2020 Wooden Boat Most Resembling A Block of Flats – Award Winner

2020 Wooden Boat Most Resembling A Block of Flats – Award Winner

The above photos from an anonymous woody spy, hit the WW email inbox on New Years Eve, so just made the 2020 cut.Normally the annual winner is a launch , but this year its a yacht. All I can tell you is underneath the additions was once a H28. Even in ‘as launched’ trim they were never the quickest of craft, this one would be an interesting sail. The USA, they have a cult follower and owners spend moon beams on them.
Hopefully someone will advise that its actually a plastic H28 and the award can be passed on 🙂

Check log in tomorrow – great story and 50 year old photos of the woody launch – La Rosa 

The Best of Colin Wild + Herreshoff Steam Launch

The Best of Colin Wild + Herreshoff Steam Launch
The top two photos of the Brooke families 1927 Colin Wild launch – Linda comes to us via Mitchell Hutchings fb ex the Williamson Family Collection. Linda at the time was moored at Herald Island.

The bottom photo I took today of Wirihana tucked up in Chris McMullen’s shed for her winter TLC. Wirihana is another of Wild’s big motorboats, built in 1933.

It was great to see that CMcM’s Herreshoff steam launch (below) is coming along – engine installed 🙂



WAITOA – The Real Deal 
Back in March 2017, I run a story on a yacht that according to Ken Ricketts was Waitoa, it all got a little complicated & I won’t even attempt to sort it out. If your interested you can see / read it here (remember to read the comments section)
Yesterday Murray McGehan sent me he great photo above of Waitoa which Murray states (correctly) is the real , Seen in this photo c.1948-49 at Okahu Bay. Owners Merv (cockpit) and Ron McGehan (companion way).
The boats cabin top remained in this configuration until at least 1972 when the cabin coaming height was increased about two and a half inches. The eliptical cabin windows remained untouched and probably HDK can confirm that this did look a little unbalanced. After Murray talked to  subesequent owners it was felt that the current dog house was added c.1977, probably under Mike Vinning’s (Picton Shipbroker) ownership. Waitoa has had at least two owners since Mike, one was Andre Ludwig who Murray kept in contact with.
Waitoa was built by Charlie Hardman in St Mary’s Bay (not Phil Barton who Murray believes had a yard at Bayswater). Alan has some photo’s of the original launch day with the boat alongside the St Mary’s Bay Wharf. When he recovers them from storage & scans (Box Brownie) them I will add them to this story.
Ron was Murray’s father and he was lucky enough to sail on the boat in the seventies under Gordon Reynolds ownership, so Murray can confirm that at that time the basic configuration of Waitoa was unchanged from launch in 1947 even still having the original Stewart Turner petrol auxilary, this has now been changed to a Droffin diesel.
09-07-2018 Harold Kidd Input – Phil Barton, and his father Henry before him, had a yard in St Mary’s Bay to the west of Jas Clare’s/Collings & Bell’s yard since 1900 except for a period around 1916-24 when they were in the US and Leon Warne rented the shed. When the yard was closed in 1955 during the construction of the Harbour Bridge approaches Phil moved to his big shed on the water at the foot of his property at Beachhaven. He was never at Bayswater. Phil built some fine keel yachts until 1955 at St Mary’s Bay and his handsome motor sailer WOODWIND at Beachhaven.
Charlie Hardman was a noted centreboard builder, 18 footers in the main.
If he built WAITOA at St Mary’s Bay it had to be at Phil Barton’s yard.
She was for sale at Picton in 1990 as designed by Bob Stewart and built by Phil Barton. I think Phil had a hand in her building at least.
A Wasted Day
I took Raindance for a run up to Herald Island yesterday to grab some photos of the John Wellsford Small Craft Design owners club day out to the Riverhead Hotel – don’t know what happened but there was no one at the meeting spot / time they published on facebook – bloody yachties 😦
The St Ayles Skiff rowing group were at the Riverhead, photo below of the fleet tied up at the pub wharf. Would have been a fun trip rowing back after a few hydraulic sandwiches 😉
1926 N. Herreshoff designed NY40 MARILEE – 2 Year Restoration + Insights into the Herreshoff world
I posted this link last Sunday but only 386 of you viewed it – I would encourage you to check it out, its a 10/10 in my book & Chris McMullen watched it twice so its a goody.
A Sad Day
Woody Greg Schultz contacted me to say he had a good mate die and now has the sad task of finding new owners for his fleet one of which is a wooden 18ft John Wellsford Pilgrim, decked in cutter, photo below. Looks in excellent condition and only about 4 years old. Includes a brand new galvanised trailer, outboard and very reasonably priced at $9999. These are great yachts & at this price it won’t hang around long. Wouldn’t surprise me given John W’s international following if an Aussie / American doesn’t buy it & ship it off shore.
More photo’s & details ex Greg via email.      itzgreg@xtra.co.nz


Chris McMullen’s Herreshoff Steam Launch – Part 1

Chris McMullen’s  Herreshoff Steam Launch

I visited a rather special boat shed the other day, shed is a bit of an understatement – I have a shed, Chris McMullen’s one is more like an aircraft hanger.
The reason for the invite was to have a look at the 1933 Colin Wild built launch Wirihana out of the water, but what really made me accept the invite in a flash was the chance to view the 34′ Herreshoff steam launch that Chris has been creating for nearly 30 years.
I use the term creating because every piece of this boat (including the steam engine) has been crafted by Chris’s own hands. Its a little way off launch day but already its a piece of art.

