lot more accommodating than they are today as Ravenhall worked night & day outfitting her. Diane recalls that the engine was already installed when the hull arrived. The work must have been undertaken at a cracking pace as the hull arrived in early December 1948 & she was launched at Okahu Bay on Anniversary weekend 1949. Diane says she leaked like a sieve & they had to work the bilge pump the whole way to Islington Bay on the maiden voyage. The building process & this first trip set the scene for a lifetime love of the sea & the boat for the entire family.
A few years after launching (c.1954/55) Ravenhall decided to rebuild the deck house & add a flying bridge. This gave Ravenhall direct door access to the engine room under the flying bridge rather than having to pull up the floorboards of the main cabin. At this time he replaced the original Lees Marine petrol engine with a Perkins diesel.
The Ravenhall family used to spend every weekend aboard, from Labour Weekend to Easter, and all summer holidays.  In the winter she was hauled up into the family boat shed in Ngapipi road  for maintenance. The boat shed had been in the Ravenhall family for years – originally owned by Diane’s grandfather – Chas W Ravenhall who owned the launches Silver Spray and Ismay.

Hukarere was invited to take part as a patrol boat, when the Gothic came into Auckland Harbour, for the Royal visit.  Diane recalls being anchored out in the Rangitoto Channel for about 8 hours in a rough sea, a day she & the family did not forget.  For many years Hukarere was designated the NZ Herald press boat for the Auckland Regatta (refer photos with ‘Press’ burgee flying).  In this role she was often involved in rescuing the little racing yachts when the wind was just too much for them.

As a result of changing family circumstances the descision was made to sell the boat in 1960 & buy a beach house. Hukarere had a new owner at Waiheke Island where she was moored for a number of years.

As always interested in what became of her post 1960 & where she is today.

 Design Inspiration

30-06-2015. An update from Ian Rawnsley (great son-in-law of Chas Ravenhall)

Last week, my wife (youngest daughter of Les Ravenhall) and I went down to the boat sheds on Ngapipi Road to check which shed used to house Hukarere and, thanks to Glenn Burnnand, we were able to establish, as believed, that it was shed 15.

The last time that we saw Hukarere was in March 2000 when, by sheer chance, on a visit to Waiheke Island, we saw her in Matiatia Bay and was owned by a bus driver.
I understand that it has been sold several times since then.

11-11-2015 Photos Added Below

The photos above show the arrival of Hukarere at the Ravenhall family home in Mission Bay. Seen are the 3 Ravenhall sisters (Diane, Barbara & Briar) & a mix of uncles and neighbours on hand to supervise & admire. Photos ex Ravenhall family via Ken Ricketts.

waitematawoodys.com Gets One Million Views

waitematawoodys.com Gets 1,000,000 Views

At some stage today the counter on the watematawoodys.com blog site will tick over & show that people have viewed the site 1,000,000 times.

I choose the above photo for todays post because to me it captures what the classic wooden boat movement was / is all about. Its got everything there – motor boats, yachts, dinghies, people hanging out having a good time – there is even a dog 🙂 . The location is obviously Mansion House Bay at Kawau Island. The photo was sent to me by Robert Brooke & is from his father’s, Jack Brooke, stunning collection. (click on the photo to enlarge)

When I look back at the first few posts on waitematawoodys its amazing how we have evolved & now how big the audience is both in terms of numbers & the geographical reach.

I would like to thank all the followers of the site, but special thanks must go to everyone that sends in material (photos & info). Doing a daily post can be a little challenging at times but just when I start to panic, an email arrives from someone with some old photos of granddads boat. I would also like to thank Harold Kidd who gave me a swift kick in the backside 2 years ago in terms of getting serious about the site & the accuracy of the content. I would be embarrassed to say how many hours I had to spend to go back & populate the existing posts in terms of year, designer,builder etc but now the site is the #1 reference tool for New Zealand classic wooden boats. But that is a by-product, the real success of the site is that everyday it delivers to people something fun & enjoyable to read & interact with, something that puts a smile on their face.

Way did I start waitematawoodys ? – well the idea came to me via my involvement in the NZ Classic Yacht Association, the CYA is a great club but like most small clubs it can be seen as slightly cliquish, we do so many neat things but the audience is small & there are so many more people out there with an interest in wooden boats. With the birth of social media networks, stuff (photos, stories, info) that had previously been packed away, could now be available to anyone with a computer or smart phne. The future was all about content being on-line & easy to access. It was also about being collaborative. With the advent of personal websites (called blogs) people like myself are able to create a communication channel that has no boundaries. But more importantly blogs are able to be managed/controlled so that they remain true to the topic, which in the case of waitematawoodys is – the study & appreciation of classic wooden boats & the desire to tell the stories behind them & the people who built them, owned them & crewed on them.
At the start the content was all about motor boats but as the audience has grown the readers now have a broader interest in all classic wooden boats & things related to them.

Why did I call it waitematawoodys – now I could put my advertising hat on & rabbit on about what the words mean to people but the simple truth is its just a cool name & looks great on a tee-shirt 🙂

I still get a buzz out of posting daily & from the feedback I get, so do you. But folks – do not hold back on spending stuff to me, some of it in isolation may not be enough for a post but I file it & then bang, someone else sends me something on the same topic & we have a story.

Again thanks for being part of waitematawoodys & remember – its all about wooden boats.

Cheers Alan

ps below is an advertisement I made to plug membership of the CYA (you should join up) the photo (ex Chris Miller) shows we are still enjoying these wonderful craft. If you look hard that’s me in my number one clinker dinghy – I say #1 because there are a few…………..  🙂

Awa Manu


photo & details ex Pam Cundy, Harold Kidd & Zac Matich

Awa Manu is 32′ loa, built by Dick Lang & powered by a Perkins P6. One of her previous owner, Neil H would like to know a little more about her & her current whereabouts.
Neil sold her approx. 20 years ago. When Neil had her, paper work on board led them to believe she may have been previously named Pasadina.
She was owned by the Going Brothers and game fished out of Tutakaka.
In a post in the ww comments section, Zac Matich advised that she is owned by Royce Powell of Whangarei & in a shed at Kauri (Kauri Point, Tinopai ??)

Can we confirm / expand on the above?