Aria + WIN a copy of the Des Townson book

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ARIA

Todays vessel is the 47.5’ ex-work boat Aria, built in 1938 by Miller & Tunnage to tow barges of native timber, retired from duty in 1963, then used as a fishing trawler and pleasure use until 1981.She then received a total refit including all new topsides for extended blue-water Pacific cruising, the refit included a rebuilt 1963 Gardner 6LXB, (now 150hp).

Reviewing her trademe listing (thanks Ian McDonald), Aria is very well fitted out for cruising or live aboard. Won’t win a beauty competition but a very salty looking woody.

WIN A COPY OF THE JUST RELEASED BOOK –  ‘DES TOWNSON – A SAILING LEGACY’
A ground breaking book that chronicles the life and design work of one of New Zealand’s most successful boating legends. Over 400 photographs.
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HOW TO ENTER 
Answer, correctly, the question below and you will go into the draw for a copy of the brilliant 334 page book. Entry is via email only -send your answer to the link below waitematawoodys@gmail.com
Q: How many words are used in the book?
Hint – you will find the answer here  https://destownson.co.nz
Entry closes at 8pm on 09-10-2019. Winner advised on WW.
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RSVP– you and your boats name + approx. numbers to sueedwards@xtra.co.nz

 

Des Townson  – A Sailing Legacy

 

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Des Townson  – A Sailing Legacy

Back in July Brian Peet contacted me about his latest book publishing project, Des Townson – A Sailing Legacy. Brian asked if I would like to attend the launch night, a smallish gathering in the dinghy locker at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron – of course I said yes and a few days later an advance copy of the book arrived via courier. Well that buggered my plans for that day 🙂
I later asked Brian if I could sneak a couple more onto the invite list, which happened. Then Brian lets me know that things have snow balled and the launch was now in the main ballroom at the RNZYS, things had stepped up a few notches.
Fast forward to last night and the who’s who of yachting is crammed into the Squadron. My guess would be 400+ people. Speakers were the Squadron Commodore Ian Cook, Des’s younger brother – Bill Townson and Brian Peet. Ian built six Zephyrs under Des Townson’s supervision, won the National Champs in 1980. Bill Townson is a skilled boatbuilder, yacht designer and amphibian aircraft designer/builder.
I sneaked in early any took a few photos and videos of some of the exhibits, which included a Starling, Zephyr, Mistral and a 1956 replica of Des Townson’s first commercial design Nimble. What most caught my eye, was the Townson 2.4m dinghy on display that had just been built by Allan Hooper at the NZ Traditional Boatbuilding School. Its for his own use, but if you ask me it should be should be on display somewhere. Talking to Allan I understand the school will have ‘build your own’ kits and how to classes – perfect opportunity to own a Townson.
I later filmed Brian’s talk / presentation, see below – it is a wonderful insight into how the book came about and challenges Brian had over the 10 years it took to complete it.
 
As I have said before – its a great read, buy it, you won’t be sorry – as Brian said last night – it is a “sailing book, about a sailor, written by a sailor”.
 
Enjoy the video, then buy the book – either via the website https://destownson.co.nz  or if you prefer to do a bank transfer, email Brian with your name and postal address and he will reply with bank account details – its that easy  brian@destownson.co.nz 
 
Oops nearly forgot –  Details on how to win a copy of the book on WW, later in the week.

 

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The Story of Marguerite

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The Story of Marguerite

Some boats are very lucky and others seem to have a hex on them – Marguerite was one of those boats.
 
On Sunday I posted a black & white photo of the 1948, 42’ Des Donovan built launch – Marguerite on WW as a ‘Mystery Launch’ tease. Surprisingly no one ID’s the boat, she did appear on WW back in 2014 (link below). In this story we read about how she was effectively ’skuttled’ at the back of Rangitoto Island and the subsequent insurance claim / prosecution. Ken Rickets also told us about an oops just prior to her launching, details in the link.
 
Over the weekend I was contacted by Christoph  Hoessly who relayed ex his mother – Margaret Cooper (nee McLeod) – the story of a grounding off Motuhue Island in 1949 – I’ll let Christoph’s mother tell the story in her words, below.
But the questions today are:
 
1. Can anyone tell us the name of the culprit that sank her? and what became of them. Was Tom the Torch around back then?
2. Was the boat re-floated and if so what became of her?
 
Margaret’s story below
 

“The motor launch Marguerite (named after the owner’s wife) was built in the Ponsonby boatyard of builder Des Donovan in 1948. She was commissioned by my father Ken McLeod of Rotorua and was 42 feet long and built of solid Kauri without a single join.

Usually, the boat was moored at Tauranga but from time to time Ken sailed it up the coast to Auckland.  It was on one of these trips, I believe it was in 1949 that he decided to take it to Motuhue Island because I had a friend who was a young naval officer stationed at the base there and it was decided to take him out for the day. 

On board were Ken’s wife, myself and an old friend of Ken’s, Mick Fahey, his wife Zelda and daughter Robin. On the way Ken decided to investigate a minor problem in an engine so he gave the helm to Mick with instructions to head for a certain headland. Within about 10 minutes there was a terrible thud. Mick had misinterpreted Ken’s instructions and the boat had hit a rock. 

It started taking on water and Ken hunted in vain for what was obviously a hole in the hull. It eventually transpired that it was under a locker in the bow and almost impossible to reach. Meanwhile the situation required removing all but the two men from the boat to the island and seeking help as fast as possible.

All the others were put in the dinghy and I rowed them ashore. The rocks all over the beach were hard to navigate in bare feet but eventually I reached the naval station where I found the captain hoeing his vegetable garden! He was immediately galvanised into action to try at least to tow the boat to safety.

Meanwhile Ken had managed to reverse the boat off the rock on which it was stuck and had almost beached it nearby. The captain rallied his young naval trainees who completed the beaching task with a couple of lifeboats.

Next day, the Marguerite was repaired sufficiently by Des Donovan to be towed to his boat yard and eventually repaired both inside and out. The tide had gone through the hull overnight and a good deal of the interior had to be replaced. 

Mercifully, the insurance company paid for the entire cost of the repairs.

The McLeod family subsequently had many wonderful holidays on the Marguerite not withstanding Rita’s low tolerance of rough seas!

Eventually after Ken retired he felt that he could no longer manage the boat safely on his own (the real Marguerite got terribly sea sick and did her best to be enthusiastic about boating) so it was sold to someone who assured Ken that he would take good care of it.

Within a year or so this owner had on sold it to another person, now unknown. Their motive for buying it is still a mystery but within a short time the Marguerite was reported sunk at the back of Rangitoto Island.

The insurance company “smelled a rat” and did a thorough investigation which revealed that the boat had been deliberately scuttled in order to claim the insurance. Anything of any value such as the compass and other nautical gear of any value was gone.

I do not know whether the hull was ever returned to Auckland but the whole dreadful history was heart breaking for Ken.”

Des Townson – A Sailing Legacy 
I’m a little excited today (it doesn’t take much – I’m a country boy at heart) because tonight is the launch of Brian Peet’s brilliant Des Townson book at the RNZYS. I was privileged to get a preview copy and have been devouring it for the last 3 weeks – its a monster, 343 pages and packed with insights, intel, line drawings and photos. Post the launch I will do a WW review on the book, but Woodys, save your pennies this is a must have.
And even better news for the those of Scottish descent – I will be giving a copy away on WW, but with the daily WW followers/readers being so big these days – best you buy a copy 🙂 More details tomorrow 😉
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