Arethusa Aground on Farewell Spit

Arethusa Aground on Farewell Spit

Regular readers of WW will be familiar with Bay of Islands photographer – Dean Wright and the stunning images he shares with us. Dean and partner Deb are the custodians of the classic woody – Arethusa, which has one of the best back stories of all the craft in your fleet. The 33’ Arethusa was built in 1917 by Bob Brown and started life as a gaff rigged cutter, 105 years later she has the features of a commercial ex work boat – but a very swish one 🙂 Link below that shows some of the transformation – and being such a looker she has made numerous WW appearance, but today we bring to light a somewhat unknown (to most of us) event in her life – I’ll let Dean do the intro to the above photo essay :- https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/09/07/arethusas-new-woody-wheelhouse/

“Deb and I were down south recently and did the Farewell Spit Bus trip. The tour operators were able to tell us approximately where Arethusa ran aground all those years ago (late December 1955). 

They dragged the boat to the other side of the Spit and relaunched her, about 1.2km’s. An excerpt from book at the Spit lighthouse keepers house: “She was sailing between New Plymouth and Nelson and the crew thought they were heading between the lights of Farewell Spit and Stephen’s Island when they ran aground. Obviously they mistook the light on Cape Farewell for that on the Spit, and, as the Cape Farewell light had only gone into operation in 1951, they may have been unaware of its existence.”

The press clipping above in the Christchurch Press ran the headline – ‘The Arethusa – A Total Loss’ – well they got that wrong – well done to everyone that invested the funds and time to help Arethusa become a centenarian. If anyone knows more detail of her time in the South Island, Deb and Dean would love to hear from you.