Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 5.14.39 PM


In the above 1963 photo we see the launch Valerie towing an ex Whangarei Harbour Board shed to Port Whangarei, at the time river transport was judged to be the best option.

Input from Robin Elliott and Harold Kidd (previous WW story) – Valerie was designed and built by the  Lane Motor Boat Co. in 1929. She is 35’ in length with a 9’ beam. For many years she was owned by the Reynolds family, close friends of the Pickmeres, who owned her up until the late 1960’s. Apart from a short period in Auckland during the 1960’s she has spent almost all her life in Whangarei and the far North. It is believed Valerie was sometimes used by H. Pickmere when he was charting the far north.
Screen Shot 2020-06-01 at 11.00.51 AM

Launch day 29 August 1929 & Whangaroa 2013

I spotted her in December 2019 hauled out at the Opua marina getting a serious refit that included being re-powered with a Yanmar 115hp. Read / see more here
Screen Shot 2020-06-01 at 10.59.41 AM

Lady Gay (Raindance)

Lady Gay Whangarei Harbour 1960s CM


Lady Gay Whangarei Harbour 1960s final

LADY GAY (Raindance)

I spend a large chunk of my leisure time, pulling together the waitematawoodys stories that you all get to enjoy each day. One of the coolest parts is connecting people and boats, more often than not – it’s a grandchild looking for grandads old wooden classic or someone who used to crew on a boat and wants to contact with the long lost woodys they boated with. There have been some amazing link-ups, some taking years to surface, a common situation is someone sends in an old photo of a boat, it appears on WW, we generate some intel on the boat, then the story goes into hibernation for a while, sometimes years. Then someone does a google search on an old boats name and bang – up pops the WW story and we are away, they supply more details + photos and then that generates more – its called self populating. With over 5,500,000 views the WW site rates very well with google, also people tend to spend a lot of time on the site so that tells google the site is valued by people, so the boffins at google ‘assist’ the search functionality.

Anyway starting to get boring – yesterday was my day, my turn to be wowed by waitematawoodys. I received an email that stopped the clock. After 13 years of looking for more intel on my boat – Raindance, a gent named William Brown reached out to WW asking for assistance in tracking down a launch named Lady Gay that his father owned in the late 1960’s. Bill’s parents were Correen and James Brown and were lifetime boaties with a flotilla of craft over the years – James was also a former Commodore of the Onerahi Yacht Club and a member of the Whangarei Cruising Club.

One glance at Bill’s photos told me it was Raindance. Bill’s email is below

“It’s been fun during the lockdown to still have the consistency of your regular Waitemata Woodys posts. Thanks for that.

Back at the beginning of March, I won one of your Waitemata Woody T shirts on the Townson 28 quiz and I have been proudly wearing it around my neighbourhood during lockdown. I’ll send a picture in at some stage with perhaps a different story/email to today’s one. 

Ok, so I was I digging into my old photos recently and uncovered a couple of pictures (sorry about the quality),  of our family’s launch that we owned for about 5 or 6 years in the late 1960s. We knew her then as Lady Gay, but as a youngster I never knew much about her provenance. I am not actually sure my dad knew much of her design or year built either.  We used her extensively in the Whangarei harbour for family holidays and fishing trips. The coloured picture has me on the stern, while anchored at Tamaterau and the black and white photo is outside the old quarry in the top of McLeods Bay. I did see her once on the hard at Orakei, so believe she was in Auckland in the 1980s at some stage. She was about 27′ long, narrow and rolled around a bit. Dad fitted stabilizing chocks to her, closed in the canvas in the cockpit and added a decent sized mast, so we could run a stabilizing sail on her. She had a big old Ruston diesel if I remember right, which was incredibly reliable and economical. Those big saloon windows were pretty recognizable, functional, but ugly!

I would be most interested to find out  more of the history of this “Lady Gay” ( i realize there are other more famous Lady Gay’s around and not even sure if she was originally given this name or indeed kept it after our ownership. I wonder if she is still going strong today and if so where she is based? Some good family memories were had on her for sure!”

Post lock-down Bill will be visiting his mother (lives in Northland still) and hopefully will obtain more details and photos.

As a  result of Bill’s email I have filled in some of the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle – but I would love to uncover details from her launch date (c.1928) to the early 1960’s. Hopefully the above photos and details on her owner might jog some memories. 

