Ruamano RIP





In the bundle of prints I received from Bryce Strong were the above photos of the 1925 Collings & Bell built launch – Ruamano. Sadly she was abandoned in 2000 off the West Coast of the North Island. I have not come across many colour photos of her, so published these to showcase what a fine ship she was.
Reading reports of the incident she might have been saved, it would appear that her crew were a little too hasty in climbing off her. You can read more about the incident in the first WW story link below.
Given the passage of time, maybe someone would like to tell us more about how she came to be abandoned.

Marne (Marie)

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MARNE (Marie)
Today’s woody popped up on Lew Redwood’s fb, the photo is tagged Waitangi River, Bay of Islands and dated 07-01-1924. Those with 20/20 vision will note her bow displays the name Marie, but Harold Kidd has advised that when launched by Collings & Bell in 1919 she was named Marne.
She made a brief appearance on WW back in August 2013. Link below
Do we know any more about her?
Harold Kidd Input – She was built by Collings &Bell in 1919 as MARNE (although God knows why anyone who had been there would name a boat after that French battleground) for J Goodwill. No details of first engine but probably a Doman. That was replaced with a 4 cylinder (Doman?) when J Parker bought her in 1921. In Parker’s ownership she became MARIE and was fitted with a 40hp Fay & Bowen in 1923. The name MARNE stuck however through later owners. She was pretty well set-up and was valued at 675 pounds, a colossal amount at the time.
Alex Stewart bought her in the 1930s and called her MARGARET S.

1985 Chas Bailey Gaffer – Ida – Invitation To View

Our greatest champion of classic wooden boating – John Street, has asked that I pass on an open invitation to all woody lovers to attend the official ‘christening’ of Ida, the 1895 Chas Bailey designed gaffer. The occasion will held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on Sunday 19th July between 4 and 6pm.
The location provides a perfect platform to get up close to Ida and view the outstanding restoration by Wayne Olsen and the team at Horizon Yachts.
Ida is the latest addition to the majestic fleet of classic wooden craft under the guardianship of The Classic Yacht Charitable Trust.
Ida Invite
Woody Classics Weekend Clevedon #2 copy

A Woody Boating Day Of Two Halves 






A Woody Boating Day Of Two Halves 
When I woke up yesterday, the first major decision was – “may I driving to Lake Rotoiti for the annual Classic & Wooden Boat Parade?” Almost didn’t, and I’m so glad I did – its such a cool event – brilliant location – cool boats – and the nicest people. Tomorrows WW story will be mammoth , so many boats to show you.
But today I thought I would share with you the two extremes of woody boating I enjoyed today.
At the end of the Parade I hitched a ride across the lake to the picnic venue aboard Gillian & Grant Cossey’s 1911, Collings & Bell built, 22’ launch – Elva. Grant does the shore based commentary for the parade, greatly appreciated by those that gather lakeside to view the parade. Grant also did the same gig for this years Mahurangi Regatta launch parade.
On my return trip from the picnic I was offered a ‘ride’ on Florence & Rod Prosser’s just rebuilt and launched speed boat – powered by a very souped up 1960’s small block Chev 327ci V8. Earlier in the day I went for a blast that saw us doing 45mph with the engine only at 1/2 throttle – the acceleration is startling, one minute your idling allow, next thing you are pinned to the seat. Sorry taking photos was impossible.
A couple of videos below (turn your sound up), to give you an idea of the sound and speed – no windscreen !
Back Monday with a snapshot of the Parade and picnic.

Woodys Cruising The Bay of Islands – Summer 2019/20 – Part One



Linda – 1927 – Colin Wild


Nautilus – Oliver & Gilpin


Darleen – 1920 – Possibly Bailey & Lowe


Echo – 1935 – Les Coulthard



Thetis – 1955 – Lane Motor Boat Company


Lady Crossley – 1947 – Colin Wild


Lady Ngaio – 1928 – Collings & Bell


Manapouri – 1960 – Parkes


Just got home yesterday from 10 days mooching around Waiheke and while clearing the in-box I spotted an email from Dean Wright, now Dean is a Bay of Islands based professional photographer with a passion for wooden boats. He even owns one  – the 1917, Arethusa.

Now any email from Dean normally contains some stunning photos and yesterdays one was a cracker – too good to run all as one, so I will split them in two.
Today we have featured pleasure launches – the first being one of the smartest classic wooden launches in our fleet – Linda. She has appeared on WW many times so if you want o know more just enter Linda in the WW search box.
I love the photo above because its the personification of our classic wooden boating movement.
Below I have included a photo of the 2018/19 built ‘spirit of tradition’ launch – Grace, and with her beautiful lines, she could only ever be a Salthouse 🙂
I have captioned the Woodys that I have been able to ID. To read more on the boats featured, use the WW search box 😉

Grace – 2019 – Salthouse



Marguerite + Patio Bay Party


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Earlier this year woody Nathan Herbert was mooching around Whitianga and spotted the 1920 Collings & Bell built launch – Marguerite, hauled out getting some serious TLC.
As you can see from the b/w photo, also ex Nathan, she has always been a very pretty woody. Association
Read / see more of Marguerite at the link below



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…….the answer is simple – so you can attend the best classic woody boating party of the year.
The CYA Patio Bay BBQ / Xmas Party is the jewel in the crown on the CYA calendar and its happening next weekend – November 30th > Dec 1st. at the bottom end of Waiheke Island. Check out the montage below from previous years.
More details here  The bun fight ashore kicks off around 4pm, but woodys – get to the bay early to secure a good anchoring spot in close 😉 then watch the stick and rag boys finish their race.
I could be in a festive mood – so there might be some WW merchandise up for grabs.

WENNA (Rangitira)

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WENNA (Rangitira)
The 32’ c.1920’s launch Wenna has appeared several times on WW, links to those stories below – lots of details and photos.
Back in 2014 Harold Kidd shared with us that Jack Taylor had given him the good oil on Wenna. Jack used to work alongside Alf Bell of Collings & Bell and Alf told him some facts about Wenna. Also an amusing tale as to how she got her name 🙂
She was launched as Wenna and at some stage renamed Rangitira and then changed back by Pam Cundy at the Whangateau boat yard when they restored her back in 2014. Subsequently ownership changed to Brent (sorry do not know the surname) who undertook an extensive refurbishment – as we view her above. 
1. She was built by Collings & Bell.
2. They took their time over construction so Eric O’Neill, who lived in Ring Terrace a few yards away, kept nagging them, ” When are you going to get my boat finished”, and the name ‘Wenna’ stuck.
3. Eric was known around the waterfront as ‘Peggy’ O’Neill after the song. He was a cheerful bloke and everyone liked him.
4. He knew nothing about boating at the start. He brought Wenna back from Barrier through the bad February 1936 hurricane and complained to Alex Collings that she leaked. 40 boats were lost in Auckland in that blow. 
5. However, he got to be good enough to skipper PAIKEA on occasion during her NAPS service.


