Iona – SOS

The 33’ launch Iona recently was recently damaged on her Tauranga mooring during a storm, according to the tme listing (thank you Ian McDonald) the winds pulled out the bollard from the deck, and due to the weight of the warp on the fairlead, the stem at the bow has pulled forward and has resulted in the planks being sprung.

The launch was discovered bow down on its mooring. The stem and planks were patch repaired to enable a salvage to tow vessel to the hardstand. The 60hp Ford still runs.

Iona is for sale via the insurance companies loss adjusters. She has been for sale in the past – photo below from the marine hub listing.Iona made a cameo appearance on WW back in 2018, a lot of chat re builder, age etc – link here

The tme reserve is $1.00 so either a low-priced project boat or budget fittings.

07-8-2021 Harold Kidd Input: A few recently gleaned facts.

  1. IONE was built for W.J. Wilson, Chief Engineer for the Wilson Cement Works at Mahurangi.
  2. She was built in August 1905 by the great Auckland launch-builder David Reid (and not Bailey & Lowe as I earlier postulated)
  3. When Wilson retired in late 1909 he brought her to Auckland and joined NZPBA and RNZYS.
  4. He raced her consistently with those and other clubs. She was fast with her 12hp Sterling engine.
  5. Therefore her pedigree is as long as your arm and she should be rescued.

Champion / Iona

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 8.01.03 PM


Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 8.02.37 PM


This Wellington woody, is a little the worse for wear – 2 options – bite the bullet & bring her back to life, there is a pretty workboat hull there & she looks like she wouldn’t be afraid of the open sea. 2nd option – as a donor for someone looking for 40hp Gardner L3W to restore. 
She started life helping to build flood gates in Taupo for a power station.  
I have had 4 people bring her trademe list to my attention, so there is some interest already. Asking price is $2k.
Her 32’8” hull is kauri & its claimed she is around 100 years old. Not 100% sure her name is Champion, anyone able to confirm?
So woodys – project or donor ?

Input ex Tony Brown – I bought the boat as a wreck in 1985 and re-ribbed it and replaced about a third of the planks. Also fitted the 3LW engine. I shifted to Kapiti on 2003 and sold the boat to John Luke. Before Taupo, the boat was at Napier and got stranded on the flats in the 1929 earthquake (where the airport is now) and then got taken to Taupo. There is info in both Napier and Taupo museums. 

John, the present owner has all the historic info as I gave it to him.
I have a spare 3LW and 2UC g/box if any one is interested.. never used in the boat as the installed one was too reliable.
Input from Paul Drake – Built as IONA by Bailey and Lowe for J A McFarlane of Napier (year not known). Named after the island off the West Coast of Scotland where his family came from. Relocated to Taupo after the 1931 Napier earthquake. Name changed to CHAMPION in 1944 when bought by Jack Taylor and put into survey. Left Taupo in late 1950’s. At Porirua harbour in 1970’s and re modeled over a long period of time to her current configuration. Located at Even’s Bay Wellington for some time. Re-named but pleased to see she has reverted to CHAMPION. Unrecognizable now from early days.
Update2 from Paul Drake – photos below of CHAMPION ex IONA. The1st one (b/w) shows her as a charter boat at Taupo under Jack Taylor’s ownership. She was of course built as a flush decker, Paul thinks about 1912, when the raised focsle was becoming the thing. Jack raised the cabin. Later, a wheelhouse was added.
The 2 colour photos show her at the early stage of her long 1980’s transformation when owned by Tony Brown.
Paul also commented that the Taupo Museum has a great photo of IONA being launched at Taupo c.1935, as evidenced by the steamer shed on he Government Wharf in the background of the photo. This shed was replaced by the present wharf offices in 1937. IONA sported the large letter ‘I’ on each side of the bow and a quirky and distinctive gable roofed ‘conning tower’ for the helmsman, which could have passed for a fish safe.
Harold Kidd Input –  Macfarlane bought her from H H Tocker of Napier and had her trucked to Taupo in April 1935. He changed her name to IONA. The photo below is of IONA on the truck from the NZ Herald on 16/4/1935. She certainly looks very Bailey & Lowe of the period 1912. They built a couple of launches for Napier around this time, one for Davis & Boyd of Hastings in April 1911 and a 30 footer for an unknown owner which was in frame in July 1912.
Most of the Hawkes Bay newspapers’ archives perished in the 1931 earthquake so you have to rely on secondary sources for the period before that. Makes it hard.
Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 12.39.10 PM


Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 10.35.45 am


Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 10.36.06 am


Iona is another classic that sits in the ‘Spirit of Tradition’ category, with a build date of 1984. Her designer Bruce Askew had a very good eye for turning out retro classics.

Iona measures 32.81’ & is constructed of kauri, & built in Wellington c.1984. She was sailed by the boat builder (not sure if it was Bruce Askew?) throughout Wellington and Queen Charlotte Sounds for a few years before being purchased by her current owner in 1987. Since then, being based in Picton, she was often seen cruising Queen Charlotte Sound.

Her zoom zoom comes from a 36hp Bukh diesel.

Her current owner has just, after 31 years of ownership offered Iona up for sale – when I look at her, a see Lake Rotoiti (Nth Island) all over her…………….

Given the length of ownership, her history is well known but there must be some cruising photos out there from her time in The Sounds 🙂



I was tipped off about the remains of a clinker dinghy heading to the dumpster – I thought maybe if I chainsawed the bow off, it would make a cool firewood shed but a Sunday morning inspection showed that unfortunately it was too far gone – but a bit of bin diving turned up a few nice bronze fittings that will be added to the big box off bits that someone will need one day 😉 + a couple of oar blades for the collection.