Woody Dean Wright sent in the above photo of the launch – Otehei. Dean ‘found’ the photo when having a clean out – its tagged on the back ‘Ian Spedding, Otehei, 1926 vintage’.
Dean’s thoughts are that it may have been taken by Ian Spedding and maybe lated from the late 1970’s. The location of the photos is probably off the old Fullers slipway at Russell.
Back in a 2013 WW story on Otehai – Harold Kidd wrote – OTEHEI was a sister-ship to the Collings & Bell-built hard chine launches built for various operators in the Bay of Islands in 1926-7 to service the game-fishing sport which had grown rapidly after an exploratory trip north by Colonel W.H. Hazard in his VIRGINIA in 1918. The other 3 launches to the same pattern were LORNA DOONE, ZANE GREY (later ALMA G II) and MANAAKI. These launches were all equipped with Redwing engines and were capable of 16 knots. OTEHEI was built for Frank Elliott who painted her red. Like the others, and the later AVALON, she was based at Zane Grey’s camp at Otehei on Urupukapuka Island.
The photo below is from Gavin’s collection of Otehei and shows her being relaunched at Fuller’s in 1977 post her first big restoration after returning to BOI after 40 odd years on Lake Taupo. Gavin believes it was taken on the same day as the photo above.
The launch Meteor / Comet II was built by Collings and Bell and is reputed to by at the time the fastest commerical launch in New Zealand, with a top speed of 36 knots, carrying 12 passengers. She plied her trade as a tourism launch on Lake Wakatipu, Oueenston, but also has been based out of the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Picton and the Marlborough Sounds.
Just popped up on tme as a work-in-progress and sadly a long way off her original configuration.
33’ in length, these days she is powered by a Ford 180hp diesel engine – would be interested to hear what powered her in the zoom zoom days.
Classic Launch Kokoru Damaged In Pine Harbour Marina fire yesterday – refer the NZ Herald for details, its still a little to raw to go into details – more later. But I’m sure you’ll all be thinking of the owners.
Now if you are not afloat today and your feeling sheepish about the the numerous classic launches that you thought about buying in lock-down and never did – and you have just missed out on another Mahurangi Regatta – today is your day 🙂
Built c.1928, rumoured to be by Collings & Bell, Lady Ngaio is 28’ in length with a 7’4” beam. Back in 2000 Moon Engines re-powered her with a 90hp Ford Diesel engine, so she should have good turn of speed. The launch has been very lucky to have remained in the same family for the last 30 years, this constant ownership is reflected in her presentation.
The First Yacht Confirmed For The New CYA Heritage Basin Marina
If you were asleep all week, might be a good idea to click on the image below to catch up on the controversy around the probable selection criteria for classic CYA vessels berthing in the new CYA 40 berth waterfront marina.
WW Quiz Winners – The answer to the Friday quiz re the number of boats Collings & Bell built turns out to be very questionable – Ron Wattlen in his book states over 1000 (see screen grab below) turns out it was a lot less – so woodys to be fair & kind (pass me a bucket) all entries went into the draw and the two winners of a copy of the book – ‘C J & A J Collings – Designed & Boat Builders’ are:
• Ross Dawson – Papakura • Dean Wright – B.O.I. (copies are in the mail)
The classic launch – Maybelle recently appeared on tme, so thanks to the listing and Ian McDonald we get to have a good look at Maybelle. Her tme listing has her from the Collings and Bell stable and 32’ 10” in length. She is powered by a Ford Lees 6 cyl. diesel engine that gets her along at 7>8 knots. Appears to be very well maintained and appointed. Can anyone confirm the parentage and where she has been for the last 70+ years?
Help Wanted Locating A Vire Inboard Engine
Woody, Simon Smith has asked for help locating a Vire 7 hp, petrol, single cylinder inboard engine similar to the photograph below. The engines are made in Finland. Any help, even a suggestion as to where to look on line would be greatly appreciated.
First Tuesday of the month today – so there must be a Classic Yacht Association committee meeting happening (via Zoom) – so the banner below is a reminder to elected members to be kind and support inclusion not segregation on the topic of the new Heritage Basin marina 🙂
BEST NEWS OF THE YEAR – WE CAN GO BOATING AGAIN FROM WEDNESDAY MORNING
HONESTLY OFFICER – WE ARE ALL RELATED AND LIVE TOGETHER But how crazy is this, if its a cabin boat, you can only have your family / bubble aboard – BUT if its a 12’ tinny, you can have 10 people aboard
BUT I BEAT YOU ALL BY TWO DAYS – SEA TRIAL YESTERDAY (permitted activity)
Bay of Islands resident Greg Philpott has a passion and its tracking down and recording the fate of what he has tagged ‘Boats of the Bay’ (of Islands). Greg contacted me recently re the vessel named Comet III (later changed to Xharisma), he had hit a brick wall and was trying to contact the last known owner – one Morton Brown. Now via the WW site I was able to make contact with Morton’s son Jeremy Brown and the flood gates opened. So today we share with you Greg and Jeremy’s stories / photos. It’s a cracker read, I’ll let Greg tell it 🙂
So woodys the challenge is can anyone enlighten us on what became of Xharisma (Comet III) post 1986.
