Knoxie III > Miss Ida

Miss Ida 1 - Copy

Miss Ida 3

I was contacted yesterday by Greg Philpott, up until recently the owner of the Opua General Store in the Bay of Islands. Greg is on a missions – I’ll let him tell the story.
“By way of introduction, my partner Margaret and I have recently sold the Opua General Store business after owning it for just short of 6 years. During that time I became immersed in the history of the General Store and Opua itself  (along with it forerunner Te Wharau, which was the town that grew up in the 1870’s/80’s to service the Loading Ground – the site where Kawakawa coal was trans-loaded to ships at anchor. In 1884 the rail line was extended to Newport (now Opua), many buildings were shifted from Te Wharau to Opua and as such the township of Te Wharau has now totally disappeared.) The reason for relating that little snapshot is that all manner of launches, workboats, ferries and tourist craft have been a part of Opua (and by locational connection, the Bay of Islands) for its entire existence.
And so on to my current project – The Boats of the Bay. This is looking at the history of the commercial tourist Boats of the Bay of Islands. Their origins, their working life and their final situation
Here’s where I need help – Knoxie III was built for A E Fullers and Sons by Warne Bros at Matauwhi Bay in 1939. She was renamed Miss Ida in 1949. Whilst built originally to enhance the Fullers fleet for the Cream Trip it appears that much of her latter days were spent as a work boat and as the back-up launch for the Opua Okiato vehicular ferry, photos above. I am looking for pictures of her carrying the name Knoxie III And when did she depart the Fullers fleet and what was her history post Fullers?
Anyone able to help out?

Miss Sandra (Kokiri)

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Today’s woody comes to us via Greg Philipott’s fb page. Greg commented that Miss Sandra was built c.1962, probably in Auckland (tbc).
She was named after Lola and Snooks Fuller’s daughter. Then renamed Kokiri after NZ Shipping / P&O purchased Fullers from George Wooller.
Chris Brittain commented on the fb post that Fullers repowered her with a GM 671.
Nathan Herbert also commented that her hull looked like an early Jim Young design.
Greg is keen to learn more about Miss Sandra. So woodys any details, stories, photos?
Input from Graham Clifford
“I was a full time skipper of Miss Sandra from 1967 – 71 when she was engaged in big game fishing, light tackle winter fishing and occasional runabout duties.  I continued my association with her on a piecemeal basis in the years after she retired from fishing in 1971 and took her new name “Kokiri.”  Under this name she was used variously as a scenic cruise boat,  a pilot boat to and from ships visiting Port Opua and a general roustabout.
Miss Sandra was a 36 foot Vindex hull built of kauri in Fullers new slipway shed at Russell in 1966.  I was present during her construction.  In late ‘66 I took over as her gamefishing skipper.  Together we captured a 547 pound blue marlin.  The following season, in March 1968,  we landed and weighed the biggest marlin caught in New Zealand waters, a blue marlin of over one thousand pounds (1017 lbs)
Miss Sandra was originally powered by a 6-cylinder Fordson diesel but was soon repowered with a Caterpillar turbo charged engine which gave her a top speed of 20 knots light. I used this engine for more than two years.  In 1967 I used Miss Sandra and her speed to assist Police in the transfer of a stabbing victim from a ship which arrived in Doubtless Bay. The victim (Wylie Hanby Roberts) needed hospital treatment and would have certainly died had the ship not diverted to Doubtless Bay.  Miss Sandra had the speed to get from the Bay of Islands to Doubtless Bay in time to meet the ship offshore.   The Caterpillar engine was replaced in 1969 with 6 cylinder Fordson and again with another Fordson.  Her final re-powering was with a noisy GM which coincided with her name change to “Kokiri.”  Her gamefishing days were over.  She became a part time scenic cruise boat fitted with airline-style seats and a small public address system.  This role did not suit Kokiri well and I personally shunned her other than to favour her for pilot duties.  The two principle maritime pilots liked her for her speed.”

Esperanza II

details ex ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H. photos ex B Worthington

The story of how Esperanza II, an American Chris Craft arrived in NZ started in about 1948 when the Fuller family of the Bay of Islands had an American couple, fly over here, to go game fishing on one of their charter boats.

They (probably Snooks Fuller) met the couple personally & instantly hit it off & became instant friends. As a result of this, the extremely wealthily Americans invited them back to America, to stay as their guests, at their waterfront mansion. They accepted & in due course fulfilled the invitation & were amazed at everything the saw. Their hosts had numerous cars, mostly Cadillacs & several boats, one of which was a fabulous virtually brand new 36 foot Chris Craft launch, which was tied up at the bottom of their garden.

They went out & about in the hosts cars & one day the hosts asked the Fullers if they liked the car they were in that day & of course they said they did & their hosts said words to the effect, “well you better take it home with you.” The Fullers naturally thought the hosts  were just joking & passed it over.

In the next day or two they went out in the Chris Craft & of course that was out of this world for them, the like of which they probably had never seen in NZ. Once again they were asked if they liked it & of course they said – they loved it, so once again, the hosts said to the effect, “well you better take it home with you.”

Very shortly after they returned home, they got official documents telling them that the car & the boat were on their way to NZ. The Fullers must have been blown away with the Americans generosity.

Esperanza II became the ultimate luxury game boat of her era in “The Bay,” with many dignitaries & prominent guests aboard. She was originally a fairly fast boat, powered by 2 very large Chris Craft V8 petrol engines, when she arrived, these were eventually replaced with Ford diesels.

From the photos above, taken over the years,  it appears that she is still alive & well & Ken understands she was in Whangamata fairly recently for a period & is possibly in Auckland these days.

The details of the above ‘story’ were told to Kens family in the 1950’s by friends of the Fullers. Can any one confirm & add more details from her past?