A Woody Trip Out West



Steve Cranch

A Woody Trip Out West – NZ Traditional Boat Building School Re-opens

I received an invite the other day in the mail (nice for once to not be via email) to the re-opening of New Zealand Traditional Boat Building School. Getting it made me very happy – firstly, because we all need the school to be a success & secondly because I personally have fond memories of the original school (read more below), I attended numerous CYA meetings there & also participated in two events – the Robert Brooke – Caulking / carvel planking workshop & a basic boat building techniques course that ran one night a week over winter. Learnt so much & meet some great people.

Today’s function was to share the vision for the future of the school & to meet some of the past & present stakeholders.

I’ll let Steve Cranch tell you the story:

“After nearly four years in recess the New Zealand Traditional Boat Building School has just re-opened its doors in new premises on the Te Atatu peninsula.

The school was founded in 2005 by trustees Robert Brooke, Harold Kidd, Bruce Tantrum and Ron Jamieson and successfully ran wooden boat building courses at Hobsonville for seven years before being forced to move to make way for the new housing development.

During that time hundreds of students attended classes on everything from traditional boat building to apprenticeship training and small boat building in which students built their own small boats to take home, often involving a son or daughter in the process.

Our new premises are much smaller than previous so we have been forced to restructure how we run our courses and a new program is being developed. It will kick off with a full day seminar on winter maintenance. Six specialist speakers will present on topics ranging from Diesel engine maintenance, Batteries and Electrical, Sails and Covers, Marine sealants, Paint systems and common splicing all common winter maintenance issues for the larger boat owner. Following on from this will be a course on re-ribbing clinker built boats and a laminated stand up paddleboard paddle course plus many more to come”.

In a few days when the dates are finalized, I’ll publish them on ww. I would encourage you to support the school; it’s a big step forward in bringing increased visibility & sureness to the wooden boating movement. There is a website, currently getting the final finishing touches, so I’ll let you know the link to that later as well.

Today was also a wee bit of a reunion with a lot of woodys catching up. The best chat was in the car park, where I got to view a very cool RC model of the Bailey designed ex Waitemata Fisheries trawler – ‘Waiwera’ (photos below). Built by Murray White. Stunning attention to detail.



Harold Kidd Awarded Life Membership of the CYA



Harold Kidd Awarded Life Membership of the CYA

I’m pleased to be able to report that at last nights Classic Yacht Association of NZ AGM – Harold Kidd was made a life member of the CYA. Below is the presentation speech given by CYA Patron – Hamish Ross.
photo (sorry out of focus) L>R Harold Kidd, Rod Marler & Hamish Ross.

Harold Kidd – Life Membership

 We will not see in our lifetime anyone who will make greater an impact on Classic Yachting in New Zealand, than Harold Desmond Kidd.

 It is through his meticulous research and extensive writings that New Zealand’s pleasure boating history will live on, not to be forgotten or become a twisted mixture of fact and fable. With Robin Elliot, his frequent co-author, Harold has been responsible for many books and articles detailing the history of our craft, their builders, their owners and crew. I have been a witness to a little of their hard work, the detail of their research, as well as their generosity in sharing that information with so many others. The timing of their work has been critical as we lose knowledge and their memories as people pass away. For example, to speak to someone who worked with or knew the Logans or the Baileys is becoming rarer and rarer as each year passes, if not now extinct and soon the knowledge be rather like an old 1920’s song “ I’ve danced with a man, who’s danced with a girl, who’s danced with the Prince of Wales”

 The influence of Harold’s work has lead many of us, and many more, not only to appreciate the rich history of our vessels, but also, perhaps most importantly, to regularly part with our hard earned money, to restore them and keep them afloat.

 Harold has been involved in many classic craft, but for me the by far the most important has been the Jessie Logan, the crack craft and the genesis of the House of Logan. His doggedness in tracking down of the vessel, rescuing it as a children playhouse, transporting it by road from Nelson to Auckland with a woefully under powered vehicle, storing it for many years until he found the right people to help him to restore her, and afterwards securing her future is just one example of his dedication.

 Mention must be made of his Rescue Trust, which has help rescue derelict vessels threatened with destruction.

 Harold regularly assists the Dept. of Internal Affairs in protecting NZ’s historic vessels from being lost to this country through export.

 There are many more achievements and contributions that could be mentioned, but Harold, on behalf of all members of the Classic Yacht Association, please accept this very small token of our esteem and gratitude from your fellow classic yachtsmen and yachtswomen.

I cannot think of anyone who has done more for or is more deserving of Life Membership of the Classic Yacht Association of New Zealand.

