The Relaunch of Quest


The last we heard of the Roger Carey 1959 built woody – Quest was back in August 2020 in a report from John Gander who being prompt by a WW story on Quest II, sent in photos dated 2008 of Quest berthed at Waikawa Marina, Picton. In these 2000 photos she looked very smart. Sadly John also included a photo taken in 2013 of her hauled out in Picton looking very un-loved and her planks crying out for a life afloat again.

View details and photos at this WW link

Then yesterday Bay of Islands woody Dean Wright sent in the above photos taken on Monday. Dean had been at Waipapa Landing, Northland to see Quest being put back in the water after a huge amount of work by owners Eric and Win Sanderson to get her back in the water again after spending so long on the hard in Picton. In my eyes there is a lot to like about this boat – while she started life as Roger Carey’s private boat, she was later sold and converted to a work-boat. She measures 33’ x 9’9” x 4’6”, has a canoe stern and best of all down below is a Gardner 5LW 🙂 Mondays splash was brief to check a few systems and caulking, we look forward to getting a peek-down-below when she is finally ship-shape.

You have to love the EBH (Exclusive Boat Haulage – JJ & Shelley ) rig, that is the way to transport your pride and joy 🙂

F.V. Joan

F.V. Joan

Todays story comes to us from John Gander via Dean Wright. John you may recall designed and built the two stunning double-ender 38’ kauri yachts Whisper and Time (sisters) that have appeared on WW. Today John shares with us the story of himself and Frank Derbyshire saving the 1935 Charles Bailey & Sons built fishing vessel – Joan from becoming firewood – I’ll let John tell us the story: (click on photos to enlarge)

“About November 1975 Frank Derbyshire and I arrived at Port Taranaki from Picton having successfully tendered for the fishing vessel ‘Joan’ and her equipment. ‘Joan’ was moored alongside the wharf when struck by the bulbous bow of the phosphate ship “Eastern Saga” as the ship was being manoeuvred in the harbour. Joan suffered extensive damage and was crushed about amidships.

Prior to our arrival the vessel had been lifted onto the breakwater wharf, her wheelhouse had been removed and her 6L3B Gardner engine was on beds in a wharf workshop having been stripped down, cleaned, reassembled and run.

“Joan” is a triple skin vessel of about 35 tonnes, and thanks to Harold Kidd it is confirmed that she was built by Charles Bailey and Sons and launched on 14th October 1935. We weren’t familiar with New Plymouth but soon learned that if you can see the mountain it is going to rain and if you couldn’t see the mountain it was raining, however we did experience some fine weather.

We were advised by a few sceptics to put a match to her, she will never go to sea again, however after a week or so into the repair and it was seen that we knew a bit about wooden boats some of those on local fishing boats and other workers about the wharf became very helpful when it came to advice on where best to procure some items we required during the repair. One person who was especially helpful to us was a retired fisherman Frank Roper. We learned that Frank was held in high regard by the local fishermen and was known to most on the wharf. He approached us saying in his retirement he needed something to do and could he help, and what a help he was.

After lifting the fuel and water tanks out it was Frank who chipped and wire brushed them, and applied a new cement wash to the inside of the water tanks and primed and painted the exterior, and while doing this he also stoked the fire for our steam box, this of course was when it wasn’t a problem to have a fire on the wharf at New Plymouth.

Prior to tendering for the vessel I had flown to New Plymouth for an inspection and made a note of the timber requirements to take to the job. For the inner skins we used Larch that was grown in the upper Awatere Valley Marlborough, and milled at Blenheim. Not such a common timber to use in New Zealand boatbuilding but we had the advice of Peter Jorgensen a Danish boatbuilder who knew Larch, we found it a good timber to work with and it steamed well.

After the initial inspection by the Marine Department wooden boat surveyor Bill Salter we set about clearing away the damaged section, this also entailed removing the freezer compartment and the cork insulation, and cutting scarfs in the stringers and gunwale well forward and aft.

The deck covering board was forced up during the impact but not damaged, we pulled this down into place, repaired the bulwarks, and from memory I think we replaced the outer planking with White Pine ( Kahikatea ) and Australian hardwood for the new belting, Metalex was a good wood preservative we used in those days, and red lead for priming paint.

We did have our share of rain but a bigger problem was salt spray during heavy westerly weather, this was before RCD’s were in vogue and electric tools were mostly metal, when the seas hit the breakwater and the fine salt spray wet the tools, it made one jump around a bit. But looking back on the job now we were lucky imagine asking a Port Company now if you could have a fire for the steam box on the wharf run a few power leads, and spread wheelhouse, tanks, and other ships gear about, and all this without a dozen orange cones and danger notices, yet we survived without mishaps.

With completion of repairs and a new Marine Department survey we left New Plymouth late afternoon bound for the Marlborough Sounds with Frank Roper aboard. Frank had fished the coast south to Cape Egmont and he regaled us with stories of fishing in the days of long lining before depth sounders, when after catching the fish they cleaned and gutted the catch on the way home.”