Below I have reproduced what I had previously been able to piece together on the boats past – if I’ve got my wires crossed, please let me know:-)

Lady Gay > Lady Gai > Nona C > Raindance (as at June 2015)

When I purchased the boat in August 2007 she was named ‘Nona C’, after the then owners (Craig Colven, a Auckland Harbour Board pilot boat skipper) daughter. He told me the boat was previously called ‘Lady Gay’. I did not like the name Nona C so was in the process of reverting back to Lady Gay when I was advised of another launch called Lady Gay (owned by Graham Wilson of the Wilson & Horton publishing family), not wanting to confuse things & on the advice of several marine historians I decided to chose a new name & went with ‘RainDance’. Interestingly Graham Wilson was prepared to add II (2) to his launches name.

I was not aware that ‘Gay’ had been changed to the Irish spelling ‘Gai’ until when I was given a copy of the Dunsford Marine Surveyors Ltd pre-purchase survey commissioned in March 2003 by a Dr. Rex Ferris. Had I known about the Gai/Gay I would have retained the Lady Gai name. I obtained Rex Ferris’s address from the survey & did a Google search which resulted in an Auckland District Health Board employment link & I contacted Rex Ferris. Like myself he knew little about her past, there are still huge gaps e.g. the 1930’s > early 1980’s but below is some history I have gained.

I have also spoke in Jan 2010 to Blair Cole (boat builder) refer below.

Peter & Ann Gill, the motoring journalist, bought the boat in c.1987 & at the time had a waterfront property in the Upper Harbour (near Paremoremo wharf) with a mooring put down. He saw the boat advertised in ‘Boat Trader’, she was moored in the Tamaki Estuary & he purchased her for about $7,000. He can’t remember the name of the owner but was told the boat was built by Lane Motor Boats in 1928, there is however some discussion that she may have been built by ‘Collings & Bell’. She had a single cylinder Bukh diesel engine, which was started via a decompression lever & hand cranking. The owner told Peter that she had been based at Great Barrier Island as a ‘long-liner’ fishing boat for many years prior to him buying her. When she was moored off Peters house, she took on quite a bit of water, and it was necessary for him to go out as often as twice a week and operate the manual bilge pump. He hired a tradesman who specialized in old boats and he decided that it was the stern gland that was the problem. Peter her hauled out and they filled the stern gland with tallow. It was not a one hundred percent fix & she continued to take on water. Peter was never very comfortable with the boat & to use his words ‘we never went far in her’. She was not a pretty boat in those days with a cabin top that looked like it had been made from a ply-wood car case. (Photos below)

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 8.30.56 PM

I have spoken to Peter several times & while he is very friendly & chatty about the boat he is very elusive about when & to whom he sold her. The reason for this is that either Peter or the next owner (?) let her sink on her mooring in the upper harbour & she remain submerged for several weeks. Given the swallow, sheltered tidal nature of the mooring this had no major negative effect on the boat.

The next chapter is amusing – the mast only of the boat was visible from the Salthouse Boat Builders yard at Greenhite & the tradesman there were running a sweep-stake as to how long she would remain submerged before the owner rescued her. During this period two of the Salthouse apprentices – Blair Cole & Kelly Archer (who both went on to become well respected boat builders in their own right) hatched a plan to buy the boat. They tracked down the owner & both approached him independently, Kelly advised it would cost $3,000 to re-float the boat. Blair then approached the owner & offered an as-is-where-is price of $2,000. The owner accepted Blair’s offer. The boat was hauled out at Salthouse’s yard, she later moved to Blair’s house where he undertook a major restoration (John Salthouse told me at a CYA function once that he had a ‘guiding’ hand in the process).

Between 1988>89 Blair spent in excess of 1800 hours on the restoration – the work involved replacing the ply wood box cabin top with a more sympathetic tram top & doghouse. The two bronze port holes were added to the front of the cabin, along with the bronze mushroom deck vents, new twin plastic fuel tanks, a reconditioned 58hp Ford engine, new shaft, new 2 blade prop, new hydraulic steering (since replaced), anchor winch (since replaced). Extensive new ribs & sister ribs where fitted & her seams were re-caulked. All windows where replaced & new bunks fitted. He also removed her alloy mast & built & fitted the current oregon pine mast. The duck-board was also added. The s/s rod holders on her stern (since removed) came off the old Salvation Army launch.

