Brin Wilson 1958 Classic Wooden Launch – Mandalay

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Brin Wilson 1958 Classic Wooden Launch – Mandalay

Today’s woody was designed by Brin Wilson and built in 1958 by Dave Jackson, so that makes her a special woody. Carvel planked and measuring 35’9” with a 11’1″ beam and drawing 2’11”.
She is powered by a Moon Engines – reconditioned (2000) Ford 120hp diesel, that sips 7L an hour at a cruise speed of 7>8 knots.
Anyone able to put a name to the boat. I understand her owner has had her for approx. 30 years. Its Mandalay (thanks Geoff Bagnall)

Harrier – Our Biggest Woody

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At 70’ Harrier would have to be the largest woody on the Waitemata Harbour. Built by Brin Wilson (year unknown) to a Sparkman & Stephens design, she has a 16’5” bean and draws 4’11”. Powered by twin Yanmar 165hp engines, I’m no engine guru but I would have expected bigger, but combine these engines with a 5,000L fuel capacity, this girl is set up for long haul cruising.
In her tme listing (thanks Ian McDonald) there is no mention of her performance.
You will observe from the photo gallery above, she is fitted out for just about any situation – but you will need a Lotto win to own her 😉

Maureen II + Off Center Harbor Wet Sunday Treat

Repaint_Completed Jan 2013


One of the many woodys that contacted WW for a copy of Chris McMullen’s docking tips was Mike Empson, owner of – Maureen II, a Matangi, built c1967-68 by Brin Wilson. Maureen II is 100% kauri, 36′ long and weighs approx. 9 tonnes.

Mike has been in touch with people connected to the Brin Wilson yard and been told she may have been built for someone connected to Ross Reid Contractors – that woodys is all Mike and wife Ann know about her, so would love to uncover more information on the vessel.

Mike has commented that he believes these boats were originally built with timber masts and timber lifeline stanchions, but Maureen II has had retro-fitted aluminium mast & boom, plus stainless lifeline stanchions. It has roller-boom reefing and a roller furling headsail.
Power is via a Ford 4-cyl E592 industrial stationary engine, marinised when new, by Lees Marine, fresh-water cooled. These engines were also used on the UK 4-cyl Ford Trader trucks, in the mid to late 1950’s and also on Fordson Major tractors.
Transmission is through a Parsons Marine-o-matic HG4 Mk 2 hydraulic transmission and she has a 1.75” bronze prop-shaft which is 11’6″ long. She is set up with dual station steering, which comprises a truck steering box with a long under-floor shaft, connected by chains to the two steering stations; one inside and the other in the cockpit.

As you know I’m a big fan of the website – Off Center Harbor, the site is probably best known for jaw dropping boat tours and in-depth how-to series, but the OCH lads also know how to slow down and soak up the scenery. Given the craziness of the last 5 weeks I have found myself trolling the OCH online library more than ever, looking to a cure to my boat less blues. I have some favourites that I would be embarrassed to say how many times I have viewed 🙂

Last week one that popped up again was the OCH lads doing an early morning mooch around the fleet at anchor at last summers Eggemoggin Reach Regatta in Maine. The stunning classic woodys are basking in a golden glow at dawn after the previous days racing and partying. It reminds me very much of Saturday morning at our own Mahurangi Reggata.
Chatting with Steve Stone from OCH, I mentioned the comparison as Steve was at the Mahurangi Regatta in 2019 and Steve kindly offered to supply a link to the ERR video – view it here  CLICK HERE 
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Early in the lock-down the OCH guys put together a special deal for waitemata woodys to help us out while we are boat less. Well the good news it is still on offer – so if you haven’t already joined up, do it today – link here 8-week membership with full access to the entire website for just $5 NZD. They’re also including an optional upgrade to an annual membership at the end of the 8 weeks at 50% off.
Woodys, signing up to OCH will be the 2nd best woody thing you have done – after discovering WW 🙂


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The launch Parma hasn’t made an appearance on WW, other than a small cameo appearance, mainly because many moons ago, back in the heady days of the CYA forum, I got my hand slipped for saying that Parma held the record for the longest appearance on trademe :-). While life moves on, my skin is thicker and I suspect she is / was in new ownership.

I note in her current trademe listing the question is asked about previous ‘rot’ issues which we are told have been righted, so today Parma finally gets a chance to shine on WW.

