A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

Todays story so needed to be done, and woodys, John Bullivant is a legend for grabbing his camera and heading out on our behalf. I’ll let John tell his story 🙂

“Thought it was about time I got a few photos on the Tamaki River boats before they disappear, (and they are going fast by the look of some). There are only a fraction of the numbers of wooden boats that were moored there in the 1960s and 1970s and as I previously mentioned, living on the waterfront at Bucklands Beach for around 25yrs I had seen most of them go by (was like Queen St on Friday nights most summer weekends) I did 2 trips down from Orewa and took pics from Panmure Boat Club and up to and under the new Panmure Bridge, end of Gabadore Pl (off Carbine Rd), the old Panmure Marina, (going with many houses from Panmure to Pakuranga Town centre, to make way for new highway widening), along the Tamaki River walkway for about 4km (Rotary Walk,- starts at the old Panmure Marina and goes all the way to Gills Rd in Howick, for those who like walking), Half Moon Bay and Bucklands Beach.

I also went down to the 1960s site of the private ex RNZAF W1  haul-out ramp below the old Alright property (well covered in bush now and a near vertical climb down a 30ft bank), – lost a bit of blood but well worth it for me, as I last stood on that spot 50yrs ago when we sneaked on board W1 to have a look around while she was up there. Original ramp and haul-out dolly is still there (see pics) although time has taken its toll. I’m amazed, looking at the crude set-up today, how Mr Alright got a 64ft boat weighing many tons, sitting on rubber tyred dollies (which ran in grooved concrete) lined up and hauled out with a winch and by the looks of it, the large tree in line with the ramp, not to mention getting it back out again (I’m assuming he must have winched it back out somehow). Massive effort not only to build the ramp on mud, (all by hand, no concrete pumping trucks) but to be able to use it.

Hope these photos are of interest to people who may be able to identify some of the mystery boats (especially the light blue launch with the chrome ventilators and light, (looks ex RNZAF ?). The yacht hidden near the big boatshed is around 45ft looks very old and has been there for many years, as has poor old Imatra, a once grand yacht which is in a very sad state and in urgent need of care (must have been there 30 yrs odd now). I have included a few other launches and yachts to show the sad state of many good looking (and once expensive) boats on the river crying out for attention, but I guess many people have other priorities and sadly their dreams are just floating slowly into oblivion. It’s pretty hard to get rid of a rusty rotten hulk, so there they will stay till it’s “business time” (flight of the Conchords) for the 20 ton digger.

I may have some of the boats names wrong as I was using a telephoto lens for most of the pics and with enhancing colour, contrast etc was as near as I could get. I’m sure someone will correct any if wrong.”

NOTE: With the photos that John has named, I have tagged the photos with those names. Scroll over the photos to view the names 😉
I could have used the individual images on WW over an extended period, but they need to be together in one spot. Enjoy 🙂

Aurora – Sailing Sunday

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Aurora

Waiheke Island, March 2018

 

