Dick Lang Boats – Lady Jane

Lady Jane - Dick Lang


I was recently contacted by Keith Brady whose grandmother, Lettie Lang (Kennerley) was married to Dick Lang.  Keith experienced Dick’s boats as a child during the summer holidays & he is interested in the boats Dick Lang built over time, wanting to get a sense of the scale of his operation and type of boats he built.

I think I know the answer (no) but Keith was wondering whether there is a repository for details of Dicks boats or records of the boats he may have built. He is also interested in any photographs of other boats build by Dick and of his boat shed used to build these great vessels.

Keith sent me two photos, the one above is of Lady Jane which was the vessel he himself experienced time on. Do we know what happened to her?. The other photo, below, is a different vessel, which Keith has not been able to identify. Can any woodys help out?

Unknown copy

16-02-2018 Input from Baden Pascoe

In the yard photos below (ex Glen & Merv Strongman) Baden does not knew the boats name, but it’s obviously a hard chine launch. Baden thinks the date would be in the 1950’s & one of three boats Dick built at Coromandel.

The only work boats that he can think of are Roa 1927 and Giorgina 1939

Baden encourages someone to start a time line – as a start, Baden has supplied the below.

Awhitu 1925? Was on the Manukau most of its life (pictured below)

Tawa, upper harbour passenger launch.

Eunice and Patsy, 1921 ,towing launches ( in Harold & Robins book page 77)

Miss Brett, Fullers and later Salvation Army

Tasman Star, 1935 fishing boat (still existing)



16-02-2018 Input from Bruce Pullman

Bruce received the two photos below from Bob Wichman. One is of Awhitu when on the Manukau, the other is as reconfigured and name change to Inverness in 1993. Inverness is still sitting in the mud at Thames, condition is quite sad.






Tasman Star – A Peek Down Below

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Tasman Star – A Peek Down Below

Built in 1935 by Dick Lang, she started life as a commercial fishing boat – Danish seine netting. She measures 42’6” & is powered by a 150hp LXW Gardner. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the trademe listing heads up.

You can read about her colour-full life on this WW link    https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/11/19/tasman-star/

Update photo from Greg Fenwick – Easter 2018 @ Whangaparapara



Resolute Update





Resolute’s new owner James Patterson sent in the above photos of her hauled out recently getting so TLC to the exterior. Next project is the interior – having been aboard prior to James purchase I can say that will be a rather big job 😉 but as they say ‘the bones’ are all there.

To read (a lot) more on the past of this 1937 Dick Lang classic – check out this link    https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/08/10/resolute/

James has assured me he will keep us updated when the interior work begins.


My Girl Restoration

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If you are not following Jason Prew’s restoration of his 1925 Dick Lang, classic motor launch, ‘My Girl’ on his weblog (link below) you are missing a great woody project. The man is a very talented craftsman & has a cunning knack of being able to press-gang some of the wooden boating movements best minds & hands into helping at the right time 🙂
The project has really come along over the winter months – the photos above are just a taste of whats on show. Jason posts regularly so you can experience the work vicariously 🙂
A Handy Hint: if you type My Girl in the ww Search Box you will get an overview of all the ww stories on My Girl.

It’s almost 2 years since we ran the story below on the missing My Girl Motor Boat Trophy. In the last 2 years the readership of waitematawoodys has increased by x14, so we have run the story again in the hope that one of the new readers might be able to shed some light on the missing trophy – read below.

LOST – The MY GIRL Motor Boat Trophy (August 2015)

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 &/or 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??

16-03-2018 Update – the other day Jason sent me the video clip below of the 130hp Volvo that will be sliding into My Girl. Shows the green lump running on a pallet – he would have happy that 1. it started 2. no knocks 🙂 With Mr Volvo at full chat, he will be buying a  set of water skis 🙂



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Wakaiti is a 39’4″, kauri carvel launch built by Dick Lang in 1920, as a commercial tow boat. In today’s world having the same owner for the last 55 years is a very rare thing but all good things come to an end & as the sign on her bow say – Wakaiti is now for sale.

She was re-powered c.2001 with 120hp, 6 cyl. Ford diesel running a 2:1 PRM box and 24×16 3 blade prop. This set up pushes her nicely along at 8 > 10 knots, with a top speed of 12 knots. Her beam is 9’10” & draft is 5’10”. (the interior photos have had the benefit of what they call the real estate salesman’s best friend  – the wide angle lens 🙂  ) Thanks to Ian McDonald for the trademe heads up.

So woodys, what do we know about her past?

