THISTLE – Sailing Sunday

THISTLE - SCOW - KAWAU -1940s -01


THISTLE – Sailing Sunday

Last Sundays story on the scows on the Waitemata / Auckland Anniversary Regatta resulted in being sent the above photos of Thistle from the Tudor Collins collection at the Auckland Museum. Emailed to me by Ken Ricketts. The photos show Thistle at Kawau Island c.1940’s.

Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta
Click the link below to view some stunning classic sailing footage of the 1913, ‘Jolie Brise’ that placed 1st in the first race of the recent  Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall ships Regatta. The 2:30 minute video shows her at the start of the race out of Torbay. Enjoy 🙂


Copper Cowls
Picked up the cowls below, on trademe for $30, a serious bargain 🙂 But in real life a little bigger than I imagined (note to self – read the spec’s) Added to the ww stockroom – there will be a home for them one day.

Seacraft Woodys







I was recently contacted by Chris Laird & his first words were “are you guys interested in small woodys?”. My answer was ‘if its wood, its good’ 🙂

The above photographs show two dinghies that Chris restored  a couple of years ago. The 12ft 6in Seacraft Tuna has been stripped back and had new rib sections, one or two splines to cracked planks, seats, foredeck trim and beltings before being painted up to original Seacraft colours with original badging.

The varnished 12’6″ Brin Wilson has been stripped back, seats  etc removed, some rib sections scarfed in, several splines to cracked planks and varnished / painted up to original colours.
Chris commented that it is a lovely boat to row.

Also included are photos of a 6hp Norman and original cone clutch that is in a 16′ Seacraft cabin boat that Chris is currently rebuilding. I have asked Chris to send in photos of that project.

Over the Anzac weekend a lot of the classic fleet headed north to Kawau Island. Anchoring room near the Kawau Boating Club is always at a premium on long weekends & no one likes a long row in the dark……….. but even the old salts can get it wrong – the crew on the  1905, Logan Bros, ex pilot boat ‘Ferro’ must have been in a hurry to make the KBC as they anchored rather close in. As it turned out, too close in – the below photo was 1/2hr before low tide & mid Sunday morning – would have been a long / embarrassing day waiting for the tide 😉

Ferro @ Kawau April2017

A Small Woody Quiz – Good Prize



A Small Woody Quiz – Good Prize

Morning Woodys,
I hope you have all finished the madness that is the run-up to Christmas Day, every year we all ask ourselves why we stress out – but its all about the kids, I hope I never have a Christmas Day / present opening without little ones around – they make it special.
Now the above photos are from the Tudor Collections collection at the Auckland Museum & were emailed to me by Ken Ricketts, they are dated Feb 1940 & the location is Kawau Island – the question of the day is whose boat & who are the people ? A big ask I know but I’ll put up a ww T-Shirt & a Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade 2017 calendar for the 1st woody that gets the boat name & one of the names of the people aboard. I’ll need some proof of ID, as I have know idea of the answers 🙂
Answers via the comments section on ww.

1947 Squadron Weekend

RNZYS Kawau Weekend Feb1947

1947 Squadron Weekend at Kawau

The above photo appeared in the 19th Feb, 1947 issue of the ‘Weekly News’ (ex Mac Taylor collection) & shows the RNZYS fleet at anchor in Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island for the annual squadron weekend at Kawau, which continues to this day. Its a very impressive line up of classic’s that includes most of todays premier classic woodys.

New Classic Read
If you are looking for a ‘fix’ of classic sun & sailing this winter (in fact anytime) check out the new UK magazine at the news stands (got mine at Whitcholls).
Its called Classic Sailor & its publisher is Dan Houston ex Classic Boat magazine editor – & the best news, its only $9.50
The June issue (cover below) is the 9th issue, check it out, you’ll enjoy it. More info at

Classic Sailor

Beatrice > Edna > Lola – A Waiheke Story

Beatrice > Edna > Lola – A Waiheke Story

Story & photo ex Joyce Fairgray, input from Harold Kidd

Today’s photo & story was prompted by the recent ww post / movie ‘Beautiful Waiheke’. The launch Beatrice was built in 1909 by Bailey & Lowe for Jas, Gordon – I’ll let Joyce tell the story.