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RSVP– you and your boats name + approx. numbers to






Two weeks ago my Westhaven spy sent my the 2 photos above of the 1921 Collings & Bell built launch Paikea hauled out at Westhaven for some TLC and then I spotted her back on her mooring in Bayswater looking very smart.
Thanks to Harold Kidd we know she was launched on 26th January 1921. She was fitted with a 120-150hp Model M Van Blerck 6 cylinder petrol engine (not a straight-eight Packard as is often said). Paikea had Chas. Collings’ “concave-convex” type of hard chine design which he made famous with his various Fleetwings and whale-chasers. Indeed she was a refinement of the Fleetwing whose image appears in the Collings & Bell section of WW. She was good for 20 knots and can still do it with her present big Iveco/Fiat, as Harold experienced at Sandspit. He commented the she goes like hell and stable with it.Alf Court sold her to Hec Marler in 1925 and he sold her to R B & S S Wilson  just pre-WW2. She was in NAPS during WW2 as Z17.
You can view more photos of her here

Donald Sutherland

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The Collings & Bell launch Donald Sutherland is seen in the above photo on her launch day in January 1936.
Harold Kidd advised previously that DS was very similar to the C&B launch Miss Picton (later named Mitre Peek) that was launch early(07/12/1933).
Do we know what became of Donald Sutherland and is she still afloat?
In my eyes –  rather a pretty boat, but did Collings & Bell ever build an ugly one? 🙂
WCW Riverhead2019

Maitai – A Peek Down Below

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MAITAI –  A Peek Down Below

A year ago the 1928 Collings and Bell kauri launch Maitai appeared on WW (link below) now thanks to Ian McDonald and her trade listing we get a look down below. Maitai measures 29’ 6” and is of single carvel plank construction, powered by a 36hp Bukh diesel engine.
Her owner commented that after 11 years of ownership the reason for the sale is that he is buying a yacht…………. It doesn’t happen that way often, normally its selling yacht to buy a launch. He will be back 🙂

Sir Francis Relaunched + John Street Video Series – Part One

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July 2019

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In need of attention – May 2018

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Back in June 2016 one of the woodys spotted Sir Francis berthed on Lake Taupo and commented on WW  that she was looking a little tired. Well folks I can report that after thirteen months of hard labour, Sir Francis went back into the water on July 6. Co-owner Paul Drake commented that she was last out of the water for 9 days, 10 years ago and she was becoming an embarrassment. 
As part of their re-fit the deck canvas has been replaced with the usual ply and glass cloth, and much other deferred maintenance was attended to. (scroll over photos for captions)
Sir Francis is 22’ and built by Collings and Bell in 1916, powered by a Universal Utility Four. This engine was added in 1937. 
When launched she was named – Fairy, then renamed – Aloha and when Grandfather Drake purchased her in 1938, he changed the name again to Sir Francis. She has been owned by the Drake family for the last 81 years. 
The Drake brothers (Paul, Nigel, Roger and Michael) individually and collectively are a great bunch and between them own numerous woodys. I have meet them at the Lake Rotoiti Wooden Boat Parade. Photo below.
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Brothers Nigel and Roger on SF late 1950’s.



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L to R – Michael, Paul, Nigel, Roger. Oldest to youngest





Every day this week WW will feature a video filmed at John’s recent speaking engagement at the New Zealand Maritime Museum. The language is a tad ‘blue’ in places, but thats how John rolls 🙂 NOTE VIDEO IS COPYRIGHT DO NOT DOWNLOAD WITHOUT PERMISSION. Videos edited & enhanced with the help of Andrew Christie.
PART ONE – Fosters The Beginning (turn your sound up)


MONDAY–         Fosters The Beginning
TUESDAY–        History of The Breeze
WEDNESDAY– The schooner Daring
THURSDAY–     Amercias Cup
FRIDAY –            The steam crane ship Rapaki
SATURDAY–      Tug Boat Racing on the Waitemata

Miami > Queen Victoria

Miami > Queen Victoria

I have a few questions re the above photos. To be honest, I’m a little confused so I have drafted the details below from info supplied ex her current owner and ask that those of you with more / better knowledge than me, give me feedback.

In 1915 Dr. Rayner of Moose Lodge, Lake Rotoiti, commissioned the Bailey Boatyard in Auckland to build a launch named ‘Miami’, when Rayner sold Moose Lodge to Sir Noel Coles Miami was replaced with the 28’ launch – ’The Moose’. The Moose was built in Feb 1939 by Collings & Bell. The Moose is shown in the top photo being transported to the Lake. The next two colour photos I believe to be the same launch at a later date.
The next three photos show the launch Miami, now named Queen Victoria, that Lake Rotoiti boatbuilder Alan Craig is about to start a re-furbishment on, during this work her Yanmar engine will be rebuilt. Her current owners in 1985 replaced her Redwing engine with the Yanmar, this being her 3rd engine – previous owners, the Armstrong family of Gisborne Point, fitted the Redwing during their ownership period. Bob Armstrong is on record as saying the launch was hard to moor and had a history breaking away which resulted in the Armstrong selling her to an unknown person, who kept her on Lake Rotorua for approx. a year.
Miami was then purchased by the Lewis family of Te Puke and kept at Otaramarae near the Harris boasted. Many years later it was sold to Bert Goulding a Tauranga surveyor, who kept her in a boatshed in Te What Bay next to his lake house (house now owned by ex MP Mr McLean)
Miami’s present owners had always admired her and regularly enquired if Bert Goulding wanted to sell the launch – his wife always replied “not ready yet”. Then in 1979 at the grand old age of 93, Bert Goulding decided it was time to sell. Her present owners jumped at the chance and purchased her. In 1985 she was sent to a Tauranga boatbuilder (Bill Visser) and altered to what we see today.
So woodys – is the above story factual and can anyone supply photos and more details on the past life of Miami > Queen Victoria ?
Input from Harold Kidd – The top left pic is OKATAINA built by Sam Ford in August 1938 for Beamish-White of Okataina. (oops – since moved to the bottom of this story. AH) The top right pic is MOOSE; same Ford truck though!
As for MIAMI, I just can’t find her being built by Chas Bailey for Dr. Rayner although 1915 had a lot more news going on than pleasure boating! Gallipoli, for example.
The first mention I have of a launch MIAMI is in 1924 when she was owned by G W & E L Best of Tennyson St., Northcote. She appears to have been sold to Whakatane in 1927, owners H West, F Prideaux and D McKenzie. In 1937 -1940 she was owned by H Dunton of Bowentown. Maybe she gravitated to Rotoiti from there or maybe there was another MIAMI at the same time?
The Bests had another MIAMI themselves in the 1950s.
I suppose Dr Rayner would have used the name MIAMI for a launch as, apart from being an enterprising dentist with his “American Dental Parlors” in Auckland, he was a developer of resorts like Turangi, Rotoiti etc obviously inspired by the contemporary conversion of Florida sandhills into the resort of Miami.
Just the same I’m eager to establish his connection with the launch MIAMI.
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Doris Boat Refit 2014 Oct Nov 050

