Mystery Launch On The Waitemata

Mystery Launch On The Waitemata – TAMAKI

Another photo from Brian Peet, the craft was designed and built by Jim Young. Brian commented that he assumes the piece of hardware on the cabin top is the exhaust muffler and if so, then that’s a maritime engineering feature thankfully consigned to the ‘no longer a good idea’ rubbish bin. 🙂

So woodys – what’s the name of the launch, who was it built for and what became of her?

Input ex Brian Peet –  It’s the Tamaki Yacht Clubs patrol boat, imaginatively called ‘Tamaki’.  Designed and built by Jim Young. My father John Peet was Secretary of the TYC, so became the go-between for the club and Jim to get the project underway.

Input ex Neil Chalmers – I found the below extract from ‘’ The Tamaki Yacht Club :  A brief history of its 75 years ‘’ by Frank Davis 13 April 2002.By the way ‘Tamaki’ is moored at OBC and has a blue engine. I think Brian  Peet and I should share the cigar 🙂

25-01-2023 INPUT ex ROBIN ELLIOTT – Neil’s input is correct. Jim Young built her but did not design the Tamaki.

Sea Spray November 1952 page 11. ” At J.H. Young’s yard was the new rescue boat for the Tamaki Yacht Club. She is built to a design by P.W. Willetts and will be finished off by club members.”

I’m not sure when she was actually launched but the second photo appeared in Sea Spray October 1953 page 38. The caption also states that she was a Peter Willetts design. 

As to the exhaust, it is there because she was to rescue and retrieve crews from capsized centreboarders. Most centreboarders of the time could not right themselves (although that was quickly changing) and had to be towed to shore, partly submerged.  

“Note the low freeboard and narrow decks aft, ample cockpit and the exhaust above the cabin top, out of the way of the people being rescued. ….  Power comes from an Austin Skipper.”

WW doesn’t do death notices so you have to have been a good bugger to get one. Well Alan was more than a good bugger he was one of the best. He rubbed up against so many classic boat owners and admirers that I’m sure it will be standing room only at his funeral – 10.30am, Feb 1st, Davis Funeral Home, Henderson.

Our thoughts go out to his partner – Nicky and family.


Ngarunui 1970s > 1980s

Half Moon Bay Marina Jan 1978
Pre purchase travel lift haul out at Half Moon Bay – Jan 1978
Pre purchase inspection at Half Moon Bay – Jan 1978
Leigh – Aug 1978
A permeant roof being built over the cockpit – Oct 1978
Flying bridge being built at Half Moon Bay – Dec 1978
Flying bridge being built at Half Moon Bay – Dec 1978

Ngarunui 1970s > 1980s

Back in 2015 when Ngarunui  first appeared on WW Robin Elliott commented that to his mind she is the best looking boat in the Bay (Bay of Islands). Since then Ngarunui has mad numerous WW appearances – links below. The 2016 one gives a great insight into the building of Ngarunui and the 2022 give us a look down below.

Last week Mike Mulligan sent in the gallery of photos above from when his family owned her, they purchased her after selling the launch – Patina, approx. time line of ownership is late 1970’s > 1987.

During this period Mike’s father fitted the Yammer auxiliary engine and fly bridge.

Ngarunui  was designed and built by Jim Young in 1955 for J.A.K. Spicer and C.R. (Russ) Pollard. She is 48’x46’x11’8″x4’3″ and was originally powered with twin GM 165hp diesels of 1942 vintage (ex-USN) + an 11hp Coventry Cub. These days the engines are a 200hp Doosan and a Yanmer auxiliary. 





Lola – NZ37 + Easterly – Picnic Boat


Todays story comes to us from retired boat builder Allan Hooper, just back from an extended trip to visit family the USA (Carlsbad just north of San Diego). I’ll let Allan tell the story :-

Prior to leaving I made contact with Morgan Spriggs the current owner of Lola, an NZ37. Lola was built at Jim Young’s NZ Yachts in 1969-70 while I was the foreman. 

I was very keen to see the boat after all these years. Morgan has spent  a lot of time restoring Lola and she looks as good as the date she left the factory apart from a few alterations and replacements. Morgan was excited to meet me and be able to talk about the build of the boat.

The hull construction is 4 skins of 1/4’” Kauri cold moulded with all of the back bone, floors, transom and bulkhead boundarys set in the mould. The hull was sheathed in Epoxy and glass. After the hull was taken off the mould the bulkheads and the interior were put in place and gunwales fitted.

