The Building of Ngarunui

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Ngarunui & Fierycross 1962

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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

A Woody Quizz

A Woody Quizz

Ok woodys who can ID the above photo – looking for location, boat names & approx. date, a little hint – think Jim Young 😉

And of the subject of Jim Young, the man himself will be at The Ponsonby Cruising Club, Logan Lounge, this Friday night November 13th. to meet and chat with people from 6.30 on. Jim will then give a short talk at 8pm.
Jim’s book ‘Jim Young – designer, boatbuilder, sailor’ is a cracker, starting off with his early sailing and boatbuilding career as an apprentice to Roy Lidgard, working on minesweepers during the Second World War and then the challenges and dramas of starting out in business on his own at the age of about 25, building wooden boats in a small shed in Little Shoal Bay in Birkenhead. Signed copies of the book will be available for sale on the night. The perfect xmas present to yourself 🙂

I understand the PCC kitchen will have meals available and of course the bar will be open.

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photo ex Dean Wright

The photo of the above motor-sailer (or maybe its more a launch with a steadying sail) was sent to me by Bay of Islands based professional photographer Dean Wright so I’m assuming the location is ‘North’.

Can anyone ID the vessel & supply more info on her?

Details from Robin Elliott

Its Ngarunui. To my mind she is the best looking boat in the Bay. Could do with a more sympathetic colour scheme, the lolly blue doesn’t appeal to me,  but that’s just being picky.

Jim Young built about 1955, so I assume a Young design as well. Registered with the AYMBA by J.A.K. Spicer and C.R. Pollard in 1957 with dims of 48ft x 46ft x 11ft 8 in x 4ft 3 in and a 165hp diesel of undeclared make.

She was based in Whangarei when I moved up here around 2006 but has lately been moored in Te Uenga Bay (Parekura Bay). Haven’t seen her out much recently but we did sight her a couple of times over the summer.

Harold Kidd Update

According to Lloyds Yacht Register she was designed and built by J.H. 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 (obviously ex-USN) + an 11hp Coventry Cub. Beautiful craft!

25-01-2016 Update

As ID’ed by Russell Ward (3 June 2015) Ngarunui has 2 prop shafts, one above the other. See Ken Ricketts photos below.

NGARUNUI 2 prop 4

27-01-2016 Update

Stewart Lodge (current owner) reports that Ngarunui had a single 165 6-71, and this was replaced with a 210hp version of the same. Always had the aux engine mounted behind the main with shaft above. The current engine is a Doosan (Korean) commercially rated engine at 200hp, solid mounted.

Sailing Sunday – Tango


photos taken at the 2014 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition

Tango was Jim Young’s first keel boat – designed / built in 1954/1955 & launched in 1956. As Doug Reid commented at the 2014 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition – Tango was 20 years ahead to the pack, with her world first, on a cruising keel boat, ‘spade’ rudder & short keel. Prior to this keelers had their rudders faired into their long keels.

Constructed of heart kauri planking  – single skin, caulked on spotted gum ribs. Her specs are: LOA – 9.45m LOW – 8.06m Beam – 1.83m Disp – 3500kg.

Photo updates from Graeme Salter (owner)
The out-of-water photo really shows off her lovely lines, which most people do not get to see, also check out the keel rudder set up.
The second photo was at the Mercury Islands February last year (2013)