Baden Pascoe sent in the above photo of the Collings & Bell designed / built launch – Doris. Once owned by Jack Allan (Allen?).
Baden commented that she was one of several motor boats was taken over by the RNZAF and used at Lauthala Bay, Fiji during WW2.
Can any of the woodys tell us more about Dorris?
Yesterdays story on the boats ‘resting’ up the Tamaki River blew me away in terms of viewing numbers e.g. 25% more than the coverage of the Mahurangi Regatta and almost neck-‘n-neck with the recent Hobart Wooden Boat Festival. Again many thanks John Bullivant 🙂

Fleetwing Re-Launches



Late last week the Pollard brothers – Andrew & Cameron dropped Fleetwing back in the water after giving her a serious makeover. Other than shinny paint job, we are sure what has has been done to her, the brothers are a tad tight lipped on details.
What I can say is that looking at her stern there is a very serious new prop, a bigger exhaust & the addition of a set of trim-tabs, so me thinks that she has had ‘heart transplant’.
The big question is will they be entering the upcoming Rudder Cup launch race? Will be an interesting clash between Jason Prew’s My Girl & Fleetwing. I suspect that if we see an entry from the Pollards, Mr Prew will off to Westhaven marine chandlery outlets for a set to trim-tabs 😉
Speaking of the Rudder Cup, to date we have over 15 confirmed / paid-up entries, with a few more having to pay the late entry fee (>Nov 30th) – it will be a cracker event.
And CYA woodys – remember next weekend (Dec 1>2) is Patio Bay weekend – more on that in a few day.
Check out this WW link to read & view some of the history on Fleetwing.
Video below of Fleetwing idling post launching.

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 C & B builder’s plate in this morning’s WW post is of interest.
Below is a pic of SIR FRANCIS’s plate from 1916. Notice the slight difference in phone numbers.
Rather unusual to have a phone number on a builder’s plate, don’t you think?
These days one might include an email address!
Alan H Question – when did Auckland ph numbers change from 4 to 5 digits?
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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 4sale

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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 –




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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

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




Three Taupo Boats


PIRI PONO on her slip at Two Mile Bay, Taupo, in the 1960’s



PIRI PONO at her final resting place (Maritime Museum)


LUYVON awaiting restoration at Taupo Oct 2017


TUI at the Clinker Boat Exhibition


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.   

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Eunice K


I was recently contacted by Karen Bennett concerning the launch – Eunice K, pictured above in 1980, that her father, Mike McDonald, owned on the 1980’s. Karen & her family lived in Thames & used to cruise around the Coromandel area.
Karen was prompted to contact WW by an old friend John Managh, John had also owned Eunice K, previous to Karen’s family buying her, this was in the  late 1970’s early 1980’s. The McDonalds went on to own the launch Taree, photo below during their ownership in 1987.
Do we know what happened to Eunice K & is she still on the water?

25-10-2017 Update

Received an email from Henk Van Wijk to say that he was pleasantly surprised to read the WW story on Eunice K & he was able to advise that approx.. 8 years ago he found her in a pretty sad state of disrepair and as the family were looking for a project, they purchased Eunice K & renamed her Pathfinder in 2009.

Hank had always been curious about her history & when he compared the photos posted on Woodys of her in the 1980 to what she looks like today, he commented that she obviously has had a few changes done to her.

Hank would love to learn more about her early years, they know that she was built by Collings and Bell in 1948 and was previously owned by Rod Barker and was based at Pine Harbour, Auckland.

Pathfinder has spent most of her time in the lower Hauraki Gulf, and in summer up in the Bay of Islands. Hank commented that she is loved and well used by his family. The photos below show her when they found her and what she looks like today.




Link to Taree on ww here
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Matira reflections

Matira Kaiarara Bay 3

in trouble


Chatting recently on-line with Bryce Strong he mentioned his ownership of the 1956 Collings & Bell launch Matira, the lead photo was taken at Great Barrier Island & also shows Altair nearby, Bryce commented that the water was so still you have difficulty deciding which way the photo should be up.

Bryce kept her on the Clevedon River & at one stage there was a flood & Matira pulled out the front mooring pole, and swung around and collided with Altair, moored behind on the pontoon. Only held by a single stern rope which held her until Bryce could sort it.

Bryce sold Matira in 2009 to Steve Martin, a boat builder who carried out an extensive and immaculate refit in 2011, setting up Matira for another 30 years. Photos below of Steve’s work. There is an extensive documented history of the vessel here

Link below (blue) to a spec sheet of Matira from during Bryce’s ownership period.

Short spec updated version

Note – this shows her powered by twin 4 cyl.Ford 75hp engines, in late November 2015 she was re-powered with twin 110hp Yanmar’s that while lifting her performance, significantly reduced the running noise. Her owner Guy Warman commented to me post her re-launch sea trial, that that alone was worth the cost 🙂 Matira is a lucky lady to have been so well loved & cared for over the years.

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The above photo of Ngaroma, with the #85 on her, was sent in by Lew Redwood & is ex the NZ Herald heritage image collection.

She was built in 1910 by Collings & Bell & when launched, called Hazel. You can view photos of her on this link, when she was rigged for big game fishing

Anyone able to ID the other two woodys? & as a wild shot – what they were up to i.e. an event?

Photos below of Hazel ex Jason Prew – Okahu Bay 2003 – before her one way trip to NZTBS 😦



RAIRA – A Peek Down Below

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RAIRA – A Peek Down Below

Raira was launched in Devonport in February 1915. Built by the McLeod Brothers to a Collings and Bell design.  She has appeared on ww before but now thanks to her trademe listing we get to have a look inside 🙂
The great looking interior is the result of a full restoration completed in 2011. This included: new steamed ribs with copper fastenings, new bulkheads, new keel fastenings, all paint removed back to timber and her hull re-caulked + just about everything else on board was replaced or upgraded.

In late 2016 Raira was repowered with a 120hp Ford on an zero hour rebuild, that pushes her along at between 7.5>9 knots. At  the same time she was treated to exterior paint job.

Woody Ian McDonald commented that when he used to slip his boats at Omokoroa in the early 1980’s, Raira was on a swing mooring there & unless mistaken, the game poles are just as they were back then.

She is a pretty boat, but I’m not sure about the ‘poop’ deck 🙂

ps sorry about yesterdays story & the link not working, technology let me down 😦

Kawhiti – A Peek Down Below

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Kawhiti – A Peek Down Below

Kawhiti, the 42′, 1952 Collings & Bell bridgedecker has appeared on ww before – check out the link below for details on her past. Today’s post, thanks to her trademe listing, gives us a look down below.

Lake Taupo Woody Quiz

Lake Taupo Woodys

Woody Paul Drake sent in the above never before published photo, showing lots of woodys, before the arrival of the fibreglass brigade, at Taupo. The boat sheds have recently been removed, and the Drake family is preparing to put to ‘sea’ in their launch – Sir Francis (Collings & Bell 1916).
Of the 5 launches in the background 4 have appeared on ww before, so ID’ing them should be do able. The first woody to name the launches – left > right in the photo wins a ww t-shirt.

Entries via the ww Comments section. If no one gets all 5 in the right order, I’ll work down e.g. 1st with 4 etc.




