What’s Happening With The Percy Vos Shed?

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What’s Happening With The Percy Vos Shed?

If I had $20 for ever time I have been asked that question, I’d be buying the Ngapipi Rd boat shed that appeared on WW yesterday.
It would be an understatement to say that the shed is a project that has had a few false starts, in fact a well known waterfront identity is on record as saying he would walk naked up Queen St if it was ever completed. In fairness to them – I think they were referring to it being a working classic wooden boat yard.
So woodys I was a little relieved the other day to come across an article by Vicki Holder on the Ray White weblog, its dated February 2018 so hopefully what was reported is still on track.
I was even more upbeat when I saw name Rod Marler popping up early in the article – Rod is one of good guys, calls a spade a spade & does what he says he will. The man comes to us from an impeccable yachting bloodline, with his family having owned one of our finest classic yachts – the 1905 Arch Logan – Rawhiti. Rod himself has owned & raced the 1934 Arch Logan designed yacht – Little Jim & these days skippers one of the smartest classic motor launches on the Waitemata. An ex chairman of the NZ Classic Yacht Association & a true waitematawoodys fan (see photo below).
Nine to Five (more like 7>7) Rod is director of design & place at Panuku Development, now that is a fancy sounding title & I can hear going “whats he actually do?” – well the answer is a hell of a lot, lets just say that if it involves Auckland’s waterfront, Rod will have rubbed up against it.
Back to the Vos shed, owned by Panuku – now one person can’t deliver a project the size of the Vos Shed but Marler has what it takes to pull together the many interested parties & funding streams to make it happen – there is talk about a summer of 2019 completion date, fingers crossed that this time it happens – I’m sure at some stage there will be the opportunity to contribute to the funding, I’ll let you know when.
Read the article at the link below + some great photos.
Woody, Baden Pascoe has published a great book, titled ‘Launching Dreams – Percy Vos & His Boys, its a must have / read if you are a true waitematawoody. Check it out here   https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/11/20/percy-vos-the-boats-his-boys/ . I think you can still buy copies – Baden can you confirm & if so – where & how?

Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition 2017 – The NZ Clinker Boat – 50+ Photos




Tony Stevenson


Robert Brooke


Baden Pascoe



Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition 2017 – The NZ Clinker Boat

Over the weekend the Tino Rawa Trust hosted the 10th Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition at Karanga Plaza on Auckland waterfront Wynyard Quarter. If you missed the event, you really did miss something special. The feature this year was the New Zealand Clinker Boat.

I went to the opening commemorative (Tony Stevenson, likes flash words) morning tea on Friday, if you were looking for a wooden boat builder or a fountain of knowledge on wooden boats, you would have been stunned at the guest list, it was the who’s who of NZ classic wooden boat movement. If you weren’t there you must have done something really bad in a past life to not be invited 😉

Above is a selection of the boats on display, taken on Friday when the crowds were light. Enjoy 🙂

Talking to Tony Stevenson, Jason Prew & Baden Pascoe last night & this years event was hands down the most successful in terms of attendee numbers, Saturday being huge. Well done guys. 


Sailing Sunday

Sailing Sundays

CYA member Baden Pascoe blew the dust off his I4 footer today at St Heliers. Baden’s father built her in the early 1980’s & Baden describes her as the Ferrari of light weight clinker sailing dinghys. Must have been a blast for his boys skinning along in a NNE breeze with Tony Blake on the helm.
The tow vehicle is a tad classic as well  🙂

A Special Woody Weekend

A Special Woody Weekend

Today was a special day on the woody boating front – Baden Pascoe officially launched his book ‘Launching Dreams – Percy Vos – The Boat & His Boys’ at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. We saw over 300 of the classic boating fraternity & people connected to Percy Vos – family, friends & ex work mates join together to celebrate the event & rub shoulders. Great speeches but the key message of the day came from John Street to Sir Bob Harvey (Chairman of Waterfront Auckland) & that was that the Vos Shed project was LONG over due & action was need NOW. Todays audience certainly agreed 🙂

A few photos from the launch / morning tea.

