Mystery Launch At Waiheke Island
Mystery Launch At Waiheke Island
2018 Rudder Cup – Motor Boat Race – 60 + Classic Wooden Boat Photos
Working Waterfront Boatbuilders Shed – 50 photos
As I’ve send many times before, if your want a stunning day weather wise, schedule a Classic Yacht Association event – the hit rate must be 9/10.
Over 100 CYA members & friends made the trip north to Lees Boatbuilders at Sandspit – our host for the day, Greg Lees, turned on a brilliant woody event – we had everything – woody projects underway, the best collection of 1/2 models I seen outside of the RNZYS walls, a photo montage recording the history of the yard & the vessels built over the years.
Center stage was Jenny & Angus Rogers – Mahanui, in the shed for a new deck, alongside her was a very original Chris Craft that was getting a restoration.
The varnish guru Dale has already applied 23 coats, with 6 more to come. Compared to our old girls, these American woodys are very lightly built, amazing that so many have survived.
Outside we had Anna & Nic Davidson’s – Juanita, on one slip & Barbara & David Cooke’s woody flagship – Trinidad, alongside the wharf. In midstream was Yvonne, waiting her turn in the shed.
On the hard was a selection of small craft built by either Greg, his father Tim or other local craftsman. Not woodys but certainly classic were Greg’s two English built, aluminium Albatross runabouts – the very rare 4 seater is next on Greg’s to-do list. Included are a few photos of other woodys in or out of the water.
Greg gave an articulate talk on his families boatbuilding history & how they came to be situated on the Sandspit foreshore. At the end he announced the official launch of the 2018 Rudder Cup launch race to be run on Friday 14th December to Sail Rock & back. See flyer below, I encourage all woody owners to consider participating. At this stage we (I’m on the race committee, along with Jason Prew, Nathan Herbert, Baden Pascoe & Barbara & David Cooke) are calling for expressions of interest in racing – entry to the race is by invitation, as per the original race format in 1908.
Big ups to Greg & family + staff for turning on the day, including BBQ. Special thanks also to the CYA committee members that pulled it all together.
Lastly a little something below for the petrol heads – Greg had on display his Jesser BSA 500cc twin, hill climb racer. Built in 1962 by Les Jesser, she is a 2 time Australian class champion.
What Happened to Calypso?
Firstly woodys, I love this story, way too many woodys have had a false start on a wooden boat project & just walked away & given up on old wooden boats forever. Well folks I can tell you Nick Davidson, who sent me the above photos, is not one of them, he bounced back, but more on that later – the main focus of this story is to try & uncover the mystery of Calypso. I have re-produced Nicks letter to me below – enjoy 🙂
Hi there Alan, have been thinking about an old kauri launch that I used to own back in the 1990’s, wondered what became of her and thought that perhaps one of your readers might have some information.
It is a story of hope turning to despair, however without the tough stories and the failures I suppose you don’t end up learning much!
As I am sure with many of your readership I was one of those guys that wanted to get into a wooden launch, however at the time had not much in the way of cash. It was mid 1999 and I was looking at boats for sale on ‘trademe’ as you do and there was an advertisement for an old 40’ kauri launch that was sitting in a shed in Avondale, Auckland and urgently looking for a new home, so I went along and had a look.
Basically the deal was that the owner of the shed wanted the building back and there had been veiled threats of chainsaws at dawn. As you can see from the photos of Calypso (very unlikely to be her original name) she was in a sorry state. The diesel was gone and there was a fair bit of rot in the house, but the hull looked sound enough and I could not help but fall for the straight stem (made of Pohutukawa) and fantail stern. The information about her provenance was next to nothing, no numbers, or name plates to be found anywhere. I was told that she was used as a ‘long-liner’ working out of the Viaduct for some years and had a build year of 1905 but have never had that corroborated. The diesel disappeared by way of a chainsaw through the cabin roof and she had then been hauled and transported to a storage unit in Avondale.
As it happened I had access to the old Education Department’s disused central stores warehouses that used to back on to the Avondale College, perfect I thought. I arranged for Calypso to be moved there, paid the princely sum of $300 to the owner (no recollection of the name of the chap) and now owned a 40’ launch that needed a bit of work!