Harold Kidd Input (lots more in the Comments Section)

WAKAITI = “little ship” in Maori. Dick Lang built this 36 footer at his yard in St. Mary’s Bay in 1922. She was launched on 2nd September of that year for Parry Bros of the Mahurangi to carry cream on the river. By 1928 the Parrys were using her as a tow boat on the Waitemata. In 1936 they sold her to R.G. Brain of Coromandel. Eventually she ended up in the ownership of Ernie Seagar, marine engineer of wide repute in Auckland. Ernie’s not well and is obviously selling his beloved launch.
I was in the 5th Form at Takapuna Grammar with Ernie Seagar. He had been in that Form for 3 years, unable to get School Certificate because of distractions such as being the Captain of the First 15, Head Prefect (in the 5th Form!!) and an outstanding yachtsman and general sportsman.
Later he went on to get his Marine Engineer’s tickets at sea and then ran his engineering business at Sulphur Beach alongside Dave Jackson. An amazing character.



Resolute 2008-0010

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Today’s story on Resolute starts a few years ago at the Devonport Yacht Club – I had Raindance hauled out for the winter & was giving her a big dose of TLC. Nearby Nathan Herbert was working on the classic yacht Kiariki (for the Brookes) & in front of us was this rather big 1938, Dick Lang built, tram-top, straight stem launch, called Resolute. At the time she was getting very OTT paint job, I had never seen a classic receieve as many coats of undercoat & sanding. Her owner Graeme Cooper was a perfectionist . After re-launching, she motored to a berth at Bayswater & to the best of my knowledge has not moved off that berth since.
Now fast forward to the present day & Graeme contacted Nathan & advised he wants to find a good home for his boat. Nathan commented to me that she is quite light for her size & fast.
I have had a nosy around her recently at Bayswater & yes she requires a lot of TLC but as the architects say ‘she has good bones’ + all the big stuff has been done, just needs a good clean, some money tossed at a good wooden boat builder to complete her interior + a paint job & you would have a very smart, quick classic.
The asking price will be very fair & realistic – in my view a VERY good buy for someone wanting a project but not wanting to have to do a re-build. If any woodys are interested in Resolute, contact me initially at waitematawoodys@gmail.com & I we forward to the owner.

I have reprinted part of Graeme’s note to Nathan, that tells some of the history behind Resolute & why she is now for sale after 18 years on ownership.

“I thought I would send you a couple of photo’s of Resolute taken on launch day after her last major refit in 2008 and give you a bit of back ground information.
As I mentioned I am sad to part with her but owing to lack of time I am unable to put the time in to keep her up to scratch and I hate seeing her deteriorating. Its time for someone else to ensure she is preserved for the future.
Resolute is a 34’ by 10’6’’ beam cruising launch, built by Dick Lang and launched just before Christmas 1938. She is powered by a 130 hp S 6 Perkins built around 1952 and driven through a Paragon hydraulic gearbox. she will cruise happily at 9.5 knots and I have clocked her at 13 knots by GPS.

During the above mentioned refit myself and a shipwright friend ( John Mitchel ) replaced a section of keelson due to electrolysis. We built and fitted a new rudder ( the bronze one was cracked ) fitted 2 new 200 litre custom made plastic fuel tanks, 2 new 200 litre water tanks of the same construction. I built and fitted a rimu fridge cabinet which is cooled by a 12 volt fridge unit and rebuilt the main cabin bunks and a rimu chart table with 2 large drawers. The cockpit dodger was modified to improve visibility and fitted with safety glass. A local boat builder (Charlie Webley) fitted a walk through transom and new cockpit covers were made. My wife striped all internal paint from main cabin and bilges and these were everdured and repainted. The prop was also re-pitched and balanced.            

I also carried out a major refit in 1999/2000. The hull was completely stripped of paint, re-corked and the seams filled with Sika 296, the prop shaft was upgraded from 1.25 bronze to 1.5 inch 316 stainless . I  also modified the stern tube and fitted new bearings and upgraded the stern gland to a maintenance free type and installed hydraulic steering. All windows were removed and new ones fitted (not safety glass ) the boat was also completely rewired (some finishing to be done)

The boat will be sold complete with: 8 foot fibre glass clinker dingy and 2 hp Evinrude outboard (hardly used), 30 Lb. plough anchor and warp, smaller danfourth and warp, spare warp, life jackets, fenders, Lowrance 6000 c colour GPS/plotter, Lowrance sounder, Panasonic VHF, gas stove/oven, steadying sail, engine manual and Stanley Bay Devonport swing mooring. and a host of receipts from both me and the previous owner. There is undoubtedly stuff I have forgotten.

