Regular readers of WW will be familiar with Bay of Islands photographer – Dean Wright and the stunning images he shares with us. Dean and partner Deb are the custodians of the classic woody – Arethusa, which has one of the best back stories of all the craft in your fleet. The 33’ Arethusa was built in 1917 by Bob Brown and started life as a gaff rigged cutter, 105 years later she has the features of a commercial ex work boat – but a very swish one 🙂 Link below that shows some of the transformation – and being such a looker she has made numerous WW appearance, but today we bring to light a somewhat unknown (to most of us) event in her life – I’ll let Dean do the intro to the above photo essay :- https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/09/07/arethusas-new-woody-wheelhouse/
“Deb and I were down south recently and did the Farewell Spit Bus trip. The tour operators were able to tell us approximately where Arethusa ran aground all those years ago (late December 1955).
They dragged the boat to the other side of the Spit and relaunched her, about 1.2km’s. An excerpt from book at the Spit lighthouse keepers house: “She was sailing between New Plymouth and Nelson and the crew thought they were heading between the lights of Farewell Spit and Stephen’s Island when they ran aground. Obviously they mistook the light on Cape Farewell for that on the Spit, and, as the Cape Farewell light had only gone into operation in 1951, they may have been unaware of its existence.”
The press clipping above in the Christchurch Press ran the headline – ‘The Arethusa – A Total Loss’ – well they got that wrong – well done to everyone that invested the funds and time to help Arethusa become a centenarian. If anyone knows more detail of her time in the South Island, Deb and Dean would love to hear from you.
BOATS OF THE LAKE – REVIEW As most of you know, I’m a big fan of the annual Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade on Lake Rotoiti, North Island. During the recent CV-19 lock-downs past commodore David Wilson, his wife Glenys and member Lois Palmer teamed up to pull together a book detailing some of the history surrounding the LRC&WB association. The hard cover, 4 colour printed book is full of beautiful photos taken at events spanning the 25 years, plus many stories about locals and their boats around the lake. I tucked a copy away for Xmas / NY reading and if you have any interest in classic wooden boats, I give it a big tick and encourage you to buy a copy, details below. Link For Orderinghttps://form.jotform.com/213318234322849
Make sure to check in to WW tomorrow (Monday) we have a brilliant story on the woody – Callisto
Woody Cruising In The Bay of Islands #2 Today’s gallery are again from BOI woody and pro photographer Dean Wright’s camera, Dean snapped the photos above of – Centaurus, Lady Ellen, Mana Rose, Kualani and his own classic woody – Arethusa seen at dusk. The gent in the very smart sailing dinghy is Angus Rogers, owner of Centaurus.
The 50’ Kualani is a newbie to WW and the BOI – Dean did some sniffing around and learnt that she was built by P. Jorgensen & Sons boat builders of Picton. When built she was powered by twin Gardner 5LW engines, looking at the photo of her, there are two very impressive exhaust pipes up top, which might suggest something with a tad for HP than the Gardner’s delivered. FYI – link here showing some (not sure if its all) of the Jorgensen built fleet https://jorgensenboats.nz/boats/
Below is a spec sheet of Kualani as she was built (no mention of the year), we have moved on a lot in terms of being PC, the reference to the bollards in the ‘ Deck Hardware’ section – would get you in a lot of trouble there days 😉 Also below is a photo of Kualani in Waipiro Bay, Gisborne – dated January 2020.
Dean Wright recently slipped the lines on Arethusa and has been mooching around the Bay of Islands. Today’s gallery of photos includes the very salty looking Adventure in Deep Water Cove, also there was the Auckland woody – Callisto. Also featured is Andy and Brenda Bell’s Monowai III and Jim Ashby’s Olga, Dean commented that Olga is a serious bit of kit. She sure is, looks like you could go anywhere in her. Would love to know move about Olga, can anyone give Jim Ashby a nudge and ask him to send WW some background on the boat.
Back in late 2019 Arethusa’s Bay of Islands owner Dean Wright, a professional photographer by trade, and well known to WW readers gave me the heads up that the 1917, 33’ Bob Brown built, ex gaff rigged cutter, was in for a treat – a new wheelhouse. Since then I have been pestering Dean on a regular basis for photos, even threatened to drive up and take them myself 🙂 Problem was, the mans a perfectionist and didn’t want to send anything in to WW until it was all shipshape. Well woodys as you can see from the above, its very shipshape, in fact in my eyes – perfect. Well done to the team. I asked Dean to tell use about the project, so I’ll hand over to him. Remember you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them – Enjoy 🙂
“Over the years we’ve got keen on changing Arethusa’s wheelhouse to be more in keeping with her age, so at 102 she’s undergone some cosmetic surgery 🙂
We lost 8″ inches of headroom in wheelhouse when we installed the Gardner, so we’ve gone up in height 6 inches and forward 8 inches and gone for more traditional upright windows fw’d.
Boat builder John Gander did the job in his Waipiro Bay workshop. He started by taking patterns off the existing wheelhouse and fw’d cabin top. He replicated the curve of the fw’d cabin top in ply and built the new wheelhouse around that in six sections. He also laminated the new wheelhouse roof, allowing for a good eyebrow fw’d and a smaller one aft.
John learned his trade at Roger Carey’s yard in Picton in the 60’s and 70’s, where beautiful work boats with great looking wheelhouses were the order of the day. John built one of my favorite Carey designs, Hinewai for his own boat and we’ve replicated her fw’d opening half window on Arethusa.
Once the wheelhouse was complete, we hauled Arethusa at Ashby’s in Opua and got to work with the skill-saw. In no time we’d reduced her to a convertible. We were lucky for Northland’s drought everything stayed reasonably dry and also that we got everything closed in and back in the water before Covid shut the yard down.
