Steve Thomas, the owner of the classic launch Seabird, that won line honors in the 2008 Centennial Rudder Cup, has just sent me the above collection of photos of Seabird hauled out at Nelson for a repaint.

Seabird was built in 1908 by James Reid & now looks set for another 100+ years.

Steve commented that he needed to redraw the waterline, after years of paint build up & “quick in and out jobs” done in the last few years.

Her old 6 Cyl Ford is still running sweetly & with a clean bum & new prop speed she cruises at about 10.5 knots.

Great to see what she looks like out of the water, with that shape, you would think she could really fly with a bigger power plant……… 😉


Leisure Hour – Sailing Sunday

Leisure Hour – Sailing Sunday
photos ex John Wicks

Today’s boat is the 1937 Jimmy Reid built Leisure Hour, currently owned by John Wright & has just undergone one of John’s legendary make-overs. But to quote John Wicks, John W has discovered that sailing isn’t his thing & will remain faithful to his classic launch Jeunesse, so Leisure Hour is for sale. A great opportunity for someone wanting a rather nice little historic keeler.
I’m ‘borrowing’ below some info from an article Harold Kidd & Robin Elliott published on the Reid family & their boats, it appeared way back in 2001 in Boat NZ.

Jimmy Reid started building the 32′ Leisure Hour, his first keel boat, in 1936 & launched her in 1937. Its assumed his father (James Sr.) helped with the design. She was a beamy (9′) ketch & was registered as C41, that later changed to D14. Jimmy did some occasional cruising/racing with Akarana & rarely missed an Anniversary Regatta. He sold her in 1945 & back in 2001 she was moored in the Milford Creek.

So folks – can we fill in some of the holes in her past?

A Question – Neil Chalmers wondered if the building of ‘Leisure Hour’ was inspired by the famous ‘Idle Hour’ sailed by the American Dwight Long . ‘ Idle Hour’ visited Auckland in 1935 during a circumnavigation. The ‘Leisure Hour’ appears to be a similar type to ‘Idle Hour’. Neil dug out his copy of Dwight Long’s ‘Sailing all the seas in Idle Hour’ . His first stop in NZ was at Shakespeare Bay , Whangaparoa , he mentions seeing Mr Shakespeare’s yacht – could it be the CYA ‘Frances’.
Photo below of Idle Hour at Moturekereka.

03-08-2015 Input from Shamus Fairhall

I know Leisure Hour was owned by the Les and Jan Parkinson at some stage in the 1980s. Les brought her in a poor state and put considerable time in to making her sparkle again. Les and Jan were also the owners of our 1936 launch Sequoia in the late 1960s. Sadly Les is now deceased but he was always famous for his restoration skills with old Jags and military jeeps etc through his business Parky Jags. Photo below of Leisure Hour during his ownership and i will pass a link on to Jan as she may well have some detail to add.


Omana > Ngaire > Mavis B

Omana > Ngaire > Mavis B
photos & details ex Ken Ricketts, with lots of editing by AH

Today’s post follows on from yesterdays Tamaki River boats post & features the launch Omana.

Mavis B was built in 1910 by James Reid for Albie Braund. She started life steam powered & had 2  steam engines in a short period of time (sub 3 years) these were replaced with an oil engine. She retained the steam funnel for many years after the upgrade.

She was later owned by a  S B Atkinson, who brought her to the Waitmata from the Manukau and renamed her Ngaire. Atkinson ‘modernised’ her, with a raised flared bow, bridgedeck, tram top, dodger & flying bridge (refer Labour weekend 1947 photo).

During the war years she was owned by Bernie Mc Jinn, who changed her name back to Mavis B. McJinn ran her as a Navy patrol craft (#Z24 in war photo). Her engine had been re-powered with a P6 Perkins diesel engine.

Ken Rickitts first sighted Mavis B in 1946 at Matiatia where she was permanently moored & believes she belonged to a Mr Wheeler of Waiheke Island, who had her in the mid & later 1940s.

