MATAROA (KENYA) – A Great Read

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Elaine aboard Mataroa

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MATAROA (KENYA)

The life story of the 1928 Joe Slattery built launch, Mataroa (formally Kenya) & her restoration has been very well documented on ww. It was however a pleasure to be contacted earlier in the week by Elaine Reynolds, whose parents – Maurice & Pauline Reynolds owned the launch from 1968 to 1994.
Elaine sent in a great collection of unseen photos from their ownership period & shared with me the story of Mataroa’s mishap & near sinking at Great Barrier Island in late Dec 1970 – its a great read, so I have published it as sent. Enjoy 🙂
For photos of the damage, beaching & repairs mentioned in the story – click this ww link     https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/10/31/mataroa-kenya-2/

“Hi Alan

You have posted several wonderful articles on M.V. Mataroa and also posted some of the many photos taken by my father, Maurice Reynolds (a mechanical engineer and jack-of-all-trades) who owned Mataroa 1968-1994.  The photos include those of when Mataroa was hit amidships at Great Barrier Island, between Christmas and New Year, I think it was 1970, about 29-30th December. It was the first week of our usual 3-week annual Christmas cruise.

I was on board Mataroa when she was hit, standing on the aft platform, looking foreward – I saw it all happen. At the time of the accident we were in 90 ft of water. It was a beautiful sunny day, almost flat calm with barely any wind. We were just idling along with the motor out of gear, the rest of the family were on deck or in the cockpit.

The boat that hit us was owned by my father’s best friend, Jack. His launch was of similar vintage to Mataroa, also with a straight stem. Jack was going to come alongside to pick up his daughter, Jenny, who’d been aboard Mataroa spending time with me. Unfortunately, Jack was on the wrong turn for his boat’s prop, but didn’t remember, and thought he’d just give a burst on the throttle to spin 90 deg to bring her alongside but instead, he slipped, hit the throttle hard and rammed Mataroa amidships at full speed. Horrified, I watched the wood smash and shatter inside the cabin and the “hole” that was created in Mataroa, through which we could now see daylight, went from the deck to 3-4 inches below the waterline

Jenny, my younger brother and I were ordered into the dinghy and cast off. Dad ripped up the floorboards, gave my older brother a bucket to bail with and had Mum stand with her thumb firmly on the electric bilge pump button which was on the instrument panel just inside the engine room. Dad steered for shore with Mataroa’s throttle full open, just heading for shallower water to start with but it was a rocky shore and would have torn Mataroa apart. Then he realised that the water ingress was slowing.

What Dad discovered was that when underway at full speed, the waterline wave fell away from the hull to below the waterline at the place where Mataroa had been hit, so he made a sharp turn to starboard and full throttled Mataroa (remembering that for this graceful lady, cruising speed was 7-7.5 knots, Dad’s orders!) to the other side of the harbour, going through the usual Christmas throng of anchored boats at Smokehouse Bay at a speed that drew many raised voices and eyebrows, and beached Mataroa on the sand, with people scattering out of the way.

Unfortunately, this was also at the peak of the highest tide – full moon, etc – and that caused problems in itself.

From there, the insurance assessor/shipwright was contacted and flew out to us on a sea plane and you can see from the photos Dad took that they stripped Mataroa out, used available materials and lots of willing helpers to patch and shore her up for the journey back to Auckland. They used sheep fat/lanolin to seal the ply to the hull. Due to the extreme high tide when Mataroa was beached, they had a difficult time launching her off the beach. Again, many hands and lots of Kiwi ingenuity.

It was a harrowing night-time journey back to Auckland on 30th-31st December, with my younger brother and I on Jack’s boat. I think Mum was on board with us, but my older brother, Kevin, was on board Mataroa. Jack’s boat couldn’t keep up with Mataroa, being smaller, slower and definitely not as sea-kindly, so Mataroa was an ever smaller and disappearing set of lights in a dark night.