Copies in your local book-store now or from Baden on badenhp@xtra.co.nz


Percy Vos – The Boats & His Boys


CYA member Baden Pascoe has written a magnificent pictorial and historical record that celebrates the life of Auckland businessman and renowned boatbuilder Percy Vos, his boats and the people who worked with him – ‘Launching Dreams – Percy Vos – The Boats & His Boys’

Baden’s interest in Percy Vos is fueled by the Pascoe family association to the Vos yard. Baden’s father, Howard Pascoe, a very talented centre board sailor and boatbuilder, worked for Percy in the 1940’s.

To quote Harold Kidd here on waitematawoodys “it’s not only a great read but a beautiful thing to hold in the hand; a superbly produced book that glitters at you at all sorts of levels. A complete “must buy” for anyone with a whiff of salt in his or her veins”

There is an open invitation to all lovers of classic yachts, launches & work boats to attend a morning tea to celebrate the launch of the book. The event will also be a wonderful opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the legends that worked at Vos and you will be able to buy an autographed copy of Launching Dreams. If you can’t make the morning tea, check out the major book sellers who have copies, the perfect Christmas gift for all waitematawoodys.

Venue : Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron – Dinghy Locker – Westhaven

Date: Sunday 24th November – this Sunday

Time: 10a.m.

Percy Vos book to be launched

Percy Vos book to be launched

A little bit of a heads up, very very soon we will see the launch of a new book ‘Launching Dreams – Percy Vos – The Boats & His Boys’ by CYA member Baden Pascoe. I have had the pleasure to work with Baden on the production of the publication & its a both a great read & a wonderful pictorial insight into the world of Percy Vos & the people that rubbed up against him.

Its a ‘big’ book so clear some space on the coffee table & start saving the pennies because if you are seriously interested in classic wooden boats – this will be a must have book.
Its on the printing press as we speak so more re publication date soon 🙂
Harold Kidd Comment:

It’s not only a great read but a beautiful thing to hold in the hand; a superbly produced book that glitters at you at all sorts of levels. A complete “must buy” for anyone with a whiff of salt in his or her veins.

The Pascoe Model Collection

The Pascoe Model Collection by Baden Pascoe

The Pascoe  family has been associated with model yachting for almost 100 years.

In about 1912 Charles “Charlie” Pascoe, my grandfather,  meet “Chips” Fordyce” and had a 30” hull shaped. He finished off this hull, rigged it and gave it the name “ Star “. From what I understand this was the beginning of the Pascoe’s association with model yachting.

Shortly before my father Howard Pascoe was born in 1918, Charlie had a larger hull built. He again finished it off and she was given the name “White Heather”. Charlie’s other three sons,  my brothers Bruce, Stan and Les all had models built for them. These models are all fine examples of “pure pond yachts” and have been treasured by the Pascoe family ever since. These models initialy inspired all of the Pascoe boys to become champion yachtsmen in whatever class they chose to sail in.
All of these models are unique in their design and construction. They are all tuned to sail and race. This is a very unique feature when comparing these models to other examples which are purely decorative.
The family tradition is now keep alive by Wayne Pascoe, 3 of whose models are featured above – the schooner Yankee, the sloop Archie Logan & a 1/2 model of Lady Eva.


Pond Yachts


Now I have a bit of thing for what the English call ‘pond yachts’. The one on the mantlepiece above, my wife rescued from a Devonport junk shop as a bare hull & in the halcyon days of the 1980’s, I paid a man to make the rig & sails for it, thank god I did not re-paint the hull, that would have halved its value. These days they sell on e-bay for really silly money but mines not for sale.