The cabin,  cockpit and decks were built on a separate mould complete with paint work, glazing and hardware. Then in an operation taking only a couple of hours, was lifted and placed on the hull, located over the bulkheads, glued and fastened down.

The techniques developed to build these yachts enabled a NZ37 to be built from start to finish in 4 weeks.

Read and view more on Lola here

Morgan‘s father Robert owns a beautiful picnic boat, Easterly (photos below), an ex  Maine lobster boat on which we toured the San Diego bay.

It was used by Denis Connor is a chase boat when he was sailing in the Americas cup. Robert Spriggs has owns the boat for 22 years and it is in as new condition, you could have eaten your lunch of the engine or engine room floor.

The teak cockpit sole is the best laid teak I have ever seen, the timber selected is absolutely perfect, as was the whole boat.

The waterfront at downtown San Diego has a beautiful collection of maritime exhibits including a sailing immigrant ship the “Star of India” which was a regular visitor to New Zealand in the 1800s, once a year it is taken out for a sail.

Further along the waterfront is the USS Midway launched in 1945, she was finally laid up in the 1990s. If you’ve never been on an aircraft carrier it’s well worth a visit. 3.5 acres of 3 inch thick steel makes up the flight deck. It is an interesting harbour to visit and extremely busy as it is alongside the international airport, a military airport, a naval base, several marinas and the city. When you go out on the bay you see it and hear it all.

Ngarunui – A Peek Down Below + 4sale

Ngarunui – A Peek Down Below + 4sale 

The launch Ngarunui was designed by Jim Young c.1955/7, I’m unsure of the builder, was it also Jim Young – can anyone advise? Built from kauri planks, carvel on ribs, she measures 48’ in length, with a beam of 12’ and draws 4’8”. Power is via a 200hp Doosan L136T engine that gives her a comfortable cruising speed of 8.5 > 10 knots, at idle she will do 5 knots, so only slips fuel. A bonus is a 20hp Yanmar auxiliary with its own prop, not seen often these days but a nice comfort factor. The Yanmar also drives the freezer compressor.   As seen in the photos she really fits into the motor sailer category and comes with good set of sails – note the wooden mast shown in the photos above has been replaced with a new alloy one, but the wooden ones are available (needs repair).

With a combined fuel tank capacity of 1200L and 800L water Ngarunui is well set up for extended cruising. And of course a 12’ beam makes for a comfortable life aboard. Very well priced for 48’ launch presented in her condition.

For more details on the sale and specifications contact

Ps photo below was from the 1967 Whangarei> Noumea yacht race start and shows Ngarunui with varnished coamings.

Ngarunui – A Peek Down Below

NGARUNUI – A Peek Down Below
Following on from yesterdays story on the start of the Whangarei to Nouema yacht race, we successfully Id’ed the mid 1950’s Jim Young designed and built launch – Ngarunui. And now thanks to the camera of Ken Ricketts back in December 2015 we get to have a look down below.You will also find a lot of backland of the boat at the WW links below, she had a very challenging start to her life afloat.

23-07-2021 Input from Kerin Owen – The photo below is of one of the two dories built by Jim Young in 1957 as fishing dories to accompany Ngarunui. This one is Nancy Barbara, owned for many years by Len Hayman at Great Barrier Island, now by me. Am not certain what timbers were used but she is still very sound, being 16′,with a planked bottom and lapstrake sides. She will plane, lightly loaded, with an 8hp outboard, and is still fulfilling her original purpose of a very handy fishing dory.

Lady Janet (Poco Lento) Fixed Price Sale – $48,000

The Wooden Boat Bureau has been instructed to sell this amazingly well appointed woody – so if you or anyone you know is looking for a bargain Roy Parris launch, check her out. But be quick, at sub $50k its a great buy. More details below  Contact to view


Back in 2015 Cleone made an appearance on WW and Harold Kidd provided the following on her – Arnold (Bill) Couldrey designed CLEONE for Bert Follas in 1948 and had her built by Jim Young a little later, probably launched in 1950. She originally had a petrol engine, later replaced with a Ford diesel. Follas owned her until about 1963 when M. Alison of Waitangi Rd, Onehunga bought her. John Grainger owned her from 1975 to 1987. I have a bunch of pics during his ownership. John Stubbs bought her in 1989. His story was that CLEONE was the first boat Jim Young built when he came out of his apprenticeship because she was the size of his shed.