Although the boat currently looks sad, the reality is that it is the inside that needs to be completed, the main cabin is pretty much done, but from the bulkhead forward needs work. this includes galley, heads and for’d accommodation, the outside just needs a repaint. You can see that no expense has been spared on her maintenance, I would estimate I have spent in the region of $50,000 plus the original purchase price in the 18 odd years I have owned her. I am not looking to recover these costs but by the same token do not intend giving her away, I am very realistic about her current value and would entertain all offers. Most importantly for me and my wife, is that she goes to someone who is dedicated to her restoration and on going maintenance.

Having written this I am extremely sad at the prospect of selling this lovely old treasure, but I guess its time to move on and let someone else get some fun out of her.”

Harold Kidd Input

RESOLUTE was actually launched on 22nd December 1937 at St Mary’s Bay for Sam Chorley of Onslow Road. Somewhere there’s a photo of me sitting on my father’s shoulders at the launch although I don’t remember it. We lived at London Street and attended most of Dick Lang’s (and C&B’s) launches.
Peter Maxwell of Devonport owned her for many years after 1973 and kept her meticulously (as he did anything he owned). Graeme Cooper assumed the mantle after Peter. She had a Universal 6 petrol engine post war, replaced about 1990 by that Perkins diesel.

The Restoration of My Girl

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While there are few of us with the courage to even consider a project of this scope, there are even fewer with the skill set to do it. That makes Jason Prew a tad special in the classic woody boating community. A lot of us would be worried that a restoration (re-build) project like this would grind to a halt 1/2 way thru – well folks I can tell you this one won’t & as proof check out at the bottom of this story, Jason’s last project – Wairiki, his 34′ 1904 Arch Logan designed gaff rigged classic yacht.

Mr Prew is a member of the fastest growing group in the CYA – woody’s that own a classic yacht & classic motor-boat.  There are a lot of photos today but I really wanted to get across the magnitude of the job Jason has bitten off:-)
Whilst I did not pickup a hammer or a piece of sandpaper during my visit to Jason’s workshop, I have contributed – a while ago I was gifted a pair of very cool bronze nav lights & as I’m a big believer in the ‘pay-it-forward’ concept, these will be gracing My Girl on launch day 🙂
My Girl was built in 1925 by Dick Lang for C.B. “Tui” Waldron of the Wade River who commuted with her. Her square bilge design was based on one by W.H.Hand. Waldron later took her to Whangarei & she was in NAPS as Z32 out of Whangarei in WW2.

Jason purchased My Girl from the Davies  family of Te Atatu, West Auckland in December 2014, Derek & his Father Trevor were long term caretakers of My Girl, keeping her in the Whau River for many years.  After a spell on the hard where she fell into dis-repair, Jason finally persuaded Derek to part with her.

When launched she was powered by a 6 cylinder 90hp Scripps engine & was capable of over 18 knots. When purchased by Jason she had a BMC Commander engine of dubious health.  When re-launched she will be powered by a 100hp Volvo Penta, so she should be a bit of a zoom zoomer 😉

The work to date has seen 76 ribs in, 3600 copper rivets riveted, 5 new floors and 2 engine beds. As you will see in the photos there is still lots of hole filling, sanding & painting in the near future.

You can read & view much more on the restoration project at the links below – the ww one has some historical photos & the mygirl link has the whole story so far. Make sure you click on the Archives link to see everything. https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/12/12/my-girl/           http://www.my-girl.co.nz/mygirl/Welcome.html

Below is a peak at Jason’s yacht Wairiki, his last restoration project. Click this link to view more http://www.wairiki.co.nz/Wairiki1904/Welcome.html

Input from Jason Prew

Thanks for the injection of smoke up the posterior Alan but I can’t claim too much credit for Wairiki, Marco Scuderi did the bulk of the work. I was mostly the destruction/wrecking department.  My Girl is also a collaboration, especially the ribs stage.  Nathan, Steve, Andrew, Tom, mostly my brother Daniel, either holding dolly or doing the peening. Robert Brook and Paul Tingey for always being encouraging on the end of the phone when i was having an OMG I can’t work this out day, (which is quite often)  I don’t have a moaning chair perse, but i have a squab that gets utilized a lot to do the same job.


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Trinidad > Raindance > Wairiki

Dec 2016 Staring to look like a launch again versus a canoe 🙂 Bit worried about the headroom.