Why would someone undertake a project of this magnitude ? Chris’s view is “the whole project is an engineering exercise and an interesting challenge to recreate what was done 100 plus years ago.  Further, traveling on a fast steam launch is a great experience and there is something about generating your own power from fire and water”.

Click any of the above photos to enlarge 😉

I’ll let Chris tell the story – read on

“I have been building this (lets say) machinery and boat on and off for would you believe 27 years!  I started the project in 1987 –88 the year I sold McMullen & Wing Ltd.  Unlike some of my steam friends in the USA and the UK who are single minded,this has not been my only interest, during the time I have owned or had the use of other boats and done many other things.
The long winded project, is an embarrassment for me being a professional boat builder. It must be explained that I am not a trained Engineers Pattern Maker,  Foundry Moulder, Fitter and Turner, Coppersmith or a Boilermaker. I have had to learn these skills. Believe me, the Herreshoff’s draftsmen certainly did not compromised his design to make it easy for manufacture.  The castings for the engine are complex and thin walled. Several foundry’s kindly allowed me to do my own sand moulding on their premises. It would never have been possible without their cooperation.  I have had four attempts at casting the crankshaft. The only good casting (currently installed in the Engine) is of material not up to spec.  This has been a major blow and I guess my knowing this has set back the job.
The 3 throw crank has been drawn in “Solid Works” with the idea of machining it from a solid 9 inch diameter bar of steel on a NC lathe and Mill. A huge job and still can not be completely finished on these remarkable machines. At this stage there is no way to change the design. Crazy, the original was cast and machined in steel over one hundred years ago!
I went on and built the 34’ x 6’ 3” x’ 1’10”hull exactly the Herreshoff way (with a mould for every White Oak steamed frame) The hull double planked carvel style and glued with epoxy rather than set in shellac (as was the original) The planking was two skins of 5/16 NZ Kauri. So thin it could not be edge set. On the bilge the planks were made from thicker stock as they had to be backed out (hollowed and rounded) Very easy to loose control of thickness doing this and I believe Herreshoff Manufacturing (some how) steamed the round into the planks. I have a steam box, experimented but could not make it form the planks. I could have built the same boat double diagonal in a fraction of the time but the design scantlings would have had to be changed. At the time I wanted an exact replica! To what end? Now, I am not sure. (See below Vapor)
Anyway, the hull is basically finished with the boiler engine and water tank installed ready for the plumbing.
For those interested the design is HMCO design # 263 it was built 1908 as the Starboard launch for the Beautiful Twin Screw Steam Yacht “Cassandra”  Cassandra was built for an American owner by Scott’s at Greenock. Scotland in 1908 .She was 238 f.t O.A.L and could travel at just over 15 knots. Her tender was designed and built in the USA would have been “State of the Art” at the time and most likely the fastest launch available.  It would seem to me there were excellent Steam Launch builders in the UK. Simpson Strickland and Liquid Fuel Engineering (Lifu) and others but the owner chose the Herreshoff design / build. I have a copy of a letter written by Francis Herreshoff (the designers son) stating these launches could do 14 knots. To many, that seems unlikely but I have been on two Steam launches on Lake Windermere that can do  13 knots, so lets say we do not know.  These launches are proportioned closer to a rowing eight than a normal hull. On design #263 The boiler pressure is 250 PSI  The propeller is four bladed 22 x 30 inch pitch. the Hull and machinery is light. The shaft is low angle and the weights well forward.  The speed and shape of “Vapor” a similar steam launch has been discussed at length on Wooden Boat Forum  I have never got involved in the discussion but I am very familiar with “Vapor” and know the owner. Ed Louchard a boat builder from Port Townsend has done a wonderful job of building a replacement hull.  Vapor is the only surviving Herreshoff Steam Launch. The hull had been re planked at some time but the machinery is all original. Regarding “Vapor”, when I started my project I thought there were no Herreshoff Steam Launches in existence. I tracked down” Vapor” and her friendly owner in California about 12 years ago. Now she has been rebuilt it sort of makes my replica surplus.  In some ways procrastination has helped as more information about these remarkable launches comes to light from all over the world. I have enjoyed the research but now I am looking forward to finishing my project but it does get harder as one gets older”

Part 2 – The building of a replica 1898 Nathanael Herreshoff triple expansion steam engine –  https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/07/11/chris-mcmullen-herreshoff-steam-launch-part-2-the-engine/

Update on Vapor on the WoodenBoat Forum 24/07/2014

Vapor photos & kind words about Chris McMullen


And more Vapor – 25/07/2014