What do we know about her? – she was built in 1958 by Brin Wilson, carvel planked, measures a tad over 34’ and is powered by a 1970, 6 cyl. Ford (Fordson 2700 series) 40hp diesel engine.
She appears to be presented in good order and is well fitted out. Owner must have a taste for Heineken 🙂




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I got a subtle dig in the ribs yesterday that (a) I hadn’t featured anything very quick of late and (b) there had been a noticeable lack of varnish – So todays woody is a very ‘fresh’ restoration / rebuild i.e just launched (2019).
Governor started life back in the 1960’s, with the hull being built by Brin Wilson, her trademe listing comments that she was originally built following the lines of Chris Craft boats.
The project saw her totally rebuilt (in fact lengthened by 6’ – now 21’3″), glassed and a reconditioned 2016 4.3L 214hp Mercuriser TKS engine installed. One of the lake boys needs to buy her……….
Thanks to Rod Prosser for the elbow in the ribs 🙂

Awana – A peak down below

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AWANA – A Peak Down Below
Awana has made a brief appearance on WW back in 2014, but now thanks to her trademe listing we get to have a better look at her.
Built by Brin Wilson in 1967, carvel planked kauri, she measures 35.5’ in length with a  11.8’ beam and draws 4’. There is an impressive 6’4” of headroom and she sleeps 5.
Power is via a 120hp Ford diesel. If you are a regular follower of this site you will know that Brin Wilson was a very good craftsman and a quick glance at the photos above tells you that Awana is one of his best builds.
During the current owners 5 years of ownership they have commissioned a lot of work and an impressive list of maintenance. They have been very upfront stating that in the near future she will need a hull repaint and some TLC to the cabin top hatches + a re-varnish inside – but woodys if the hull is sound and the motor good – that work is nothing,
Her owners are selling due to relocation and woodys on face value I think this is the buy of the year – I do not normally include prices but in this case I have. – the asking price is $26,500. I predict it will be sold by the end of the week.
Previous WW story – read the comments section – lots of chat.

Cavalaire – A peek down below

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CAVALAIRE – A peek down below

Built by Brin Wilson in 1967, she measures 34.76’, with a 10’7” beam & draws 3’3”. Kauri carvel planked & powered by a 120hp Ford 6cyl. diesel.

That’s about all her trademe listing tells us, can any of the woodys expand on her provenance? Thanks to Ian McDonald for the listing heads-upJ

25-06-2019 Updated photos ex new trademe listing

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Cleona Mae






Cleona Mae as built by Brin Wilson in 1962 & is powered by a 6 cyl Ford diesel. In the above (hauled out) photos we see her in Feb/March 2017 at the Sandspit hard stand, where she was getting some TLC. Home of Cleona Mae these days is Scott’s Landing, Mahurangi. Below, her previous owner, Nigel Drake of Tauranga has documented some of her past. Thanks to Ken Ricketts for sending this to me. Special thanks to Nigel for sharing the story. (photos ex Nigel Drake, Ken Ricketts & Brian Worthington). On her launch day she had a wee opps, refer photos below.

“Cleona Mae, was built by Brin Wilson in 1962. Launching looks as though it was in November, as that is the date which is on the original photos of her, having fallen off the trailer on that day.

She was built for Bert Follas, a well known builder in Takapuna. She is named after his daughters, Cleo and Shona, and his first wife Mae. The story as told to me by one of his grandsons, was that Bert knew Brin Wilson quite well, and when talking with Brin one day, during a bit of a slow period for Brin, they agreed that Brin would build Bert a 34 footer. Bert apparently told his wife of the agreement that night!

Previous to Cleona Mae, Bert owned the smaller Cleona, which I understand, is still in Milford marina.

Cleona Mae lived on a mooring in Westhaven, and Bert used to row out from the dinghy storage area, though he did have some trouble climbing over the transom, as he was on crutches from age of about 50. He used to take business associates from Takapuna out to the Barrier. Large bronze bollards are on each side of the transom as he was involved with the Coastguard and used to tow boats home when required.

In 1983 Bert sold the boat to his solicitor, Ian Armstrong. Ian appears to have owned her for only 1 year, as she was purchased by Bill McNutt of Tauranga in 1984. I have a feeling the flying bridge was added in 1983.

I purchased Cleona Mae in 1999. I added the mast in 2003. It had been a flag pole, one of many, on top of the Wellington Harbour Board building. They were removing them and selling them off at the time. I did many trips up the coast from Tauranga to the Mercury Islands, Great barrier and into Auckland.

