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.