Classic Woodys at Sandspit Marina






Classic Woodys at Sandspit Marina

A couple of weeks ago I was up Sandspit way & spent an hour or so mooching around the new (ish) marina. Very impressive set up & with the yacht club’s haul-out facilities its a prefect spot to keep a woody. The real win win factor is the proximity of the ‘Greg Lees Boatbuilder’ yard, in recent years Greg & his talented team have rubbed the magic wand over some of our finest classic woodys. Just type Greg Lees in the WW search box to see the level of workmanship & perfection.

I have included a few photos of the motor camp where I stayed with my ex woodys boater – Chris Miller in this stunning motor home. 

A real bonus was the amazing meal & service we had at the Sandspit Yacht Club on Saturday night – I was expecting burgers & fries but no – everything – décor, service & the food was superb – check it out if you are up that way. The scallop entree was as good as anything you would get in Auckland City. Photos below.


Update: I have been sent by Dean Wright the photo below of the dinghy ‘Tiki’ in happier times 🙂


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 & 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 😉


details ex Ken Rickets & Alan H. photos ex KR

Aristos was launched in October 1985 & designed by Des Townson, in fact the only launch Townson designed that was built. I understand there was a small launch designed but not built. Aristos was built by Noel May, is 36 feet long,  3 skins of kauri in the hull, with solid mahogany coamings & glassed ply decks .

She is powered by twin 60 HP Nissan diesels & cruises at 8 knots.

She  sleeps 6 & was built for Ian & Vivienne Stembridge . She remained in the Stembridge family from new until early 2013. Being kept the whole time at Whitianga.
Aristos has recently been sold to Ray Haydon & Sarah Elleray of Auckland.

Note: Noel May also built in 1993 a very similar launch Summer Wine (view her by entering her name in the ww search box)