Rebecca > Dolphin – A Rolling Restoration

Rebecca > Dolphin – A Rolling Restoration 

Hello woodys, if you aren’t a float today, todays story is a gem – its all about what makes the classic wooden boating movement so special – Caleb Bird contacted me to advise that he had taken over the restoration of the yacht Rebecca (now back to being called Dolphin) from the Tino Rawa Trust. The 24′ Dolphin was built in 1902 by the Ewen brothers (Frank,Ernie & John) of Whangarei. Constructed of 2 skin kauri she was once owned and restored by the late Peter Smith, who also restored the stunning 1938 Sam Ford launch – Menai.

Todays photo gallery shows us what Caleb has been up to for the last 2 years i.e. stripping her out and getting the interior back to an amazing look. Well done Caleb, we need more of you 🙂

The first batch shows her ‘as found’ and later photos the work-in-process.


Waiheke Coro Iron Yacht


This weekend is the last chance to experience ’Sculpture on the Gulf’ on Waiheke Island, I’ll be doing the 2km walk that features 26 new sculptures along the stunning Waiheke coastline including  Oneroa village and surrounds. Organisers say to allow around 2 hrs to enjoy the walk. 

Woody Angus Rogers snapped the above photos of Rebecca last weekend, built by legendary kiwi artist Jeff Thomson from corrugated iron and to quote Jeff “she references early NZ classic yacht designs and the long history of boats moored at Matiatia and elsewhere around Waiheke Island”.
She was inspired by her namesake Rebecca, a 1902 gaff-rigged yacht, now sailing under her original name – Dolphin (see link below for more info & photos)
Note: no woodys library would be complete without a copy of the book ‘Rebecca – The restoration of an old yacht’ (cover below) by the late yachtsman, artist and educator – Peter Smith. I currently own 4 copies, whenever I see a copy for sale (on-line or in a secondhand book shop) I grab it. They make great gifts.
Rebecca book
Update 10-04-2019 – looks like the artwork has found a permanent home at Gulf Harbour marina, photo es Ken Ricketts

Manapouri – The Early Days





MANAPOURI – The Early Days

I have been contacted by Manapouri’s owner Mark Sorrenson who has uncovered wonderful documentation on the design & built of her, along with some great photos from this period. This essay on the 1960, 43’ classic launch has been brought together by Noel Fyfe (Parks) to whom we are indebted.
I’ll let Mark & Noel tell the story below 🙂
“Manapouri, is a 43ft Motor Launch built for Hector Alexander Parks.
She is a scaled down version of a 53ft “Thorneycroft Gentleman’s Cruiser.” A launch that featured in the Sea Spray magazine. The upper structure was changed by Frank Ewen to cover their backsides, and it did make a better-looking craft. 
Noel’s Uncle, Frank Ewen designed and built Manapouri, drew the plans and built a scale model before construction started in Hectors converted brooding shed on his Poultry farm at 66 Anzac Rd, Whangarei. (This now called Hilltop Road. The original house is still there, it has since been sheathed with narrow corrugated iron). Frank Ewen was one of the Ewen brothers. Frank, (he married Hazel who was Noel Fyfe’s mother’s sister) Ernie and John Ewen, also built the 24ft Gaff Cutter ‘Dolphin’, now owned by The Tino Rawa Trust and the 6 mtr C-class ‘Scout’whose story is recounted in the book by Sandra Gorters, “100 Years Astern”.
The Kauri for Manapouri was selected from two trees and milled by Lanes Saw Mills in Totara North. The Kauri was seasoned for twelve months before construction commenced. The Pohutakawa for the bow, stern and other smaller knees were sawn from over hanging trees at Manganese Point, Parua Bay in daring dawn raids. These raids were carried out in a dinghy built by Frank and powered by a 6hp Johnson, she never let a drop of water penetrate through her planks. A great stable dinghy. This dinghy slipped away from Manapouri in a storm and 3 weeks later Frank got a call from the Coromandel Police to say she had been found upside down. Her anchor had caught in the kelp, which had saved her from the rocks. All the boats Frank built had his name and address carved under a seat. The Pohutakawa and Puriri knees were stored for two years under sacks that were kept damp to stop them from splitting. Frank adzed and laid the keel, finishing it with a draw knife until it had the perfect finish. Hector’s stepson (Noel, who is now a sprightly 88, and without whom I could not have put together this early history), recalls that Frank was a perfectionist. All the planks were fitted with feeler gauges and no putty used other than to cover the silicon bronze nails used to fix the planks at the bow and stern or screws as were required. The planks were cut out of wider boards, with the curve required so that after steaming they were only bent on their flat edge.
Noel was at the time working as a builder during the week, building his first home at the weekend and helping Hector with the rooving of the planks in his spare time. Frank would mark out where he wanted the copper nails driven into the planks, in a fashion that did not split or damage any of the grain. This was a slow and tedious process that was left to Hector and Noel. Frank would later inspect this process to ensure the nails were rooved perfectly smooth inside the hull. The construction took approximately 3 years, with input from Alex Baxter.
Alex made the hatches and sliding doors and the skylights. These were fitted by John Roberts, who worked for Ken Lowe and Alen Orams. John Roberts worked for Ken Lowe for three years, then for Alen Orams for fifteen years, boat building. 
Hector deconstructed the chicken brooding shed and Manapouri was taken to Ken Lowes Boat Building shed in Ewings Rd. This slipway was originally Frank Ewen & Brothers Business in the earlier years. Here the motors, gearboxes and shafts were fitted. The original motors were Listers and were purchased from Schofields in Auckland. One of the Listers was reconditioned and gave some trouble over the years. The Engine Room was under The Wheelhouse floor. This floor was loose screwed so you could get to the motors. The Cabin top was made to a very high standard by John Roberts and was made so it could be removed with ease should the motors need to come out. Peter Macdonald replaced the motors and changed the cabin style to suit his needs.
The engineering work was undertaken by Ron Lowe who was a brother of Ken Lowe. Ron would have been one of the best engineers in the North. He was a hard man to peg down, he loved his beer and you could find him most days heading down to his main watering hole The Settlers Hotel. This old wooden pub was pulled down a few years ago and is now the site of the Whangarei Police Headquarters. It is thought that Donovans completed the Electrical works.
Once this work was finalized Manapouri was taken to Kioreroa Ramp by trailer. This was supplied by McBreen Jenkins and was a low loader used for D10 Bulldozers and was fitted out to suit Manapouri. With the help of Steve Bignall’s crane called Tiny, Manapouri was launched, and the man in charge of this operation was Peter Macdonald. (The same Peter Macdonald who later purchased Manapouri.) 
Hector worked for many years operating the dredging bucket crane in Whangarei
Harbour. The skipper was Peter Diamond, and the Dredge was the William Fraser, and working for the Whangarei Harbour Board gave Hector a leg up regarding securing a berth for Manapouri.  He also ran a Charter Business taking fishing parties out of the harbour on Manapouri. He was tied up to the main wharf and lived aboard her for many years until he had “words” with the new Board regarding his operating his fishing business without a licence.
Throughout these years, Hector who was a poor sailor, would get violently seasick in a long oily swell and was unable to swim, hence Manapouri was built with high continuous handrails to her decks.
Hec, on moving from Whangarei Town Basin purchased a Bach at One Tree Point,
Black Smiths Creek. (This is now the New Marina’s Main Channel, and Hecs old property has a very expensive home where his Bach once stood.) Manapouri was moored on the inside channel opposite the Bach. She broke her moorings twice over the years, and the last time Hector boged his tractor and struggled to refloat her it was the last straw. He sold her to Peter Macdonald a short time later. 
Hector and his wife (Noel Parks Mother) were moved to Rambourne House. There they lived until they died, Hector at 96 and his wife at 95.”
You can see & read more on her past at the WW link below

