Lisa Jane + Help Needed tracking down Bill Couldrey’s Boats

Lisa Jane
The launch Lisa Jane is currently on the Waitangi Yacht Club slip, looking at the photos, probably been there for a while and probably for a while yet. Dean Wright who sent me the photos commented that she used to be a charter boat in the Bay of Islands and owned by Peter Rosoman, who had the launch – Cara Mia before it. The rather large holes both sides of the hull indicate the ‘removal’ of a significant amount of rot.Dean’s memory bank is reminding him she may have hit a rock off Tapeka Point in the B.O.I., travelling at a good clip, maybe in the 1990’s. The same memory is also recalling she was capable of 15 knots.
Can anyone tell us about the boat – designer / builder/ date launched etc and what the future plans are.

Do You Own – Have Owned – Or Know Someone That Has – A  Bill Couldrey Boat
WW has been contacted by Jenni Mence who is researching the boats of boat designer/builder Arnold Francis (Bill) Couldrey for a book she is writing about him, and is currently trying to locate as many of his boats as as she can. I’ll let Jenni tale the story:
“Despite having made a great contribution to our maritime history, Bill is relatively unknown as a designer and builder. He worked for many years out of the ex Bailey and Lowe shed at Shoal Bay, Auckland, before retiring to Rotorua where he continued his design work. My husband and I have fully restored two Couldrey boats, a 1933 26 ft launch, and a 1950 38ft K Class yacht and these projects have sparked our interest in tracing and documenting the rest of his boats. Bill’s family have provided a list of the 83 boats Bill designed and/or built throughout his working life, which spanned from 1924 to 1975, and includes everything from sailing dinghies to launches and yachts. Unfortunately many of them are unnamed which has made tracing them difficult. I have recently published a large ‘coffee table’ book tracing the history of the K Class yachts, which includes many photos and stories of the boats, the people, and the racing, on the Hauraki Gulf throughout the 1950s and 1960s; and I would like to create something similar around Bill’s boats. As well as tracing the boats – in whatever condition they may be in now – I would also like to make contact with any previous or current owner of a Couldrey boat so that their experiences and stories may also be included in this book.”
So woodys can we help Jenni with any known boats, owners (past and present), photos etc. Even if you just know the name of a boats owner, Jenni will endeavour to track them down. Jenni’s K Class book was a master piece (see below), it would be great to help bring this one to life. Jenni can be contacted at or

Cara Mia

In the photo above we see the game fishing launch – Cara Mia coming alongside  the wharf at Tutukaka. The photo is dated Feb 1963.  She was built by Ray Dinsdale on the shores of Whananaki. In the photo is is flag to peanuts, indicating that she had landed two game fish that day.
Cara Mia possibly makes a cameo appearance in this 2015 WW story on Aquila – link below

Do we know any more about the launch and what became of the boat?

27-12-2020 Input from Ian Creevey – I started my game fishing career on the Cara Mia in Paihia in 1976. Photo below.
At the time she was owned by Peter Rosoman who I recently ran into in Marsden Cove after 42 years!! Also met another guy who remembers her being built.

Cara Mia


photos & details ex Ken Ricketts & trademe

Cara Mia, 37.7 ft, was built by Maurice Palmer at Devonport in 1961 & has a 6 cyl. 120h.p. Mitsubishi diesel, present owner has had her for 10 years. Currently for sale on trademe, it might take a while to sell – the listing only says “This boat is for sale. Make an offer” 🙂

On first viewing Ken saw her as a classic 1950’s McCeady, but the owner has strong evidence she is not + the bow portholes are “rounded” at the ends & McGeady’s were always oblong.

The two boat photo is Cara Mia & Arohanui in Coromandel Harbour in 2006

Harold Kidd Update

CARA MIA (proper spelling – fixed) was indeed built by Maurice Palmer of Devonport in 1961 for T. Harrison. She was 36′ x 34’3″ x 10’3″ x 2’9″. Later owners included R.M. Waite and L.W. Moore in Auckland. There was also a CARA MIA gamefishing from Tutukaka owned by Ray Dinsdale but I’m pretty certain it’s another boat.

This CARA MIA’s original engine was a 100hp Fordson diesel.

Palmer was well regarded as a designer/boatbuilder. Included in the yachts he built were the 22ft mullet boats STARDUST (I) and CONTROVERSY and the Stewart 34 PANIA.

 27/10/2014 – Chris McMullen Update

I was Morrie Palmers only apprentice. First at his house in Meola Rd Point Chevalier. He then moved his boatbuilding operation to 15 Clarence St Devonport. He purchased an old house that I believe had been the Police Station. He removed all the interior walls as the boats got bigger. The Council building inspectors were not happy. Cara Mia was built in the this old house. She was one of two built drawn by Morrie but definitely based on a Billy Rogers design.  I remember Morrie telling me about the advantages of the Rogers flam bow in a launch.  He said ” Only Aircraft carriers have flared bows.” I guess (now) he was referring to “Wirihana”.  The Flam Bow has more room in a small displacement launch and contrary to what you may think, the extra buoyancy is better in a big head sea. At the time I was only interested in Mullet Boats but I remember most of what he told me. Years later from my own experience. I believe he was right. And yes, We did use large Kauri demolition timber from the Rutland St Drill Hall but not for planking. I did about half my apprenticeship with Morrie until he closed the doors, the balance with Max Carter.  Two very good hard working and knowledgeable Tradesmen. I was very fortunate to be an apprentice Wood boat builder in the early 1960’s.when you could still get good Kauri.