John Spencer – Champion of the Amateur Boatbuilder

John Spencer – Champion of the Amateur Boatbuilder
For the last 3 days the annual classic yacht and launch exhibition, hosted by the Tino Rawa Trust, has been on at Kairanga Plaza, Halsey St, Wynyard Quarter. This year the star of the show is the late designer John Spencer.  You can read more about John below. 

On Friday I got a sneak review of the event at the opening legendary morning tea, that always sees the who’s who of the wooden boating movement making an appearance.
The show is on today from 10am >4pm, so not too late to pop down.

One of the invited speakers was John Street, now when ever John steps up to a mike – I push record. His words are always outstanding, push play on the video below and you’ll have a chuckle as John relays a few memories of times with John Spencer, Turn the volume up 🙂


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The posts last week on the Philip Lange built vessel Faith have resulted in Sharon Lange (Sharon, married Philip & Bev’s son, Ian Lange) sending in the above photos of ‘Petrel’, the last boat built by Philip. Petrel was build under Philip and Bev’s Mill Bay house in Mangonui and launched in 1991.

Petrel was build for Philips son Stev and is used as a commercial longline boat out of Mangonui to present day.

The photos, from the top, are tagged:
1: The Petrel on the cradle front lawn of Philips house
2: close up
3: Getting ready to go down the drive to Mill bay for launching
4: Philip lange on the Petrel during launching , Stev Lange on the ramp , Bev at the front and Ian lange ready to help and Phils grand daughter watching the action
5: Philip Lange and the Petrel
6: Bev Lange & the Petrel
7: the Petrel
8: speaks for its self

The New Zealand Clinker
In support of last weekends Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition, the Tino Rawa Trust have produced a 36 page booklet titled ‘ The New Zealand Clinker, its a great collection of stories on & around clinker boats. I enjoyed the read & learnt a lot.
You can grab a copy for $20 from BoatBooks in Westhaven or try your luck with answering the question below, all correct entries, emailed to before 6pm 10-10-2017, go into the draw for a copy.

Q: Where does the word ‘clinker’ originate from?

Clinker Cover

Clinker Spread

Input from Russell Ward

A glossary in the pre WW2 book Motor Cruising by Irvine and others confirms that “Clinker (clincher, clencher) is a method of building in which each side plank overlaps the one below.”
Now, shipmates, we gotta drill a bit deeper into this one, maybe. Clenching or clench nailing is the merry art of holding an iron or hammer just right and picking up the sharp end of your nail as she emerges through the other side and turning it over and back into the wood (provided the wood is soft enough). Quick and easy and, if done neatly looks a lot better than it sounds. I sent a picture via Wifi to AH just now -qv. Iona had a lot of old epaired timbers clinched and it looked good.
The Yanks of course call “clinker” by the more descriptive term “lapstrake”. So Robin Seaward in ‘Boatbuilding’ 2ed says “Lapstrake -sometimes called clinker planking.”
However, I find this appealing “Late 17th century (denoting a person or thing that clinks): from clink + -er. clinker”. Do you reckon that the wisened old man crouched over the wee boat in the corner of the shed was clinking away at his craft?
(Personally I like the old-fashioned slang use for a bum note played on a musical instrument -a clinker! Or in my favourite town Galway, a clinker is a wee lass worthy of a very close inspection. Or modern slang says a clinker is a dingle berry. Nothing to do with our boats though.) Better watch where you use the term.
Take yer pick, fellow anorak wearers…..


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. 


Ugliest Clinker & A Spot of Clinker Envy



Ugliest Clinker & A Spot of Clinker Envy

My recent photos of clinkers prompted Don MacLeod to send in the two photos above – the top one in Don’s eyes wins ‘most ugly clinker’ hands down , the planking is a fright. I know Jason P would nominate another one, but we all need to play nicely Jas 😉

Don was not sure when the picture was taken, but believes it is on one of the rivers at Lake Taupo. Possible choices are the Tauranga Taupo, the lower Tongario or the Waihora in Western Bays.

Don’s second clinker photo shows a clinker powered by a Seagull south of Mana Island, going fishing in Cook Strait. Those are the radio masts at Titahi Bay behind.

