The History of Invader



DCF 1.0Ricoh Company Ltd.


The launch Invader appeared on ww in early Sept 2016, looking a tad sad, being partially submerged (link below). This story prompted her owner for the last 30 years, (sadly the late) Morrie Dunwoodie to contact ww. Morrie’s uncle bought the boat in 1966. Morrie included the above photos & well documented details on her past. Ken Ricketts & myself have edited this into the story below.
Sunken Invader Link

The History of Invader (as told by Morrie Dunwoodie)
Invader measures 36′ with a 10′ 2″ beam & is a single skin hard chine, kauri hull & originally had a 6 or 8 cyl petrol engine, with an auxiliary wing motor, with a port side shaft. The wing motor was removed some time before the present owner bought her.
 She had been bought by Peter Harrison, in 1957, who owned her until 1959, at which time he sold her, because she as too slow, & had a 40′,  22 knotter built, to replace her, by Owen Woolley.
Between the Laidlaw & Harrison ownership (later 1940s &/or early 1950s) she belonged to the Townsend family. It was during their ownership that she sank, as seen in the perivous ww story. 

She was bought in 1959, by Jim Ansell of Hamilton & moved to Whangamata. He owned her until 1966. During his stewardship he repowered her with  75 Hp TS3 Commer diesel.
In 1966 she passed to George H Morrison & remained moored at Whangamata Harbour. He did some upgrading adding sponsons, ‘Tauranga’ deck & new rails.
George M. sold her in 1986 to Morrie J Dunwoodie of Thames, the boat is kept at Whangamata. He has replaced the 75hp Commer TS3 with a newer larger 117 hp TS3.
In 1988 she underwent a refit with new windows, stainless rails, re-glassing of cabin tops. Then in 1995  replaced decks with ply, & glassed them. She was extended at the stern in 1998,  by .9 of a metre to 42 feet. In 2004 Morrie added 3′ to her stern & a 3′ duck board. 2008 saw her get a major out of boat, engine overhaul.

Interested to uncover details on her builder & launch year?

07-05-2018 Update from Mark Dunwoodie

“Invader moved a couple of weeks ago from Whangamata to Hobsonville marina. Her new owners are fantastic people, an experienced sea family and passionate about her. Mum, my sisters and I are very chuffed.

Mark Erskine, Tom Hunt….thank you for your wise counsel in all matters since Dad’s death….and even more so, thank you from Dad for your long friendship and shared passion.

Dad was out on Invader with Uncle George as often as he could from the day George purchased her. From that time he only missed 1 or 2 of the annual end of February trips to Great Barrier….around 50 trips. As soon as we were old enough my sisters and I (and then our children) were regular crew on the daily summer and overnight excursions from Whangamata. Speed mightn’t have been her forte but her seaworthiness, easy layout and the steadiness given by hull shape made her a fantastic vessel.

With the contact from this website Dad had been reinvigorated to research Invader’s history and was enjoying it immensely. Ken, thank you for your kind comments, Dad was enjoying talking to you as well. In the past he had said that it was hard to get to the right people and records from Thames…but had recently been making progress.

I’m not sure where he got to researching her construction date.Uncle George had always said she was built by Lanes in 1936. When Dad lengthened Invader’s hull, he removed the original copper fish tank. The tank had a 1936 coin soldered into the side of the tank. With no hole behind the coin there seemed to be no other reason to put the coin there other than to mark the construction year. From the comments above it looks like this might not be the case.

Anyway, thank you to all.”

08-05-2018 – Update ex Ken Ricketts – overhauled 2008 Roots T23 engine being installe



11-05-2018 New photos ex Mark Dunwoodie

In the gallery below the b/w photo of her high & dry is on the reef, south side Whangaporoa Peninsula. Invader has had her share of oops – in another WW post she is seen submerged


Screen Shot 2018-05-10 at 4.15.53 pm

Update from John Wicks – Invader hauled out at Hobsonville Marina Nov. 2020 for some TLC

Sunken Launch – Invader


Sunken Launch – Invader

A wee quiz to start the week off – the 1st woody to correctly name the launch shown in the above photos, wins 2 tickets to the NZ Premier screening of a very cool movie called ‘Birds of a Feather’.

14-09-2016 Update – The boat is Invader. The details on the photo said “Townsend’s Invader”. The photo came from Ken Jones via Ken Ricketts. And no one guessed it, so the tickets will be offered up again 😉

The film is based on the annual Seagull outboard race on the Waikato River, over the last 18months I have seen numerous drafts & rough cuts, trust me it’s a goodie. See synopsis below & click on the link to view the trailer 😉
Film Synopsis:
For the 30th consecutive year, a modest group of eccentrics assemble at the base of the Karapiro hydro dam, ready to embark on one the world’s longest and most challenging small boat races. The Great Waikato Seagull race draws contestants from all round New Zealand, all vying to conquer the mighty Waikato river but with an unlikely choice of hardware.

The British Seagull once touted as ‘The best outboard motor in the world’ is now famous for all the wrong reasons. With a reputation for being hopelessly unreliable, the British seagull is a relic of modern technology dating back to the second world war.

‘Birds of a Feather’ is the story of seagull racing on the Waikato where competitors from all walks of life, battle 141km downstream subjecting themselves to an arduous two day challenge that will test their patience, tempers and humour! They don’t have to be crazy, but it certainly helps!

If you don’t win – you can book tickets here (only $10)



photo ex Ken Ricketts. Details ex Harold Kidd

Today’s post is of the sedan top launch Cherokee. The photo above was taken by KR c.1972.

CHEROKEE was built for J. W. Farrell in 1958 and, according to Bo Farrell, was a 34 footer. She had a 100hp Gray engine.

Interested in more info on her past & whereabouts today.

A lot of chat on Cherokee & possible sister ships in the ww Comments section.





Motor sailer owned by Barney Bensky of Barnett Barnett major furniture retailers of the day, in Dominion Rd Mt Roskill, built late 1930s or early 40s. He had her in the later 1940s & 50s. She had a Graymarine 4 cyl petrol engine originally. Not sure of builder, or what has happened to her in recent years.
Ken Ricketts who took the photo is interested if someone could bring him up to date.

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