During last years classic yacht & launch show at the viaduct, Baden Pascoe popped below on his launch ‘John Dory’ & surfaced with his pond yacht – built for him 48 years ago by his father Howard. She is built from spruce, an off cut from a mast Howard built for the C class keeler ‘Florence’. Baden has restored her & as I witnessed on the day, she is lighting fast under sail.
The Pascoe family have a 100+ year tradition of model building – but that story & photos will have to wait for another posting.

Whitianga New Years Day Regatta #2 c.1950/51


Whitianga New Years Day Regatta #2 c.1950/51

Whitianga New Years Day Regatta #2 c.1950/51

Launches along side of Wharf: Fore to back: Marlin (Roley Smith), Eta B (Ted Bronlund), then little launch with rounded cabin top: Peggy, owned by the Morcombs & built by Bill Nobel at Whitianga in the 1920’s, then behind her: Renown (A White), then Spray (W Heald). Boat with skipper on wheel house: Scripps (Albert Bowman), the boat with the man at bow: Te Kuti (Jim Wilkins) and the boat behind her no name but owned by Trevor Brown.

Caption & photo supplied by Baden Pascoe. Photo taken by Simon Bronlund’s aunt Joyce.

Whitianga New Years Day Regatta #1 c. 1950/51


Whitianga New Years Day Regatta #1 c. 1950/51

Whitianga New Years Day Regatta #1 c. 1950/51

Boats steaming

(L > R) – Eta B (Ted Bronlund), Waihaka (Alf Lee), Scripps (Albert Bowman), Ronomor (Bert Chaney) and the little runabout, name unknown but was owned by Harry Hancock. Last launch unknown.

Caption & photo supplied by Baden Pascoe. Photo taken by Simon Bronlund’s aunt Joyce

How to – hints on removing bottom paint off a wooden hull


How to - hints on removing bottom paint off a wooden hull

Hints on removing bottom paint off a wooden hull (ex Baden Pascoe – MV John Dory)

The best time to do a major paint job on the bottom of your boat is when you have it out for a major or minor refit. Just wait long enough and the timber will shrink from under the years of paint and become very easy to remove. Leave this job to the very last as the paint also holds a little moisture in the planking while you are doing the endless list of other jobs.

I started off by placing tarps under the boat to catch all the old paint and then three of us used Linbide (spelling?) scrapers. My friend Jim Mateer has put a long pipe handle on his with a plug in the end and as you scrape, most of the paint flakes run down the centre of the handle. Just empty it every 5 min or so. He sometimes attaches a vacuum cleaner via a soft vac tube, I tell ya, it works very well, I think with the three of us it took about 6 hours work.
I took 23 kg off John Dory and I am very proud to say none of it went into the sea, I disposed of it at Trans Pacific for about $50.00. Then I sanded the surface and gave it 3 coats of International Primercon, one very diluted coat so that it went into the timber, one medium dilution and them a fairly non
diluted coat. The bottom looked so smooth, not bad for an old fishing boat!!
Then I gave it two hard anti fouls in blue and covered it with two soft antifouls. So, when I go to repaint, I just scrub or wet sand off until I see the blue paint. That way I hope to never have to do this again.

JD and Jack Taylor

Photo shows  Jack Taylor now 92 (going on 60) & Jim Mateer, in his late 70’s working on John Dory.

Understanding the Lanes by Baden Pascoe

Understanding the Lanes by Baden Pascoe

As time drifts on, there is much confusion growing over who actually built some of our older wooden boats. I often skim through Trade-A-Boat or surf the boat section in Trade Me and see these old boats with, Bailey Built, Lane Built, and Miller & Tonnage etc. Often you see boats with the wrong builders name and the broker is at a total loss over the heritage of the boat. I have told one or two of them if they spent a little time on getting their facts correct, they may have more of a chance of selling the boat! However the name is often correct but most of these families had no business relationship with other family members even though they were in the same industry and often the designs varied as well.

