I recently received the above colour photo of Tio from her owner Richard Cross, the older b/w photos popped up on fb. 

Richard commented that he had fully re-corked her 3 years ago,and was chipping away at the interior fitout. He has purchased the majority of big ticket items including new solar set up and batteries.
The engine – a Detroit 671 two stroke, had a  top end rebuild last year and the real reason for today’s story is Richard is looking for advice on what to do. A bottom end bearing has now gone and having spent a lot of money last year on the engine, he is looking for advice of what options he has, as he is currently not in a postion to engage last years mechanic – so is there someone knowledgable whose brain Richard could pick?
Also looking for input on the design layout for the stairs to the old hold, which he is thinking will be two double cabins, storage, office and workshop.
Tio is 55’ in length, 28 ton, designed by Hubert Levy, built in kauri in 1953 by Jack Guard at Putatea Bay (French Pass) for the Marine Dept as an oyster research boat. Later served as a Navy Pilot vessel (registered ship number 316485).
Also did time as a Great Barrier Island passenger ferry. These days she is a live-aboard and I have to say sports midships, what would best be described as a ’shed’ 🙂
Any mechanically minded / qualified woody able to help Richard out with some advice? I’ll throw in a WW t-shirt and Lake Rotoiti Wooden & Classic Boat 2020 calendar to the most helpful – Richard can decide who that is 😉
After hours of reviewing weather forecasts, the WW weather guru has selected Waikalabubu Bay, Motutapu Island for the venue. Of course this could change but for now, that  is the spot. 
If you haven’t RSVP’ed – click the email link below . Great numbers already confirmed for next Thursday 🙂     waitematawoodys@gmail.com
Woody Waitangi Picnic

Hubert Levey

Hubert Levy-2

Hubert Levy-1


I was sent the above photos Hubert Levey by Peter Kelly. In the photos she is moored at Weymouth. Peter understands that the Hubert Levey was purpose built for the Marine Department for use on the Manukau Harbour.

She was launched in Auckland and sailed around the North Cape to the Manukau.

What more do we know about the vessel & her working life?

Input from Harold Kidd – The correct name is HUBERT LEVEY (updated), named after the respected designer who carried out many of W.G Lowe & Sons commercial designs. He was a influential on other Auckland designers including Tim Windsor. Hubert was born in 1890 and died in 1955. He served his time with Bailey & Lowe. He set up as a boatbuilder in Gisborne in 1910 then in Devonport a couple of years later.

30-01-2018 Ian McDonald’s recollections from his ownership:

Hubert Levey was tendered in 1985 by the Government Stores Board and the successful tenderers were me, (Ian McDonald) & Rodger Edwards , from Tokoroa.

Hubert Levey was built/launched in 1957/58 by WG Lowe & Sons for the Ministry of Fisheries, and primarily spent much of her service on the Manukau harbour. She was specifically constructed with a shallow draft with a bilge keel each side to “take the ground” as she lived in Onehunga and was aground on the mud at low tides.

Power was a Gardner 4LW with a manual 2UC gear box. I can’t recall what ratio the gearbox was.

Subsequently she was trucked to the Waitemata, how long she spent there I don’t know but with her flush deck aft, and reasonable sized hold, we were told that she spent a bit of time around the gulf and in Coromandel waters being used around the then experimental mussel & oyster leases.

She then turned up in Tauranga (another harbour where shallow draft was necessary) and, in 1985 was put up for tender. We got her for around $26,000 from memory.

The hull/ cabin colours on the attached photo are as we bought her and, the additions of the canopy ( NZR tarp from memory) and dive ladder were added by me & Rodger. Later we added a 2’6” “Tauranga board” extension to the aft deck with seating all round and side-mounted the ladder. Accommodation was all up the sharp end with two built-in bunks & two pipe berths. The toilet was forárd of those again.

We were told that Hubert Levey (the man) worked for WG Lowe & sons and was the designer/ builder. He was reputedly from the North East coast of the USA and her Lines are reminiscent of lots of boats I’ve seen in that part of the world.

The last time I saw her was at the Barrier, circa 2003/2004 and the then owner (from Tairua) had committed the ultimate sacrilege and replaced the Gardner with a Ford; he told me the gearbox had blown up & he couldn’t afford to replace it. He’d obviously never heard of the Pollard boys (eh Cameron ?) Not only that, he’d added the most frightful wheelhouse on the aft deck which even Heath Robinson couldn’t have dreamed up.

In 1988 we sold her (in Auckland through Ian Walker who was the Panmure Launch & Yacht sales) as we had successfully tendered for the “Tokatea” also built by WG Lowe & sons ( very similar lines). Hubert also had a hand in the design of Tokatea and the boat Hubert was named after him, as he died either just before or, just after she was launched.




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Tokatea was built by WG Lowe & Sons in approx 1958 for the Fisheries & based at Coromandel & partially sank there when her skipper (Neil McDonald* possibly) clipped the black rocks in the dark while seeking to chase a trawler sneaking out to do a “burglar shot” as they called them in those days. Proof of the incident was that just forward of the engine room bulkhead, port side, she had 2 or 3 short planks & a couple of tingles where she had been repaired.
Rodger Edwards & Ian McDonald tendered for her when Fisheries bought in the big Steber boats c.1987/88 & took her to Tauranga.

Prior to Tokatea Roger & Ian also owned another ex fisheries boat, Hubert Levy (named after a man who worked for Lowes) & if you look at the step-down from the foredeck on both vessels, you will  definitely see the similarity in both vessels. Ian was told that Hubert had a hand in both designs.
The Hubert Levy (photo below) pre dated Tokatea by about a year and was built with a very shallow draft, with twin bilge keels, as she was based for a while on the Manukau harbour.  Ian & Roger tendered for her successfully when she retired from service in Tauranga. She had a Gardner 4LW in her – last seen by Ian at Great Barrier Island and powered by a 6cyl Ford, the owner couldn’t afford to fix the 2UC Gardner gearbox – a sacrilege Ian reckons.

*Neil McDonald – was nicknamed in Coromandel the ‘Black Mac’,  Ian believes he became the Harbour Master there after he retired from M Fish.

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