Will You be Boating This Summer Later today, when we hear who the new government will be, I suspect some waitematawoodys readers will realise it’s time to take the plunge, and get yourself, your family, and your friends on the water this summer.
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 I have listed below a selection of boats that are currently berthed at the virtual Wooden Boat Bureau Sales Marina. To read more about WBB – click below. Links (blue) to each boat also included below.
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 email@example.com
MENAI – 38’ 1937 Sam Ford
RANUI – 48’ 1948 Lidgard
MONTEREY – 33’6” 1946 Lidgard
WAIKARO – 30’ 1978 Roy Paris/Geoff Bagnall
CASTAWAY – 33’ 1947 Dick Lang
TIME – 38’ 2001 John Gander
ASTROLABE – 51’7” 1971 Bruce Clarke/John Salthouse
The Refit Of Windborne Today’s story is on the schooner – Windborne, by John Gander, via Dean Wright, John and family refitted and owned Windborne for many years. Its a great read by one of our best woody boatbuilders. I’ll shut up and just let John tell the story – enjoy, I did 🙂 Remember – to enlarge a photo, just click on it 😉
‘Windborne’ was built in 1928 by Cornish boatbuilders Gilbert and Pascoe at their yard in Porthleven and launched as the cutter ‘Magnet’ after launching she took part in the Fastnet yacht race. She again raced in the Fastnet in 1930 but this time re rigged as a schooner, and has continued with this rig.
On sailing to the United States her name was changed to ‘Huguenot’ and registered in San Diego. On being purchased by the Charleson’s a Canadian family from Vancouver, the owner wanted to retain the name Huguenot and she was renamed ‘Windborne’ a very fitting name for her, and she was Vancouver registered. On sailing her to the U.S. port of Blaine just south of the Canadian border Mike and his wife Karol began getting Windborne ready for a voyage to the south Pacific.
The family visited many Pacific islands during their cruising and then headed for New Zealand and on the last part of the voyage encountered heavy weather and Windborne suffered some damage to her bulwarks and rigging. Being designed on the lines of the Bristol Channel pilot cutters and soundly built she is a very sea kindly vessel and delivered the family safely to Auckland.
Bev and I had not long completed ‘Deepstar’ and were planning on building a large sailing craft for our family use, however time was getting on, so before it was too late and our children left home we decided to look around for a suitable vessel. We were introduced to Windborne on her mooring at Herald Island and went for an afternoon sail with the Charleson family, and could see she was worth and deserved an extensive refit.
Her planking is Pitch Pine on sawn Oak frames fastened with galvanised soft iron spikes, I was not familiar with these timbers in our Picton boatyards so flew back to Picton to talk with Peter Jorgensen at his Waikawa boatyard. Pop as he was affectionally know, with his years of experience in Danish boatyards was of course very familiar with these timbers, iron fastenings and European construction, and his knowledge was very helpful when I surveyed her as I did on returning to Auckland and putting her on the grid at Westhaven.
We took possession on the last day of July 1980 and made ready for the voyage to Picton and with a capable crew we sailed from Auckland on the 7th of August. Winter is not the always the best time to head down the east coast and it was somewhere off East Cape that we found that the forward skylight was only held in place by the shiplap joint and no through bolts. With a couple of sections of bulwarks missing and a good sea running this deficiency was made evident, and the hand bilge pump showed it’s worth. I always sail with a fairly comprehensive tool kit and with a selection of fittings and fastening in the ships inventory the skylight was secured in place.
To undergo the refit I planned, we needed to have Windborne undercover and were fortunate to find we could have the use of Finn Jorgensen’s big shed at the Waikawa yard for a limited time before it was required for their next commission. On the 24th of December we hauled out and made ready to have the masts lifted out, and started the job of burning off the topside paint. As is often the case fastenings deteriorate around the waterline area but it was not possible to pull the old spikes out of the oak frames so additional galvanised ship spikes were driven adjacent to the original’s, two planks below and three planks above the waterline.
On the last day of December ‘Windborne’ was hauled up into the shed ready for the major refit, and what better way to spend new years day for a family than to spend it working with earnest tearing up the canvas like material covering the decks, I was suspicious that this was laid over the 2 inch Baltic Pine decks because of leaks, the ruination of many fine vessel’s. I was relieved to find the timber was in a good state of repair so the decision was made to retain the deck. Removal of the deckhouse was fairly quick and easy but more time was required to remove deck fittings, deck prism’s, and other deck furniture until we had a clean flush deck. The bulwarks were fastened to grounds over the covering boards with the frames extending to the cap, this is an area of potential leaks. On removing the damaged bulwarks and beltings and sawing off the frames at deck level, the new bulwarks were to be fitted on the outside of the sheer strake as was our practice at the Carey yard.
