Mystery Launch – Andy Donovan Collection

Mystery Launch – Any Donovan Collection

Today’s woody is a total unknown, no dates, names, specs etc on the rear of the photo- so hopefully we can ID the boat and uncover some of her past.

After a long 7 weeks – I went boating yesterday, RD forgave me for neglecting her 🙂 A heads up, some serious wood floating around the harbour.

Lovely Lady (Star Drift)


Todays photo photos of Lovely Lady come to us via Andrew Donovan’s photo collection from his days a boat broker. In a previous WW story Harold Kidd told us she was built by R.T. Hartley in Whangarei in 1951 to a design by Dick Hartley. As launched she measured 33’ x 11’ x 3’9”. She looks a tab speedy in the photo and this would be from the Scripps V8 she was powered with.
Lucky Lady was built for game fishing and was featured in the December 1951 Sea Spray magazine. Any one got a copy? Take a phone photo and email it so we can all review
Back in August 2015 Pam Cundy sent me the photos below of the launch Star Drift moored in Tryphena Harbour, Greta Barrier Island. HDK ID’ed her as being Lovely Lady. You will observe that back then she was looking very ’tired’ – can anyone update us on her present location and condition?
Update 04-08-2019 photos below ex Tont Simpson of Star Drift hauled out at Tryphena, Great Barrier Island.

Arohanui Relaunched -4sale

photos ex David & Barbara Cooke and Greg Lees

UPDATE: 4SALE – All enquiries to

Yesterday was a one of those special days in the classic wooden boating scene, after what seems like the whole of winter, the 1966, 48′ Lane Motor Boat Co. built Arohanui slipped out of the Sandspit shed of Greg Lees Boat Builder. Her owners Fiona & Rod were very proud owners of the ‘new’ Arohanui.
We have come to expect only the best from Greg Lees & his team of craftspeople & they have not disappointed, again. The standard for workmanship & finish is world class. Speaking with Greg, he made special mention of Dale Colins the yard forman.  Not only does he cut to the chase when directing the work to be done and his expected result,  Dale is extremely talented on the end of a spray gun & the finish Dale gets is 2nd to none in the industry.  Just one of those multi-talented guys that make us DIY’ers look so bad 🙂
Brian Thompson did the new cabinet work matching the existing cabinetry, another true craftsman, but saying that, the whole crew at the yard are pretty special. The classic wooden boat scene is very lucky to have this yard on its back door.

Arohanui always has been a special boat & in the past been gifted with great owners, read more about her here

Fiona & Rod have taken her up several levels & she will join the ever-increasing fleet of spectacularly restored big classics that now grace the Waitemata. I can see I have solved the problem of who I’m going to sell my supply of USA brass/bronze polish to 😉

I will post more on her soon. For now I’ll let the photos tell the story. Remember you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them 😉
waitematawoody t-shirts – remember to get your order in – limited print run, full details here

Old Logo ww shirt



Designed by Andrew Donovan & built by the Lane Motor Boat Company in 1966, as launched she was LOA 45′. Beam 13’8″, Draft 3’5″. In 1991 the Salthouse yard lengthened her to 48′.
When launched in the mid 1960’s Arohanui was leading edge in terms of hull design, you can see the influence of the USA Hacker marque in her hull. As a comparison – the Salthouse yard were turning out the likes of Trinidad at the same time.
Her interior fit out & styling was the best money could buy & amazingly she has survived almost ‘as-original’, refer to the photo of the bulkhead storage layout. Her original condition was one of the key factors the helped Fiona & Rod Marler make the final purchase decision.

As launched she had twin 120hp Perkins installed, in 1993 these were replace with twin 300hp turbo Iveco’s – thats 600hp of zoom = 20+knots. A big step up from 7.5 knots Rod’s 1934 Arch Logan yacht, Little Jim will run out at 🙂 Now if you or a group of classic friendly buddies are looking for a classic yacht – Little Jim is on the market & to quote one of the saltiest yachties I know –  “is arguably NZ’s best classic yacht afloat in terms of pedigree, condition & sail-ability” view here

Now I have a few kooky interests in my life, one of them is marine instruments / gauges – the collection on Arohanui caught my eye, I tried to convince Rod to “pull those old things out & fit new digital instruments” but he saw through me on that 🙂

Arohanui was the cover / feature vessel on the April 1966 issue of Sea Spray magazine

Andy Donovan’s Original Drawings

22-10-2015 Update

Arohanui is currently hauled at Sandspit & in the shed at Lees Boat Builders where Greg Lees & his team of artisans are giving her a makeover. The standard of work is A+ & the yard have belong the go to location for classic vessel’s. The next project is outside on a swing mooring waiting patiently for Arohanui to slide out.