On a recent visit to Hobsonville Marina )West Park) I spotted Cleone hauled out for some TLC . The varnished coamings have gone but she is still a very smart woody. In the last few years Cleone has joined the woody fleet on several of our Riverhead Tavern lunch cruises – hopefully she will be there again next Sunday – 20th. That was a poor way to get a plug in for the event 🙂

30-10-2022 UPDATE – recently contacted by Andrew Plume with the following note – “A friend has just told me about your web site and thought it would be fun to let you know that after John Stubbs passed away last year, I was fortunate enough to receive a beautiful scale model of Cleone which John built and I painstakingly transported back to my home in Australia. The passage was highly successful, and Cleone now sits in all her glory as a centrepiece in my home office.John & Jean Stubbs loved Cleone and would be very happy she continues to give so much to so many – on and off the water.”

RSVP – Boat name & approx. # of people to


Buying or Selling a Classic Boat
Without sounding too much like Jacinda Ardern (“be kind”) – when people ask me about classic wooden boat ownership, I normally say that owning a woody has a positive effect on your life i.e. you end up forging a life you don’t need to escape from.

So woodys in the interest of your mental well being we have listed below a sample of some of the boats that are currently berthed at the virtual Wooden Boat Bureau Sales Marina. We have others for sale, some owners request privacy. To read more about the Wooden Boat Bureau – click
The Wooden Boat Bureau is uniquely placed to offer impartial, up-to-date market information and objective advice to both sellers and buyers. So if you are looking for a wooden boat or considering selling – email us at

Or call Alan Houghton 027 660 9999 or David Cooke 027 478 1877


MAHANUI 🔻42′ 1977 T Atkinson

Learn more

ALLERGY🔻 58′ 1985 Denis Ganley / Pete Culler

Learn more

KOTIMANA🔻 25′ 2018 – Dark Harbor 17.5 – gaff rigged sloop – Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building – USA

Learn more

THETIS🔻 45′ 1955 Lane Motor Boat Co.

Learn more

MATANUI 🔻 44′ 1923 Lanes (Picton) Bridgedecker

Learn more

TUAHINE 🔻 43′ 1957 Dickson

Learn more

SEQUOIA 🔻 36′ 1938 Lewis McLeod

Learn more

NGARUNUI 🔻 48′ 1955/7 Jim Young

Learn more

LADY NGAIO 🔻 28′ 1928 Collings & Bell

Learn more

PARTICIPATE 🔻42′ 1982 John Lidgard

Learn more

MOERANGI 🔻 55′ 1901 Logan Learn more

RANUI 🔻 48’ 1948 Lidgard Learn more

IRENE 🔻 38′ 1955 Orams & Davies Learn more

MONTEREY 🔻 33’6” 1946 Lidgard Learn more

KIARIKI 🔻 40′ K CLASS, 1959 Designed by Jack (John) Brooke and built by John / Jack Logan and John Salthouse Learn more

TAWERA 🔻 >50′ 1935 Logan Learn more

TIME 🔻- 38’ 2001 John Gander Learn more

SOLD – Selection below, some names withheld at seller / buyer request:

ADONIS 45′ – Owen Woolley – 1965

AROHANUI            48’ – Donovan/Hacker – 1965

ATHENA 25′ c.1950 Couldrey

BALLERINA 28′ – Lidgard – 1951    

CASTAWAY            33’ – Dick Lang – 1947

CENTAURUS         42’ – Bailey & Sons – 1967

KAILUA                  36’ – Salthouse – 1960/1

KOKORU               39’ – Jack Morgan – 1960

KOTARE                 24’ – Kingfisher Boats – 1954

LADY ADELAIDE    35’ – Dick Lang – 1922

LADY PAMELA       59’ – Pelin Warrior – 1986

MAHANUI               42’ – Keith Atkinson – 1977

NGARO                   45’ – Lidgard – 1953

PIRATE                    42’ – Leone Warne – 1938

POCO LENTO         33’ – Roy Parris/Bagnall – 1979

WAIKARO                33’ – Roy Parris/Bagnall – 1978

WAIMIGA                 36’ – Robertson Boatbuilders – 1968

SHALOM                  48’ – Keith Atkinson – 1973








While mooching around Queen Charlotte Sound, we dropped into the Bay of Many Coves Resort for brunch & a glass of bubbles (see below). The BOMC resort is a rather special spot in a stunning location.

While there the launch Tamoure tied up at the jetty – a brief chat uncovered that she was originally built by Jim Young for his personal use. I’m not normally a big fan of his boats, a tad too modern for me, but this one had a lot going for her.