She is a great little boat.

I sold her to Aubrey Montague, her current owner, in Nov 2012 having purchased the 40 foot Woolley “Freelance” in 2011.

I did the delivery trip to Gulf Harbour with Aubrey.”

White Heron

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Other than her name & that I took the photos in early Jan 2017 at Waiheke Island, today’s launch – White Heron, is a total mystery to me, but I’m sure we will be able to uncover more on her.

Input from Michael Goldfinch (owner)

I am currently White Heron’s “custodian”… for the last 3 years anyway. Harold, you’re quite correct: she’s a 1967 Brin Wilson that I bought in Tauranga.  A lovely boat I’ve already had a lot of enjoyment out of, including 3 trips to the Barrier.  Power from the original Ford 100 HP which pushes her along at about 8.5 knts. Never missed a beat.  Had an major make over externally about a year before I acquired her, and I’m currently in the process of doing a major repaint / re-varnish internally.  Resides at the OBC.

I’ve made a few changes – and still am – including new canvas and going for more subtle signage. 

Update & Photos ex Michael Goldfinch (owner)

Photos below of White Heron that Michael recently took, showing new interior paint / varnish job, as well as the Brin Wilson plaque of authenticity.

05-09-2018 Update – photos below ex trademe, via Ian McDonald


Taree – A Peek Down Below

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Taree, the 1966 Owen Woolley designed / built 36′ launch changed ownership in Dec 2015 & new owner Don Bruce undertook an impressive refurbishment that started in June  2016, at the Brin Wilson Shed, Gulf Harbour.
Between June 1 & December22,  2016, approx. 1500 hrs went into boat building, engineering, replacing glass, painting, varnishing, plumbing, re-wiring & re-chroming. Don himself spent 12 hours every day,  Monday > Sunday working on the boat.
The results are impressive & Don speaks very highly of the Brin Wilson team & associated contractors that worked on Taree.

I saw Taree just after her re-launch, in late January 2017 at the Mahurangi Regatta weekend, the first photo above, I took there, the refurbishment ones are ex the owner, emailed to me by Ken Ricketts.
Previously on ww we had a peek at the work-in-progress & when she first left the shed, you can view / read that story here

Seacraft Woodys







I was recently contacted by Chris Laird & his first words were “are you guys interested in small woodys?”. My answer was ‘if its wood, its good’ 🙂

The above photographs show two dinghies that Chris restored  a couple of years ago. The 12ft 6in Seacraft Tuna has been stripped back and had new rib sections, one or two splines to cracked planks, seats, foredeck trim and beltings before being painted up to original Seacraft colours with original badging.

The varnished 12’6″ Brin Wilson has been stripped back, seats  etc removed, some rib sections scarfed in, several splines to cracked planks and varnished / painted up to original colours.
Chris commented that it is a lovely boat to row.

Also included are photos of a 6hp Norman and original cone clutch that is in a 16′ Seacraft cabin boat that Chris is currently rebuilding. I have asked Chris to send in photos of that project.

Over the Anzac weekend a lot of the classic fleet headed north to Kawau Island. Anchoring room near the Kawau Boating Club is always at a premium on long weekends & no one likes a long row in the dark……….. but even the old salts can get it wrong – the crew on the  1905, Logan Bros, ex pilot boat ‘Ferro’ must have been in a hurry to make the KBC as they anchored rather close in. As it turned out, too close in – the below photo was 1/2hr before low tide & mid Sunday morning – would have been a long / embarrassing day waiting for the tide 😉

Ferro @ Kawau April2017

The History of MV Jocelyn



Today’s ww story was put together by Hamish Moore, a great grandson of Sir William Stevenson, the original owner of Jocelyn. Hamish would love to hear from anyone who has spent time on the vessel and or may know more about her and/or some of Sir Williams other vessels. Photos would be fantastic, of particular interest would be any photos of  Jocelyn in her fishing guise. Hamish has heard she had a lovely set of wooden outriggers & can recall as young fella sitting in the crows nest at times.
You can email details & photos to me at & we will share them with everyone & also forward to Hamish. Enjoy the article its a good read 🙂









Waihora has featured twice before on ww, once when I spotted her at anchor in Oneroa (Oct 2014) & when Jason Prew saw her moored up the Tamaiki River (2015), photos below.