The note below (edited) was sent to me by Gavin Bradley  &Maggie Mouat, they are the new owners of Otehei & have asked for help from the ww readers. The top 3 photos above show Otehei in Otehei Bay, December 2016. The bottom two above are by Dean Wright (ex K Ricketts). More details here

“I recently became aware of the Waitemata Woody’s site which I have to say is an amazing resource and I am loving the daily posts.

I found the site while searching for old images of the Otehei which my wife and I have recently purchased from the El Dorado Foundation. We have had a reasonably long association with the boat, having largely funded it’s restoration in 1996 and therefore have good knowledge of its history.

We are however on the hunt for any surviving design drawings for Otehei and/or her sister ships – Manaaki, Lorna Doone and Zane Grey as we plan to have Otehei surveyed and without design drawings she will need to be surveyed as a novel craft. I was hoping you might be able to put out the question through your daily posts or you may even know of people with connections to the other boats or Collings & Bell.

I have a lot of information and photographs of Otehei, historical, contemporary and during restoration. I also have some interesting memorabilia including the original 1927 Statement of Accounts and Balance Sheet of the Zane Grey Sporting Club showing the build cost of the 4 boats at 500 pounds each! I will share all of this with you in due course.

Incidentally, when Otehei was found on Lake Taupo in 1976 by John Chibnall, she was the M.V. Rangatira not Grace Darling, although she possibly could have been called that earlier. Would be interesting to know…The skipper at the time was Bob Colville.

Any information and images would be gratefully received!”

Updated with photos below ex Gavin Bradley that show some relevant parts of the Otehei story


Flier for Rangatira charter business



As M.V. Rangatira on Taupo as found by John Chibnall in 1976


Relaunch day off Russell 1977

UPDATE from Paul Drake – below are some pics of her at Taupo.

“The first shows her under the crane about to leave Taupo. The second shows her in Boat Harbour (Taupo), skipper Ivan Vickery. In the third, she is on the beach at Whakaiapo Bay, before she was altered by the addition of a wheelhouse. The fourth shows her alongside the “House Boat” (formerly R S S TONGARIRO, BAILEY AND LOWE 1899), again in Boat Harbour, This would have been late 1930’s. She was laid up on the hard during WW2, and the wheelhouse added when she was returned to service.
The third and fourth pic require an explanation. Recently, Taupo Museum ran an exhibition called “Times Past”. An hours worth of historic photos were screened, for 5 seconds each, on a large screen consisting of two parts. Thus the black line down the middle. I clicked away as they scrolled through. I am sure OTEHEI’s new owners will be interested, as the photos may be new to them, as they were to me. Fabulous boat.”





This Is Actually A Very Cool Idea
Russell Ward sent me the photo below & commented that zimer-frame added a new category to the boating progression – P Class > Starling > Young 88 > Farr biggie > Bridge-decker > Motor Home and now a boaty trundler!
I know a few woodys that need one 😉


12-01-2017 – Update ex Gavin Bradley

“I just bought the photo postcard below of Otehei Bay on TradeMe. That boat definitely has the right bow line and 3 portholes…”







Today’s story has come about by 4 people digging me in the ribs – started off with Chris Manning letting me know that he had purchased Fleetwing, but not really for future ownership – more to protect her from future neglect & to secure a new owner that has the vision & passion to bring her back to the condition a vessel with her provenance deserves.
Next Nathan Herbert gives we a nudge, then Ian McDonald, then Cameron Pollard emails me, now if you know Cameron he is a man of few words (in emails) his message was “some woody needs to buy this”. And someone does.
Fleetwing is a 32′ kauri carvel planked hull, built at St Mary’s Bay, Auckland at the Collings & Bell yard, launched September 1920. She has spent the majority of her life in the Marlborough Sounds as a commuter and work launch.

No engine, no propeller, other running gear in place. No ancillaries/tanks. Hull appears sound and appears to have had significant refastening work done in the recent past. The deckhouse would benefit from the use of a chainsaw.

Currently lying on a mooring in Paremata. Can be shifted to Mana Marina Travel-lift if required.

Above are a couple of historic photos . The photos of her with the Aramoana green hull are as current.

So woodys if you are seriously seeking a historic New Zealand launch for refit or restoration then Fleetwing could be for you.

You can read more about her at the ww link below. You’ll find her list on trademe at $900 ono – yeap – $900.

12-11-2016 update ex Gavin Pascoe – In the colour photos the launch in the background is  another Collings and Bell, named Surprise. Built for Cook Strait whaling again on the concave convex principle.

28-08-2018 Update

I’m very pleased to advise the after a 91 year absence the 1920 Collings & Bell launch – Fleetwing, has returned to her original waters… Auckland.
She joins the Pollard Bros fleet. Photo below ex Andrew Pollard.
More photos below of her at West Park Marina – ex John Wicks 
Update 30-08-2018 Photo below supplied by Andrew Pollard – looking very quick 🙂
20-09-2018 Update – my spies sent in the photo below – rather a zoom zoom prop has been added – maybe the bros are doing the 2018 Rudder Cup race ????
Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 3.06.11 PM
29-09-2018 Another yard photo from Jason Prew, the guy should be working on his own boat 🙂
08-10-2018 Updated photo ex Andrew Pollard – looking very smart 😉
Fletwing Oct2018




Next wet weekend when you have little to do, have a peak at the Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey photo collection, its a gold mine of old Auckland photos. Nathan Herbert pointed me to the collection & while you have to troll thru a lot of average material, every so often you click on a nugget like the above photo of Crusader under full throttle at Great Barrier Island, photo taken December 1929. Given she was built in the winter of that year by Collings & Bell for the Rev. Jasper Calder and Charlie Goldsboro, the above photo could have been her maiden cruise.

To read more on the boat & view a selection of photos old & present day – click the link below



Now Manana has appeared before on ww but we have never seen ‘down-below’.

First some background – Manana is a Colin Wild sport fisher built in Auckland in 1953 by Collings and Bell. She spent many years serving as the Durville Island water taxi based in French Pass. She was then rebuilt and faithfully modernised into the vessel that you see above.
Construction: double diagonal kauri – LOA: 40’; beam: 13’; draft: 6’

She is powered by twin 120hp 6 Cyl Fords that allow her to cruise at 8 knts & top out at 11 knts

You can read more on her past & view as launched photos at this link

Huge interest yesterday in the Lucinda re-launch story – over 7,500 views in the first 24 hours. But interestingly ww still can not crack the UK scene, see below a list of the top 14 countries viewing ww yesterday, ranked by viewing numbers. Peru rated better than the UK 😦  Now if you are wondering about some of the countries, I have a theory – ww enjoys high readership among the super yacht crews, who have a high % of kiwis aboard, thence the ‘unusual’ countries popping up 😉

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.29.27 PM




Now I might be having another ‘blonde’ moment but I have no recall on the history of the above launch. Baden Pascoe sent me the photo & said she was a Collings & Bell & named Nautilus & currently being restored at the Maritime Museum.