“When the Lambournes and other city folk holidayed on Waiheke in the 1920s, they were welcomed by other young ones growing up there, who joined in the fun and friendship. 

One was my father Selwyn Pegler (born 1903), son of John and Nell Pegler of Orapiu. Nell was daughter of Martin and Mary Ann Day of Days Bay; her sister Annie married John’s brother George and they lived not far away at Omaru Bay. Both families were large – double first cousins – so there was always a big crowd ready for fun. Numbers were further swollen by more cousins, because another sister, Jane married Will Connell, and brother Ted Day married Mercie Connell. Ted and Mercie’s daughter-in-law, Dixie Day, was author of “Waiheke Pioneers”.

Grandfather John Pegler farmed at Orapiu, and he and Granny Nell leased the boarding house from William McIntosh. It was a family enterprise with parents and children working together to run the place. All had their jobs, cooking, milking cows, cutting firewood, growing vegetables, caring for poultry and much more.

When Dad was in his teens, his father bought the launch from the Gordon family of Awaawaroa. There were a large number of Gordon girls, (yes, one married a Day!) and the launch was named for one – Beatrice. I think.

When Peglers became owners, the name was changed to that of Pegler daughter Edna, and when eventually it was sold to Connells it was named for Connell daughter Lola.

Teenage Dad was told to learn all about the boat from Mr Gordon, and take over the responsibility of launchman for the boarding house, providing guests with fishing, picnics and other excursions. It was also used for transport to and from the island for the holidaymakers. The Fuller family was often among them, and they and others would want to see any shows that were on at His Majesty’s so Dad would get them to the city. He was given a ticket to see the show, and afterwards would take them all back to Orapiu. There were few lights to be seen round the gulf, but one landmark to watch for was a lone house light at Beachlands. Weather deteriorated one night and Dad decided they would have to sleep on the boat at the launch steps, and wait until morning. One lady was very cross about it.

In 1924 the lease was due for renewal. The two oldest girls had gone nursing, other children were reaching adulthood, and my grandparents decided Waiheke could not provide adequate livelihoods for all. The launch and other possessions were sold; they moved to a dairy farm at Paerata, and Dad’s days as a responsible young skipper were over”.

More details & photos of Lola here

Input from Peter Stein
The above article brought back many fond memories.  When our launch “Waitangi” was laid up during the war because of the petrol shortage we relied very much on the “Lola”.  Our only access to Arran Bay was by the Auckland-Cowes Bay ferry.  The usual ferry was the “MV Baroona” but sometimes the “TSS Tangaroa” and “Onewa” were used on the run.  The ferry would stop off at Connell’s Bay and Mr WJ Connell (we knew him as “John Willie”) would bring the Lola alongside  for the passengers to board.  He owned the store in the bay named after him.  He usually had one of his two sons with him.  The elder Eric took over the store after his father died.  The younger son Les managed the farm which included the land behind the houses in Arran Bay.

If my memory serves me correctly the Lola was driven by a two cylinder Lister motor.
During the summer when I was a young boy the family would visit the Pegler’s in Omaru Bay.  It was an opportunity for my father to renew his acquaintance with Mr Pegler and for us to gather fruit from the fine orchard they had.

From the 1920s to the 1980s there would be few boaties that did not visit Connell’s Store for fuel and stores.  My father bought Arran House from WJ Connell in 1924.  Below is a copy of the first account my father received from Mr Connell.

Mansion House Bay On A Bad Day

Mansion House Bay On A Bad Day
photo ex Juliana Cooke (nee Turnwald)

Not sure of the date on the above photos but the presence of all the plastic fizz boats & the navy vessels in Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island, must make dating the photo easier.
If you look at the top photo & out into the bay, it must have been the start of ‘the end’ 🙂 i.e. the arrival of plastic fizz boats & plywood Vindexs .There is a cluster of classics in the right hand corner.
In the 2nd photo, who can ID the launch at the wharf – given the origin of the photos, the Turnwald family, I would suspect its ‘Robyn Gae’ but it does not look right to my eye.

