The 1905 Bailey & Lowe 40′ launch Kumi has appeared numerous times on WW but Nathan Herbert was recently poking around in the Auckland Library Heritage Collection section and came across the above photos attributed to Mr. and Mrs. MF Russ. National Publicity Studios; Riethmaier. Nathan asked me if I supported his belief that the boat featured was Kumi. A quick search in my WW files popped up an email (repeated at the bottom of this story) that Kumi’s owner Haydon Afford sent me back in August 2014, that made a reference to Kumi being used as a cray fish boat between 1955 and 1975 in Whangaroa, Northland, by a Mr Russ – so jack pot – its Kumi. Catch out the size of those cray fish.
Now if you know Haydon you would have to be surprised that he had communicated with me via email – in fact he told me I was the first person he had sent an email to 🙂 Haydon is a wonderful man, they broke the mould after he entered this world. Back in the summer of 2012 > 2013 Haydon undertook a 3 month circumnavigation of New Zealand in Kumi. This achievement was acknowledged in late 2013 by the NZ Classic Yacht Association awarding Haydon the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award In Seamanship’. Below is a photo of Haydon accepting the award along with his father. A group of woodys motored out to welcome Haydon back into Auckland Harbour after the circumnavigation – he celebrated with a pint of ice cold beer.
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Haydon shared his story of the trip with CYA members at a special evening at the RNZYS and it was pure gold, good old school story telling at its best. Unfortunately no-one recorded it but prior to the evening I twisted Haydon’s (writing) arm to tell me about the trip, I typed this up and you can read it at the WW link below
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I received an email a few weeks ago from someone that talked about the launch Kumi – problem was it was not from the owner & I had no idea who they were. They did talk as if they had an interest (past / present) in the boat. I even rang Harold Kidd & asked him if he knew of xxxx xxxxxx, the name drew a blank with Harold also.

So I call Kumi’s owner Haydon Afford & ask him if he knows someone called xxxx xxxxxx – the answer “thats me, I get sick of having to spell my name so for years I have used xxxx xxxxxx for the unimportant things in life e.g. ordering a pizza etc. xxxx even has his own email address…….. which is more than Haydon does, no mobile phone either 🙂

Hayden then realizes that on the email to me he did not say it was from him. I have re-printed the email below.

” Dear Alan. Quiet at work so found all these fantastic pictures on your extremely good website . if you wanted to include Kumi in the  Bailey and Lowe  chapter I wouldn’t mind. brief history?  Launched aug 1905 as ‘Eliza’  for Henry Adams as a lorry to take produce to and from his island Moturoa in the bay of islands. Raced in 1908 rudder cup ;failed to win . The annoyed  mr Adams challenged any body [mainly aimed at line honours winner James Reid with Seabird] to a race for 50 guineas to Russel wharf and back . Kumi beat Seabird more by good luck than boat speed , since in the rerun of the rudder cup it was very obvious that Seabird is a faster hull! Adams  had some bank trouble in 1913 and Eliza vanished  never to be seen again , but fortuitously at exactly that moment ‘Kumi’ appeared built by the same builder to the same design and launched on the same date as ‘Eliza’ .whew. She was sold to other people and in 1928 sold to Whangarei harbour board as a pilot boat and used as such till 1955 .She then went to Whangaroa harbour as a crayfish boat for mr Russ and did this till 1975. It was during this time  that an oyster barge made a mistake in berthing, crushing Kumi against the wharf and sinking her in apparently three minutes. In 1975 she went to a  Whangarei back yard till 1985 where she was modernised. Mr pont of Whangarei sold her to mr  Tercel and she came back to Auckland where her modernisation rapidly deteriorated through several owners until 1999 when  the present owners purchased her in spite of the surveyors comment of “not even any use as firewood, too rotten and wet”. The Affords took her back to their place and rebuilt her to close to 1905ish ; which was lucky because she ended up the same as her launching day photo in the maritime museum which Harold Kidd told us about after  her relaunch. Kumi has had several engines but mr Pont in Whangarei installed a 1963   six cylinder Ford  rated at 80 horse power  and this engine still gives perfect service .Kumi is a fun boat, fast enough [if not a line honours winner] but sea kindly and comfortable and ready for the next 100 years.”

A little more about Kumi – in the summer of 2012/13 Kumi completed a circumnavigation of New Zealand, I have covered this previously on ww but if you missed it, click the link below to read Haydon’s tale. Post the trip Haydon gave a talk to CYA members at the RNZYS, it was one of most entertaining evening I have been to. Haydon & Kumi’s vovage was acknowledged in 2013 with the presentation to Haydon of the ‘CYA Outstanding Achievement Award In Seamanship’ (photo above)


Recognition – Kumi also features in the CYA Classic Register 2014-15 edition – the link below takes you to the section.