Back at Auckland, Mataroa was slipped at Baileys in Westhaven and up there for about 6 weeks (I think) in their shed. During this time, Dad had the portholes enlarged, the dodger raised and changed the shape of the dodger windows. Mataroa was stripped back to bare wood. I’m not sure if this was when Dad removed the muntz metal that had been used to shield the hull from toredo worms while Mataroa was seconded by the Air Force up to Fiji during the war (another story there). With the paint stripped, we found the Air Force rings scribed into the bow. We also discovered that Mataroa had been made from single planks of kauri from stem to stern. Dad painted the sides of Mataroa around the new windows to look like varnished wood but was in fact painted-on wood graining, something he’d learnt to do from his father.

As a result of Mataroa being at Baileys for that time, my older brother, Kevin Reynolds, decided to become a shipwright, doing his apprenticeship with Baileys. Kevin was well known in the Auckland boating scene, and passed away in 2010 at the age of 55 from melanoma. Dad passed away in 2012. Both were old salts who’d enjoyed their lifetime on the ocean and mucking about in boats.

I have attached some photos of Mataroa that you won’t have, plus a photo of myself in the cockpit of Mataroa in about 1986. The group of 4 photos-in-1 are #1. Me/Hilda Reynolds (Dad’s mum)/Pauline Reynolds (my Mum). # 2. Mum & Dad waving bye to me from Mataroa in early 1979.  #3. Our cat Gidget on board Mataroa.

I’ll ask her the name of Jack’s boat another day – I remember it started with a ‘T’ possibly Tewara but Mum may remember the spelling. Of note, Tewara only lost a palm-sized chip of paint off the stem from the accident.

Thank you so much for posting about Mataroa. She was a very much-loved a part of my life and I was heart-broken when I saw the state of her when for sale the other year.  

Huge kudos to Rob and Sue Uivel (current owners) for the work done. It is so wonderful that Mataroa is being loved and looked after again.  Mataroa is amazingly comfortable in seas that most other boats would or could not handle.  Does Mataroa still have the boom with “gaff” steadying sail set-up that Dad rigged and can be seen in the photo below?  It was really worth putting up in a cross sea – Mataroa settled down and didn’t roll much at all.

Btw, the last photo shows Kevin putting the scrubbing brushes in the dinghy, with me at the oars.  It was our “pram” dinghy with which we spent many fun-filled hours, and that’s our old Seagull outboard on the back.”

A question for the woodys – can anyone name the other launch involved in the collision ?

HELP WANTED ON VALHALLA
Robert Brooke is trying to track down a copy of the plans for the Gladden built 1964 launch ‘Valhalla’, can anyone help?

Kenya (Mataroa) Ready For Launch

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Doorway Joe Slattery's Shed

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Launch Kenya

Kenya (Mataroa) Ready For Launch

I was contacted yesterday by Rob Ulvel, the owner of Mataroa, (Mataroa was previously named Kenya). Rob sent me the above amazing photos of Kenya outside the Judges Bay, Parnell, shed of her builder, Joe Slattery. The photos & details were sent to Rob by Peter Midgley, whose father Eric Midgley was an apprentice at the Slattery yard from 1923 to 1929, Eric along with Billy Rogers is pictured with Joe Slattery in the doorway of Joe’s shed. Billy is on the left & Eric on the right.
In the photo that shows two men inspecting the launch, they areprobably the Heards. Peter Midgley commented that these photos would have been taken late November 1928 as she was launched 1st December 1928.

To view photos of Mataroa being relaunched recently (Jan. 2017) in Wellington after a refit / make over, click this link’s https://waitematawoodys.com/2017/01/27/mataroa-re-launched/
Compare the 1928 & 2017 photos & see how remarkably original she is, from what I’ve seen of Rob’s work, I’m confident that when he moves onto Mataroa’s interior, he will ensure that the work is sympathetically done, commensurate with her vintage 😉 You can view & read a lot more about the boat by searching Mataroa in the ww search box.

Mataroa Re-launched

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Rob & wife Sue Dorrington

MATAROA Re-Launched

Mataroa has just spent 10 weeks at the Evans Bay slipway, Wellington getting a very big dose of TLC. Owner Rob Uivel commented to me that he would like to mention how supportive and easy going the crew at the yard are, especially – Sven Beirenga and Peter Maherid, nothing was ever a problem.
Mataroa was built in 1928 by Joe Slattery & named Kenya when launched, she measures 36’ LOA & was originally built for Mr Heard of Heards Confectionary. Like most Slattery boats she is very pleasing to the eye & luckily for Rob Uivel has survived relatively as original. She has featured numerous times on ww so search her name in the ww search panel & you can see / read more.