Comet lll was designed by A J Collings of the famed boat-building business, Collings & Bell and may have been one of Collings last designs as he died on 8th November 1967.
The boat was built for Lionel Bulcraig’s Bay of Islands operation, Hi Speed Comet Cruises. That business was already operating Comet ll (ex Queenstown’s Meteor ll) also an A J Collings design. Construction of Comet lll was undertaken by John Guzzwell at Deeming’s Boatyard at Opua. Guzzwell was a world renowned sailor and boat builder. His reputation was established when he built his own boat, Trekka, and during the late 1950’s completed a circumnavigation of the world in her, then the smallest boat to ever do so.
The original design and intention was to engine the boat with lightweight twin V8 Chrysler marine petrol engines; heavier diesel engines would have added to the displacement thus severely limiting the “fast” aspect of the boat. The Marine Department’s regulations specifically excluded petrol engines in commercial launches which could carry more than 12 passengers. This resulted in a stand-off for a number of years. As a result of the inactivity it is understood that Comet lll sat at Bulcraig’s car yard in Kawakawa.
A valuation undertaken by Ted Leeds in March 1971 stated; ”Comet lll is 44ft. overall and was constructed in 1967, but has never been used. It has not been fitted with engines or seating accommodation. There is some equipment on hand for it including rudders and hydraulic steering gear etc. It is very strongly built to Marine Department survey standards with a hull of two-skin glued kauri planking on multiple stringers and closely spaced frames further reinforced with strongbacks. The entire hull, deck and cabin have been sheathed with Dynel.”
Comet lll was 44ft long, 14ft wide with a full flare, 10 degree deep V and planning chine; a hull similar to a torpedo boat.
Purchased by Stephen A. Bell around 1973 /1974, she was moved to the premises of A & G Price at Beaumont Street in Auckland for the purpose of refit and installation of engines. The concept was “to fit the boat out for passenger service in extended river limits”. It was intended to “fit twin 8V71 GM Diesels driving through Walter Vee boxes; such a set up anticipating a speed approaching 25 knots in favourable conditions normally loaded”.
A Ministry Of Transport ship survey preliminary inspection in 1974 “revealed hull in good order and well constructed. Some considerable deterioration of super structure (coamings and canopy) evident although extent not apparent due to linings”. By March 1975, A & G Price stated that “the owner no longer wished to proceed with the project”.
On 5th March 1980, Comet lll was purchased by Morton Brown, a roading supplies and contractor of Green Lane. At the time the boat was sitting in a yard at Glenfield; it was in a fairly sorry state, cabin top wise, but the hull was in exceptional condition.
Brown had Comet lll transported across the Auckland harbour bridge to a yard in Onehunga, where he employed a Dutch boat builder (John) to bring the boat up to pleasure boat standard. The boat was moved twice from Onehunga, firstly to Penrose and then to Mt Wellington, where it was finished before going into the water at McMullen and Wing’s yard, on the Tamaki River. The cabin top was completely rebuilt and a flying bridge added. The design of the remodelling was not considered great but never the less it had plenty of room and was very comfortable.
The engine was a UD/Nissan 2 Stroke V8 9.5L (this engine being a direct copy of the Detroit 8v71). The engine was positioned mid ships, which was not ideal as it took up a huge amount of room. The stern was quite broad in design which would have been better suited for the engine position, with a vee drive.
The boat, now renamed Xharisma was finally re-launched in February 1986. Unfortunately Brown suffered a major heart attack and consequently sold the boat about a year or so later.
The new owner modified the cabin extensively and installed a smaller engine. The new owner and current location Comet lll / Xharisma are unknown.
FLEETWING The launch above is Fleetwing and the photos were sent in by South Island woody – Pete Beach. Pete mentioned in a June 2020 WW story (link below – great read), that he once owned Fleetwing. The photos above are from when she was owned by Seymor Scott of Wharehunga Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound back in the 1940’s.
I’m a little confused – do we have two Fleetwings? In a November 2016 WW story we talked about Fleetwing being purchased by the Pollard Brothers and returned to Auckland and given a make-over. The hulls look similar but the boat must have had several ‘make-overs’. Check out the links below and let me know if we have the same boat. I’m sure Cameron Pollard will clear it up 🙂 2016 Story
The 1928 Collings & Bell built 36’ launch – Manaaki appeared on WW back in 2015 (updated in 2018) and now thanks to a tme listing, we get to see down below.
Powered by a 75hp Ford, Manaaki has a 95 year old history of game fishing in the Bay of Islands, which she is still doing today. Check out the WW link below for lots of history and old photos on Manaaki https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/08/10/manaaki/