Earlier this month WW was contacted by Greg Philpott in regard to a comment on WW back in March 2018, concerning a gent named Ron Morgan who was trying to locate his old 24’ mullet boat named Echo. Echo had been at Whitianga but was taken to Beachlands to be rebuilt by a painter from the marina who Ron thinks went overseas before it was completed. Ron commented that the boat had a long history and was raced early last century. When Ron had it she was configured as a launch. Before selling it she had its cabin stripped off so could be just a hull. Enter Greg Philpott who recently posted the picture above on the ex RNZN Facebook page with the primary interest being the Naval Base and the warships HMS Diomede and HMS Dunedin. The photo came from the British Museum files. On the fb posting there was a comment added by a William Ohealy as below.
“That launch in photo is the Echo . We rebuilt her into a fine fishing boat / charter boat. But me dad got to old so was sold. We put a 6LW Gardner. Dam she was fast, 11 knots at 1100 rpm – sad to see her go. Last I saw her at Herald Island in the upper Auckland Harbour, sorry no photo. Put a forward wheel house on her. aft cockpit cabin and walk around deck. When first built was a 28 ft. mullet boat steamed up to Whangarei Harbour and added 7 ft. to the stern and made into a motor sailer. With a whole new keel. As a racing mullet was the fastest on the Auckland Harbour.”
So woodys, after digesting the above (some what convoluted) intel – can we ID the actual launch in the photo and possible join the dots to a Mullet boat link?
13-01-2023 Input ex Chris McMullen – Refer page below out of the 1945 Book “Little Ships” by Ronald Carter. It shows an early photograph of a Mullet Boat called “Echo” (top left). Mullet Boats have built down aft sections (no deadwood) Difficult to fit a propeller and make into a launch, but it has been done. The design weakness in Wooden Mullet Boats was the Centre board case. Once Toredo worm got in the case and keel the damage was a big job to fix. Enthusiast owners have done these repairs them selves. To have it done professionally would cost more than the boat was worth. So mullet boats were sold cheap. The new owner blocked off the centreboard slot, strengthened the keel, installed a motor and went fishing.
The 26 foot Mullet Boat “Corona”(now extensively rebuilt) almost suffered that fate. She disappeared for many years. As far as I know and fortunately the owners never worked out how to fit a propeller. Her hull was saved by some Mullet Boat Enthusiasts. Her Spars and Sails were long gone.
INPUT EX HAROLD KIDD – There was an ECHO launch, 29ft, originally with a 10hp Lozier built by James Reid and domiciled in Devonport around this time. She was hauled out on the Devonport Ferry slip in 1919 and took part in the first race run by the Milford Cruising Club in 1924. I reckon this is the boat. As for the 1900 Clare 24ft mullet boat ECHO, she went to Thames in 1904 and was still in existence at Whitianga in a terrible state in 1989. NOT this boat.
ATTENTION WOOLLEY CLASSIC LAUNCH OWNERS
WW has been contacted by Kerry Lilley, owner of the Woolley launch – Awariki asking for owners of Woolley designed/built classic launches attending this years Mahurangi Regatta (Jan 28th) to join Awariki in Saturday mornings launch parade – Kerry’s contact details are below, so drop him an email or call and he will explain in detail the plan to celebrate the Woolley marque. If you don’t own a Woolley but know someone who does – be nice and pass the message on 🙂
CONTACT DETAILS firstname.lastname@example.org – 027 292 3823