This photo was taken early 1960’s Don believes, and it is a smart looking clinker getting along at a great clip.

Now Clinker Envy – I was dropping my clinker, Peg, off at the Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition on Thursday night & spotted the beauty below, size & design wise, perfect for my launch Raindance – I wonder if the owner would notice if I swapped 🙂

Please try & make the effort & get down there this Saturday & Sunday – entry is free. Details below.




Clinker Event Ad

A wee tease of what is on show 🙂



A Beautiful Clinker

Vos Rockfort Skiff 2

Vos Rockfort Skiff

A Beautiful Clinker

Baden Pascoe sent the above two photos of the Rockfort skiff that Percy Vos built in 1926. Baden commented that it has the most attractive planking of any boat he has ever seen – big call 😉

These days it is owned by the Percy Vos Charitable Trust & resides at the, maybe one day it will be restored – Vos Shed.

The real reason for today’s post is to remind you all about this weekend’s Clinker Boat exhibition at the waterfront / viaduct – details below

The Vos clinker will be on show, so you can check out if Baden is right re the planking 🙂

Clinker Event Ad




Woody Trip Down South


Woody Trip Down South

Nathan Herbert has just returned from a trip to Dunedin & snapped a collection of woodys that he saw – the first one to be shared on WW is the lovely wee clinker day boat above.

Can anyone enlighten us on her provenance ?

And I’ll use the post to segway into my next topic – The 2017 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition, on Oct 7>8th, refer below for full details. This year the focus is on the classic New Zealand clinker boat.

So woodys get the pen out & put a big circle around the weekend in the diary. The team at Tino Rawa Trust do an amazing job hosting these events & 2018 will be a cracker, I understand there will be over 30 clinkers on show. I’ll be reminding you closer to the date;-)

Clinker Event Ad

Also I have some tickets for this weeks On-the-Water Boat Show, so to be in to win – check out Wednesday’s WW post 😉

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Unknown Motorboat & Seaplane + Cool Event Invite



Hello woodys, triple header today – name the motor boat, the seaplane & event / gathering, if there is one? Lots of people lining the breakwater, so possibly a VIP onboard. Photo belongs to the Tudor Collins collection at the Auckland Museum, emailed to me by Ken Ricketts (as is the M-class photo below)



Once again the Tino Rawa Trust is hosting the annual Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition – this years exhibition celebrates the iconic Mullet Boat.
On this Saturday & Sunday 10am > 4pm – Karanga Plaza – Halsey ST, Wynyard Quarter (in front of the ‘old’ Team NZ base)

ENTRY IS FREE – Further details here


If sometimes I’m a tad slow in answering your emails – that is because I average around a 100 emails a day relating to ww. BUT keep them coming, I love hearing from you all. 🙂

Harold Kidd Input

The PanAm flight was a proving flight in late December 1937. PanAm  had set up an infrastructure at Mechanics Bay for their Sikorsky flying boat SAMOA CLIPPER which Imperial Airways’ Short Empire CENTAURUS also used. Capt Edwin Musick was pilot in command of the Sikorsky. Musick Point was named after him when the SAMOA CLIPPER caught fire and crashed at Samoa while dumping fuel preparatory to landing. The Short arrived just after the Sikorsky, obviously to show that the Brits were up to it as well as the Yanks. The Short’s range made it unable to carry a viable payload across the Tasman however.
As for the runabout/launch, the only reference I can find is that PanAm had a “special launch” at Mechanics Bay. Need to dig deeper.

The Des Townson Story & The 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition – Part 2 – Sailing Sunday

The Des Townson Story & The 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch  Exhibition – Part 2 – Sailing Sunday

Today’s post features the yachts, both keel & trailer, that are on display at the Tino Rawa Trust hosted exhibition & gives you a peek at the collection of memorabilia & models also on display.
The show is open today from 10.00am > 4.00pm at the Viaduct – details in yesterdays post (scroll down). So if you are looking for something to do post chapel ;-), come on down.

