Mystery Napier Boat – Tautane > Centaurus
Hylton Edmonds sent me the above photo of the unnamed Napier pilot taken by his late uncle TDE Edmonds who lived in the Hawkes Bay. Hylton recalls that it was taken sometime in the late 1950’s > early 1960’s and shows the pilot boat giving the ship ‘a bit of assistance’, which was common practice at the time.
Hylton was hoping one of the Napier / Hawke’s Bay WW followers could fill in some of the gaps re the photo e.g a more accurate photo date, name, builder, launch date, and was she actually built as a pilot boat or later commissioned as one etc as she definitely has an ex Fishing Boat – Miller and Tunnage look about her, and of course, what became of her?
UPDATE : Thanks to Michael O’Dwyers shape eyes we now know its Tautane – WW link below for details + photo of her today as Centaurus 🙂
19-08-2019 Input from Michael O’Dwyer
“Had a wee chat with an ex skipper of Tautane today.His name is Morry Trow,now 86 years old. Morry drove the pilot boats in Napier from 1967 through to 1983.He recalls Tautane being a good sea boat especially when driven with the 6/71 but the pilot house could get a little cramped with four people packed in.He regaled me with one account of having to remove an entire crew off a freighter all at once,the problem being one of the crew members had murdered a fellow seaman and the body had to come back too.Morry had taken out a number of policemen of course, so not having enough room and not that keen to have a tense situation on deck they ended up towing one of the lifeboats back with the perpetrator aboard duly escorted by the police.Tautane was replaced with the 120 tonne Athol Burns designed tug J.R. Harland in 1968 now Albatross V working adventure tourism in the Bay of Islands.”
LAUNCHING OF CENTAURUS
Yesterdays story on Leilani and Centaurus, prompted Mark Powell to dig out the above photos from the launching of Centaurus at the Bailey & Sons yard in 1965.
Launchings back then had a little more pomp and ceremony than these days – seems there was always a spot for of a man of the cloth 😉
Comparing the above photos to the recent one below – she has survived the passage of time well – almost unchanged from launch day – we like that 🙂
As always, you can read / view more on Centaurus in past WW stories – links below 😉
LEILANI & CENTAURUS
I recently received the above b/w photo of the launch Leilani, sent in by Graeme Varcoe. This photo was taken during the period of ownership by Alfred Sibun. Graeme comment that Sibum was so taken with the Leilani that he sold her and built a launch in the same style. This boat was the Centaurus and was one of the last to be built at the Baileys shipyard. The second photo above is of the Centaurus.
Harold Kidd has perviously supplied the following provenance on Leilani – she was built as FLORAE (Latin for “flowers”), but at times her name has appeared as Floray . Harold is of the belief that Lidgard’s built the hull and Major George Bailey finished her at his Wheturangi Road home. Percy Coutts owned her until he died in 1960. He bought Harold’s father’s business and renamed it Coutts Motors and was very successful importing fine cars, now part of the Giltrap empire on the same site in Great North Road.
As LEILANI she had numerous owners after Percy Coutts, including A.G. Sibun of Bleakhouse Road, Ken Archer who was active in Coastguard with her, followed by B.J. Craies, and finally a spell in Coromandel c.1999.
The photo below (ex Ken Ricketts) was taken of Leilani c.2016 looking very sad in Thames, owned at the time by Jason Lockwood – can anyone update us on the current situation / status of the vessel ?
You can read more on her at the WW link below – check out the comments section – good banter around her name 🙂
The above photo of Tautane was sent to me by her owner Clare Robinson, Clare is hoping that we can uncover more on her past.
What we know is that she is a Miller & Tunnage, completed in 1945 or 1946, operated as fishing vessel for a time and then was purchased by the Napier Harbour Board as their pilot boat and renamed Tautane. Sometime during her tenure there, a Detroit 6-71 manufactured in 1963 was fitted to replace a lower power Gardner.
She was purchased by Colin Davenport in about 1993 and was used to ferry guests out to Endeavour Inlet in Queen Charlotte Sound and for day fishing and diving charters. Colin added the canopy.
Clare bought her in June 2017 and is in the process of converting her to a live-a-board.
The photo shows Tautane as she is currently, sitting at Picton wharf next to the ferry terminal in May 2017. Clare has advised the boat is now named – Serenity.
Do we have any more information on? Russell W you must be able to help?
Input from Russell Ward – below are two photos of the ship one as originally launched – Centaurus and the other being used as she should be. More details in the ww Comments Section.
Centaurus – A peek down below
Last week I posted some on-the-marina photos of Centaurus & on Sunday I spotted her anchored in the upper harbour. Thanks to Tim Jackson I can now share some interior photos with you.
We know that she was built by Bailey Bros & owned by the Sibun family for approx 40 years, her present owner purchased her off the Sibuns & has had her for 10 years. I’m told she still has her original 1965 Cummings V6 engine. Based on this comment I’m assuming she was launched in 1965.
Firstly a record day yesterday on ww – the previous record for people looking at the site was 8,600 views – yesterday we did 13,000+ views in a 24hr period. Totally amazing.
Now onto todays post – maybe I live a sheltered life but I know nothing about the launch Centaurus other than she was for sale late last year when I snapped the above photos at Westhaven. She was immaculately presented, in fact almost too perfect – I suspect she might have been glassed, if not I want to meet the painter 🙂
Who can shed some light on her & where she has been hiding?
16/02/2015 – new photos added