In the photo below with two adults and a backside in the clinker dinghy we have Hector on the oars and Frank Ewen with his back to the camera. Frank built the dinghy in 1946.

A Woodys Weekend


A Woodys Weekend
photos ex Alan H

Just back from a really great woody weekend. The CYA hosted a gathering at Fairway Bay Marina, Gulf Harbour that saw the boats all rafted up in the ‘gated’ upper lagoon. We were greeted by Grant the marina manager in his tender that made berthing easy for those without bow-thruster ;-). In fact Grant was the perfect host & made the weekend extra special.
I have to say that rafting up & boat hopping is such a cool thing, perfect way to catch up & tell fibs about your boat while enjoying a refreshing .
When I slid Raindance alongside Trinidad the smell was amazing, bread baking – the latest additional to Trinny is a ‘fitted’ bread maker. It doesn’t get much better than waking up to the smell of bread baking 🙂
Nice to see CYA vice chairman Peter Mence mooching around in his rather cute gaff rigged clinker.
After an afternoon of socializing we all went ashore for a BBQ at the marina bar. Nathan Herbert & Jason Prew were the the chefs on the BBQ & did a superb job, its not often I trust someone to cook my thick-cut aged sirloin steak.
Special mention to the CYA members that turned up by road, Sue & Mark Edmonds (Monterey), Ian Miller (Alpheus) & the new owners of Young Nick.

Included are some random photos of woodys I spotted along the way. Enjoy.

ww is not the place to air ones dirty laundry but I have to say that despite the amazing job that CYA launch captain Nathan Herbert did promoting & hosting the weekend – 7 boats is a p_ss poor turn out from a fleet of 200+ vessels. For those that did not attend, again you missed a great event. Maybe next time………………………?

Photos below from Ken Ricketts taken at arrival & departure.

Now heading back I got a call on the mobile from Jason Prew to say Dolphin had entered Milford Creek (marina) on the wrong side of the channel mark & was aground & could I try & tow them off. When I arrived it was looking like a long day/night for the crew of Dolphin………., Milford is intimidating to even the locals so I was on high alert as we nudged Raindance in VERY close. Robyn was on rock watch & telling me “they are right in front of us”. We managed to get a line bow to stern but she would not budge – not surprising when you look at the photos from later in the day, with the tide out. Hopefully she re-floated last night. She was on-route to Geoff Bagnall’s boat yard so any damage will not be a problem to Geoff & his crew. One negative was that in the process we pulled the outboard off the stern 😦