Overall Lanes would have to be the most confusing name in the wooden boat building industry in New Zealand. I will endeavor to give you a very brief overview of the history and structure of this amazingly talented family. This subject certainly deserves more words than I can put in this article. I will also add that the history of the maritime side of the Lane family is one of my favourite subjects, thanks to my old friend Arch Fell and the writings of David Ward. Arch was Joe Fells (served time at Lane & Brown and married into the Lane family) son and he was a very meticulous man and a perfect gentleman may I add, who understood the boat building side of things.

I may receive a little flack for making this statement, but the roots of this boat building dynasty dates back earlier than our most popular Auckland based boat builders who are fairly well researched and recorded. To add to this the Lanes and their extended family built the widest range of designs and size in this country.

All this started when William Lane and his wife Mary Ann, Cotswold farmers who arrived in Auckland on 20th August 1860 on the “Persia”. Soon after this they traveled north and settled in the Bay of Islands at Clendon Cove (near Russell) while their house was being built at Kaeo. Most of  the timber and hardware for the house they brought with them.

While at Clendon Cove they became good friends with a man by the name of William Paine Brown who ran a business repairing smaller trading boats. This was the perfect place for their second eldest son Thomas Major Lane to learn the trade of shipwright and boat builder. His older brother Soloway was immediately apprenticed to Sydney based ship owners, W. McArthur & Co as a seaman.

William Paine Brown was a man with the sea in his blood. He came from the southern English port of Deal and was the son of a local pilot and attended a school set up for, only sons of pilots. At the age of 12 he started his apprenticeship as a shipwright & boat builder with his uncle and by the age of 16 he wanted to extend his seafaring abilities, so signed on as crew on the ship “Pusine Hall”. He stayed with this ship for quite a few years after visiting many ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans including Japan. In 1833 he left Deal for the last time, final destination, New Zealand. He arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1836 and to cut a long story short after a lot of crewing problems on the ship, went A.W.O.L into the hills of Kawakawa. After the ship left he then returned to Kororeka (now Russell) where he spent 3 weeks. He described the town as a “hell hole”. He did go back to sea and served on several missionary coastal ships for about three years as first mate. In 1838 when back in “ The Bay” he met William Gardner and formed both a friendship and business partnership. They purchased land at Te Whahapu from Gilbert Mair who had the “Karere” built in 1831. (one of the first boats built in New Zealand, poss first 5)

The two Williams were possibly the first ones to establish a ship and boat building business, as we know it today. Before this most of the boats were built as one off projects on temporary sites. Brown had eight children and amongst these was son William Jnr who was two years younger to apprentice Thomas Major Lane. Things got more intertwined when William Paine’s wife, Catherine died of pneumonia. By his time William was 46 years of age with five smaller children and he needed help. So he married Mary Elizabeth Lane aged 22  sister of Thomas Major Lane.

After T.M Lane finished his apprenticeship he left Browns business and went freelance building,  houses, bridges and boats around the district but set up base in Kaeo in 1868.

The first boat he built there was the 45’ x 12.8 x 5.2 “Sunbeam” and he called on the help of his close friend William Brown Jnr and relations William and Joseph Hare and Thomas Skinner. She was launched in 1870 (reg). This was the very beginning of the famous Lane & Brown name that I think is a major part of the D.N.A. of the boat building industry we have today. Another boat was built near the site of the Kaeo Fish factory (was a dairy factory) and at a later date they took up the site in Totara North where the Lane Timber Mill still stands. Looking  back, I think the strengths of these two families and the business was that they were surround by the very best boat building timber known to man. They ran their own mill and milled the timber exactly how they wished, especially for various parts of shipbuilding. Willie Brown and Thomas Lane simply lived and breathed ship and boat building and as a result of this so did their off spring. Both of these men and their wives were deeply religious and honesty and integrity was a part of every thing they did. At the height of things the building sheds (there were two) had a total floor space of 15,000 square feet, one shed was 140’ x 40’ and the other 120 x 30’. The larger shed and its slipping gear could cater for ships up to 350 tones. The equipment included two vertical, one band and five circular saws. They also had planing, trunelling, moulding and turning machinery, all driven by a portable Marshall semi-portable engine. So it was not hard to see this would have been a state of the art place for young men to learn the trade. The quality of Lane & Brown ships and boats was high and orders came from Australia and the Pacific. Some say this partnership built the greatest tonnage of wooden ships and boats in New Zealand. That is to be researched and debated.

