UPDATE 08-12-2018 My spies snapped a photo of Fleetwing at speed, heading down the harbour toward the Harbour Bridge – looked fast was the comment.
Resident Lake Rotoiti boat builder Alan Craig (Craig Marine), sent me the above photos of the 28’ launch Waimata. She has just been at Alan’s yard for a hull paint job.
Alan commented that while a resident on Lake Rotoit she is not always seen at the annual Wooden Boat Parade.
Her owners believe she is a Collings and Bell built in 1926 & bought buy the Corson family around 1939 to bring to the lake. They changed the name so we are not sure of her original name.
Her zoom zoom these days is via a Nanni diesel, prior to this she had a Grey Marine & previous to that, something much bigger that made her “really go” according to her owner.
Interested to know if the builders plate is original? – I have not seen one like that before.
Waimata is a very well maintained woody & with Alan’s input is looking very smart.
So woodys – what do we know about this boats past?
Input from Paul Drake –
The above photos ex the FB page of Lew Redwood show the 1925, 46’, Collings & Bell built launch Ruamano in February 1926 on an extended cruise of the South Island’s West Coast sounds.
The bottom photo sees her alongside the wharf at Picton & her crew being welcomed in Nelson, her owner / skipper A.H. Courts is on the far left in the photo.
Sadly Ruamano was ‘lost’ (abandoned) at sea in 2000, off the West Coast of the North Island – read / see more at the links below.
Matira, the 1956 Collings & Bell woody, has featured on WW many times before & is what I call a lucky boat, lucky in that her owner has an appreciation for classic woodys & spends what is needed to keep her in spectacular condition.
Due to personal reasons, Matira is now for sale & in my eyes would be the best classic wooden launch on the market.
Over the last 2 ½ years she has had a rolling re-fit that has included re-powering with twin Yanmar 110hp diesels & numerous other significant mechanical work.
The mechanical work has been matched by just about new everything inside. For more details, view the trademe listing (link below) , from where todays photos come from.
The photo below was sent to me by Bryce Strong, a previous owner of Matira, & shows her sporting a steadying sail –
Raema appeared on WW back in Dec 2014, at the time Harold Kidd corrected as few discrepancies re her provenance , you can view that story here for more details & photos https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/12/22/raema/
She was built in 1923, most likely be Collings & Bell. She has a carvel planked kauri hull & zoom zoom comes from a 6cyl. 120hp Ford diesel. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the trade listing
MAHURANGI REGATTA PHOTOS
A FEW TECH GLITCHES MEANS THE MAHURANGI PHOTOS WILL BE ON WW ON WEDNESDAY.
THREE TAUPO BOATS
Post a visit by Paul Drake & his brothers to the 2017 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition & a side trip to the Auckland Maritime Museum, Paul sent me the above photos & the story below – which I have re-produced unedited as its perfect as is. Read & enjoy J
In the mid 1920’s, two gents and their families fell in love with Taupo. Both of them commissioned boats from Auckland builders. Hawke Bay’s Guy Rochfort had TUI (16 feet and clinker) built by Percy Vos. TUI was on display at the recent Classic Clinker Exhibition at the Viaduct in Auckland. Auckland’s Robert Laidlaw had the 17 foot speedboat SEAHORSE built by an unspecified builder. After a weather related fright on the lake in 1929, Robert approached Collings and Bell, and the 28 foot PIRI PONO (faithful friend) was the result. Honduras mahogany and bright finished, no expense was spared. PIRI PONO is on display at the Maritime Museum in Auckland. With her 150 HP straight eight Niagara, she weighed just over a ton and could do about 30 knots. Housed in her boatshed at Two Mile Bay, alongside Laidlaw’s house ‘Monte Vista’, access to the water was via a slipway. A private jetty and offshore mooring completed the picture.
PIRI PONO was the fastest boat on the lake. But by 1935, she had a rival in the form of local man Stan Gillies’s LUYVON, locally designed and built by Jack Taylor and measuring 22 feet. She was light (about half the weight of PIRI PONO) and powered with a Dodge, driving through an outboard drive. Informal drag races indicated that the boats were very similar in speed. A more formal test was required. Regatta Day 1936 (probably) was the day. PIRI PONO had her bottom waxed, new spark plugs fitted, all surplus gear removed, and half her fuel pumped out. The day dawned fine and calm, to PIRI PONO’s disadvantage. LUYVON and PIRI PONO lined up for the 20 lap race. LUYVON had the edge because she cornered faster – PIRI PONO would catch her on the straights. Robert Laidlaw ordered his crew (son Lincoln) to the aft cockpit to get the bow up a bit. Stan Gillies was still ahead. Back came Lincoln, returning aft with the anchor. This was enough. PIRI PONO won and Robert retained his title as fastest man on the lake.
PIRI PONO was commandeered by the Air Force during WW2 and was the Commodore’s launch at Hobsonville. They replaced the Niagara with a Chrysler (Crown?) and built a cabin over the forward cockpits. Having won the war, the Air Force returned PIRI PONO to Taupo. She was re-engined with twin Gray’s which are in her to this day. There are conflicting stories as to how this came about. One source has it that she was returned by the Air Force without an engine. Another has it that Laidlaw was disappointed with the speed produced by the Chrysler. Yet another has it that the Air Force wrote off the Chrysler while trying to reverse PIRI PONO off her transporter and into the lake (overheating due to lack of cooling water).
Laidlaw was an enthusiast. He was the founder of Farmers Trading Company. He was a very active Christian, and his name lives on in Laidlaw College, formerly the Bible College of New Zealand, which trains people for Christian ministry. He also has a rock named after him, informally at least. During an early evening spin in PIRI PONO, with 23 POB (so it is said), PIRI PONO struck, at speed, the large flat rock in Mine Bay between the islets and the shore at the eastern end of the bay. The damage must have been enormous and she quickly sank in a few metres of water. Passengers, some of them not-so-young ladies in fur coats, were rescued by nearby launches. Jack Taylor’s PONUI and VICTORY salvaged PIRI PONO the next day and she was repaired in time for the following summer.
Meanwhile, TUI led an uneventful life, and lived afloat in a Taupo Boat Harbour boatshed. LUYVON lived in a boatshed nearby, but was kept dry (and light) by being lifted clear of the water on a cradle once in the shed. LUYVON also survives, still owned by the Gillies family, and has been awaiting restoration for some 30 years now.
The book by Ian Hunter, ‘Robert Laidlaw – Man for our Time’ makes a very interesting read.
UPDATE 01-11-2017 Photo below showing TAMATI in the Lake Taupo Boat Harbour, with the fishing lodge (ex TONGARIRO) in the background, and the Collings and Bell PIRI PONO in the fore ground.