ALCESTIS  (Raiona)

Photos ex Roger Guthrie ex H.D. Guthrie Family Collection

These three photos show life aboard the Guthrie family launch Alcestis. The ‘hole-in-the-rock’ one is dated c.1930.
The baby photos, c.1925 are among my favorites. Roger told me that when Aucklanders went North to the Bay of Islands for holidays they sent fuel ahead & the petrol in those days came in 4 gallon tins, with 2 tins to a box. The fuel was left at pre-arranged coastal locations & labelled by boat name. As with all things associated with boating back then, this was quite safe. As a result of this practice there were a lot of spare cans lying around…. well as you can see in the photo, one became a baby bath, note how someone has very carefully turned the lip over to remove any sharp edges. The little chap is Rogers uncle Hugh, now in his 90’s. Hugh was the youngest of 5 children. Rogers grandmother is the mother in the photo. I bet the bassinet that Hugh is photographed in was the most comfortable berth aboard.

A slightly amusing adjunct to the benzine tin story above ex Harold Kidd & Auckland Star, 5 April 1933 (paperpast)

Leaking benzine fumes introduced a grave element of danger into the voyage of Mr. Zane Grey’s launch Frangipani from Auckland to Papeete, and for over twelve days those on board were unable to smoke or to obtain any hot food or drinks. “She was absolutely like a volcano,” 6aid Captain A. Pyper, of Auckland, on his return by the Makura to-day. “With the least mistake with matches or even a backfire from the engine we would probably have gone up. On the first da/ out from Auckland we noticed a benzine leak, but could not locate it, and we did not strike a match all the way to Papeete. We had to eat cold tinned food and had nothing hot to drink at all. “Gasping For a Smoke.” “All five of us were smokers and we were gasping for a smoke. It was a lonely trip, the only craft sighted all the way to Rarotonga being a scow shortly after we left Auckland.” Captain Pyper said that during the first two days the launch rolled heavily, and he was obliged to tie himself to the mast and to tie the sextant to his head to take sights. The rest of the trip was comparatively smooth. The launch used 2000 gallons of benzine. Occasionally the crew set the sails when the winds were suitable. The benzine consumption was a gallon an hour at a speed of seven knots, the most economical cruising speed. At top speed, twelve knots, the consumption would have been about twenty gallons an hour. It was most uncomfortable sleeping on top of benzine cases, as all available space was utilised for fuel. The benzine lasted out well, and there were 500 gallons in- reserve when the launch reached Papeete after taking in 400 gallons at Rarotonga. The Frangipani left Auckland on March 3 under the charge of Mr. Peter Williams, of Russell, who has always been Mr. Grey’s principal boatman in New Zealand. Other members of the crew were Captain A. Pyper, of Auckland, navigator; Mr. Collings, engineer; Mr. C. R, Bowman, of Auckland; and Mr. C. Jackson, of Russell. The journey to Tahiti was made in two stages, the finst to Rarotonga, a distance of 1633 miles, and the second from Rarotonga to Papeete, 620 miles. The total trip is stated to be the longest ever made by an ordinary motor launch not specially constructed for the purpose. Rarotonga was reached on March 13, and Papeete on March 19.

Launches & Yacht at Tauranga Regatta

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Launches & Yacht at Tauranga Regatta

Would be interested to hear if anyone has another view but pretty sure these photos are from the Tauranga Regatta that used to follow the Auckland to Tauranga race in the late 1920’s – 1930’s.

The Guthrie family launch Alcestis (now Raiona) can be seen heading towards the bridge between the white hulled yacht & the bigger dark hulled steamer??. What made the ID easy was that Roger & Graham Guthrie’s grandfather (Hugh Douglas Guthrie) always wore either a captains hat or as in the case here – a white Panama hat.

 photos ex Roger Guthrie

A proud NZ maritime family – the Guthrie’s

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Guthrie’s

CYA member Graham Guthrie & brother Roger’s great grand father, Henry Guthrie, settled in Dunedin in July 1864 from Largo in Scotland. He married Isabella Graham in 1866 & became a ship owner & broker. Most of the ships owned by Henry initially were jointly owned with mainly with his younger brother Walter. Sir William Larnach (Larnach Castle, Dunedin) was another co-owner & several joint ships can be viewed today on the walls of the castle. One joint ship has the claim of taking the 1st shipment of frozen lamb to Britain.

However from 1878 he was essentially the sole owner of the vessels.The Laira an iron barque built in Sunderland,England was owned by Henry from 1889 to 1893.
A large number of ship passed through his hands in his role as a broker. He was a member of the Otago Harbour Board in 1879-1883 and 1892-1894.
It appears that he was bankrupted in the late1880’s but all their children received a sound education and the family lived a settled and comfortable life.
Henry died  on 21st April 1913 in Rattray  St Dunedin as he was walking up the steep hill to his home.
The photo above shows the ship Alcestis when she ran aground in Otago Harbour c1880. This ship ‘gave’ its name to the Guthrie family launch, Alcestis (photo attached), which features frequently on this site.
Update / photo from Russell Ward – photo of an unidentified tug -possibly ‘Dunedin’ – towing Alcestis out of Otago after her grounding.
I guess she lived to sail another day unlike many of them on that coast.
photos & details ex Roger Guthrie

Shenandoah Cruising in the North

Shenandoah Cruising in the North
Over the 1931/2 xmas holiday period Shenandoah cruised in company with Alcestis & Lady Margaret. Two of the photos above show Shenandoah off the settlement of Mangonui, one tied up alongside Alcestis (Guthrie family launch) at the Mangonui Store, now the site of the famous (in the Far North) fish & chip shop. The other photos are possibly on-route to Haruru Falls.

Alcestis Northland Cruise Xmas/NY 1931/2 – Post #2

Alcestis Northland Cruise Xmas/NY 1931/2 – Post #2
Alcestis punching thru a little bit of a sea, love that the skipper must have called ‘all-hands on deck’. Other photos show Alcestis & Lady Margaret doing a water stop at Mangonui Wharf. Lady Margaret at an unknown wharf & another of LM astern of  Alcestis.

Alcestis Northland Cruise Xmas/NY 1931/2 – Post #1


Alcestis Northland Cruise Xmas/NY 1931/2 – Post #1
In December 1931 / January 1932 the Guthrie family on their launch Alcestis headed north in convoy with Lady Margaret & Shenandoah, one of the highlights was an inland cruise from Paihia to the Haruru Falls*.
Photo 1 – Shenandoah from aboard Alcestis
Photo 2 – Lady Margaret (L) & Shenandoah (R) at Haruru Falls
Photo 3 – Lady Margaret (L) & Alcestis at Haruru Falls
Photo 4 – Alcestis nosing into the falls
Photo 5 – Alcestis forefront, Lady Margaret rear
*Haruru Falls are 3k inland from Paihia, the area was New Zealand’s first river port, a key hub for the many trading Maori tribes in the area. When the first ‘white’ boat (missionaries) came inland, they counted over 100 maori canoes on the banks. As part of the settlement a hotel was built & was one of the first hotels in NZ to have a ‘Traveller’s License’, which allowed irregular drinking hours (due to the tide). When the hotel burnt down in 1937, it was then over 100 years old.