Next we moved below decks, unfortunately in later years any original furniture and fittings had gone to be replaced with ply, paneling and some pegboard, hardly befitting a traditional yacht, however we did expose the original tonnage and tonnage exemption carvings by removing layers of paint from the deck beams so we had something from her past. I had planned the layout we required so removed all bulkheads and the hull lining. This gave a good opportunity to make a thorough inspection from bilge to deckhead.
While I was fitting new bulkheads, Bev and our boys Wayne and Neville, began removing the rigging and paint from the spars. As is common in these vessel’s cast iron ballast is set in concrete between the floor timbers, however she also carried 2,775 lbs of lead ingots. At some time Windborne had been hauled out on a two bearer slip cradle and for a thirty five ton vessel this was grossly insufficient, the result was that she had damage to the underside of her wooden keel, so I made a casting box and we used the lead ingots to cast a blast keel to replace the damaged section. I next dressed off and sanded the the Baltic Pine decking and laid marine ply using epoxy glue to, and over the outside of the sheer strake.
By late February we were ready to start the new bulwarks and to help with our time schedule Finn offered me the use of one of his men, I chose Keith Hansen, Keith had learned his trade at the Jorgensen Boatyard and Keith and I worked well together ( I hope he still agrees with my comment ). We started on the Bulwarks using double diagonal Matai with a hardwood stringer, followed with new hardwood beltings.
Laying the 5/8” teak deck was a slower job, I don’t like decking laid straight fore and aft and wanted to follow the deck plan as far as practical and run the decking into the king plank in the traditional manner and this means edge setting the deck planking. We departed with tradition when it came to caulking the seams and used thioflex polysulphide with the accompanying mess that follows while the product cure’s. Next it was onto fitting the new Teak Cap and Taff rails. The new deckhouse was built on Kauri coamings and sheathed in glass cloth, all other deck furniture is Teak.
As our time in the shed was limited I was fortunate to be able to engage Bob Clerke a ships joiner, I delivered a load of teak at Bob’s workshop, and with measurements and patterns Bob set to and made skylights, hatches, a magnificent saloon table and other fitments to help with my fit out below decks all done in Teak and Kauri. The topsides were recaulked and my daughter Shirley stopped the seams with white lead putty in preparation to repainting. By the beginning of May the new look ‘Windborne’ was out of the shed.
Masts were stepped with an English silver coin dated 1928 under her main mast and a Canadian coin under the foremast, and on the 6th of May at H.W. she was sent down the rails but remained in the cradle, the summer had been hot and dry and we had pumps ready, next day with a bit of oakum caulking in a couple of seams she was ready to leave the cradle and lay alongside the wharf at our boat shed to complete the fit out below decks.
A year or so later I removed the Isuzu engine and replaced it with a 4 LW Gardner. For the following eighteen years ‘Windborne’ carried our family on many adventures in all sorts of conditions. Roger Carey told us boys that wooden boats are built of living things, and every wooden vessel has a soul, I strongly believe this.
This last few weeks I have I have visited ‘Windborne’ out on the hard at Whangarei receiving care and attention from her owner Avon, he is doing a good job she’s looking good, being well ventilated and with salt water over her decks, the best thing ever.
Back in late 2019 Arethusa’s Bay of Islands owner Dean Wright, a professional photographer by trade, and well known to WW readers gave me the heads up that the 1917, 33’ Bob Brown built, ex gaff rigged cutter, was in for a treat – a new wheelhouse. Since then I have been pestering Dean on a regular basis for photos, even threatened to drive up and take them myself 🙂 Problem was, the mans a perfectionist and didn’t want to send anything in to WW until it was all shipshape. Well woodys as you can see from the above, its very shipshape, in fact in my eyes – perfect. Well done to the team. I asked Dean to tell use about the project, so I’ll hand over to him. Remember you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them – Enjoy 🙂
“Over the years we’ve got keen on changing Arethusa’s wheelhouse to be more in keeping with her age, so at 102 she’s undergone some cosmetic surgery 🙂
We lost 8″ inches of headroom in wheelhouse when we installed the Gardner, so we’ve gone up in height 6 inches and forward 8 inches and gone for more traditional upright windows fw’d.
Boat builder John Gander did the job in his Waipiro Bay workshop. He started by taking patterns off the existing wheelhouse and fw’d cabin top. He replicated the curve of the fw’d cabin top in ply and built the new wheelhouse around that in six sections. He also laminated the new wheelhouse roof, allowing for a good eyebrow fw’d and a smaller one aft.