Ken next saw Mavis B c.1960, when she was bought  by Jack Hayman of Riverview Rd Panmure who lived almost next door to Lane Motor Boat Co & on the waters edge of the Tamaki River, where she was moored. The Hayman’s did a dramatic 3rd generation re-birthing that saw the vessels name changed again, this time to Omana.

The Hayman’s had the Lane Motor Boat Co., along with much personal input from themselves, refit her to the configuration she is today (refer 2012 photo). They also fitted a 6 cyl. Ford diesel which is probably the same one she has today.

Omana may now reside in Havelock in the South Island.

Harold Kidd Update 10-05-2015

MAVIS B and her subsequent history is quite well, if briefly, covered in Robin’s and my book “Vintage New Zealand Launches” on pages 81 and 100 and there are two excellent Winkelmann pics of her, one in 1922 and one in 1928.
The book is still available at Boat Books at Westhaven at a modest cost (plug).
A couple of phtos, below, showing her in her early days as a neat little steamer.
Jas Reid built her hull for marine engineer and famous rugby player Albie Braund who personally built her first engine, a 15hp tandem with a boiler by G.Fraser. She was a sister-ship, hull-wise, to Reid’s SEABIRD which had won the Rudder Cup in 1908. After that she had a more powerful Simpson Strickland steam plant and then a succession of petrol engines including a 6 cylinder Alpha, a 50hp Harbeck, a 140hp Stearns and then became dieselised. She kept her yellow funnel for many years after losing her steam engine.
J Waldrond of Onehunga owned her on the Manukau 1933-7 and changed her name to NGAIRE. At the time she was the biggest private launch on the Manukau.
Shelley B. Atkinson brought her back to the Waitemata in late 1937. He was a great customer of Sam Ford so I guess Sam did the bridgedeckerisation for him.
Bernard Godfrey McGinn (1900-82) (not McJinn) owned her 1937-45 and skippered her with NAPS as Z24 when she was still Stearns-powered. The Perkins came later.
She was returned to Bernie McGinn’s ownership in 1944. He sold her to W.L. and O.E. Wheeler in 1945. Jack Hayman of 5 Riverlea Ave (not Riverview Road) was the next owner. From then on Ken’s tale is accurate enough. Jack was a builder and did much of the work converting her to her OMANA configuration.
She went to the Sounds and Nelson and is now owned in Nelson where SEABIRD also lives.
Her then owner had her for sale on Trade Me in 2011 as a “1963 Lanes bridgedecker”. The 1963 bit would relate to the Hayman rebuild at Lanes. Her owner was quite shocked to find her true provenance but took it on the chin very well.

Lady Avis


Built in late 1910 by James Reid Snr. b/w photo is dated 1914

Harold Kidd Update

AVIS was built in the winter of 1910 by JAMES Reid and was built on the same moulds as SEABIRD (and probably) MAVIS B so she was an advanced hull for her time and proven by SEABIRD being first on line in the Rudder Cup race around Sail Rock in December 1908 of which the CYA did a rerun in 2008 of fond memory. Her first owners were W & E Currie and B A Keyes. She had a 14hp Regal originally, the same engine as SEABIRD, for which Reid was Auckland agent, a well-made marine engine of US origin. She was re-engined with a 24hp Brennan by 1919. R Johnson joined in ownership in 1923. She was used extensively for racing with RNZYS, PCC and NSYC. She was kept in a shed at Mechanics Bay in the winters next to Lanes. In 1927 she was fitted with a new 35hp Stearns. By 1928 her owners were E Currie, R Johnson and A M Gilmour. Gilmour dropped out in 1935. Currie and Johnson still owned her in 1943 but I lose track then as they either sold her or resigned from the RNZYS.
David Collett owned her 1972-6 with a 4cyl Ford diesel, replaced with a 6 cylinder Leyland. Later she was moored at Mahurangi.
The LADY AVIS thing is pretty recent.
So her pedigree is brilliant.

PS Of course she was built as a racy raised-foredeck flushdecker in the latest vogue for 1910. The clerestory/tramtop, the funnel and the dodger aft are modern excrescences.

A photo update ex Ken Rickett, who also advises she has been renamed Matahari.