Rongotia has featured before on WW , as a Mystery Launch, we uncovered the info below on her. What we did not have back then was any colour, recent times photos. Thanks to both Nathan Herbert’s & my own visits to Waikawa Bay Marina, Picton, we can now see her in her finery. Previous WWW story below – https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/08/18/rongotai/
Harold Kidd previously commented that she was built by Cox & Filmer in Auckland in 1939 with twin “64hp kerosene engines” she went almost straight into NAPS at Whangarei as Z31 under Les Waldron’s command. He kept her in a shed on the road to Onerahi. He went to see her with John Gladden around 1982. She was still highly original and in her original shed. She had twin Morris Commodores (which may have been original) and was in very tidy order.
Dawn Wilschefski – advised that she was the only daughter of Les Waldron & can confirm that Rangotai was launched Christmas Day 1939. Her design was Hughie Coxsmith (? see HDK’s comments above). Her Grandfather James Reid was probably consulted during the process. When the Niagara went down her Dad was in Russell but made the trip back in time to join the other boats out on rescue duty. He was also part of the Naval Auxilliary Patrol that started in Whangarei a few months after the sinking but when the Navy took over the organization Rongotai was transferred to Auckland where she served on the boom patrol, specifically from Whangaparoa to Cape Colville. When her Dad died in 1963, her brother Bert bought Rongatai and used her for family pleasure for a while. He tried to sell her at an exorbitant price but finally used her for a trade in for a Wellington boat (name forgotten) Last she heard of, Rongotai was working as a “slow” cruising boat for tourists in the Marlborough Sounds. Her Dads reason for building her was (a) family pleasure and (b) for deep sea fishing as a founding boat for the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers.
Robyn Gae has been ‘hanging-out’ on trademe for a very long time waiting for a woody to takeover her ownership, I in fact gave the sale a plug on WW just over one year ago, but still no takers.
It is rare these days to find an almost original condition classic that is just in a run-down condition. On face value, mechanically she is good, she has just suffered from a lack of exterior maintenance – in my eyes nothing that could not be fixed by a wooden boat enthusiast with the basic skills. Her interior is very ‘as-built’ but that is all good,most woodys have had square edged MDF cabinetry fitted & need to be gutted, give RG’s interior a good scrub with sugar soap & a lick of paint & you could go boating this coming summer & start a rolling restoration next winter. I suspect the right buyer could own RG for not a lot on money. Take a look at the wonderful old photos of her in the WW link & you’ll see the potential she has to be a stunner.
So woodys, we must know someone thats looking for an entry level classic……………..
ROBYN GAE video ex Martin Turnwald, details ex Martin T & Harold Kidd, photo ex PapersPast ex Nathan Herbert
The video clip above is a little scratchy but features some good footage of the classic woody, Robyn-Gae, owned by Martin’s father, John Turnwald. There is even a cameo apperance of the 1919 Joe Slattery launch Raiona (at 1:30).
Robyn Gae started life as Water Gipsy & was launched in October 1934 for C. Miller by Cox & Filmer (Speedcraft Boat Co) with dimensions 32ft x 8ft 6in. She was a slightly extended version of a 30 footer built by Cox & Filmer for a Mr. Martin. Miller used Water Gipsy for a while and then she “disappears for a while. Ted Valintine bought her in 1937, renamed her Connie V after Mrs. V, had her lengthened to her final dimension of 38ft, with the provision of a cockpit, coaming and dodger over. The work was undoubtedly done by Lanes who also fitted her with a 6 cyl Chrysler Crown petrol engine in September 1939. That was after the Kawau petrol fire in January 1939 when Valintine scuttled her by chopping a hole in her hull, saving the boat (photos below). Valentine sold her to E.M. Henry & the Lambourne family bought her from Henry in 1939. She remained in the Lambourne family until 1956 or so but Lambourne obligingly changed her name to Robyn Gae on 14/11/49 at the time Lanes launched the second Connie V for Valintine.
She is registered as a “Her Majesty’s Ship” in London.
The Chrysler Crown engine was replaced later by a Commer TS3 two-stroke diesel . The bridge roof was raised about 20 centimeters way back in about 1979 Martin thinks, because a stroll on the bridge always ended with a ding in one’s head . The beams were just that little bit too low and the bridge deck floor had to be raised a bit to accommodate the new engine.
The Commer has since been replaced by a Perkins & with this engine Robyn Gae is able to achieve a true 9.6 knots running a 5 blade prop.
Robyn Gae is for sale – for details contact Martin Turnwald at email@example.com
ROBIN GAE (CONNIE V)
CONNIE V was built by Lane Motor Boat Co in 1949 for Valentine of Hamilton and originally had 2 x Chrysler 75hp Ace engines, hopefully the article reproduces well enough to read. The photo shown in the article was taken in 1938 at the long demolished Mechanics Bay wharf.
Harold Kidd Update 16/04/2014
I’ve had a chance since posting the above to review all the above material and to compare images of WATER GIPSY and CONNIE V. Morrie relies heavily on the Register of British Ships and it leads him into a whole bunch of traps because, for various reasons, the information is frequently dodgy. I’ve discussed this with him before. He infers that CONNIE V was built new in 1935 for Valintine, and that’s exactly what I’ve always thought until now. WATER GIPSY (another image attached) was launched in October 1934 for C. Miller by Cox & Filmer (Speedcraft Boat Co) with dimensions 32ft x 8ft 6in. She was a slightly extended version of a 30 footer built by Cox & Filmer for one Martin (haven’t identified her yet). Miller used WATER GIPSY for a while (eg Marjorie Miller visited yacht LITTLE JIM from her on 2/2/35) and then she “disappears”. Now, if you compare my image of WATER GIPSY with the image of CONNIE V in Paul Titchener’s highly erroneous article above (I assume whoever posted it had PT’s copyright permission), which was based solely on family anecdote I imagine, as Paul married Valintine’s daughter, you will clearly observe that the two boats are identical back to the aft end of the clerestory. It is obvious to me that the truth is in the cracks between the various versions. I think this is what happened.
WATER GIPSY was obviously a bit of a problem, ergonomically. She had no cockpit, had a pair of davits across the counter, and would have been a pain to handle. Valintine bought her in 1937, renamed her CONNIE V after Mrs. V, had her lengthened to her final dimension of 38ft, with the provision of a cockpit, coaming and dodger over…..much more user friendly. The work was undoubtedly done by Lanes who also fitted her with a Chrysler Crown in September 1939. That was after the Kawau petrol fire in January 1939 when Valintine scuttled her by chopping a hole in her hull, saving the boat. It may also have been after he sold her to E.M. Henry (Lambourne bought her from Henry). She remained in the Lambourne family until 1956 or so but Lambourne obligingly changed her name to ROBYN GAE on 14/11/49 at the time Lanes launched the second CONNIE V for Valintine.
There’s a whiff of assumption in the above which I detest in others………………….
Built in the mid 1930s by Cox & Filmer in 1938. Originally had a converted Studebaker truck engine later replaced with a Kermath & the Studebaker was sold to Bill Waters, who put it in the Gay Dawn when he built her. Owned by the (John?) Wrightson family in the 1940s & 50s.
Will obviously have a diesel now — would also like to know where she is if any one knows contact Ken Ricketts on firstname.lastname@example.org