Unfortunately, the arrangement to use the old stores warehouse fell through after a few months and I had her moved out to the Marine Haulage yard in Te Atatu where she stayed for a year or two. During that time I went into a boat partnership with a mate and with unbridled optimism we started stripping her out and removing what was left of the paint on her hull. When the cost of keeping her in Te Atatu became a bit too much for our shallow pockets I managed to find an old vegetable storage shed out in Bombay close to the Pukekohe turnoff and away she went again.
With the assistance of an old boat builder (again I cannot recollect his name, but he lived in Tairua, was involved in relocating the old Ngoiro ferry there, drove an old red van and had a cat that used to accompany him around the country!) we removed all the caulking, over many months slowly jacked up the hull to remove the hog in the keel, splined and glassed her to the gunwale with 10 weight triaxial glass. This was all done over a long period as time and money permitted.
As with many of these sorts of projects, in spite my best intentions and a fair degree of bloody mindedness we found ourselves some 6 years on with a sound hull but a long way from ever getting her back in the water. We had by now removed the cabin and decking which was in a much poorer state than first thought, my circumstances had changed and I no longer had the time or the financial resources to take her any further. We also had to move her again and by about 2005 she was now residing in a factory unit off Mahunga Drive in Mangere.
After a great deal of soul searching the decision was made to put her on ‘trademe’ and eventually she was purchased by a chap who described himself as a boat builder and if my recollection serves me correctly was looking to move her up to the Kaipara Harbour where he had a property and complete the re-fit there. Although disappointed that I hadn’t ever seen her in the water, I consoled myself that we had moved her along and that with the new owner’s intention to complete her she would be saved.
That was the last I saw of her!
Whilst owning Calypso had not dampened my desire to own a wooden launch I was certainly much wiser to the challenges, the cost of such an enterprise and in fact promised myself that if I ever did buy another boat she would have to be floating, have good provenance, and be at least structurally sound.
As it happens my wife and I now own the 1951, 32′ Allan Williams sedan launch Juanita (she has been well covered in Waitemata Woodies), she is a joy to own, gets plenty of use and after a fair bit of work is in great trim. The lessons learned from Calypso although painful have served me well, but I do sometimes wonder what became of her and whether the chainsaw got her in the end?
The photos above of Calypso in the water and being hauled were given to me by the previous owner.
There are a couple of her showing where I got to before having to sell (as you can see she was basically back to a bare hull) and a couple of a scale model that I made of her when I was looking to see how a new cabin would look.
Well woodys, as you have read, Nick & family are re-born woodys, we like that – so can we help Nick sleep better at night 🙂 & confirm what happened to Calypso. Good time for our resident Kaipara woody, Zac Matich, to chip in ………………..
Photos below of Juanita leaving Greg Lees (Sandspit) boat shed after a serious spot of TLC. Link below her time in Greg’s shed.
Upper Harbour Cruise to the Riverhead Hotel
Yesterday had the makings of a stay at home day – the forecast was looking very average & the All Blacks ‘v’ Ireland test was kicking off at 9.00am. Unfortunately the gods only smiled on us once – the weather never eventuated but the AB’s dropped their guard & for the 1st time ever lost to the boys in green. Given the location – Chicago, I say it wasn’t a real test 😉
The following classics from the CYA launch fleet made the trip – Mahanui, Te Arahi, John Dory, Te Hauraki, Trinidad, Lucille, Juanita, Raindance, Matira, Lucinda, Kumi & the motor-sailer Bliss. These were joined by others who traveled by car. Over 100 gathered on the outer decks for lunch & one or two cleansing beverages.
Another great day & special thanks to the organizer – CYA Launch Captain Angus Rogers, Tony Stevenson for the use of the Tino Rawa Trust tender ‘Whistleblower’ & the publican, Stephen Pepperell, always nice to greeted at the wharf on arrival.
The Rebirth of JUANITA
photos Greg Lees & Alan H
Yesterday I was privileged to be asked by Greg Lees to attend the re-launch of the 32′ classic launch Juanita, a 1951 Allan Williams (Milford Creek) built beauty that has just spent the last 4 months in the Lees Boatbuilder shed at Sandspit. In Greg’s words she was in for a ‘refresh & to bring her back to her original appearance’ – well Mr Lees, I do not think she has ever looked this good before so you have exceeded the brief, but we have come to expect that from the yard. Greg commented that Juanita’s new owners (Nick & Anna Davidson) contribution to the work was huge, every weekend for the 4 month period.