While she was hauled out Rob concentrated on the exterior & as you can see he stripped the cabin sides back to Kauri and applied numerous coats of epoxy and varnish.
The paint colours used reflect what Rob thinks were the original paint scheme.
One interpretation of the name ‘Mataroa’ apparently is long nose –  which from on deck, she certainly appears to have.

I’m aware that Rob bought Mataroa for a very modest sum because of rumours that she was suffering from electrolysis. While every hull fastening was connected by a maze of wires, she had suffered a wee bit but surprisingly little compared to other examples we have seen on ww. Needless to say the wiring has all been removed along with any superfluous  hull appendages.

Mataroa was re-launched on Jan 21st 2017 & I have to say looks a lot smarter when I saw her for sale on trademe. Well done Rob & family 🙂 We look forward to seeing the interior work next winter.

PS – owning a pretty boat helps get a feature on ww but wearing a ww t-shirt in the photos gets you to the top of the waiting list 😉

BIG WOODY WEEKEND THIS WEEKEND – MAHURANGI REGATTA – I’LL BE POINTING RAINDANCE NORTH MID AFTERNOON TODAY, FORECAST LOOKS ACE, SO SHOULD BE A GOODY 🙂 LOTS OF PHOTOS 🙂
IF YOU ARE THERE IN A CLASSIC WOODEN LAUNCH – JOIN THE LAUNCH PARADE ON SATURDAY MORNING. STARTS OFF SCOTTS LANDING AT 10.00AM.

Mataroa (Kenya)

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MATAROA (Kenya)

Today’s photos were sent in by Rob Uivel, who recently purchased Mataroa & in whom I have great faith that she will be bought back to ‘as-new’. Given her very original condition, there will be no need for a chainsaw 🙂
Built in 1928 by Joe Slattery, she was named Kenya when launched & measures 36′. Originally built for Mr Heard of Heards Confectionary.
This link will show you her as purchased by Rob https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/05/26/mataroa-kenya/

The above historical photos show Mataroa after she was struck amidships by another boat, & show the repairs and alterations undertaken. You have to love the ‘fence posts’ holding her together.

Now woodys – if anyone can give us the name of the vessel that struck her, I’ll give them a ww t-shirt. Answers via email only, sent to waitematawoodys@gmail.com
You’ll need to provide proof to support your answer 😉

 

Kenya > Mataroa

19-06-16

Kenya > Mataroa
Its not a mystery post as I know the boats name, the photo was taken by Tudor (Washington) Collins, 1898-1970, a well known marine photographer.
Any woodys brave enough to put a name, or names (there’s a hint) to the launch?

Further to the comments on yesterdays post re Coulthard boats, Rosemary Robinson(granddaughter) has sent me more photos from the family album. When a get a moment I will post.

On a sad note – the 63 year old missing sailor lost overboard from the yacht Platino, north of New Zealand was my neibour at Bayswater Marina, his yacht being moored next to Raindance. Steve* was a larger than life guy but one of the friendliest & kindest boaties I had the pleasure to know. He always offered a hand when I had that ‘I need help’ look. He had great taste in classic cars & I will miss his friendly face & voice on the marina. *I’m not sure if his name has been made public yet

Mataroa (Kenya)

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MATAROA (KENYA)

As they say in the boxing game – Mataroa is the real deal – a 1928 Joe Slattery launch, named Kenya when launched, she measures 36’ LOA & was originally built for Mr Heard of Heards Confectionary. On trademe her owner claims she is a Collings & Bell but that is incorrect – read a lot more about her – build details, war history & more on the link below.

https://waitematawoodys.com/?s=MATAROA&submit=Search

Powered by a Ford 90p diesel, she will cruise effortlessly at 8.5 Knots. You will see from the photos that she is over due for some TLC but boy-o-boy the bones are there & for sale at $15k – that’s a lot of boat.

I have included below a photo from her early days, you will see how smart is was & could be with a little work.