St. Clair

St Clair
photos & details from owner John Newton

The 34′ sedan St Clair was built for Lionel Barney by Brin Wilson in 1956 and is kauri carvel construction. ww readers may recall that it was used as a ferry for St Clair lodge at Vivian Bay on Kawau Island . Piers Barney who runs Norma Jean charters has recollections of collecting passengers from Sandspit when he was 10 years old, Piers had to stand on a soap box to see out of the wheel house.

She was surveyed for 39 passengers to Kawau limits and amazingly carried up to 20  x 44 gallon drums of diesel for generators and bags of wheat and meal for all the chooks and muscovy ducks at the lodge, so a really solid little launch.

Piers father Lionel used to enjoy racing it in fun races against other boats off Kawau Island Yacht Club where she did very well reportedly getting up to 13 knts with a 100hp Ford engine. She hasn’t seen that sort of speed since, perhaps because of the new heavier sedan cabin.

St Clair was bought by John and Helen Hager and refitted to a comfortable sedan in 2006 by Robertsons Boats. Current owners John & Natasha Newton bought her in 2011.

A Woody Labour Weekend

A Woody Labour Weekend

The weather split the CYA classic fleet in two this Labour weekend with some heading to Kawau for the opening of the ‘new’ Kawau Boating Club. From all reports it was a blast & well done to those that made the trip. The photos below of Kawau are from the camera of Margo & Jamie Hudson (Lady Crossley).
A selection of classic launches mooched around Waiheke Island & with the weather forecast –  Onetangi Bay was the most popular spot. We had to share it with a rather large number of plastic boats, I think every Rivia in Auckland was there, but for once they behaved & the hum of the gen-sets  was almost bearable 🙂
Waiheke photos ex me (I took a few more ,but they will be ‘Mystery Boat’ posts)

PS If you were away on the boat or at the bach, you may have missed the last 4 ww posts, which featured the boats of Norm Fairlie. Stroll down to enjoy 😉



Somethings wrong here – why is the oldest rowing?

Schoolhouse Bay Mystery Launches

Schoolhouse Bay Mystery Launches

Photo ex Simon Smith, courtesy of the Sir George Collection.

The above photo is Schoolhouse Bay, Bon Accord Harbour, Kawau Island.

Who can ID the launches – L>R?

I don’t know the answer, so my guess for the first 2 , starting on the left is –

1. Ngaio – the 1921 Arch Logan
2. Raiona (Mollie > Alcestis) the 1919 Joe Slattery
3. ?
4. ?

Lady Adelaide photo as per HDK’s request

Kawau Island


Aside from school trips to see the wallabies, I like a lot of us, had my first Kawau Island boating experience via RNZYS race weekends. I can still picture Ken Lusty’s very large dinghy on the beach on Saturday night, filled to the gunnels with ice cold cans of beer & being invited for whiskey & milk for Sunday breakfast on the commodores boat………….. how we all survived god only knows 🙂

I was recently lent by Barbara Cooke a copy of the book ‘Memories of Mansion House – Kawau Island, NZ’ by Nora Creina Wilson. This insight into life on the island would have to be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the gulf & classic wooden boats. Needless to say, I very quickly snatched a copy of my own off trademe for the princely sum of $8.00. It now sits on Raindance alongside Johnny Wray’s ‘South Sea Vagabonds’.

Buy a copy or borrow one from the library, you have to read it, the photos alone are worth viewing – the island will not be the same post reading.

ps – speaking of Johnny Wray’s master piece – I’ll be posting details soon about the re-print (#5 ) of this very special book, which will co-incde with the re-launch of the restored Ngataki, the yacht that Johnny built & undertook his adventures in. Only yesterday I lent my (old) copy to an young 8 year old Opti sailor, who I hope will be wow’ed by the book. I took the photo below to remind me who currently has the book – its my latest trick, sick of people that do not return books. A few years ago I was offered a book to read & when I opened the dust cover, there was my stamp…………… & they still swore black & blue it was theirs 😦