MEDWAY Taupo woody Paul Drake came across the launch Medway the other day, on the hard at Mana Marina (Wellington).Paul recalls that she was at Taupo in the 1960’s and is clearly a sister ship to Lidgard’s Monterey.
Previously on WW there has been discussion relating to three launches built at the same time, they were Monterey, Almaray & possibly Tangaroa. Paul wondered which of the last two Medway is, as there almost differently has been a name change. WW link below to Monterey, where you can see the Lidgard factory / shed at the time of building. https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/04/14/monterey-2/ Paul commented that although in great need of a thorough paint, her good bones show through and one would think that she will tidy up very well.
Input from Harold Kidd – According to the APYMBA records, MEDWAY was built by “Woods” of Auckland in 1952. In 1962 she was owned by Larry Bruce Johnston and then had a 100hp Ford diesel.
The above b/w photo comes to us from Lew Redwood’s fb.Details on the launch are un-know, can anyone help ID the boat.
Paul Drake Input – Probably RHODESIA. Photo shows her at Waihora Bay. The post sticking out of the water would be from the jetty which used to be there a long time ago. There are eight short stumps there to this day. Little is known of RHODESIA, but patrons of Domino’s pizza joint on the Lake Front in Taupo can study her, as they wait for their order, in the large format photo which is part of that establishment’s decor.
Harold Kidd Input – RHODESIA was built in Auckland in September 1912 and railed down to Rotorua. She was 30ft loa 8fft beam 2ft 9in draught. Her first owner was Marshall Ryan Shipping Co who used Bailey & Lowe for their new builds so it’s a fair bet they built her too. Roy Forrester of Helensville ran her for the company in the years immediately after WW1. When Taupo Shipping Co was liquidated and its assets sold off in August 1925 she was sold off. I am not sure she was then renamed TUWHARETOA because Sam Crowther was running a TUWHARETOA for hire in 1923.
There’ll be an answer which I suspect Paul Drake will ferret out.
Paul Drake Input / Reply to HDK – The idea that RHODESIA became TUWHARETOA is very interesting and quite possible. I remember her in the 1950’s. She had a raised cabin, to the full width of the original cabin, which was very well done. To my eye, she was a looker.
Continuing on with the Taupo thread, over the weekend Dean Wright sent in a gallery of photos from the marina at Lake Taupo, included was the stunner below of the Drake Brothers (Michael / Paul / Nigel / Roger) launch East Wind. When I shared the photo with Paul Drake he advised that it was him in the cockpit homeward bound from one of his recent weekly fishing expeditions.
In the photo Paul is seen taking soundings with the boathook. The lake is quite low and that day the bottom looked very close in that part of the channel. You can see that he has the boat hook at the ready, the minimum sounding was about four feet.
He also commented that the fishing since the lifting of lock-down seems to be rather good.
The Drake family have owned East Wind for approx. 50 years, but know little of her early provenance (<1920). She was clearly built as an open boat with motor. She still has the original foredeck and coaming under the newer raised deck. See 1932 photo below – East Wind, centre with another of the Drake boats Romance directly astern.
Todays’ story on Manunui comes to us from the ‘desk’ of Paul Drake – as always, well written so I’ll pass over to Paul.
“Arriving at Taupo for our annual holiday one January in the late 1950’s, my brothers and I were intrigued to see a very unusual looking new commercial boat on the scene. Before we knew her name, we kids called her ‘The Ugly Boat’. She turned out to have a proper name – MANUNUI – after the saw milling town just out of Taumarunui. It was there that she was built by the manager of said sawmill, Basil Maude.
Basil’s hobby was building boats, but he rarely got more than about three-quarters of the way through before losing interest. MANUNUI was the exception. He wished to see how big a boat he could build out of plywood. He had the plywood made at his mill from selected timber. Her bottom had two sheets of ply each twenty feet long , six feet wide, and one and a quarter inches thick. She measured 36 feet by 12 feet.
She had to be chunky and strong because Basil had two Allison Kittyhawk 12-cylinder aeroplane engines which he wanted to fit. He designed and built the double gearbox himself. It measured eight feet by three feet by two feet deep. At the last minute the plan changed and the two gallons per minute Allisons were wisely ditched in favour of Ford V8s. But the gear box remained – larger than the two engines. This most fascinating gearbox was mounted forward of the engines with the propeller shafts running back under the engines. Chains were involved, and each propeller was operated independently of the other in the normal way. MANUNUI was the first diesel powered launch on the lake (so it is said) and also the first commercial plywood boat to operate on the lake.
In the good old days when fishermen would club together and charter a launch for five day expeditions to Taupo’s Western Bay, MANUNUI was a very successful and busy charter launch under her very capable skipper Ron Houghton.
The original canvas arrangement over the aft end was eventually replaced with the rather functional effort shown in the second photo. In about 1970 a whole new cabin appeared. Shortly afterwards MANUNUI was sold to New Plymouth. I wonder if she survives? Somehow I doubt it.
Much of this information is contained in ’Boats of Taupo’ by Charles Cox.
The above b/w photos show the then police launch Lady Shirley, the ’ship’ in the background is the Rangitata. The photo is dated 1940-49 and most likely taken by D. Marsh. The 36’ bridge-decker, Lady Shirley was built by C. Bailey & Son in 1938.
The first photo below I took at the 2020 CYA Classic Yacht Regatta. In the second photo she is her moored in Opito Bay, BOI – summer 2019/20.
02-04-2020 Update ex Greg Lees – Greg recently acquired this very cool ‘ship-in-a-bottle’ model of Rangitira
Nigel Drake sent me the funny below – pretty well sums things up in our house.
ISOLATION – Such stunning weather and no boating 😦
For a long time I have been ‘collecting’ old boat hooks, you can pick one up for $20>30. Normally the hook end is bronze and in good condition, a good polish and they look like new – to buy the head at Fosters would cost around $150. So today I started to give a few a make-cover. I have to say, what ever the old boys used to ‘varnish’ them with, is bloody hard to get off, lots of 80 grit did the trick.
I suspect this will be the last project before I get transferred to domestic duties e.g. working on the house 🙂