I’m in awe of how boat builders can build something like this away from the boat, then fit the pieces with a minimum of shaping. Fitting and gluing the six sections to the existing house went really smoothly.
The wheelhouse is built from 2″ Iroko. This is the first outside varnish we’ve had on Arethusa, we hand brushed 2 coats of Cetol as a base and six coats of Schooner Yacht Varnish.
Over lock-down, the apprentice made new interior joinery, gone are the Warehouse plastic drawers and chipboard frame 🙂 Moved the batteries under the new bench unit so we can now stand at the wheel. John laminated me up some lovely curved trim for the front of the oven unit. Our old manky plywood dash got an upgrade to kauri and the old wheel got a fright with a good scrub and a varnish.
Outside we made nav light boxes and dorade boxes. We had to move the aluminium framed front hatch fw’d, a more traditional looking one in Iroko is on the to-do list. The liferings also got a birthday.
Here’s some before and after pics and also some that I hope will give some idea of the process. Thanks John for all your incredibly skilled design and build work, we’re really stoked with it.
We’re always keen to learn more of Arethusa’s history, especially the 1955-2000 period in the South Island. If you have any stories we’d love to hear them.”
Update – Photo below appeared previously on WW, photographed by Dean Wright in Jan 2017, anchored at Mangonui – I was reminded of it by Craig Ogle
Update ex Ian MacDonald – Shandi is owned by the Sanderson family (Bruce & son Bruce Jnr.) Members of the Whangarei Game Fishing Club. Below is a link to a ’Northern Advocate’ article on Bruce Snr., check out the video.
WOODYS CRUISING THE BAY OF ISLANDS – SUMMER 2019/20 – Part 1
Just got home yesterday from 10 days mooching around Waiheke and while clearing the in-box I spotted an email from Dean Wright, now Dean is a Bay of Islands based professional photographer with a passion for wooden boats. He even owns one – the 1917, Arethusa.
Now any email from Dean normally contains some stunning photos and yesterdays one was a cracker – too good to run all as one, so I will split them in two.
Today we have featured pleasure launches – the first being one of the smartest classic wooden launches in our fleet – Linda. She has appeared on WW many times so if you want o know more just enter Linda in the WW search box.
I love the photo above because its the personification of our classic wooden boating movement.
Below I have included a photo of the 2018/19 built ‘spirit of tradition’ launch – Grace, and with her beautiful lines, she could only ever be a Salthouse 🙂
I have captioned the Woodys that I have been able to ID. To read more on the boats featured, use the WW search box 😉
Back in October as part of another story I mentioned that Arethusa was inline for a treat – her Bay of Islands owner, Dean Wright has decided to a build / install a new wheelhouse. Arethusa is almost 100 year old (99) so a perfect centennial present for the 33’ Bob Brown built ex gaff rigged cutter. Arethusa these days is configured in work-boat / launch style.
The new wheelhouse is being made from Iroko by John Gander – John is a shipwright extraordinaire, served his apprenticeship and worked for Careys for many years.
Included above are the design drawings for the wheelhouse and an existing photo for comparison.
We will be following this project on WW with much interest – love a good project.
I have been having ongoing chat with Bay of Islands woody and photographer Dean Wright, he is about to undertake a build / installation of a new wheelhouse for his almost 100 year old (99) 33’ Bob Brown built ex gaff rigged cutter – Arethusa, these days presented in work-boat / launch style. The wheelhouse will be made from Iroko and the big question is yellow or red Uroxsys (Allwood) primer.
Dean sent me a sample of the timber and I have done a 1/2 and 1/2 varnishing job – the result? Not much between it, slight golden tinge to the yellow section. I think the natural colour of the Iroko is just so strong that the primer tint makes little difference.
I have attached at the bottom of the story a photo comparison of the existing wheel house and the plan for the new one – very smart.
Anyone back to todays story – Dean email me mid-week and said “check out what’s parked in our bay tonight” and sent the above photos of the 49’ Highlander. Designed by Roger Carey but not built by Careys. Wheelhouse designed by Don and Peter McManaway.
Dean mentioned Highlander was featured (page 127) in the 1988 book ‘By Boats We Live”, written by Joan Clark. The book records the history of the boats built by Roger Carey. I have reproduced the page below, have a read – its very good
Not Everyone Had A Good Holiday Boating Experience
I’ll keep the names of the photographers that sent me the above photos anonymous 😉
• Moana, the 23’ Max Carter built clinker day boat must have been in a hurry to get back into Milford Marina & cut the corner, not the first to suffer the embarrassment of waiting for the tide in a very public spot & they won’t be the last. It appears very little damage was done, other than a bruised ego.
• At the other end of the scale – a very large Azimut ‘kissed’ some rocks in the Bay of Islands at speed – the photos above of her hauled out only show a fraction of the damage – one prop was bent out of shape & the other almost non-existent. The gearboxes ‘exploded’ – a rather large insurance claim me thinks. And some marine engineer will be starting the new year with a big fat repair job.
• And another oops below from early evening yesterday, the photo was snapped in the next bay along from Chamberlains Bay, Ponui Island. Low water was 2 hours away from this photo so it was only going to get uglier.
Seems someone didn’t allow for the downside of the current high tides i.e. very low low tides.
As they say folks – be careful out there.
Arethusa In The B.O.I.
I posted yesterday a selection of photos taken by Dean Wright. Just like me, Dean’s normally behind the camera & we do not see this woody – the Bob Brown built, 100-year-old, 33’ classic Arethusa. The photo below was taken by Grant Anson, skipper of Marie-J.