John learned his trade at Roger Carey’s yard in Picton in the 60’s and 70’s, where beautiful work boats with great looking wheelhouses were the order of the day. John built one of my favorite Carey designs, Hinewai for his own boat and we’ve replicated her fw’d opening half window on Arethusa.
Once the wheelhouse was complete, we hauled Arethusa at Ashby’s in Opua and got to work with the skill-saw. In no time we’d reduced her to a convertible. We were lucky for Northland’s drought everything stayed reasonably dry and also that we got everything closed in and back in the water before Covid shut the yard down.
I’m in awe of how boat builders can build something like this away from the boat, then fit the pieces with a minimum of shaping. Fitting and gluing the six sections to the existing house went really smoothly.
The wheelhouse is built from 2″ Iroko. This is the first outside varnish we’ve had on Arethusa, we hand brushed 2 coats of Cetol as a base and six coats of Schooner Yacht Varnish.
Over lock-down, the apprentice made new interior joinery, gone are the Warehouse plastic drawers and chipboard frame 🙂 Moved the batteries under the new bench unit so we can now stand at the wheel. John laminated me up some lovely curved trim for the front of the oven unit. Our old manky plywood dash got an upgrade to kauri and the old wheel got a fright with a good scrub and a varnish.
Outside we made nav light boxes and dorade boxes. We had to move the aluminium framed front hatch fw’d, a more traditional looking one in Iroko is on the to-do list. The liferings also got a birthday.
Here’s some before and after pics and also some that I hope will give some idea of the process. Thanks John for all your incredibly skilled design and build work, we’re really stoked with it.
We’re always keen to learn more of Arethusa’s history, especially the 1955-2000 period in the South Island. If you have any stories we’d love to hear them.”
Earlier in the week, we featured the ex work-boat Quest II, this prompted John Gander to send in the above photos of the 33’ Quest, built by Roger Carey in 1959, her beam is 9’9” and she draws 4’6”.
Roger built Quest to be his families boat, but later sold her to a Southland farmer who then in 1964 sold her into commercial fishing. John understands that Quest fished the waters about Stewart Island. In the 1970’s > 1980’s period she also fished the waters off Southland.
Sometime in early 2000 she returned to Picton, where John took the photo’s of her in the marina at Waikawa in 2008. John commented that she looked to be well kept and in a tidy condition, her engine a 5LW Gardner. She was then lifted from the water onto the hardstand and as the photo taken in 2013 shows she has deteriorated with her hardwood planking drying out with considerable shrinkage.
John remarked that doesn’t like to look at Quest now that she is in such a sad state, having been fitted with a tight fitting cover and John fears that with lack of ventilation her condition will deteriorate further.
(special thanks to Dean Wright for facilitating getting the story to WW)
Several years ago Bay of Islands woody Dean Wright shared with me a gallery of photos of a yacht built by his friend John Gander. At the time the photos were just for my eyes only, so they have been burning whole in the back-pocket ever since. Then one day out of the blue a marina buddy, mentions he has just bought a yacht that will ‘blow-my-mind’, tells me its called Time and he was a little disappointed to learn that I knew as much (if not more, at that stage) about her as he did.
Some background – the yacht Time was launched in 2001, having been built and designed by John Gander. John felled and milled the kauri for her planking in the Far North (photos below). John’s a very modest man and would want me to mention that a very large cast of helpers and trades people helped with the project and woodys it was a very large project – because John built two boats, the sister ship, Whisper is still owned by John.
Time’s specs are 38 ’x 12’ x 5’8” and she displaces 12 tonnes. Power is via a Yanmar 30hp diesel.
The standard of workmanship and design ergonomics are 2nd to none, you won’t here me say this many times but I could easily go to the dark-side (sail) with a boat like Time. On the water she is a knockout / head turner and down below just gorgeous.
After several years of ownership, a change in circumstances has bought Time on to the market. For anyone looking for a once in-a-life-time classic woody – Time deserves your inspection. Expressions of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
Her owner is realistic in his sale exceptions, so Time will sell rather quickly.
Bay of Islands woody – Dean Wright sent in the above photos of DeepStar, the dive charter boat built and operated by John Gander. John a B.O.I. boatbuilder who served his time with Careys in Picton, also penned the story below. Take it away John 🙂
“In the 1970s we were operating our sail yourself charter yachts out of Picton and along with our dive business of “Picton Underwater Centre” we were getting more and more divers chartering. Although wooden boats are very forgiving compared with glass and gelcoat, weight belts and dive tanks in the confines of the deck of motor sailer’s was hard on the paintwork, so we decided to build a boat for dive charters, mooring work and salvage.