Do we know anything more about her?


Hirere & Poaka




I have had the above photos that are both taggged ‘Hirere’ in my ‘upcoming ww stories’ file for a long time, hoping that at some stage I would uncover more (some) details on the name & determine if they are the same launch & if not which one is Hirere. To date nothing – so I put her out there today to she if we can answer my mystery.

Input from John Blundell

“The photos today came to you from a group I sent to Harold Kidd a couple of years back. The top photo is Poaka which was built about 1959 for my father Stan Blundell by Snow Waters. She was featured by Sea Spray magazine not long after as a”quart in a pint pot”.He sold her to Athol Mellars a couple of years later and his son John later took her to Gt Barrier where he lives.
The other photo is the 29foot Vindex built also for my father about 1963 by Jim Young in his shed at Birkenhead wharf.Dad wanted to keep the engine out of the main cabin so it was installed further aft and fitted with a vee drive.
Re the dinghy it was one of Phil Bartons 8footers and was the best of the bunch that were around at that time. The wooden one in the photo was used as a mould to produce fibreglass versions not long after.That is another story.”

The Building of Ngarunui

ngarunui1955 (1)




ngarunui1955 (2)





ngarunui1956 (3)




ngarunui1956 (1)



Ngarunui & Fierycross 1962

ngarunui1959 (2)


ngarunui 1964 (8)


The Building of Ngarunui

I was recently contacted by Frank Young, son of Jim Young, who designed & built Ngarunui in 1954 > 1955 for a Mr. Burrell, a strawberry farmer in Birkdale.
Ian had read the Ngarunui story on ww & wanted to record the facts not guesswork surrounding the vessels early days. The below is based on personal experience and knowledge as Jim Young’s son.
“Ngarunui was originally designed for regular trans-tasman trips with a high economical cruising speed, heavy weather capability, long range, and reliability. Power was to be an 8 cylinder Gardner diesel and she was designed around that with regular crossings to Sydney intended. The smaller auxiliary was not part of the original design or construction as can be seen in the photographs at the time. It was apparently added later with the change in main engine plans.
Construction started in 1955 at the J H Young Boats Ltd Little Shoal Bay boat shed using kauri planking and ribs, and pohutukawa knees.  When the hull had been completed and closed in she was launched without machinery or interior work done. On launching she immediately listed 45 degrees due to no ballast or internal engineering. That caused some trepidation among those attending the launching party. Interior work continued with the boat in a cradle next to the slipway but there were increasing problems with payments. The strawberry crop that year was apparently very poor and the money ran out. The partially finished vessel was then sold by Mr. Burrell to a company he had taken a stake in and the building contract revised. Northern Hygienic Fishing Supplies was to use her as a fishing “Mother ship” towing a number of 16 foot dories from which gill netting or long-lining could be done. Design details were changed and work commenced on installing large ice boxes in the hull and two 16 foot flat bottom punts were built as part of the fishing dory plan, with more to follow. One of those dories became the “Nancy Barbara” owned by the Hayman family at Great Barrier Island for many years. Then the money dried up again and Northern Hygienic Fishing Supplies was liquidated. With no money coming in, Jim Young in serious financial straits as a result, and an uncertain future outcome for Ngarunui in a part finished condition she was left in the cradle by the slipway at the Little Shoal Bay boat shed where the interior work had been continuing. Holes were drilled in her bottom to allow the tide to flow into the hull so it could not potentially be removed or stolen while legal and financial issues took their tedious course. She languished there untouched for about a year.  She was the subject of an arson attempt during that period but perhaps due to the wet interior the fire did not take hold. 

Eventually the Auckland Official Assignee (coincidentally Jim Young’s father)  who was responsible for the liquidation of Northern Hygienic Fishing Supplies sold Ngarunui in as is/where is condition to Messrs Spicer and Pollard. Henderson and Pollard was a well known Auckland timber merchant company and Ngarunui was then completed using their resources. The originally intended Gardner diesel was never installed. At a price then of around  3600 pounds it was far more than the price of the rest of the boat (or even the price of a house) so the much cheaper, and lower power, option of a (single) 175hp GM diesel went in.

Ngarunui finally became a well appointed Auckland launch in 1957 or early 1958 after a somewhat difficult early life. Messrs Spicer and Pollard put Ngarunui to great use and they were active supporters of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Ngarunui became well known for her role in various high profile activities of the RNZYS, and acted as flagship for many events with the Governor General or other notables aboard.”

2016 photos of Ngarunui can be viewed here