Family Boat Restored To Former Glory (ex Nelson Weekly – Dec 17 , 2014)
A launch that was built in Wellington in 1929 and has been in the same family for four, going on five, generations, has just been re-launched in Nelson after its latest refit. Judith Glue’s grandfather, Roy Harvey, and his brother-in-law, Sam Weine, started building the 35 foot kauri launch on a steep section behind Sam’s house in Kilbirnie in 1927. Veca was launched in 1929 and remained in Roy’s family for 58 of the next 85 years with Judith and her husband Pete, of Richmond, completing the latest refit in Nelson earlier this month. Pete says Veca, which was named after Roy and Sam’s wives, Vera and Caroline, has a fascinating history with her framing being constructed out of an “old man rata tree” Roy and Sam cut down in Akatarawa Forest, near Wellington. They also had to build a ramp over the top of Sam’s house to get Veca out of the section and down a steep road to Evans Bay where she was launched. “They had to use two old Wellington coal trucks to get her down the road,” Pete says. “It was so steep they put anchors into the road to stop the trucks and boat taking off down the hill.”
Sadly, Roy had to sell Veca in 1941 because fuel prices had skyrocketed during World War II. However, Judith’s father, Bruce Harvey, brought her back in 1968 when he saw her “tied to a mooring a forlorn state in Evans Bay” and she has stayed in the family ever since. “Roy spent most of his retirement restoring Veca for Bruce and then we acquired her as an inheritance. We pulled her out of the water again in 1985 and transported her to Bill Gibbons’ old shingle plant in Lower Queen St for her second refit. “We took out every screw in the hull and refastened and recaulked her, and fibreglassed the topside, and then we relaunched her on Christmas Eve in 1987. I remember that because the Ministry of Transport wouldn’t give us a permit to take an oversized load through town, but we went anyway. “It was a bit of a nightmare because the transporter got a flat tyre in the middle of Stoke. There was traffic everywhere and I said to the guys, ‘bugger the tyre, keep driving’.”
The latest refit involved reconstructing the wheelhouse and Pete says he was a little concerned about the boat being out of the water for about five weeks. Although Veca took on some water when she was relaunched, the wooden hull soon closed up and became watertight. Pete says she’s now “ready for the next generation to take care of her”. Pete says Veca gets plenty of use with their children and grandchildren always joining them for their annual Christmas boating holiday to the Marlborough Sounds. “It gets a bit crowded with everyone aboard and the cabin’s a bit low, especially when you have sons who are six foot five and six foot four,” he joked. “But she’s a lovely boat to sail and she’s very economical to run – we spend more money on our rum than we do on our diesel.”
Input from Harold Kidd – VECA was launched in November 1929, built by Weine and Peter Harvey under the supervision of Arthur Sang who designed her. Bob Gibbons bought her after Harvey’s death in 1937 and ran her during WW2 in NAPS. He sold her in 1962.
To view a selection of launches built by Roy Parris – click this link https://waitematawoodys.com/tag/roy-parris/page/1/
RainDance Back In The Water
I come back the next day & Geoff has done a template of the height (less than I wanted) & new shape – as always he was spot on & the finished job, to me, is perfect (not to Jason Prew – who has been telling me for years to remove it).
As requested by Jason Prew – photos below of my latest piece of bling – a Cattroll Collapsible Pennant Mast, made 25+ years ago by an Auckland company named R. Geo Cattroll. They were based a 1114 New North Rd, Auckland. The box it came in stated “Can be fitted to cabin top or deck mounting. Precision engineered from solid brass, chrome plated. Unique locking devise. Height of mast 889mm
I was recently contacted by Andy Winter who is on the lookout for information on an Allen Williams boat, built around 1964/5 for Dick Read grandfather of Andy’s wive – who unfortunately passed away in 1980. Andy has come across a picture of Allen Williams actually building the boat, which he believes to be a similar design as ‘Banshee’ except this boat is 34’6” long and 9’ft beam. The boat was called ‘Tarati Mei’ when she was launched, named after his wife Dorothy May.
Andy is trying to find out what happened to her, whether she has been renamed or is around no more? Andy asked Milford boat builder, Geoff Bagnell about the boat but he doesn’t remember her. Andy thinks she would have been kept at Milford until the early 1970’s. Any help or direction from the woodys would be most appreciated.
In the photos above the first two show Tarati Mei just before launching from Allen’s yard. Dick Read is the guy on the transom. In the second photo we see Dick’s wife (Dorothy May) launching her.
The third photo is of Allen Williams building ‘Tarati Mei’. The last photo is what appears to be an ‘enhanced’ photo of her at Kawau – probably late 1960’s. Andy feels this may actually be a painted copy of a photo, either way it does show what she looked like in this era.
Andy commented that he saw a similar looking launch in Gulf Harbour being lifted out recently called ‘Murphy’, but didn’t get chance to talk to the owner. Any one else seen this vessel?
Harold Kidd Input
The name is actually TARATI MEI, not TARITI MEI (oops fixed. AH). She was built in 1965 and had dimensions of 29’6″ x 25′ x 9′ x 2’6″ and was powered by a 100hp Fordson diesel. Her APYMBA number was 311.
Bill Jobey bought her from Dick Read and renamed her PATTY J.
Bill Jobey was a core member of the Milford Cruising Club and always had a snapper or two if you pulled up alongside him off the Barrier. Lovely man who died a few years ago. However any old-time MCC member should know what has happened to her.
photo & details ex Ross Farrant
Arohanui was built by Roy Parris in 1974 & is 30′ long. Owner Ross purchased her a couple of years ago from a gent by the name of Doug Wood. Ross understands Doug runs (perhaps ‘ran’ now) a diesel servicing business out of Westhaven.
Milford boatbuilder Geoff Bagnall was an apprentice under Roy Parris at the time Arohanui was built, Ross spoke to Geoff recently and he told Ross that he remembers there were 4 of these 30′ launches built, he also recalls that Arohanui was built for a Dick Milburn who is now deceased. Geoff knows nothing of her history after that.
You will notice in the above photo a small cabin top on the foredeck. Geoff Bagnall did that job for previous owner Doug wood at his Milford shed a few years ago, it appears that most of Roy’s boats had a flush foredeck but Doug wanted headroom, and it does work, brings more light into the boat and doesn’t detract from the overall look of the boat.
Arohanui is powered by a Lees Marine conversion, six cylinder Ford truck engine, Ross was amazed at how much oil the sump took when he did my first oil change.
Anything anybody can tell ww about her history would be great as Ross & Sue Farrant are a bit light on details relating to her past.
(sorry about the photo quality, as supplied)
Its That Time Of The Year
Mid week I dropped in to say hi to the Milford based boat builder, Geoff Bagnall & went next day to the Milford Cruising Club’s yard with the camera to snap a few woodys that are hauled out for the annual pre-summer love.
ps now I’m not a member of the Vindex fan club but there were two examples in Geoff’s shed getting makeovers, one in particular receiving an semi-enclosed cockpit, a job the Mr Bagnall does very well, Geoff has a very good eye for proportion & just getting the look right. Sorry no photos.