Can any woodys confirm, supply more details etc.

ps Baden is the worlds worst speller so maybe he has the name wrong 😉

Harold Kidd Input

The facts are that NAUTILUS was one of two local launches on the Hospital Ship MARAMA which arrived in the Med AFTER the evacuation from Gallipoli was over. MARAMA never got anywhere near Gallipoli. MAHENO had been at Gallipoli and had two other launches aboard, one of which had a stray Turkish Mauser 7.92 x 57 bullet through her hull while on davits, the only actual war damage ever suffered by any of them despite the yarns.
Taking these 4 launches on the two Hospital Ships was a great idea but they were hardly ever used because they had deteriorated badly on the long sea voyages and were a liability in the end.
I wrote an article on these four launches in Boating NZ for April 1915 but obviously it wasn’t read at the Maritime Museum, nor did they read Gavin McLean’s “White Ships, an excellent history of MARAMA  and MAHENO by one of our greatest historians with whom I collaborated for my article.
No further comment.

01-09-2016 – photo (ex Colin Brown) below on relaunch day (2016) – emailed in by Ken Ricketts

NAUTILUS relaunched 2016

22-11-2016 Photo below sent in by Chris Leech – taken during the NZ Navy 75th Review (Nov 2016)



2018 Photo below



Lady Ngaio

Lady Ngaio 4

Lady Ngaio 1

photos & details ex Brenda Chappell

Today’s story features the 1928 Collings & Bell launch Lady Ngaio.  Brenda & her late husband, Dan, have owned the 28′ Lady Ngaio for the last 24 years. Prior to this she  was kept at anchor in Jacks Bay in the Bay of Islands & owned by Pete Drummond who was the local Jacks Bay plumber. Pete had the late Wayne Roberts, the Chappell’s neighbour and boat builder from the West Coast, totally strip the boat down at which time he extended the cabin and built new berths and a small new galley. This work was carried out at Te Uenga in Parekura Bay in a boat shed two properties along from the Chappell’s.
Dan Chappell had became very interested in Ngaio’s refit and when Pete Drummond decided to sell Ngaio not long after its relaunch, he asked Dan if he would be interested.  Amazingly the engine still went well after its long sojourn in Jacks Bay, but a few years later it became apparent a new one was required.
In c.2000 Chris Moon at Moon Engines supplied a new engine, a Ford diesel 85hp and the work was done at Opua, possibly at the Deemings yard.
For the last 24 years the boat’s home has been in Parekura Bay in the Bay of Islands.

Sadly with Dan’s passing last year, Brenda feels it is time that Lady Ngaio was passed onto another classic launch enthusiast who can care for her as much as Dan did.

So woodys if you or someone you know is looking to buy a very smart classic launch, add Lady Ngaio to your shopping list. In the first instance contact Brenda at

Also interested in any details on LN’s life before 1990.


PAIKEA - 1970s

photo ex Fraser Chapman

While Paikea has appeared on ww a couple of times (nearly 2 years ago), the above 1970’s photo emailed to me by Ken Ricketts was just too good to just add to one of the existing posts, so here she is looking very voom voom. Harold Kidd has advised that in her day she was good for 20 knots, read below.
Harold Kidd Input

PAIKEA was built by Collings & Bell for A.H. Court and launched on 26th January 1921. She was fitted with a 120-150hp Model M Van Blerck 6 cylinder petrol engine (not a straight-eight Packard as is often said). PAIKEA had Chas. Collings’ “concave-convex” type of hard chine design which he made famous with his various FLEETWINGS and whale-chasers. Indeed she was a refinement of the FLEETWING whose image appears in the Collings & Bell section of WW.

PAIKEA was good for 20 knots and can still do it with her present big Iveco/Fiat, as I experienced not long ago at Sandspit. She goes like hell and stable with it.

Alf Court sold her to Hec Marler in 1925 and he sold her to R B & S S Wilson just prior WW2. She was in NAPS during WW2 as Z17.

Hec Marler had great taste in boats – having once owned the 1905 Arch Logan yacht Rawhiti, one of NZ’s most stunning classic yachts.

You can view a gallery of historical Paikea photos here


Rautangi on patrol - original


photos & details ex Don Barry

The top photo of Rautangi running at full chat shows Don’s uncle Tim on the cabin top, to quote Don “mad as a cut snake – pipe in his mouth holding fast against the wind… OHS would have a field day” Chances are she would have been petrol powered……. She is flying a PATROL burgee, anyone able to suggest the origin of the burgee?
I’ll sure HDK will enjoy this photo, matches his attitude to helming launches 🙂

The 2nd photo is again of uncle Tim, who was a regular on Rautangi.  With him is here  is Don’s uncle Doug.

Rautangi was built by Collings & Bell& launched on the 18th May  for Mr. L. Stericker. She measures 37′ x 9’6″ x 2’8″ & is currently midway thru a major refit happening at Katikati in the Bay of Plenty but due to changing personal circumstances is listed for sale on trademe.

More photos showing her past here

Below is a copy the boats official song.

Rautangi - front page [#2] 2

Rautangi - inner page [#2]

Harold Kidd Input

Love it!
Les Stericker was a well-known petrol-head with his racing hydroplanes all called HUM BUG. I think there were 5 of them, the last a “Blimp” type built by Collings & Bell in November 1929, 12ft 6in with a 32hp Elto 4 cylinder outboard, the top go-fast gear of the time. He was a precision engineer in Newmarket. No doubt the 6 cylinder side valve petrol Thornycroft RD6 engine (photo below) in RAUTANGI was well breathed upon.
As for the “Patrol” flag, Lees and RAUTANGI did a lot of NZPBA and RNZYS mark boat etc work.

The RD 6 Thornycroft engine when launched

Thornycroft RD6




Rautangi 1

photos & detail ex Nathan Herbert & trademe

Rautangi was built by Collings & Bell c.1935/36 for Mr. L. Steriker. She measures 37′ x 9’6″ x 2’8″ & is currently midway thru a major refit happening at Katikati in the Bay of Plenty. There is a 120hp diesel sitting in her at present. Owner needs to move her on due to ill health, details can be found on trademe.

As launch she was a very smart launch, nice project for someone.

16-08-2018 Update from Nigel Boyd

“Hi all
We have just purchased the Rautangi a kauri bridge decker featured on this website. She has been moved to my property 425 Krippner Road, Puhoi.

She was completely gutted and partly repaired by the pervious owner. I am told that she has been out of the water for 7 years.

We seek as much advice as possible on how to get her back into a usable state again. We have no previous experience in restoring wooden boats and done much reading on the internet. However, many conflicting views on how to do this properly has left us undecided on the way forwards.

I would much appreciate any guidance and advice on this project.

We welcome any visits from those who would like to see her and share their wisdom.

Nigel and Kim Boyd


photos ex Philip Hamlin

Sadly for a lot of folks today signals the return to the office, so I thought I would try to brighten up the day with a rather special post.

In early December Helena & Philip Hamlin, the owners of the magnificent 1935 Collings & Bell launch MoanaLua, sent me this amazing photo essay of Moanalua’s past. Philip & Helena would like to acknowledge the generosity of their friends & previous owner of MoanaLua for sharing this collection compiled by Allan Keane.

Where possible I have captioned the photos & remember you can enlarge any photo by clicking on it. Enjoy.