I drew “Deepstar” as a purpose built dive boat with accommodation for ten divers plus her skipper. the underwater lines are from a Roger Carey plan with some minor changes. For her layout I chose to build a raised forecastle as I did for “Hinewai” were we found the extra headroom and space very desirable for the sleeping quarters. Aft of the wheelhouse that also doubled as the skippers bunk room, I planned the deck house and furniture to be comfortable for ten divers for mealtimes and relaxing. The wood range proved very popular after a days diving on cool evenings.
Her aft deck has the space for divers to kit up and the hold below is the storage for dive gear. We carried aboard twenty dive tanks and ten weight belts that were part of the ships equipment. To fill the tanks was an onboard Bauer air compressor run by a 4107 Perkins engine, her main engine was a 5L3 Gardner with the original Gardner hydraulic gear change. Divers like hot showers, so her water tanks are of generous capacity. Built into the deck house with an on deck door is the toilet – shower room fitted with regular household models, and as boat owners will understand, this combination proved very suitable for non boat people and was trouble free.
In 1978 I submitting her plans to the Marine department survey office for scrutiny and approval, I had drawn the plans showing the bulwarks rounded on the aft quarters, as we did on the the Carey boats, and terminated at the transom to give access aboard. This caused a problem at the office, passengers were meant to be kept aboard within the confines of the rail’s and not swimming about overboard. I had to submit a lengthy submission explaining the purpose for the vessel and the importance of getting potentially tired divers on to the dive platform and back aboard. The message got through and I think I could just about have cut the transom out if it meant getting divers back aboard were the department thought they belonged.
After lofting and making the moulds, shaping the stem, stern post and horn timber we laid her keel in our yard at Waikawa bay. Fitted stem, stem knee, keelson, stern post and horn timber, and set up the moulds. Next it was cutting the rebates to take the foot of the frames at nine inch (230mm) centres, steaming and fitting ribbands in preparation for fitting the frames (ribs). Her frames are two laminations of Spotted Gum, it steams well and is strong and durable. For her planking I used Kahikatea below the waterline and Macrocarpa ( South Island Kauri ) above the waterline to finish at 1 3/8 inch ( 38mm ) the planking is fastened with bronze screws.
Floor timbers, stringers and gunwhale are Australian Karri as are quarter knees and breast hook, all copper fastened. The deck is two laminations of marine ply covered in heavy glass cloth, wheelhouse and deck house joinery are Fijian Kauri as are the hatch coamings. Dimensions : 43’6” (13.2m ) x 13’ (3.9m ) x 5’ (1.52m ) The registered length, fwd side of Rudder post to fwd side of the stem is 39’.6” ( 12.1m ) displacement 28 tons.
After eighteen months of build time we were ready to launch but like most building projects there was still a list of things to do. My two son’s Wayne and Neville were familiar with work at boatyards and slipways and proved to be good boys at anti-fouling, my wife Bev made the appropriate “Deepstar” Picton cake in the shape of a life-bouy a tradition at our launchings, ready for the launching festivities.
On the 2nd of November the trailer was manoeuvred into place and “Deepstar” was ready for the short road trip to the beach on the western side of Waikawa bay for launching at the top of the tide at 0900hrs on the 3rd of November 1979″.
Back in October as part of another story I mentioned that Arethusa was inline for a treat – her Bay of Islands owner, Dean Wright has decided to a build / install a new wheelhouse. Arethusa is almost 100 year old (99) so a perfect centennial present for the 33’ Bob Brown built ex gaff rigged cutter. Arethusa these days is configured in work-boat / launch style.
The new wheelhouse is being made from Iroko by John Gander – John is a shipwright extraordinaire, served his apprenticeship and worked for Careys for many years.
Included above are the design drawings for the wheelhouse and an existing photo for comparison.
We will be following this project on WW with much interest – love a good project.
HINEWAI details & photos from Dean Wright ex John Gander.
Hinewai a 40′ motorsailer was designed by Roger Carey (taken off Carey’s Taonui, a 1950s design) & built by John and Bev Gander in 1968. 39′ LOA, 11′ Beam, 4′ 6″ Draft. 17 tonne displacement.
Built with miro planking, tallowwood keel and stem & red birch frames. Sporting an oregan mast.
Powered by a 3 cylinder 371 Series GM, she has been re-powered with a John Deere.
Her teak decks were built from timber recovered from the wreck of the Amokura.
John Gander sold her many years ago. The current owner is Martin Farrand, who also owns the beautiful 1900’s classic 6m yacht, Scout.
Photos & classified advert ex Russell Ward
Photo below ex trademe, so yes, she is for sale – a very salty girl that could take you almost anywhere.