NEW INPUT FROM Chris Waide – We have owned Joan for 8 years now,  has a 4/71 Jimmy, the hull is tight and sound, those guys must have done a great job of repairing her back then. Although the mishap on the West Coast was also on the port side, she was repaired at Guards Ship Yard with kahikatea but sat out  in the rain for a few years and went rotten. She was then bought by Doug Valk, (a local boat builder) he put her in a paddock and completely rebuilt and converted to pleasure, refer photos below. The port side damage was repaired using Lawson cypress this time and Doug was helped by Andrew Candler who is a traditional shipwright, and is still a commercial vessel surveyor here in Nelson.Joan’s home these days is Motueka.

03-05-2022 Input from Dean Wright – photos below ex Auckland Museum collection

Matai And A Matter Of Urgency 

Matai And A Matter Of Urgency 

Today’s tale comes to us from Bay of Islands woody – John Gander via Dean Wright and covers a wee oops that the 1967 Jorgensen built woody workboat had in Port Hardy, in the Marlborough Sounds in the mid to late 1970’s. As always,I’ll let John tell the story. 

“Our phone rang in the early morning and there was a certain amount of urgency in the callers voice ‘Rutherford’, the ‘Matai’ is aground in Port Hardy, get your gear together, I have a chopper standing by at Omaka get here as quick as you can. 

The caller was Bill Rutherford, marine assessor, I had done a lot of salvage work and repairs with Bill, and I knew the Matai and Gerry Fissenden her then owner-skipper. 

Maitai is a carvel built launch designed and built by Peter ‘Pop’ Jorgensen at his Waikawa Bay boatyard for Ray Roach. Ray was a well known and very experienced commercial launch man in the Marlborough Sounds, and with a majority of properties in the Sounds having no road access at this time, tow boats with a punt astern or alongside were a common sight, often loaded with building materials and machinery, or farm stock. 

Pop Jorgensen’s brief was to design and build a manoeuvrable, strong tow boat with a good towing post, to handle a sixty foot punt, she was powered by a 4-71. N series G.M. with a 3:1 reduction with a four blade Nalder propeller, and launched in 1967. 

I arrived at Omaka airdrome as the helicopter was being made ready, a quick loading of my tools including dive gear, tanks and air lift bags. We didn’t know at this stage if Matai would be above or below water, there was one possible complication. It is very rare to see fog in Blenheim, but this day was one of those rare days, thick fog not ideal for flying in such restricted visibility. With a heavily loaded helicopter with three of us aboard the pilot’s option was to fly just above the main highway and follow it to Havelock, I was relieved to see the fog was clearing as we flew out over the water at Havelock, it was here that the pilot thrust a lands and survey map into my hand, saying you know the way guide me in the right direction. 

I was a bit concerned at this low altitude flying it takes a bit of getting used to, but one thing we wouldn’t have far to go before a splash, and it was a bit of a relief for me, as we just cleared the hills at Port Ligar to fly across Admiralty Bay to Port Hardy, d’Urville island. As we flew over we could now see the predicament that Matai was in. 

There was a gale of N.W. in Tasman Bay and the Cook Strait, and Gerry had left the punt anchored with a load of sheep aboard in Wells Arm, and was then making his way in East Arm towards Allman Bay when right on H.W. Matai went up on an off lying rocky point, it was about a 3.2 m.tide that was falling and we could see the urgency of the situation. 

A great thing about a chopper is that a quick fly around gave us a good look and we could see that some props were needed and fast before she healed over much more, there were some sizeable Manuka trees further up the hill but nowhere to land nearby on the flat at hight tide. As the pilot brought one skid to rest on a rocky outcrop on the side of the hill, I was given instructions to keep my head down when I got out with sharp saw in hand, he didn’t have to emphasise these instructions. In quick time I was up the hill to cut three good size Manuka and then slide these down to the waiting dinghy, it was a wet job but we had these in place with not too much time to spare and Matai was made secure as she continued to dry out. 

Bill put a call out and the Trawler ‘Marina May’ left Motueka to make her way to d’Urville Island in heavy seas, she had a rough passage but arrived before high water in the late afternoon and a tow line was made ready. Her skipper Robie Bloomfield positioned her just right and with a gentle hand on the power, eased ‘Marina May’ ahead quietly and with her own engine assisting Matai cleared the rocks and was afloat and away from the point. 

It was three days before the sea subsided enough for us to leave and see Matai on her way, but she had comfortable accomodation and Bill and I were still on the payroll until we left Port Hardy. I think the Insurance company was well pleased with only a slipping and a small section of keel batten to be replaced”.

606 Rosebank Road, Avondale


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


KATHERINE🔻 39′ 2013 Robertson Boats

For Details Contact:

THETIS🔻 45′ 1955 Lane Motor Boat Co.

For Details Contact:

ATHENA🔻 25′ c.1950 Couldrey

Learn more here

MATANUI 🔻 44′ 1923 Lanes (Picton) Bridgedecker

For Details Contact:

TUAHINE 🔻 43′ 1957 Dickson

Learn more

SEQUOIA 🔻 36′ 1938 Lewis McLeod

NGARUNUI 🔻 48′ 1955/7 Jim Young

For Details Contact:

LADY NGAIO 🔻 28′ 1928 Collings & Bell

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

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