Input from Allan Keane – past owner
Fantastic – great to see that this history is not lost and there is no safer site than WW. I hope people enjoy seeing boating as it used to be.
Seeing crew on the bow reminds me that when we bought her there was no deck access to a huge anchor locker. This locker originally had a large header tank to give pressure water, including to the bath aft. Graham Watt who used to cruise on her told me his first job each day was to pump up water to the header tank—how things change! So all the anchor rode was carried on deck.
We built two good hatches to rectify having to pull everything out over the front berth, and of course the bath is long gone.





27-04-2016 Input from Graham Watt

I am the Graham Watt referred to by Allan Keane as the Lad who had the onerous morning duty of pumping up the water header tank. Moanalua was owned by Denny Bishop during the late 50’s and early 60’s, and his best mate,my father Colin Watt ,plus family made up the regular crew. I believe Denny purchased the boat from the Boucher estate.
She was moored on the piles ( pre marina ) at Westhaven and our regular cruising was to the “bottom end” and Kawau ,with Christmas to the Bay of Islands and as far as Whangaroa.
To clarify the comments around engine, at that time it was a Petrol Kermath Seafarer Special along with a wing motor with its own shaft. Another feature was the R.T. , ex army ZC 1, a massive multi dial affair whose only purpose was to call Auckland Radio to get a telegram away to a mate giving instructions on horse racing bets..
Both Denny and Colin were builders who figured that by cladding the cabin with this latest Formica product they could get a permanent finish without the varnishing. Not a good idea with the benefit of hindsight.


photos ex Tim Jackson, Russell Ward & Harold Kidd, details ex Russell Ward & Harold Kidd

Tim sent in the above photo of Kawhiti hauled out at The Landing (Okahu Bay) getting some TCL. I’m very happy to see the ‘spoiler’ has vanished 🙂
Kawhiti was built by Collings & Bell in 1952 for D A Wilkie, later owners J M Simpson of Beach Road, Howick (1958). Terry McAvinue owned her from 1968 to 1997 when Harold Kidd took the image below of her in Matiatia.

Kawhiti is powered by a Ford diesel & if the memory is correct was for sale in 2013. I assume she has a new owner, can any of the woodys update us on where she calls home these days & any other info?



MATIRA – re-powered

The 1956, 46′ Collings & Bell launch Matira has featured on ww previously & extensive details on her can be viewed here

Matira is a very pretty boat, again one of those designs that look good from any angle & look fast even when anchored. She was for sale on trademe for a long time & I was aware of several people who ‘looked’ at her but were put off by a few things that just were not right. Primary concern was the engines which if I recall correctly were mismatched in hp.
I’m very pleased to advise that she has a new owner, Guy Warman, & work has began on bringing Matira back to the condition that a vessel of her size & provenance desires.
In the last month she has been hauled out at Okahu Bay & the team from Moon Engines have removed the old Ford D series engines & installed twin 110hp Yanmar’s.
On her recent sea-trial Matira comfortably cruised at 9.5 knots with a top speed of 13 knots. I’m told that the reduction in noise & space was worth the expense alone 🙂

Guy is interested in any more history that can be uncovered on Matira’s past so if any woodys can help out , please do.

Matira has joined the CYA launch fleet so we look forward to seeing her attending a few events. She will be in good company with Rod Marler’s Arohanui, due to slide out of Greg Lees Sandspit boat shed this weekend after an extensive renovation.

Tides Out At Collings & Bell

Tides Out At Collings & Bell
photos & details ex Harold Kidd

When the Collings & Bell boat yard / shed in St Mary’s Bay was vacated due to the Harbour Bridge construction project, a lot of cool items were just left lying around, on a sneaky visit Barry Davis discovered a selection of Chas Collings’ glass photography quarter plates showing St Mary’s Bay during an ultra low tide in the 1930s. The photos show that in the days before dredging most of the launches and yachts are aground.
Even though the plates were cracked & damaged the detail is amazing & they could be blown up to view the boats in detail. To secure these negatives was a great find as most of the plates were tossed into the bay by the apprentices.

In photo #4 Harold’s father’s schooner TAHITIENNE is at right background out in the stream in RottenRow.

Crusader & Something Cool To Do This Weekend

photos ex Mac Taylor collection & Ken Ricketts. Details ex Harold Kidd

Crusader was built for Rev. Jasper Calder and Charlie Goldsboro by Collings & Bell in the winter of 1929, originally without her later bridgedeck. She replaced Calder’s 20ft mullet boat Ngaro. During the 1930’s Calder would hold church services aboard the launch in Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island during the summer cruising season.
The photo (MTC) above shows Crusader running down the harbour on her way to winning the NZ Power-Boat Association’s race for the ‘My Girl Trophy’ for cruisers steered by ladies. The insert is of Miss E Herrick, who was at the helm.

The xmas 1948 photo (KR) below shows Crusader anchored in Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island. By this stage she was sporting a bridgedecker

29-01-2016 photo of CRUSADER (1935) ex Nathan Herbert
Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 10.56.49 PM
31-01-2016 Update ex Paul Drake
Recent photo of CRUSADER – taken Feb 2015 at Whangamata from on board Paul’s brother Nigel’s launch FREELANCE..

LOST – we are still trying to track down the ‘My Girl Trophy’ so if anyone has it tucked away, drop us a note.

Also if anyone had an old NZ Power-Boat Assn. burgee, I would love one………… you can see it flying on the bow of Crusader (has a propeller in the center). Would swap a ww t-shirt for the burgee 😉

Looking for a classic wooden boat fix in the weekend?

Visit the Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition at the Viaduct. Hosted by the Tino Rawa Trust.
This years feature designer is Des Townson. The exhibition will showcase the best of his designs in two displays – a static out of water display of the Starling, Zephyr and Mistral sailing dinghies and rafted up on the Visitors Berth will be a selection of bespoke Townson yachts including ‘Serene’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Talent’, ‘Infinity’ and the one & only launch Des designed ‘Aristos’ will be there as well. You can view more on Aristos here

In the exhibition marquee will be half models and memorabilia.

TIMES: Saturday 3rd October and Sunday 4th October between 10am to 4pm. Entry is FREE
LOCATION: Karanga Plaza and Visitors Berth, Viaduct Harbour. (Between Team New Zealand Base and the Viaduct Event Centre).

Lady Sam


Collings & Bell built Lady Sam in 1925. Approx. 32’ long & constructed of kauri planks. She is powered by a 80hp 6 cyl. BMC diesel.

She underwent a major refit & near complete rebuild in 2002. Home is the Coromandel Harbour. Recently for sale on trademe.

Can we confirm & expand on her history?


photos & details ex Dick Fisher

Today’s post features the Collings & Bell launch Selma which Dick’s grandfather, (H.B.Fisher), had built c1913. Interesting that the ‘photograph’ has had the same enhancement that we saw on the 1911 C & B launch – Dorothy. Refer ww post dated 01-05-2015. C&B must have had the services of a photo re-toucher. All in the days before photoshop 🙂
Dick viewed Selma at Gulf Harbour a while back & reports that she was still in good order.