 Hamish Ross –  CYA AGM 12th July 2016

Romance II


As I said on yesterdays post one of the highlights for me personally of attending the 2015 Mahurangi Regatta was getting to see Pauline & Harold Kidd’s 1919 Bailey & Lowe launch Romance II post her restoration under the hands of Marco Scuderi. If you asked Marco he would tell you that Harold was VERY clear in the project brief, in fact I would suspect there has not been a launch that has been so thoroughly researched & documented 😉 The brains trust of classic wooden boats were all over this project, Harold even had Robert Brooke swinging the caulking mallet.
There are still a few projects to be completed but visually the team have nailed it.
Unfortunately I did not manage to get a photo of her at speed, she was just to quick for Raindance. She did look very smart leaving the harbour on Sunday morning at ‘full chat’ (a HDK term).

Harold Update

We took about half a ton of modern excrescences out of her, sink bench, stove/oven and that huge hideous dodger, leaving only coms, stereo, deep freeze and head. Marco repositioned the Morse control so that we can now get full revs (probably 3500) out of the lusty Moon Engines-set up Hino diesel.
Walter Bailey designed her for 17 knots with a 100/150hp Sterling so she has the lines but is much lighter without the Yankee benzine-gobbler.
She now gets up on what passes for a plane earlier than before but we carried out no full power trials and didn’t get anywhere near “full chat” at Mahurangi, just hurried along to catch up with and photograph the lovely JESSIE LOGAN and WAIRIKI heading home on Sunday morning. I reckon she’ll nudge 20 knots when we summon up the courage.
On the other hand, she handled the nasty easterly jobble coming home from Bon Accord early on Monday morning well, ticking over at 1200 rpm and making 8 knots (plus flood tide).
When the Navy did a survey of launches available for patrol purposes in 1927 she had a 100hp Stearns, the “hot” engine of the time. The comment was “good seaboat”. We confirm that.
The Mills family of Devonport, who commissioned her from Bailey & Lowe in 1919, lived in Huia Street where I lived for many years, so there are multiple resonances for us.

2015 Mahurangi Regatta Weekend – 70+ Photos

2015 Mahurangi Regatta Weekend – 70+ Photo Parade

The photos tell the story of the weekend – perfect weather, stunning boats & nice people having a great time. Todays post is just a slice of the 3 days of classic wooden boating. I have 100’s of photos that will filter thru into ww over time. Not all are ‘picture perfect’ – its hard to helm the boat (solo) & take photos in a very congested waterway.
As always you’ll see a mix of motor-boats & yachts because even though some people seem blind to the world of classic launches – the weekend is in fact the biggest collection of classic wooden boats afloat in one place in NZ. Remember people – its all about wooden boats 🙂
Saturday nights prize giving & dance ashore at Scotts Landing was one of those evenings out of the bag – a perfect sunset to cap the day off, the panoramic photo above was sent to me by Mark Lever (owner of the very smart 1926, B.J.L. Juke designed launch – Nereides) & portrays the scene perfectly.
I counted 30+ classic CYA launches around the bays – I’m sure there were more, just didn’t see them all. The launches had a wee parade around the bays on the Saturday to fly the flag for the CYA launch fleet. There was a ‘names in the hat’ draw at the prize giving & one of our newest members – Bill Mitchinson owner of MV Gay Dawn, who traveled up from Tauranga for the weekend, won the ‘Motor Launch Log Trophy’. Now all we need is for last years winner (a non CYA member) to play the game & return the trophy 😦
The trip north for me had one big objective – to see Pauline & Harold Kidd’s just re-launched classic launch – Romance II afloat. Harold & boat builder Marco Scuderi have rebuilt R2’s dog-house & tram-top to pretty dam close to the day in 1919 she slipped down the Bailey & Lowe ramp. In my eyes her lines & proportions are spot-on. There is a photo of her in todays post but I will feature her in more detail on ww tomorrow.
Winners Are Grinners – the CYA boats, skippers & crew cleaned up all the major sailing races at the regatta – photos from the prize giving at the end of the post.
Enjoy & remember you can enlarge any photo by clicking on it 😉


This is what makes the regatta racing so special – where else do you get sailing like this?

Yes, there were life jackets on-board for everyone

Saturday Night Prize Giving & Dance


Grinners Are Winners

Kakariki (Georgella)

KAKARIKI (Georgella)

details from Harold Kidd & Andrew Pollard.photos ex trademe

Kakariki is one of the 4 ‘sisters’ designed Norm Beetson built, they were launched in the following order –  Acquiesce, Gayella, Naiad, Kakariki (launched as Georgella).