Thanks to Murray Morrissey & Angela Te Wiata we now have a wonderful insight into her past, Murray supplied the details & Angela the photos from her late mother, Pamela Gilbert (nee Nicks) collection.

Firstly Murray’s background – Waihora was built by Brin Wilson and owned by the Nicks family of the Nicks Timber Company of Takapuna.  They had a big yard in Huron Street.  The Nicks family was well known identities in Takapuna.
Logan Nicks & wife retired to their beach house in Bland Bay – Whangaruru – Northland in the late 1960`s or thereabouts. Son, ‘Rud’ continued to run Waihora and the timber business.

Interesting to see Borrie Beachman & his launch ‘Endeavour’ in several of the photos, Borrie is the late uncle of CYA woody Paul Beachman. Borrie Beachman sold Endeavour & at one stage she was owned by Jack Matich & used for commercial fishing on the Kaipara Harbour. She was configured back then as a motor-sailer.  Endeavour is now back in the Beachman family ownership & looked after by Paul & son Brin.

Merita – Launch Day






MERITA – Launch Day
photo & details ex Murray Morrissey

Merita has featured in detail on ww before (blue link below to view the story) but when Murray sent me the above collection of photos from when she was built & launched back in 1965 they were just too good to add to the existing post. One photo shows her being towed through the Milford shops on-route to her launch off Milford Beach.
While there is some conflicting/confusing info on the original ww post, what I came tell you is that Murray has confirmed that Merita was built by his father in law – James (Jim) Dymock of Takapuna in his brothers (Bill Dymock) building yard behind the Waitemata Power Board in Taharoto Rd. The family are unsure of the hull design but the cabin top was designed by Brin Wilson. She was launched in 1965 in the Milford Creek where she spend her early days.

LINK >>>>

Special thanks to Russell Ward for scanning the original photos.

Silver Sea


details ex John Ellis & Ken Ricketts, photos KR.
(edited by AH)

Silver Sea is according to her present owner, John Ellis, a  36′ Alan Williams launch built in 1960. Powered by a 120 hp Lees marinised Ford diesel, driven by a vee drive, integrated into the gearbox & 2 to 1 reduction gear. Home has been Gulf Harbour for a number of years as John bought her off a Frank Steed 4 years ago, who also kept her at GH.

Given that she sports a chart of the Whangarei cruising area mounted in her cabin, it is highly probably that at some stage she spent time in the Northern region.
Its rumoured that she featured in a 1963 issue of Sea Spray magazine –  if anyone can find the article & scan, please email to 🙂

During Jan 2016, Silver Sea was in Brin Wilson’s Gulf Harbour shed having some routine TLC, including tightening up the caulking & re-puttying, painting etc. Now ready for re-launching.

Silver Sea pre relaunch

Harold Kidd Input

I always thought that she was designed and built by E Buckland in the North around 1946. She was in Whangarei for many years owned by Buckland, then Richard Ahlers then came to Auckland when bought by Frank Stead in November 2001, but perhaps that 36 footer SILVER SEA(S) was another boat of the same name?

21-01-2016 Food For Thought

Chatting with Harold K on how she could possibly have been mistaken for an Allen Williams launch & Harold suggested that its likely that someone has seen the BANSHEE article in Sea Spray magazine (March 1963, see below) & jumped to the conclusion that SILVER SEA was a Williams.
Williams took several whole back page ads in SEA SPRAY later in 1963 showing BANSHEE so it was a well-known image at the time.
Anyone else able to expand on this supposition? May Ian Mason ?


10-07-2016 Hauled Out At Milford Cruising Club



Te Honu

As Purchased

Re-fit Underway

photos & info ex Bruce Dickie & Ken Ricketts. edited by Alan H

Te Honu was built by Brin Wilson in 1963 & is 34′ x  10′  6″. Her first owners were a family by the name of ‘Tuttle’ or ‘Turtle’ according to one of her current owners, Bruce Dickie, Bob believes they were in the cartage business in the Takapuna area, She would have been one of the last boats Brin Wilson built in Porana Rd Glenfield.

She is presently owned by father & son team of boat builder Bruce & his son Logan, they bought her in February 2015 off a Mark Wilson, who had apparently owned her for approximately the last 15 years & had kept her at Pine Harbour.
Home is now Gulf Harbour & she has been hauled out  in the Brin Wilson shed for the last few months for a ‘makeover at the hands of Bruce & Logan, assisted by a number of members of their family.