Now a lot of you will know Dick & his wonderful restored ex Auckland Harbour Board pilot boat – Akarana (photos below ex Dean Wright & yours truly)). Dick is a very clever & talented man & one of his many passions is Gardner engines, he has a collection of 15 Gardner engines ranging in age from 1894 to mid 1980’s. Pictured below is a photo of a Gardner heavy oil marine engine complete with marine gearbox, that Dick is presently restoring. This engine was built by Gardners circa 1913. It is a hot bulb air start 2 stroke developing 24HP at 450 RPM .
FYI – the restoration of Akarana with be featured on ww shortly.

Harold Kidd Input

Sadly, SELMA came ashore at Stanmore Bay on 24th January 2006 and was a total loss. She was 32ft x 8ft and originally had a 3 cylinder 15hp H C Doman marine engine when launched in late 1912 for H.B. Fisher. She was in Mahurangi for several years in the 90’s and early 2000’s with an owner who maintained she was a “Logan”.
Weren’t the WW1 British pocket submarines equipped with Gardners like this?
My Barton rellies in Nottingham had a lot to do with the fortunes of Gardners by fitting the new “high speed” Gardner diesels to their red Bartons’ buses in the Midlands during the Depression. And of course the North Shore Transport Co (owned by the North Shore Ferry Co) fitted 5LX Gardners to their fleet soon afterwards.

LOST – The MY GIRL Motorboat Racing Trophy + Good News on Margaret S

LOST – The MY GIRL Trophy + Good News on Margaret S

This ones going to test the collective memory base of the all the woodys out there. We are looking for a trophy that was linked 80+years ago to the NZ Power Boat Association, I’m talking here about the old NZPBA, with races that involved real wooden boats – not the lumps of fiberglass with oversized outboards on the back they race today.

The trophy was the ‘My Girl’ trophy & was donated by a Mr. C. (Tui) Waldron to replace the ‘Burt Cup’. There are numerous press clipping that mention events where the cup was contested, won or presented. I have attached copies below for your reference / interest.
Despite all the searching no photo can be found of the cup.

The present-day owner of the launch ‘My Girl’, who the cup was named after, Jason Prew would like to track down the whereabouts of the cup & any information on what became of it. While the cup itself may not have survived, someone out there must know something about its past. Launches that have won the trophy include – Taura, Tasman & Crusader. Crusader was owned by the Rev Jasper Calder & was steered to victory by Miss Edna Herick. It appears that in several of the events that the trophy was offered up, one of the conditions of racing was the vessel had to be steered by a woman.
Launches that have raced for the trophy include – Taura, Aumoe, Edwina, Tasman, Nautilus, Ramona, Crusader, Wailani, Lady Margaret & Wanderloo.

So folks anyone able to help out in the hunt??

Note: Photo above taken during a Victoria Cruising Club annual regatta, year & boats unknown. Romance II could be the launch on the left. Photo ex ‘Sir George Grey Special Collection (Auckland Libraries)

Good News About Margaret S

CYA member Alan Good reports that the Collings & Bell launch Margaret S, built as Marne c.1918/19 that has been moored off Bayswater marina  breakwater for several years has found a new owner – sailmaker Bud Nalder, the photo above shows her being towed from BW to Whakatakataka Bay (OBC) where she will be hauled out & undergo restoration. Knowing Bud’s skills & level of craftsmanship, Margaret S is in very good hands.
For more details / photos on her

Now moored in Whakatakataka Bay (photo Mark Edmonds)




photos & details ex Crispin Waddell

Crispin has owned the 1926 Collings & Bell launch Manaaki since 2013. Manaaki’s specs are – length: 11m, beam: 2.5m, draft: 1m & her current engine is a  1970’s Lees Marine Ford diesel 75hp. She is carvel planked, with full-length 32mm heart kauri planks over steam bent and laminated ribs, with less than 200mm spacing.
She cruises at 8knts. & tops out at around 12knts. but unlike some other boats of her era, Manaaki has more of planing hull & is flat at the stern & could do up to 16knts. with the right engine.
She is one of 6 boats build for the Zane Grey fleet – Alma G, Otehei & Avalon were the names of some of her sisters. Manaaki was originally fitted with a petrol Redwing engine.

Crispin has been involved with the boat since he was a child, (now 29). He bought her off the Hunt family. Like most of us he is always keen to find out stories and collect any old photo’s and history of the boat. She lived in the Whangaroa for around 30 years & there are a few photo’s of Manaaki on wall of the pub & records of all her catches in the Game Club up there.

Electrochemical Wood Damage
Crispin came across  the ww article about electrochemical damage & the timing was great as he is having problems with it occurring on Manaaki. It’s mainly happening in the area where the prop shaft sleeve comes through the keel under the floor. The kauri fluffs up around this area and he get lots of salt crystals. Thanks to the ww article he is hoping to get on top of this as it’s just started over the last 3 years.

If anyone knows the boat or has any old photo’s send them into ww, Crispin would also be interested in getting in contact with anyone from the boats past.

24-02-2018 Manaaki was anchored alongside me today at Motuihe Island, looking very smart 🙂



C & B Junior

photo & details ex Barry Davis

The above stunning photo of C & B Junior was one of two photos that Barry Davis ‘found’ when poking around the Collings & Bell boat sheds after the yard closed down as a result of the reclaiming of the area for the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Barry ‘found’ this photo on the floor in the then very derelict older of the two C & B boat sheds just shortly before it was finally pulled down in 1961, a good two years after the business had closed. Barry has had the photo & one other (Dorothy – a previous ww post) filed away for decades & how thanks to  ww they can be viewed. Junior was built by C & B in 1913. And while a wee thing at 20′ x 5’6″ x 3′ she is in my eye perfectly proportioned, not an easy task in a boat this size.
Given the inscription on the photo, she may have been built for W.H.M. Davis, or perhaps that was the photographer?

So woodys what became of C & B Junior?

ps photo below (ex Harold Kidd) of the Collings & Bell yard, with the 36′ Carrie-Fin on the slip. Carrie-Fin was later shipped (on Makura) to Tahiti for a wealthy American sport fisherman, Eastham Guild.

Update from Harold Kidd

She was built by Collings & Bell for themselves as an advertisement for their skills, one of several such launches they built as demonstrators. Her actual name was C & B JUNIOR. Davis was the photographer. She was launched in April 1913, a few days before this image was taken. Her dimensions were as stated . She had a 10hp 2 stroke Eagle engine. Alf Bell had most of the running of her, entering quite a few launch races with her.
She was a trend-setter with her dodger, something quite new at the time, and obviously immensely practical.
Collings & Bell sold her to J Harris of Grey St., Onehunga in early 1914. He renamed her CYNTHIA. In late 1914 he fitted a 9-12hp 4 cylinder 4 stroke Aristocrat engine. In 1917 he sold her to D. Herd and she “disappears” shortly after, probably a name change.