The 32 footer Acquiesce was built by Norm for himself in 1948 for himself at 70 Kildaire Ave, St. Heliers followed by the 33 footer Gayella in 1952 to the same design, built by George Roberts for himself at St. Heliers (Chrysler Crown), then Naiad by Stan Blake for himself in 1956 and Georgella in 1959 by George Roberts again for himself with a Fordson. Georgella was sold to the famous petrol-head Les Stericker who renamed her Kakariki. Gayella has been in Andrew Pollard’s family since his grandfather Shorty Sefton (Mr. Gardner in Auckland) bought her in 1963.

The question of the day is – where is Acquiesce?

Kakariki is currently for sale on trademe

Mark McLaughlin Update

ACQUIESCE was for sale a couple of years ago at the Panmure Bridge. I had a look over her when she was on the slip there. Her owner at the time told me she was repowered c.1965 with a 4cyl Fordson. She now resides on a swing mooring at Okahu Bay.
NAIAD was up at Te Atatu recently, GAYELLA is on a pile mooring up the Tamaki Estuary and KAKARIKI (GEORGELLA) is at the Thames boat harbour.

The Rudder Cup


The Rudder Cup

The article below was penned by Harold Kidd with the intention of creating interest among the classic launch community to re-run the 1908 race in 2008 to celebrate the centenary of the event. As tends to happen with most things HDK puts his name to, the 2008 race happened.
Pauline & Harold Kidd donated a cup, the Rudder Cup Centennial Trophy for the race & now each year CYA launches race to Patio Bay for the cup. Today is that day so it seems appropriate to feature the 1908 race. I very proud to have Raindances name on the cup (2012 winner).

Enjoy the read & thank you Pauline & Harold. Alan H

THE GREAT LAUNCH RACE OF 1908 – The Rudder Cup race around Sail Rock

The Rudder Cup launch race around Sail Rock and back, a distance of 108 nautical miles, was set to start off Queen Street Wharf at 10 pm on Saturday 12th December 1908. All week the weather in the Gulf had been heavy, all day a stiff southerly blew, but at sunset this died to a flat calm. Shortly before the start, a light westerly breeze came up and that quarter prevailed throughout the race. The Squadron race committee made a serious mistake. Despite the fact that the weather was clearly settling, it decided to apply the heavy weather handicaps, handicaps that made the larger, more powerful launches give big time allowances to the smaller fry. Happily, for the moment, and for the peace of mind of the faster contestants, the handicaps were sealed.

Of the 14 entrants, only 12 made it to the start. The brand new 42 footer Alleyne, owned by Arthur Brett, Commodore of the New Zealand Power Boat Association, scratched for some undisclosed reason and so did Leo Walsh’s Kelvin, with a slight engine problem.

The massed flying start was a pretty sight as eleven of the twelve launches throbbed their way, “with the cyclonic whirring of gas engines”, said the Star, down the Waitemata, around North Head and into a calm but very dark night. Floral had been first over the line but James Reid in Seabird took the lead by North Head. Eliza had a problem restarting her engine and was trailing behind. The moon rose in the East as the launches approached Tiri and droned on into the night, the little fleet now becoming strung out with only their nearest competitors in sight. There was a beam swell and sea off Kawau but it moderated, then got up again when a fresh westerly kicked in as they entered Bream Bay.

At 0414 on Sunday morning Seabird was the first to round Sail Rock and turn for home. She was followed by Matareka, 26 minutes behind, then Alice leading the main bunch a few minutes later. The Herald reported the rest of the race,

The run home was uneventful, the westerly wind off Waipu beach being left behind and a southerly with a bumpy sea being run into at Whangaparaoa Passage. Seabird gained on all the launches and Matareka also improved her position, but neither of the leading boats had sufficient in hand to secure a win.

But, until it was all over, and the handicaps opened, neither skipper knew that.

Alleyne met Seabird as she rounded North Head, out on her own, and she came tearing up the harbour to finish at 1030, cheered by a very few of the NZPBA faithful on the wharf that Sunday morning. Seabird was 53 minutes ahead of Matareka which was 28 minutes ahead of Alice. All the remaining boats had finished by just after 1300 in the following order, Wanderer, Maroro, Kotiro, Eliza, Vanora, Floral, Winsome, Waipa and Petrel. Seabird averaged well over 8 knots for the run, a great turn of speed for the time, point to point in the open sea.

When the handicaps were opened it was found that Seabird had to concede a time allowance of 3hrs 23 min to Maroro, something that was impossible in the conditions. The handicap results were Maroro 1st, Winsome 2nd, Petrel 3rd and Alice 4th. So the Rudder Cup went to the Matheson brothers of Maroro.