Someone has to scoop her up.

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Mataroa

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Mataroa

MATAROA. Owned by Ted Ward in the 1940s & 50s, photo taken in Matiatia in 1948 by Ken Ricketts. Possibly a Baileys boat, had a 6 Cyl Graymarine petrol engine. Not been seen for many a year – anyone able to advise her current status, location?
She appeals to me, looks as if she was fast.

Harold Kidd Update

MATAROA was built by Joe Slattery as KENYA for Len Heard of Parnell in 1928 with a 40/60 Ailsa Craig. So this pic is probably taken during Heard’s ownership ie 1938 or earlier. He sold her to  Seagar and replaced her with KENYA II built for him by Lidgard Bros and delivered in early 1940.

The RNZAF took her to Fiji in1943 for towing at Lauthala Bay and put a 6 cylinder Chrysler Crown in her as the Ailsa Craig was thought to be on its last legs and for spares rationalisation.

08-01-2015 Updated Info from Kevin and Jan Price.

We owned her for a few years after purchasing her from Maurice Reynolds (of Auckland Coast Guard). I believe she is now in Wellington.
She was originally names Kenya. She was nearly named Kenya Mist after a book title that was popular during her build, but the name was considered too long so shortened.
She was designed to fit into Len’s boat shed and had a droopy sheer line forward to fit under the door lintel, but it looked horrible and false works were built to improve her forward end appearance.
When Len Heard (Heard’s Barley Sugar) sold her to the Seagers, Len kept the name for his new bigger launch and the Seagers named her Mataroa after a much enjoyed cruise on the liner Mataroa.

She saw war service in Fiji as RNZAF No W71 and was employed in the construction of the Lauthala Bay breakwater to shelter the flying boats and also the metalling of airfield hard standing for warbirds. To achieve this she towed three barges totaling 90 tons. I was told that some of her trips down the Suva river fully loaded was sometimes a finally tuned effort to keep her lined up and thru the bridge. I was told her engine was only a 30hp Ailsa Craig at that time. Her Cox was a young 18 year old with a Fijian boat boy. Somewhere at home I have a tape recording of his wartime exploits.
Under her paint forward are scribed roundel circles.
Under that paint on the transom is the imprint of a brass bowsprit star received when towing a string of yachts home following the Suva annual Pacific yacht race.
She was offered back to the Seagers after the war. When they went to look at her at Herald Is she was not in good order and considered not taking her back, but did.

I think the engine was replaced by a Crown then later by a 90hp Ford wet sleeve by the Reynolds. 8knots at 1900rpm. (One day in a fit of exuberance I pushed the throttle to the wall and the GPS recorded 14knts)

After a mishap when an accompanying launch lost her steering and rammed Mataroa broadside amidships and split her open from deck to waterline she was run up on a nearby beach. The hull was propped out with an array of timber posts and she was motored back for repairs by matching the waterline wave curve with the bottom of the broken planking
She underwent repairs and refit. During this refit her rear house top was raised 4” and her vertical shaft steering column and flat “ bus drivers” wheel was replaced with the current more conventional setup. The round ports in the saloon where changed to oval for improved interior lighting. The saloon was relined with oak paneling. The overhead was lined in white Seratone as trying to maintain any sort of finish on the underside of the cedar deck was not possible due to it’s continuous movement. This refit was during the Renold’s time.

Under the forward cabin sole is/was a large admiralty anchor, possibly an original. Under the cockpit sole is/was a spare five blade prop.

1” Carvel Kauri.
Spotted gum ribs.
Possibly Pohutakawa stem.
Cedar deck / cabin tops for light weight.
Cedar sole floor boards screwed one Kauri floors.
No frames.
Mid and aft bulkheads removable, to allow engine to be taken out aft.
Log is kauri boxed and pitch filled.
Her capstan motor was an aircraft starter motor and reduction box that finally gave up the ghost when we owned her.
300trl copper diesel tank at the transom. Copper water tanks under cockpit seating.
No ballast.

That’s all for now. When I eventually get home ( we haven’t been home for seven years) I will look for some old photos I have tucked away.

Regards,
Kevin and Jan Price.