El ALAMEIN > RANUI – On Lake Taupo The 32’ launch El Alamein, later renamed Ranui, that was built and launched by Supreme Craft in 1945 and has made several appearances on WW (links below to those stories).
Recently I was contacted by Paul London, in regard to Noel East, a previous owner of the launch. Paul has many fond memories of times on the launch at Lake Taupo. Paul was motivated to contact WW to re-connect with a Terry Arnold, a ‘distant’ cousin of his and grandson of Noel East. Terry Arnold made contact with WW and shared the photos above El Alamein during Noel and Grace East ownership period. In the first photo the lad with the red cap holding a trout is Terry, as Terry commented the trout in those days were both plentiful and stout.
In the photo below we see the Lake Taupo marina, where El Alamein / Ranui was berthed when owned by Noel & Grace East. There are some grey area’s as to when the name changed from El Alamein to Ranui but the boats know places of residence are summarised below:
• 1945 – Lake Rotoiti • 1949 – Lake Taupo. Possibly when the name change occurred
• 2020 – Hokianga Harbour. Presently a inner-harbour charter boat.
The clinker dinghy photo sees the grandchildren Terry, Clfiton and Raewyn Arnold out on Lake Taupo in the launches tender.
RANUI BACK IN WORK While woody Glenn Martin was mooching around Northland, he came across the 32’ launch Ranui in Kohukohu on the Hokianga Harbour. Readers may recall that Ranui was originally from Lake Taupo and built as a boat to ferry post war veterans in recovery. Originally named El Alamein, she was built by McGeady in 1944/45.
These days she plies her trade as an inner harbour charter boat. Glenn commented she has been freshened up with new paint and a Volvo engine. Owned by the local flounder fisherman and builder she is in good hands with steady trade servicing people on a gravel bike tour.
Paul Drake sent in the two brilliant Taupo photos above, the photo above of Maureen Anne were recently given to Paul’s brother Michael, by one Maureen West nee Somerville who would love to know where this boat Maureen Anne is now.
She was built in Taihape by F.W. Somerville, Joiners. Maureen’s father was Ben Somerville, part of the firm. She was launched at Taupo in about 1948 & appears to be about 23′.
The second photo also came into view only recently. It is of the Boat Harbour at Taupo, in the late 1940’s/early 1950’s. The photo shows Maureen Anne in the distance on her mooring, just ahead of Romance.
On her mooring mid river is Col Wild’s 1936 Lamorna. Tied up to the river bank is El Alamein (now Ranui) – McGeady, ( third from left) in one of her earlier configurations. Also Arcadia (Slattery – second from right) and various other unknown woodys. Oh, and first on left is Wyona, a large clinker who biodegraded many years ago.
Update from Alan Craig – below are 2 photos related to todays (above) Taupo story.
Tony Mitchell had the print of Wyona, and Alan also found the post card on trademe of the ferry, at the time named ‘Rotoiti’, that use to go through the channel to Rotorua. Not quite the same boat but some one might recognise it.
Now this launch is for sale & if you had a peek inside you would be very impressed & at the asking price of $78k you might think its a great buy. Well it is a great buy, but I do not think there will be a queue of classic woody buyers lining up – why? because someone has stolen its mojo – the thing that makes a boat special. Her name is Ranui & in another life was called El Alamein, you can read about her here https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/08/03/el-alamein-ranui/
The Readers Digest version of her history is that she was launched in January 1945, specifically for use on Lake Rotoiti to help convalescing returned servicemen from World War II, many in wheelchairs, ease back into civilian life.
Now I have another life outside of being a wooden boat blogger & that is in the world of consumer & B2B marketing – mostly via the digital channels these days – so I can hear you asking yourself whats the relevance of this to today’s story? Well Ranui is in charter & these days calls Lake Taupo home – So wearing my marketing hat, if I owned a boat with the provenance that Ranui / El Alamein has I would be doing two things:- 1. leveraging every inch / ounce of her life story to make a trip on her something special, hell I’d even by donating $xx dollars from every ticket to the local RSA etc etc. 2. The other thing I would be doing was making her look as classic as possible – that’s her X-factor – the tourist’s would be telling people “I went for a very laid back lake cruise on this amazing 1945 wooden boat that used to help with the rehabilitation a returning WWII solders etc etc.
So what has someone done? bought a few sheets of plywood & put a top hamper on her. Well it is their boat & they can do what they like (see Cameron P – I’m softening) – I’m sure the attraction of getting a few more paying passengers aboard won them over. But in my eyes they have knocked $25+k off her sale price & halved the visual / emotive appeal of the charter business.
If I was a few years older I’d buy her & borrow Mr Prew’s tungsten tipped chainsaw 😉 & go make a few bob on the Lake. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the heads up on the boat.
Have a look below at the photo of her back in the 1940’s, what she looked like in 2015 & as she appears today on treadme. As they say “different strokes for different blokes” – Its still a good buy for a 32′ motor launch – But not me.