Not surprisingly, there was much criticism of the outcome. Some said that Seabird was the moral victor, some said that Chas Bailey’s Alice had performed best in comparison with the others having regard to her size and horsepower and should have won with proper handicapping, all said that the handicappers had done a bad job. A protest was lodged with the Squadron but failed. The real winner was the reputation of the motor launch and of the marine engines of the day. The Herald said,

The race is considered by motor launch owners as a triumph for the reliability of the motor boat. Twelve boats went round the course, and not one engine is reported to have stopped throughout the long run of from 12½ to 15 hours.

But the fun was not yet over. Immediately after the race, Harry Adams issued a challenge to Maroro, “or any other competitor” to a race from Queen Street Wharf around a buoy off Russell Wharf and back, non-stop, 240 nautical miles, for ₤50 a side, a preposterous sum at the time. Adams was taking a shot at James Reid and Seabird. Possibly he was driven by the need to dispel doubts about the Auckland-built Adams Kiwi engine in Eliza which had played up at the start of the Rudder Cup race. James Reid accepted at once.

Arthur Brett was stakeholder, starter and judge. Eliza’s crew consisted of Capt. Ted McLeod, master of the Northern Steamship Co’s coaster Clansman as skipper, Bill Cook, later of the Whangamumu whaling station, navigator, Fred Reynolds, of Whangarei, engineer, and Charlie Mitchell as engineer’s mate. Harry Hopper stayed ashore. James Reid employed Capt. J. Quinn, master of the auxiliary schooner Endeavour, as pilot and had as crew K. and H. Boyd, A. Tyer, and E. Akersten.

There was nothing like a big wager to stir interest in the Colonial heart so there was considerable attention paid when the race started off Queen Street Wharf at 0750 on Saturday 30th January 1909, the day after the Auckland Anniversary Regatta.

James Reid told the Star,

“The boats got away to an even start, but one at once knew that something was wrong with the Seabird; there seemed no life in her. The Buffalo came alongside us, and beat us easily, showing that there was really something out of order. The Eliza was drawing right away from us, and we were sure now that we had seaweed on our propeller. We reversed the engines several times, and tried her again, but could not shake it off.”

Buffalo was a new launch built by Reid’s younger brother David and was much lower powered than Seabird. Seabird carried on until Takatu Point when Reid stopped the engine. Ken Boyd went overboard and cleared the totally fouled prop with a boathook. By then Eliza was out of sight, but they gradually hauled her in. Off Bream Head the weather rolled in thick. Seabird felt her way up the coast, rounded the buoy off Russell Wharf at 2340 and then Capt. Quinn stood her out to sea till daylight when they briefly picked up the Poor Knights. Through lifting mist they raised Sail Rock in clear weather and steamed straight home from there at full revolutions. She did the 54 nautical miles in 6 hours 15 minutes, averaging a cracking 8.64 knots and crossed the finish line at 1638 on the Sunday.

On board Eliza, the Kiwi engine never missed a beat. She rounded the Russell buoy at 2250, 50 minutes ahead of Seabird. Her report made much of a rough trip home in a rising easterly,

Aboard the Eliza, one lurch threw two five-gallon drums of oil across the engine-room floor, and another threw the engineer right across his engine. The launch went under the Hen to get smooth water, to enable her to fill her oil tanks, and owing to the rough sea she went outside Piercy Island to get calmer water.

Eliza finished at 1425, 2 hours 13 minutes ahead of Seabird to win the wager.

James Reid pooh-poohed Eliza’s rough weather talk.

“I must contradict the report that both boats were knocked about in the sea. …we did not get a drop of water on the decks.”

And that was that. The reliability of the modern internal combustion marine engine had been further enhanced, there had been some heroics to suit the taste of the time, and honour was satisfied all round. But the story doesn’t end there.

It will come as no surprise to readers of Vintage Viewpoint and our books that, almost a hundred years after the Rudder Cup race, the main protagonists of 12th and 13th December 1908 are still soldiering on.

Eliza was run by Harry Hopper for some years and was bought by brothers J.T. and J.W. Mason of Whangarei in 1920, renamed Kumi, Maori for a fabulous monster, like a taniwha. They sold her to the Whangarei Harbour Board in 1929 and she stayed on strength as a tug and pilot boat, skippered by Archie McKenzie, for many years. Recently vet Haydon Afford of Taupaki bought her and rebuilt her.

James Reid sold Seabird in 1910. She stayed in Auckland in various hands until the cyclone of 1917 when she came ashore in St Mary’s Bay and was badly chafed. Charles Collings bought her and rebuilt her, then sold her to Turnbull of Lyttelton. From Lyttelton, where she spent many years as a harbour ferry, she gravitated to Nelson. She has recently been bought by Steve Thomas, a Nelson marine broker who first sailed in her in Golden Bay as a boy 25 years ago and fell in love with her.

