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.


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   –   027 292 3823

ECHO + Woody Beauty Parlour 

ECHO + Woody Beauty Parlour 

Recently I was sent a link to David Smith’s FB where he showcased the 2 photos above of the 1935, 32’, Les Coulthard built launch – Echo, moored in Parekura Bay in the Bay of Islands.

Echo has graced WW before – check out this link for a look below


Today a snapped the photo below of the yard at The Slipway in Milford – a nice selection of woodys getting some TLC.

Left > right – my own Raindance (my lips are sealed as to why I’m hauled out again), then the recently changed hands – Rehia, the 1939 Colin Wild built 36’ launch, in for some long-overdue differed maintenance.  Link to Rehia here

Then – Awarua, the 1947, 36’ Roy Lidgard built launch – also owned by the owner of Echo. One more and he will officially be a collector 🙂 Awarua is nearing the end of an extensive refit and whilst you can’t see it in the photo, is sporting a dazzling Jason Prew paint job. View more of Awarua at this link

Southern Woodys – Work Boat Wednesday



Southern Woodys – Work Boat Wednesday

Iain Forsyth, owner of the 1961, 42’6″’, Miller & Tunnage built ex work boat – Meola, has recently returned from a trip to the other island. Ian commented that he stopped off at Carey’s Bay and saw Pakeha (recently featured on WW) on the slips after a large refit by Carey’s Marine and ready to launch.

Iain snapped the above gallery of workboats. It was opportune timing as the Bluff fleet were in port and getting ready for the season. Now I’m sure they aren’t all woodys but as per the NZ Classic Yacht Association rules (see below) metal is all good 🙂 
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Woodys Cruising The Bay of Islands – Summer 2019/20 – Part One



Linda – 1927 – Colin Wild


Nautilus – Oliver & Gilpin


Darleen – 1920 – Possibly Bailey & Lowe


Echo – 1935 – Les Coulthard



Thetis – 1955 – Lane Motor Boat Company


Lady Crossley – 1947 – Colin Wild


Lady Ngaio – 1928 – Collings & Bell


Manapouri – 1960 – Parkes


Just got home yesterday from 10 days mooching around Waiheke and while clearing the in-box I spotted an email from Dean Wright, now Dean is a Bay of Islands based professional photographer with a passion for wooden boats. He even owns one  – the 1917, Arethusa.

Now any email from Dean normally contains some stunning photos and yesterdays one was a cracker – too good to run all as one, so I will split them in two.
Today we have featured pleasure launches – the first being one of the smartest classic wooden launches in our fleet – Linda. She has appeared on WW many times so if you want o know more just enter Linda in the WW search box.
I love the photo above because its the personification of our classic wooden boating movement.
Below I have included a photo of the 2018/19 built ‘spirit of tradition’ launch – Grace, and with her beautiful lines, she could only ever be a Salthouse 🙂
I have captioned the Woodys that I have been able to ID. To read more on the boats featured, use the WW search box 😉


Grace – 2019 – Salthouse



Echo – A Peek Down Below

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ECHO – A Peek Down Below

I have rowed past Echo numerous times at Mahurangi Regatta weekends & admired her. She is a very smart classic woody & the workmanship on her is 2nd to none.

She has appeared on WW before but yesterday she popped up on trademe, so we can enjoy a peek down below.

Echo is a kauri carvel launch built by Les Coulthard in 1935 at Onehunga. She measures 31.81’ & is powered by a Perkins 75hp diesel engine, this allows her to cruise along at approx 7.5 knots.
For the last 17 years Echo has been owned & maintained by a professional boat builder. During this time, she has been recaulked below the waterline & had her topsides kauri splined, the cockpit area has been rebuilt &the bow re-worked to give her a proper anchor bowsprit.
You will see from the photos that Echo is beautifully maintained & presented –  Echo is an amazing buy & would see you cruising in a classic woody this summer.

Someone needs to buy her & quick J

14-11-2017 Update: Someone did buy her – a gent named Mark Dixon

11-01-2018 Update Photos below taken by Angus Rogers of Echo at Parekura Bay, Xmas 2017/18







I have mooched past Echo numerous times on her mooring in the Weti River & she is always in attendance during the Mahuranghi Regatta weekends. I understand she is owned by a retired builder (possibly boat builder) & from chat from other woodys the standard of the workmanship during her restoration was very high.

Talking a few weeks ago with woody Russell Ward, he mentioned that Echo’s owner may have reached a stage in life that ownership / maintenance of a classic wooden boat was a little too much & could be looking for a new owner for Echo. That is all I know – so woodys – what do we know about the boat & can anyone confirm if she is in fact ‘on-the-market’.

Had a wee oops this morning – got my wires crossed & called Echo, Scout. Have to stop posting at 4.30am 🙂  Nathan H pulled me up on it 😉

Echo is a Coulthard boat. And you can read more here



details & hauled out photos ex Ken Ricketts, editing & on the water photos ex Alan H

Echo was built in 1935 in Onehunga by Coulthard & is an excellent example of an almost totally unspoiled original 32′ classic tram topper of the early to middle 1930s era.

Her present owner, John Rea, a retired boatbuilder himself, has had Echo for approx. 10 years & keeps her in the Wade River. She is powered by a 4236 Perkins Diesel, which was fitted in the 1970s.

During his stewardship, he has put a lot of time & effort in splining the entire hull, hence the permanent eggshell finish, a job, of which, she is well worthy.

John told Ken he bought her in Totara North, Whangaroa, where the previous owner, Graham Armstrong, had kept her for a good number of years (at least 10 he feels). Armstrong owned or leased a small shop on the foreshore by the boat ramp. Previous to this she belonged to the Ashby’s, a boatbuilding family in the Bay of Island, they upgraded the original dodger, which was lower & ‘squarer’ than the present raised version, which is a very practical modification & in Ken’s view, is still aesthetically balanced & acceptable.

John believes at one stage she was owned by a man of the cloth – a Reverend (name unknown) & that she was possibly on the Kaipara Harbour for a while. This possiblility is backed up by the fact she still has the same marine grade high quality carpet from way back & when vacuuming John is still getting black sand in reasonable quantities out of the carpet, which he thinks is West Coast sand.

A lovely boat, which must have an interesting history, so hopefully there will be some additions to this story from others to fill us in on the original owner & confirm the build date  & maybe even ID the ‘Reverend’ 🙂

Harold Kidd Update

This launch was advertised for sale by Serena Armstrong of Totara North in 1999 as being built by Les Coulthard in 1935. I had serious doubts about that at the time because she’s clearly much older than 1935. I cannot imagine Les building such a launch in 1935 as his launches of that period were much more up to date eg LUCINDA.
I can track an ECHO on the Manukau from early 1912, a flushdecker, which Les could have built because he was living at Mairere Road, Onehunga at the time but was only 23. That ECHO was built for Stan Vause who was killed in WW1.
My pennyworth.