The Sinking of Lady Sandra


The Sinking of Lady Sandra

Lady Sandra was built by the Lane Motor Boat Co in 1947, details on her past can be viewed at the link below. In previous ww posts Ken Ricketts was of the belief that Lady Sandra sank off Devonport but recent photos ex Ken Jones that have surfaced have revealed that the location was in fact Birkenhead, c.1948-49.

The tale goes something like this –  Lady Sandra had stopped to tow a grounded yacht on Auckland Anniversary Day & in the process managed to get the tow line around both of her propellers & pull them towards each other, thus pulling the propeller struts out of the bottom of the boat. They quickly managed to beach her, as the above photos show.

Interested to hear more details on the yacht rescue & subsequent sinking of LS, as there is still uncertainly around what happened.

Post the sinking & refit (mid 1950s) she was sold to Ken Woodhead, an Auckland businessman, who sold her late 1950’s > early 1960’s, to a Eddie McGoram, now aged 88 & living in Vancouver. In discussions with Ken Ricketts, McGoram confirmed that when he  purchased her, the original 2 Scripps flathead 6’s had been replaced with 2 x 120 hp Hercules 6 cyl flathead petrol engines.  Most likely the Scripps were replaced post sinking after she sank. McGoram only kept her for approx. a year & during this time replaced the Hercules engines with 2 x 4 cyl Ford diesels. He sold her to Owen & Margaret Cleave in the early 1960s & they kept her until well into the 1960’s.

The Cleaves did substantial remodelling of her coamings c.1966 & interior layout. At some stage she was lengthened & her engines were moved back to the new tuck position.  During the Cleaves ownership c.1964,  LS ended up on the rocks at Pakatoa Island & had to wait for the tide to re-float, other than bruised egos, there was no major damage.

Lady Sandra was  sold to a friend of KR’s (John Richards) c.1966-67. Richards also modified the previously modified coamings. According to Richards son, Ian,  John sold her to an overseas (Vanuatu) owner in the late 1960’s. Sadly she was wrecked on a reef in a storm – some would say that given her past dices with death, it was a only a matter of time 😦

Below are a selection of Lady Sandra photos that show various moderations undertaken by her owners.


Peckham ownership



As Built


Richard ownership


McGoram ownership

Lady Sandra



Built by the Lane Motor Company for Len Peckham in 1947, powered with 2 x 6 cyl Scripps petrol engines. One of the glamour boats in her day but misfortune followed her around – she once picked up a tow line from a boat being towed, off Devonport wharf & got the tow rope around both propellers & pulled the propeller struts out of the hull & sank, just as they got her to the nearby beach. Later on in life  she went to Fiji where she was wrecked in a storm in the 1980’s. In the photos above the photo of the boys & man on the wharf, – the man is Alan Horsefall who owned Mansion House at that time.

The photos of her tied to the right hand side of the Mansion  House wharf have the Nancibel & Korora inside her. The bridgedecker, we can see a little of the dodger of in one photo, is most likely Royal Falcon. Also the boat in the Alan Horsefall photo is almost certainly Valsan.
Today’s photos are from Ken Jones & were emailed to me along with comments by Ken Ricketts. You can read more of Ken’s recollection of Lady Sandra here

I’m loving the A.M.Y.C. life buoy in the bottom photo 🙂

3 Ladies + Movie Premier Invite


Lady Sandra, Connie & ValSan

Photo above of three of our most elegant classic ladies – Lady Sandra, Connie & ValSan rafted up (photos ex Ken Jones, emailed to me by Ken Ricketts).
Also today I have news on a very cool film premier that will appeal to all woodys – see/read below.


Adrian Pawson & partner Nina Wells have produced a very cool movie called ‘Birds of a Feather’. Nina is the real star as its her film – she produced & directed it. The film is based on the annual Seagull outboard race on the Waikato River, over the last 18months I have seen numerous drafts & rough cuts, trust me it’s a goodie. See synopsis below & click on the link to view the trailer 😉

Adrian has asked if waitematawoodys could help promote the NZ premier of the film, the answer of course was yes. The screening is at The Vic Theater in Devonport & seats are very limited.

Tickets are only $10. I would encourage you to book online asap at  Its unlikely there will be door sales on the night.

Film Synopsis:
For the 30th consecutive year, a modest group of eccentrics assemble at the base of the Karapiro hydro dam, ready to embark on one the world’s longest and most challenging small boat races. The Great Waikato Seagull race draws contestants from all round New Zealand, all vying to conquer the mighty Waikato river but with an unlikely choice of hardware.

The British Seagull once touted as ‘The best outboard motor in the world’ is now famous for all the wrong reasons. With a reputation for being hopelessly unreliable, the British seagull is a relic of modern technology dating back to the second world war.

‘Birds of a Feather’ is the story of seagull racing on the Waikato where competitors from all walks of life, battle 141km downstream subjecting themselves to an arduous two day challenge that will test their patience, tempers and humour! They don’t have to be crazy, but it certainly helps!


6.30pm Sunday 25th September
Cinema – Theatre – Cafe – Gelateria
Ph: +64 9 446 0100
48-56 Victoria Rd, Devonport 0624, Auckland, New Zealand
Opportunity to get pre drinks etc and mingle from 6pm in the lounge bar
DVDs of the film will be available for purchase after the screening $25 Cash
POA Blu-ray DVDs are possibly available depending on numbers of requests
Book tickets :



Lady Sandra


Lady Sandra


Built by the Lane Motor Boat Co., a very “Ultra” boat, for her era, for Len Peckham, about 1950, one of “THE” boats of the day, lovely lines, powered with 2 x 6 cyl Scripps petrol engines, right at the stern, with V drives, & with reduction gears built in to the V drives.
L Peckham was a very social person & Lady Sandra had many parties, & lots of glamorous ladies aboard, on many occasions, — spent much time tied to the Mansion House Bay wharf, with an anchor out in to the bay, & then backed the stern up to the wharf, (almost as if she owned it, she was there so much.) engines were of course, later replaced with diesels (Fords I think ( as usual)
She was later sold & I have an idea one of the Cleave brothers may have owned her for a while, however she was later owned by my dear friend, the late John Richards, who eventually sold her, & she went to Fiji where she was wrecked in a storm in the 80s.
She suffered some misadventure once, by picking up a tow line from a boat being towed, off Devonport wharf, one day, got the tow rope around both propellers & pulled the propeller struts out of the hull & of course she sank, just as they got her to the nearby beach, fortuously.

photo & ‘tale’ by ken Ricketts