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Last week I was contacted by Barry Robinson of Thames re his launch Zephyr which has  made a few cameo appearances on WW. Barry has owned Zephyr for the last 30 years and she is currently stored in his shed, at the tail end of a restoration and should be relaunched soon. 
Barry commented (in his words) that he was getting on new and probably it would be good for someone else to take her on.
The photos above give us a glimpse of the boats evolution during Barry’s ownership. 
The first one shows her up the Waihou River and then at Whangamata in 1994. The ones on the slipway are dated 1999 and shows cabin Barry added.
The last three photos record a sad day up the Waihou River. Barry tied Zephyr to pole at full  tide to go floundering. Out going tide, boat sat on under water old Pier poles. Two  speared  through the hull. With tides getting bigger Barry was able to fill cabin with 10  200 litre drums and got enough flotation to clear poles and drag her to shore with two 4  wheel drive vehicles. Pulled her onto the shore with a 17 tonne digger. Patched two  pole holes and towed her to Puke bridge (Maritime Park Paeroa). Then put her on road trailer  and with a tractor, towed her to the farm at Puriri.
Below are copies of an article on Zephyr written by Robert and Caroline Teixeira when she was owned by well known Bay of Islands commercial sports fisherman – Joe Miller (painting)
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29-07-2020 Harold Kidd Input – The first 3 paragraphs of the text of “Legends in Our Lifetime” sound like a waterfront yarn. . “Collins and Bell” and the “site of the Bridgeway Tavern” don’t go together.but there”s a kernel of fact in there I guess. The”Negro Minister” intrigues me. I’ve heard it before and wonder if it’s a conflation of Rev, Jasper Calder, but will check out this interesting angle and see if it has legs (mixed metaphors, anyone?)

Previous WW Zephyr stories




Young-Old Man’s Blather.

Russel Ward aka Mr Steam + boat builder Joe Wheeler

Today’s post is to quote the writer (Russell Ward) a ditty on his teenage boating years & sheds some light on the Bayswater boat builder, Joe Wheeler, who is largely unsung but deserves attention.Click the link below to view/read the story/photos.

Harold Kidd knows more about Joe and can be sure to chip in on this one.

Pour yourself a cup of tea & enjoy the story 🙂

Click this link (blue text) to view Young-old man’s blather

Russell in his element


Joe Wheelers last boat built -seen here at Stillwater


Millie II


story & photo ex Russell Ward
Photo taken in 1960. Our first trip to Kawau in the old man’s 17′ boat Millie II (in foreground).
She was built in 1959 by Joe Wheeler at Bayswater and had an 8 hp Stuart.
The ship behind is Makura and behind her I think it is one of the Shipbuilders ’50s launches.
When we dropped the hook –Schoolhouse Bay- the guy on Makura, towering over us, asked if we had a nice trip across (from Sandspit). To which the old man said, “No we came up from Okahu Bay.”
“What?” said Makura. “You didn’t come up here in that?”
I had been a lively trip up, I must admit. But from then on, we always used to chant out whenever a big boat came into a bay “What? You didn’t come up here in that?”
It was an equally lively trip back and the navy Fairmile Kahu came slowly past us –she was taking a real hammering and rearing up out of the head sea and slamming down on it. We just bobbed from wave to wave in Millie. We could do 5 kn and I don’t think Kahu was doing much more than 7 or 8. It was a blowy day but we were comfortable enough.
I think Millie went over to the Manukau when the old man sold her to a chemist by the name of Furniss in ’62 when he bought Ngakiwa. She was one of three boats built about the same time, the other two were 18′. I think the last one is up at Kawau and is moored a bit west of the K Y C wharf.
Harold Kidd Update
I went to Takapuna Grammar with Joe’s daughter Cherie who was a great cricket and hockey player and now lives up north. Her mother was a Braund, a younger sister of Mavis Braund after whom their father named the launch MAVIS B. Unfortunately Cherie has very little in the way of photographs of Joe but I’m keeping in touch as I know her aunt, Rive Grant, now in a home, had copious Braund and Wheeler images. Another Braund sister married R W Grant who had the launch THETIS (I) (24hp Ailsa Craig) in the 1940s and 1950s. Grant bought THETIS in 1943 and sold her in 1957. He changed her name to THETIS when he bought her and it was changed when he sold her. Does anyone know what she was built as and what became of her?





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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