Collings rarely published his lines because he thought of himself as an innovator, especially with his hard chine “concave-convex” planing hulls.
It seems that when the St. Mary’s Bay yard closed a lot of material was left lying around. Barry liberated the two lovely images of C & B JUNIOR and DOROTHY, but hundreds of Charles Collings’ own glass plate negatives were either shied into the bay by apprentices or left lying around, mostly cracked or broken. I have a number of these, all much the worse for wear but hugely interesting.
An earlier launch of the same dimensions was exhibited at the Auckland Winter Show in 1910 with a smaller dodger. That one was was really the trailblazer and was one of several of their launches called just C & B.

Terribly minor point; for whatever reason, when C & B JUNIOR was sold to Harris, Collings & Bell fitted a 6hp 2 stroke Perfection engine in place of the Eagle. They were agents for Perfections and I suspect that the Eagle may not have proved satisfactory. The Perfection was built in Detroit by Caille and one of the better American marine two-strokes (of which there were a great number).



photo & details ex Barry Davis

How today’s photo ended up on ww is a little amusing, but first some details that were printed on the back of the photo. Dorothy was built by Collings & Bell 1911 for W.J.Quelch Newton. She was 35′ x 8’6″ & powered by a 12hp Doman Block 5 1/4.
Obviously the photo has been retouched e.g. the helmsman is hand drawn & out of proportion to the size of the launch but the retouching was done a very long time ago & at the Collings & Bell yard. How do we know this ? Well Collings & Bell closed down with the reclaiming of the area for the Auckland Harbour Bridge. As an adventurous school boy Barry ‘found’ this photo on the floor in the now very derelict older of the two Collings & Bell boat sheds just shortly before it was finally pulled in 1961, a good two years after the business had closed. Barry has had the photo & one other (a later ww post) filed away for decades & how thanks to ww they can be viewed.

So the question is what became of Dorothy & where is she today?

Harold Kidd Update

I wrote an article about W.J. Quelch and his many yachts and launches in Boating NZ a few months ago. He owned some great boats; launches WAIHIRI (C&B 1910), MARORO (1920) and yachts ETHEL (1913), ALEXA (1915), GRYPHON (1917), VIDA (Colin Wild 1931).
DOROTHY was indeed built for him by Collings & Bell and launched in November 1911. He sold her to R E Fry by 1916. She went through the hands of Len Cunningham (1917) went to Takatu Point and (I think) was sold to Tauranga in 1920 owned by M Sinclair of Matakana Is. Unfortunately there were several DOROTHYS, on the Waikato, the Manukau and at Whangarei, as well as on the Waitemata, so they are easy to mix up.
I suspect a name change in Tauranga.
Quelch had Collings & Bell build him DOROTHY Q in 1923, a Van Blerck-powered flush-decked 38 footer, later 100hp Stearns. She became DORIS (one of many of that name!) when Quelch exchanged her for JEAN with Sam Leyland in 1930. Quelch then exchanged JEAN for WANDEROO with L Schischka.

Avalon – the game fisher


photos & details ex Harold Kidd

The above 3 photos of Avalon are from the Tudor Collins Bay of Islands game fishing collection*.

Avalon 36′ x 8’6″ x 3’6′ was built by Collings & Bell in December 1927 for Peter Williams of Russell for use as a game fishing boat in the Bay of Islands. She was one of Collings’ typical concave-convex square bilge designs like Alma G, Manaaki, Lorna Doone and Zane Grey also built for the Zane Grey game fishing circus. She had a 85-100hp Redwing engine and was designed for 16 knots. She was often chartered by Zane Grey who took her to Bermagui, NSW in 1936 for game fishing (sharks) there,  she came back to NZ after the expedition. Some few years ago she was exported to the US to the Zane Grey Museum, somehow avoiding the then Antiquities Act.

*the images in the collection were bought at a flea-market by Sharon Knight who has made them available via Harold for all of ww followers to relish.

Photo below from classicgameboatsnz

More photos from the Tudor Collins collection – this time taken during the 1930’s visit of the Duke of Glouster. Mailed in by Ken Ricketts





Raema a 1940 Collings & Bell bridgedecker, has just changed hands & is now berthed at Port Motueka. She is 34′ LOA, 9’2″ Beam, 4’3″ Draft & powered by a 120hp 6cyl. Ford diesel.
On board there is a plaque saying ‘Raema RNZYS’ & she is rumored to have been once own by a past rnzys commodore.
Her owner would love to know more details on her past & see some early photos if they exist.

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Harold Kidd Update

RAEMA was built in late 1923, not 1940. Her first owner was Gordon Bartleet, who had REHIA built by Colin Wild in 1939. I can find no contemporary reference to her builder, but Collings & Bell is almost certainly correct because she had a 4 cylinder Doman engine for which they were agents.
In March 1924 Bartleet sold her to Moller who was then Commodore of the Takapuna Boating Club and bought her back from him in September 1928. In October 1930 Percy McGill of Rotorua bought her, keeping her until the winter of 1933 when Horsley bought her. She then appears on the Kaipara in 1938-9 owned by Bo Bogle and then R. Smith (unless that’s another RAEMA). Then nothing in Auckland. She does not appear in the RNZYS records up to the mid 1960’s (which is where I’ve got to in transcribing them).

PS The only photograph I know of is at the Matakohe Museum and numbered PAHI 88. It shows her at the 1938 Pahi Regatta.



1. Want to go cruising on a classic launch this Christmas?

2. Don’t have a spare $1,500,000 for a beach front holiday home.

If the answer was yes to either of the above then the phone call I received last week could make today your lucky day 🙂 Read on

NZ Kauri Carvel construction traditionally built 12.8m launch, from Collings & Bell shipyard in St Mary’s Bay, Auckland. Launched in 1929 and originally named “MV Rio Rita” this Ex survey vessel was tasked for 40 years as a tourist passenger ferry and royal mail vessel in the Marlborough Sounds.

Loads of history associated with this traditional timber launch. See  . There’s further discussion regarding “MV Rio Rita” serving in 1942 for a period as a Battery Artificer for a gun crew in the Sounds out from Picton.

Renamed “Resolution” in 1971 when she relocated to Resolution Bay, Marlborough Sounds. For approximately the last 15 years she has been owned and maintained by a former boat builder in Omokoroa, Tauranga. Resolution has spent these long summers engaged in extended cruising up the coast between Tauranga and the Bay of Islands. This owner maintained her well and installed beautiful cabinetry throughout the interior, with materials in keeping with the vessels vintage and pedigree.

“Resolution” was recently acquired from this estate, as part of a “boat & berth” package in Tauranga’s Sulphur Point Marina. As traditional and beautiful as she is – Resolution is now surplus to requirements and seriously on the market following a significant price reduction. While Resolution requires a small degree of ongoing maintenance, nothing is urgent & work can wait until after the coming summer boating season.

Her new owner (boat & berth purchaser) has had a pre-purchase condition survey (dated Nov 2014) completed by Pacific Rim Marine Survey’s Limited, which will be made available to any prospective purchaser. Owner needs to sell her to make space for his existing boat so the price reflects this, I understand offers around $58,000 will buy her. Click the blue link below to view the extensive inventory & read more.

MV Resolution

Contact details – Warwick Bray Mob  021 288 6643 – Tel Hm  07 579 4043   Email :