AURORA – Sailing Sunday

The other day I received a note from Bill Brown, the owner of the lovely yacht – Susan Jane, that featured on WW when she was being restored at Colin Brown’s Omaha yard.
Bill is a kiwi but works overseas & was delighted to see that his uncle’s old yacht – Aurora appear on WW (link below) recently. Aurora is a 22′ Harrison Butler design, built & owned by his uncle, Neil Brown c.1940’s.
Bill’s father, James Brown, a salty old dog who spent most of his time going up and down the Whangarei Harbour, in various craft, including Woodys; Sarina, (currently for sale, and whom mum and dad had their honeymoon on) Temptress and Yvonne. James passed away last April, just a few days shy of 90, having sailed his entire life, and selling his last boat at the grand old age of 80.
The timing of the WW story on Aurora was very opportune as Bill had recently been canvassing the extended family for  details – with Bill’s permission I have published below the email he sent out – its an great read. Enjoy.
“I saw Aurora for sale on Trademe yesterday and I thought you might be interested in seeing these pictures of her. As far as I know Uncle Neil built her himself in Dunedin to a Norwegian design. Dad used to tell me she was built like a brick outhouse and you can see that even though she is clearly neglected, she is still a tight wee ship! The photos and advertisement make her seem much bigger than she is. I think she is only 21 feet long, making her essentially the size of a trailer sailor!
Most of you know that Uncle Neil sailed her in the famous Wellington to Lyttelton yacht race that was at the time one of New Zealand’s worst sailing tragedies. That was perhaps the first, but not the last time, that old Gran thought Uncle Neil had been lost at sea!
If I remember correctly, dad used to say that Uncle Neil ran before the storm with bare poles and with a spare anchor warp streaming out the stern. As it states in the article he eventually ended up in clear skies up off the coast of the Hawkes Bay.
The other great story I remember about Aurora that was more directly connected to dad, was that Uncle Neil asked if dad wanted to go on a summer cruise from Dunedin to Auckland to coincide with the Queen’s visit in 1953-1954. Dad said yes and that was the plan they told Gran, however when they cleared the Otago Heads Uncle Neil kept heading east! It wasn’t till then that he told dad that they were aiming to be the first pleasure yacht to visit the Chatham Islands post WW2! Uncle Neil figured that if he had told dad the truth he wouldn’t have said yes and Gran would have worried too much. I remember dad had a handwritten log of the voyage, boasting of the huge crayfish they ate when they finally arrived at Waitangi, Chatham Islands. After a few days socialising with the locals they then set a course for Auckland to visit the Queen!
I have seen her only twice in the real flesh. Once she was waiting outside the Kissing Point Boatshed that we kept the launch Yvonne in. We were returning from a weekend down the Whangarei Harbour and the owner had tracked dad down to have a chat with him about her history. I think she was then based in Tauranga. The second time I spied her she was on a swing mooring in the Tamaki River.  I was at University and I had been out windsurfing and noticed her and that there was a guy in the cockpit. I stopped at her stern and explained that my uncle had built her and found out that the guy in the cockpit was readying her for sale, as her owner had been in some trouble picking up the mooring, bouncing off a few boats in the tide and had suffered a heart attack!
Uncle Neil’s second major build was the modified Woollacott – Katherine Anne, Maraval (photo below), which he built in Whangarei, at Smiths boatyard and sailed around the South Pacific and the east coast of Australia, ending up back in Dunedin. I heard that he received a RNZYS Blue Water Cruising Award for this effort, but I can’t seem to find much evidence of that. An interesting aside to this cruise was when I sailed in the Farr 9.2 Interdominion series in Perth Australia, there was a crew from Wellington, who recounted a story of Uncle Neil on Maraval being in Hobart at the same time as the finish of the Sydney- Hobart Yacht Race that they had just competed in a fully powered up ocean racing yacht. Apparently as the story goes, they left Hobart together and Uncle Neil beat them back across the Tasman!
Back in Dunedin, for summer holidays Uncle Neil would head around to Fiordland, down to Stewart Island, even on one occasion venturing to the Campbell and Auckland islands.  Sometimes just for the heck of it he would throw in a circumnavigation of the South Island. On one occasion he lost Maraval, when she was washed out to see by a flood, after sheltering in Port Jackson, Jackson Bay, West Coast, only for Maraval to float out into the Tasman and a few weeks later return on to a piece of sandy West Coast beach up by Greymouth! The only reported damage to her was the broken mast and the front bollard that the farmer had tied his tow rope to as he hauled her up the beach! He re-floated her, had her towed by a fishing boat to Greymouth, built a new mast and went on his way back to Dunedin.”
Link to previous WW story on Aurora, below
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Maraval at Takamatua, Banks Peninsula

Aurora

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Aurora 14-10-2018
Woody Baden Pascoe snapped the above photo recently at Okahu Bay, on Auckland’s waterfront. Hopefully hauled out to get some TLC.
What do we know about her?
Input from Neil Chalmers

Its ‘Aurora’  a 22 foot Harrison Butler , Thuella design, built by Neil Brown in the 1940’s .
Aurora competed in the storm ridden 1951 Wellington to Lyttelton. For some days it was thought Aurora may have suffered the same fate as  Argo and Husky, however she eventually made it to Lyttelton after over a week at sea to take second place 
In the 1960’s Aurora was moored off Kohi beach . The distinctive raised topsides and  round portholes prompted Des Townson to ask how many guns she had !
 
The woody below came ashore at Rocky Bay, Waiheke Island a couple of weeks ago after slipping her mooring. Thankfully some locals stepped in to prop her up between tides. I don’t know what happened to her, hopefully she will be rescued – but looking at there bum, it looks like she has been a tad neglected of late. Thanks to Tim Evill for the photo.

Any one know her fate?

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Work Boats Wednesday – Port Chalmers

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Work Boat Wednesday

Woody owner (Arethusa) & commercial photographer, Dean Wright, has just returned from two weeks cruising around the bottom of the South Island on board a 1970, 47’ Saunders motorboat. They made it down to Stewart Island (Port Pegasus) & then came up the East Coast of the South Island to Mana, Wellington.

Todays story showcases some of the work boats Dean spotted in Port Chalmers, 

I love the southerners use of colour on their boats, maybe its for dual purposes – looks & safety e.g. to be seen.

Any southern woodys able to ID those without names?