Maroro remained with the Mathesons until 1920. She then went through a series of owners, reading like a Who’s Who of launchies of the time; W.J. Quelch, Sam Leyland, Wilkie Wilkinson, T. Macindoe; but she eventually went fishing and is currently owned by David Owen of Okupu, Great Barrier. She is hauled out directly opposite the wharf, needing a new owner desperately. She is highly restorable and highly original, the only changes from her 1908 configuration being a sensible and neat dodger put on by Lanes in 1920, beltings put on to work as a long-liner and the inevitable mechanical updates.

Of the remaining entrants, Matareka is sound and loved by the Fenelon family in Auckland. We saw a photograph recently of a launch in a shed up North that is Petrel or her twin. Wanderer is very like the Wanderer owned by Terry Curel on the Kaipara in the 1960s and may still exist. Fred Cooper sold Winsome to engineer and wheeler-dealer Peter A. Smith in 1914 and she disappears, probably with a name change, because Bailey & Lowe built a tuck stern Winsome for J.H. Foster in 1918, the boat that has been owned by the Pickmere family of Whangarei continuously since 1923.

Bailey & Lowe sold Floral in 1909 to Capt. J.S. Clark for use as a passenger and cargo launch on the Whitford run. Again, she probably still exists under a different name. We have a candidate to follow up, last seen on the hard at Coromandel. The big Vanora was sold by Lindsay Cooke to Maurice O’Connor of the Thistle Hotel in 1912. He fitted a 30hp Auckland-built Twigg engine and sold her to the Government in late 1913. We do not know her subsequent fate.

Alleyne became Daisy in the hands of W. de Renzy of Ponsonby in 1916 then went to E.J. Kelly, a stalwart of the Ponsonby Cruising Club in 1918. By then the Lozier had been replaced by a 30hp Twigg. Kelly sold her to Sanfords in 1927, so we suppose she finished her days as a long-liner. Waipa was a mystery, even at the time of the race, but we are pretty sure that she is the pretty little double-ender in a recent Boating NZ trade ad.

W.J. Harper sold Kotiro to Frank Chapman in 1919 and she became Ahuareka. We lose track of her in 1937. Bailey sold Alice to Tonga in March 1910. Kelvin carried the name on when Walsh sold her to Reg Shepherd. By then there were so many launches with the name Kelvin throughout the country that following her history is impossible.

Of the 14 entrants in the Rudder Cup, 4 definitely exist, Waipa is a probable, at least 2 more are likely and we think there’s a fair chance half the others may lurk under a new name on a mooring, up some tidal creek or in someone’s backyard.

waitematawoody talks on our maritime heritage

As part of Auckland’s Heritage Festival, Harold Kidd – NZ’s leading maritime historian & waitematawoody spoke at the RNZYS tonight on the topic ” Explore the Waitematā Harbour’s commercial and recreational maritime history”

I have attempted below to summarize Harolds talk – this is just the overview, his narrative & supporting photos made the evening one of the most informative & enjoyable talks I have been to. There was not a spare seat in the room & everyone left with a smile on their face – well done Harold & Pauline.

1. The Early Period – 1840 to 1870, which saw the the european reliant on the maori for fish & produce, the development of the boat building industry & the arrival on the scene of regattas & match races.
2. Between 1870 & 1900 with the first pure yachts (versus work boats) we saw the emergence of yacht clubs & proliferation of ‘organised’ regattas.Competition was fierce in the yacht building industry & the export of yachts was happening. We also saw the increased use of kauri & the arrival of the diagonal construction method.
Open sailing boats & the rise of the mullet boat as a ‘type’ were new to the scene.
3.The 1900’s to 1920 – this period was noted for the racing of mullet boats as a class, the first centre boarders & the building & launching of over 3,000 motor boats / launches. This period was also ‘effected’ by WW1 & the influenza epidemic.
4.The 1920’s to 1945 – a post war boom & bust & then boom again marked this era. We had the rise of the one-design & restricted centre board classes. Launch & keel boat building continued to boom in the 1930’s.
5.1945 – 1965 – period marked by the postwar boom & the arrival of new materials. This saw a boom in keel boat construction for racing & offshore cruising. Yachts clubs continued to proliferate. Designers took advantage of the new materials. We started to become more involved in International contests.
6. 1965 + Increasing sophistication in design & use of materials. International racing success. The America’s Cup. All this saw NZ at the forefront of the worlds yacht design & construction.