Todays vessel is the 47.5’ ex-work boat Aria, built in 1938 by Miller & Tunnage to tow barges of native timber, retired from duty in 1963, then used as a fishing trawler and pleasure use until 1981.She then received a total refit including all new topsides for extended blue-water Pacific cruising, the refit included a rebuilt 1963 Gardner 6LXB, (now 150hp).
Reviewing her trademe listing (thanks Ian McDonald), Aria is very well fitted out for cruising or live aboard. Won’t win a beauty competition but a very salty looking woody.
Des Townson – A Sailing Legacy
The Story of Marguerite
“The motor launch Marguerite (named after the owner’s wife) was built in the Ponsonby boatyard of builder Des Donovan in 1948. She was commissioned by my father Ken McLeod of Rotorua and was 42 feet long and built of solid Kauri without a single join.
Usually, the boat was moored at Tauranga but from time to time Ken sailed it up the coast to Auckland. It was on one of these trips, I believe it was in 1949 that he decided to take it to Motuhue Island because I had a friend who was a young naval officer stationed at the base there and it was decided to take him out for the day.
On board were Ken’s wife, myself and an old friend of Ken’s, Mick Fahey, his wife Zelda and daughter Robin. On the way Ken decided to investigate a minor problem in an engine so he gave the helm to Mick with instructions to head for a certain headland. Within about 10 minutes there was a terrible thud. Mick had misinterpreted Ken’s instructions and the boat had hit a rock.
It started taking on water and Ken hunted in vain for what was obviously a hole in the hull. It eventually transpired that it was under a locker in the bow and almost impossible to reach. Meanwhile the situation required removing all but the two men from the boat to the island and seeking help as fast as possible.
All the others were put in the dinghy and I rowed them ashore. The rocks all over the beach were hard to navigate in bare feet but eventually I reached the naval station where I found the captain hoeing his vegetable garden! He was immediately galvanised into action to try at least to tow the boat to safety.
Meanwhile Ken had managed to reverse the boat off the rock on which it was stuck and had almost beached it nearby. The captain rallied his young naval trainees who completed the beaching task with a couple of lifeboats.
Next day, the Marguerite was repaired sufficiently by Des Donovan to be towed to his boat yard and eventually repaired both inside and out. The tide had gone through the hull overnight and a good deal of the interior had to be replaced.
Mercifully, the insurance company paid for the entire cost of the repairs.
The McLeod family subsequently had many wonderful holidays on the Marguerite not withstanding Rita’s low tolerance of rough seas!
Eventually after Ken retired he felt that he could no longer manage the boat safely on his own (the real Marguerite got terribly sea sick and did her best to be enthusiastic about boating) so it was sold to someone who assured Ken that he would take good care of it.
Within a year or so this owner had on sold it to another person, now unknown. Their motive for buying it is still a mystery but within a short time the Marguerite was reported sunk at the back of Rangitoto Island.
The insurance company “smelled a rat” and did a thorough investigation which revealed that the boat had been deliberately scuttled in order to claim the insurance. Anything of any value such as the compass and other nautical gear of any value was gone.
I do not know whether the hull was ever returned to Auckland but the whole dreadful history was heart breaking for Ken.”
Mystery Boats October 1939
ANDROMEDA – Sailing Sunday
Todays’s post is a tad different – it not often (these days) that we see a yacht being converted to a motor boat. Ken Rickett’s emailed in these photos of the Townson 26′ Serene -Andromedia that he spotted while on a visit to Colin Brown’s yard in Omaha. She was built in 1960 of 2 skins of kauri on opposite diagonals & is now owned by Dave Walker, of Warkworth, who recently bought her off Dave Jackson. She had been keep out in the weather, in DJ’s garden, in a semi derelict state, for about 3 years, with her coamings completely past their use by date. Reports are that she was in a very sad state in general, but with a sound hull.
Dave Walker decided to remove all her interior & coamings & start again & convert her to a displacement launch, to be powered by a smallish diesel. You will see in the photos he has already fitted a deadwood with shaft log.
The work is being undertaken in a shed at Omaha, as per the photos. Dave anticipates having her in the water within approx. 18 months.
Ken was told she had been moored on a pile mooring at Westhaven originally, for many years, & was virtually unused, with someone just going aboard to pump her out, every now & again.
So woodys can we shed some light on Serena’s yachting past
Work-in-progress photos – April 2018 ex Ken Rickett’s
The Des Townson Story & The 2015 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition – Part 2 – Sailing Sunday
Today’s post features the yachts, both keel & trailer, that are on display at the Tino Rawa Trust hosted exhibition & gives you a peek at the collection of memorabilia & models also on display.
The show is open today from 10.00am > 4.00pm at the Viaduct – details in yesterdays post (scroll down). So if you are looking for something to do post chapel ;-), come on down.
I’ll let the photos tell the story. Enjoy
Remember click on only photo to enlarge 😉
Updated – dropped down to the exhibition late this afternoon, primarilly because Colin Pawson told me I had over looked the best Townson yacht on show – Caper. I did have one photo of her, but most of the time I do what I’m told 🙂 so back I went.
So glad I went back & introduced myself to the owner & had a wee tour – simply stunning, & yes would get my best in show. Check out the bilge photo, I suspect the pump does not see a lot of use, a duster would be all that is required 😉
I also had a peek on-board the launch Aristos, she too is a work of art.