Juanita has had a busy life having called numerious places home – Auckland, Whangarei, Lake Taupo, Whitianga & now Sandspit.
Juanita’s past has been well documented on ww – some links below for details & photos
I took the photo of her below late last year, moored off Greg’s wharf looking very sad & tired as she awaited her turn in the shed. Arohanui was in-residence at the time mid restoration. One of the reasons Nick chose the Lees yard was the long association the yard & Greg personally has had with Juanita, in fact Greg told me that he once got very close to adding a flybridge to her, luckily that never happened 🙂
Again I’m so pleased to see so many of our classic launches being returned to their finery – so woodys who’s next in the shed?
Took the opportunity to have a peek at Karros hauled out & chat to Dave Jackson, with a 14′ beam she is a rather pretty big bottomed old girl 🙂
I do not know the name of today’s post but this kauri sedan launch was recently sold on trademe. We do know she was designed and built in 1951 by Allen Williams.
32’ in length & powered by a 100hp Ford 6cyl. Diesel. Asking price was around $35k, so on face value, someone got a bargain.
When sold she was based in the Coromandel, so today’s questions are what is her name, who bought her, where is she now & what history do we know about her?.
Update – she is Juanita & has appeared on ww before so to read more about her, view the Comments section &/or search her name in the ww search box 😉
(classic trademe listing i.e. no boat name featured 😦 ……… when will people wise up)
Juanita is currently sitting on a swing mooring outside Lees Boat Builders at Sandspit awaiting her turn at the hands of Greg Lees & his team of craftsman.
Juanita has appeared several times before on ww, but always in b/w, her current owners, Marty & Lena Pooley of Whitianga after ‘discovering’ the b/w older ww postings, sent Ken Ricketts some stunning colour photos of her & some updates on her previous ownership & length – she is 32′ not 36′ as previously reported.
Built by Allan Williams at Milford Creek for Cyril Bertrand of Bell Rd. Remuera c.1953, she had an Osco converted Ford V8 originally. When she was sold, she lived for a good number of years, at the Sandspit Warkworth, had a 6 cyl For Diesel fitted & was maintained (tbc) by Lees Boatbuilders, for the then owners.
She was owned by Ernest & Rae Blumenthal from the mid 1960’s to the 1994, when her husband died, Mrs Blumenthal sold her to Eric Nicholson Vickers in 1994. Vickers sold her to James Brown in Whangarei in 1997. James Brown sold her to Greenwoods in Napier in 2007, who took her to Kinloch Marina on Lake Taupo. Her current owners, the Pooley’s, bought her in January 2009 and she now lives in Whitianga Marina.
Juanita today remains almost identical to ‘as launched’ & her past owners need to be thanked for this. Marty & Lena say she is a babe – that she is.
Harold Kidd Update
JUANITA was built by Alan Williams at Milford in 1951 for Cyril Bertrand. The APYMBA records show her dimensions as 32’6″x31’3″x10’2″x2’10″ and being fitted with an Osco Ford V8 as Ken states. She was sold to M.T. Burrill in 1959 and then to John L. Gilbert in 1961.Her call-sign was ZMZF.
She was part of the honour guard for the arrival of the GOTHIC in Auckland in December 1953 for the Royal Tour.
What confuses me a bit is that she was called JUANITA II in APYMBA records after 1966 when Gilbert still seems to have owned her, and was JUANITA II when the Blumenthals owned her in the 1970s. Any reason? Same boat?
Photos above – with ‘mast’ is at Lake Taupo & minus ‘mast’ is at Ohinau Island Mercury Bay
Photos below – taken a Mercury Islands 3/4 May 2014
JUANITA – 36 ft built by Allan Williams at Milford Creek for Cyril Bertrand of Bell Rd Remuera in 1950/51 had Osco converted Ford V8 originally — now 6 cyl Ford. Supposed to be sister ship to Aoma also built by Williams.Photo Ponui Island c.1952.
Update from Ken Ricketts (01/06/2013)