I’ll let the photos tell the story. Enjoy

Remember click on only photo to enlarge 😉

Updated – dropped down to the exhibition late this afternoon, primarilly because Colin Pawson told me I had over looked the best Townson yacht on show – Caper. I did have one photo of her, but most of the time I do what I’m told 🙂 so back I went.

So glad I went back & introduced myself to the owner & had a wee tour – simply stunning, & yes would get my best in show. Check out the bilge photo, I suspect the pump does not see a lot of use, a duster would be all that is required 😉

I also had a peek on-board the launch Aristos, she too is a work of art.


The Des Townson Story & The 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition – Part 1

The Des Townson Story & Aristos

Yesterday I was privileged to attend the opening of the 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition, now if you have been living under a stone & are not aware of this annual event hosted by Tony Stevenson & the Tino Rawa Trust, the concept is simple but a winner. Each year one of our wooden boat designers is profiled & a collection of their craft is assembled & displayed. In recent years profiled designers have been – Jack Brooke & Colin Wild, in 2015 the event celebrates the life & work of Des Townson MNZM. In the nicest way, Des Townson was a freak, every boat from a 2.4m pram dinghy to a 12m cruiser/racer he designed was a work of art. A Townson will always be the prettiest yacht in the bay, their classic styling & purity of form was a winner on launch day & remains so to this day, over 3,500 Townson yachts have been built – that alone is impressive.

Today on ww I have featured Des’s one & only motorboat, Aristos, the 11.4m displacement launch built by Noel May. Tomorrow I will open the flood gates & post photos from the opening function & the fleet of stunning yachts on display at the Viaduct.

The event runs today & tomorrow, between 10am & 4.00pm at the Viaduct, alongside the draw bridge & in front of the old Team NZ base, entry is free & if you are passionate about beautiful boats you need to be there – the collection of craft on & off the water & Townson memorabilia is amazing.

As part of the celebration – the Tino Rawa Trust have produced a glossy journal profiling Des Townson’s life & designs – its available at the exhibition marquee for $20 & this wonderful publication complied by John Macfarlane, has to  be, a must have in your collection. I have two copies to give away to woodys – I’ll make it simple, the first two woodys that correctly name the design of the Townson yacht that was the most popular i.e the most built (excluding the Electron model yachts)- I’ll give you a clue- it shared its name with a popular model of automobile, wins a copy. Because some of you struggle to work out how to use the ww comments section 🙂 I’ll split the prizes – one via email entry at & one via entry in the comments section. You can only enter once 😉

Now Aristos – even with the addition of a flying bridge & her once varnished coamings hidden under battleship grey paint, she is a Townson & that means that no matter what angle you view her, she is simply beautiful. Why only one was built I do not know, maybe there is a story there?

So folks, make your way to the waterfront this weekend & take advantage to this once only exhibition that showcases one of our most successful & talented craftsman.

Now the owner of Aristos, Ray Haydon, is a very clever & talented man with his hands – a wee example of his skills can be seen on the bow of Aristos, Ray has designed & crafted an anchor turner (ensures the anchor is presented correctly when retrieving by winch) – it looks a little like a big bottle opener, but I can assure you it will be ‘fit for purpose’. Rather than paying for the imported Italian ones, someone needs to market Ray’s design 😉

Woody Weekend

If you are at a loose end this weekend I would encourage you to attend the Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition.

The Tino Rawa Trust is again hosting the Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition at Karanga Plaza (next to the Viaduct Events Centre) this Friday 4th to Sunday 6th October, 10am – 4pm daily. The event is run alongside the 2013 Auckland Heritage Festival ‘Maritime Heritage On The Waterfront (Sept 28 – Oct 13) promotion.

There is an amazing collection of classic yachts & launches, classic dinghies, small yachts & picnic boats on display. Plus some wonderful Robert Brooke line drawings of our classic fleet & models on display. This years event focuses on the acclaimed designers Jack Brooke & Bob Stewart & will include a selection of their vessels. I have included above a few ‘quick snaps’ I took today as the vessels were starting to arrive.

Remember to check out the CYA’s permanent on-the-water display at the CYA Marina, Heritage Landing, Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter.

Cheers Alan