She is stall largely original except for the flying bridge which Bruce is working at improving the aesthetics of during the refurb 🙂
She is still powered by the original 100 HP 6 cyl. Lees converted Ford diesel.

We look forward to seeing her back in the the water later in the year.

Harold Kidd Input

According to APYMBA records, TE HONU was built by Brin Wilson in 1961 for K S Turtill & Sons with a 6 cylinder Ford. She was 34’x32’x10’2″x3’6″. Later owners included well-known Accountant Jack Anderson of Blomfield Spa, Takapuna (1973).

The full ownership was recorded as K.S., M.I., P.H. and I.S. Turtill. Ken Turtill  (1914-2000) was an Army Captain in WW2 and a POW. He lived at 132 and later 258 Hurstmere Rd Takapuna around the time TE HONU was built by Brin. He was a student liaison officer at the time. Good bloke.

St. Clair

St Clair
photos & details from owner John Newton

The 34′ sedan St Clair was built for Lionel Barney by Brin Wilson in 1956 and is kauri carvel construction. ww readers may recall that it was used as a ferry for St Clair lodge at Vivian Bay on Kawau Island . Piers Barney who runs Norma Jean charters has recollections of collecting passengers from Sandspit when he was 10 years old, Piers had to stand on a soap box to see out of the wheel house.

She was surveyed for 39 passengers to Kawau limits and amazingly carried up to 20  x 44 gallon drums of diesel for generators and bags of wheat and meal for all the chooks and muscovy ducks at the lodge, so a really solid little launch.

Piers father Lionel used to enjoy racing it in fun races against other boats off Kawau Island Yacht Club where she did very well reportedly getting up to 13 knts with a 100hp Ford engine. She hasn’t seen that sort of speed since, perhaps because of the new heavier sedan cabin.

St Clair was bought by John and Helen Hager and refitted to a comfortable sedan in 2006 by Robertsons Boats. Current owners John & Natasha Newton bought her in 2011.



Info & photos ex Sea Spray magazine ex Neil Chalmers

Following on from yesterdays post on the mystery Brin Wilson’s motorsailer – today we have Kereru (maori for pidgeon) another Brin Wilson designed & built 30′ motor-sailer. Originally built for Frank Pidgeon (……..Kereru).
She was the cover / lead story on the June 1960 edition of Sea Spray.
With a 86hp Ford diesel engine she would have had a good turn of speed when the wind dropped. These boats were very practical & attractive solutions to the power/sail dilemma , the only other that has come close is the fiberglass replica Logan 33’s, which unfortunately are no longer in production.

Anyone know where Kereru is today?

Update from Mark McLaughlin (article from NZ Herald 29 Jan 2011)
Kereru is now on Lake Rotoiti & since arriving she has had her saloon windows enlarged but is otherwise fairly original, and kept in great condition. There are also some photos of her on WW under the 2014 Wooden Boat Parade post.


Awana shed

Awana is a Brin Wilson design, launched in 1967. She is 36′ with a beam of 11’4″ and powdered by a 120 h.p. Ford motor.
Her current owners Rachel McKinnon and Derek Molander purchased her in March 2014 from the estate of Neil Johnson in Whangarei. Johnson purchased her in July 2012 from Tauranga (seller unknown). Her new home is Pine Harbour.
Her new owners have already started work bringing her into prime condition, to date they have hauled her out and changed her cabin sides from a brown stain (owners words) to a light grey, at the same time all her were removed & re-sealed + anti-fouling.
Her new owners report Awana is a very sea worthy boat and are looking forward to a long future with her.
Like all owners they are interested in uncovering more of her past – anyone able to help?






photo ex Russell Ward

Designed & built from kauri in c.1960 by Brin Wilson for the late Sir William Stevenson & family. Sir William owned many boats on numerous lakes around NZ , Jan being one of them. She still resides in a boat shed in the Okere Arm of Lake Rotoiti. Jan is well known on the lake & one of the boats I hope to see next weekend at the Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade.
Check out to view more lake boats & the event. Boats are listed on the left side of the home page & grouped in chronological order.





photo from Dave Jackson

It is very hard to design a sub 36′ launch (I’m guessing on her length) that looks ‘right’ i.e. that all the bits work together, in proportion. This very smart launch (in my eyes) ticks most of the boxes.

Input from Dave Jackson 16/11/13


Built by Dave Jackson & Graham Christian

Devonport, 1957

For Ken Quinton

Original – 4 cylinder Ford

Designed by Brin Wilson