Moving on from here to about 1900, between Willy and Thomas they had eleven boys who all wanted to be in the business. So mutually the business was split. Willy and his sons moved to Te Kopuru near Dargaville and set up W. Brown & Sons, and Thomas stayed put because I think this land was originally balloted to his father when he emmigrated to New Zealand. The name changed to T. M. Lane & Sons Boat building & Saw Milling. Later on an Auckland branch was established in 1909 on the Auckland waterfront and specialised in launch building with a few import agencies like Scripps Marine Engines. This business was run by Major Lane and later on by his son Garth and renamed the “Lane Motorboat Co” in 1927 on the death of Thomas. The business moved to Panmure in the early 1950’s. In 1904 one of the other brothers, Ernie after a stint in North America set up shop in Picton alongside the Rowing club. (were the Eco is now). He was a very versatile builder and built a range of workboats, launches and motor whale chasers right up until his death in 1949. From what I have researched he was possibly the father of our high-speed hard chine workboats.

Marrying into the family was another talented likable young man who was apprenticed to Thomas and Willy, named Joe Fell who eventually married Capt Solloway Lanes daughter, Hannah Laura Lane. They moved to the Hokianga about the same time as the other boys had spread their wings and built many farm launches and the legendary steamer “Traveller” now “Romo” in 1904.

There were other Lane boys who followed in Soloway’s footsteps as master mariners, and bloody good ones at that! Capt Henry Ellis Lane, master of the Tasman record breaker T.S. “ Huia” from 1917-1936. An absolute ace at his job! Then there was Edmund Lane (1896-1971) who grew up in the homeland of the Bay of Islands. He in fact started “The Famous Cream Run”, not A.E. Fuller is thought. There were others as well.

These people left a legacy of beautiful classic launches and work boats that we are now starting to enjoy and cherish. They are built from an irreplaceable material by a set of skills that are almost lost. We have to save and preserve as many as possible for the future. In addition to what we can still see and touch are all the men who started their careers as shipwrights and boat builders who have also carried on the Lane values. For example, names that still ring are, Jack Morgan who started with Ernie, George Curnow was another of Ernie’s boys and he taught many greats like Doug Robb. In Auckland there was many as well, Brian Lane, Ray Pateman who worked  for Lanes for the duration of his whole career, Max Carter and many more fine tradesmen.

And if you think the name Lane has gone for good, think again, there is Richard Lane of Whangarei with his Phoenix boats, in the aluminium workboat market. Richard is son of Picton Boy Dick Lane and Grandson of Ernie. Richard, I bet the old boy has a smile on his face when he looks down over our great boat building nation and your aluminium motor scows. Good on ya mate, keep on training those boys!

Credits: Arch Fell, David Ward, Kaeo Museum,

John Dory & her Lister engine

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Built as a commercial fishing boat for coastal long lining the objective of the overall design and construction methods was to create a simple, cost effective and easy driven vessel. John Dory is also an outstanding sea boat and has demonstrated this ability on many occasions.

Her 27hp Lister Diesel is a good example of the type of machinery once used in small coastal fishing boats. John Dory is well maintained to a commercial standard. Howard Pascoe cruised the Coromandel and Northern Coastline up until his death in 2001.

23/09/2014 – The Lister is getting some love, including a new (out of the box) reduction box – love the bronze nuts.