Blair & his wife cruised the Gulf extensively in the boat in the 1990’s. Blair is a little hazy on whom & when he sold the boat to but thinks it was to someone who lived in Kumeu & they only keep the boat for less than 2 years. They probably sold it Dr. Rex & Sharron Ferris.

In 2003 Rex Ferris purchased her post the Dunstan marine survey (photo below during survey) but it appears he did not address any of the ‘faults’ identified in the survey. Rex Ferris spoke to Blair Cole (Cole Marine Services) in June 2003 & Blair confirmed the restoration work he undertook. Blair also confirmed that she was named Lady Gai.


Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 8.31.20 PM

(Unknown ownership / date photos)

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 8.31.47 PM

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 8.31.37 PM

In 2005 the boat was for sale on the hard at Bayswater Marina, I looked at her but she would have been too much of a burden for me at the time. The boat was purchased by Craig Colven who undertook hull work (replaced some planking, caulking, ribs, floors & keel bolts, as identified in the 2003 survey) & installed a new 45hp 4-cylinder Daidong diesel motor & replacement of all major machinery, electrics and plumbing. Including a freezer, new 3-blade prop, shaft bearings, bilge pumps. Devonport craftsmen’s Robbie Robertson (deceased) & Charlie Webley undertook the work.

Craig, over a 2 year period commissioned this work but never completed her, his wife did not share his passion for the sea & I purchased her in August 2007 for what I considered a bargain given what Craig Colven had spent on her in time & money. (Photo below when I purchased her)

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 8.32.05 PM

I then undertook over the next few years what is called a rolling restoration i.e. I used the boat each summer but hauled her out in winter & continued the project. I retained the services of then Milford based wooden boat builder Geoff Bagnall for the big stuff, there were several areas (stem, cockpit decks, doghouse windows) of rot that needed to be removed plus we made her more ‘comfortable’ in terms of helm seat, doghouse hatch layout etc. New auto anchor winch & bow launcher were installed along with forward hatch porthole to improve light in forward cabin. I rolled my sleeves up on the rest.

I’m thankful for the care bestowed on the boat over the years – everyone that has rubbed up to her has helped get her thru the last 92 years.

(Recent – AH ownership photos)

Raindance PB2012 TerryJeffries

Version 2


And one of the two Lady Gay’s 🙂

P1040726 copy




Woodys Cruising The Bay of Islands – Summer 2019/20 – Part One



Linda – 1927 – Colin Wild


Nautilus – Oliver & Gilpin


Darleen – 1920 – Possibly Bailey & Lowe


Echo – 1935 – Les Coulthard



Thetis – 1955 – Lane Motor Boat Company


Lady Crossley – 1947 – Colin Wild


Lady Ngaio – 1928 – Collings & Bell


Manapouri – 1960 – Parkes


Just got home yesterday from 10 days mooching around Waiheke and while clearing the in-box I spotted an email from Dean Wright, now Dean is a Bay of Islands based professional photographer with a passion for wooden boats. He even owns one  – the 1917, Arethusa.

Now any email from Dean normally contains some stunning photos and yesterdays one was a cracker – too good to run all as one, so I will split them in two.
Today we have featured pleasure launches – the first being one of the smartest classic wooden launches in our fleet – Linda. She has appeared on WW many times so if you want o know more just enter Linda in the WW search box.
I love the photo above because its the personification of our classic wooden boating movement.
Below I have included a photo of the 2018/19 built ‘spirit of tradition’ launch – Grace, and with her beautiful lines, she could only ever be a Salthouse 🙂
I have captioned the Woodys that I have been able to ID. To read more on the boats featured, use the WW search box 😉

Grace – 2019 – Salthouse



Mystery 41’ Lane Motor Boat Co. – Launch

Screen Shot 2019-12-30 at 12.30.18 PM

Mystery 41’ Lane Motor Boat Co. – Launch
Her tme listing doesn’t tell us much about her other than she is 41’ in length, carvel constructed and powered by a 120hp Ford diesel, that was reconditioned 800hrs ago.
Home is Kerikeri, Northland.
She has good bones > a looker, so it would be nice to put a name to her and any other info we can gather.
Thanks Ian McDonald for the tme heads up

Valerie – Gets A Birthday



VALERIE – Gets A Birthday
During my recent trip up north, aboard Lady Crossley I visited the Opua Marina to attend the launch of Lady Ellen. While mooching around the hard-stand I spotted the 1929, Lane Motor Boat Co. built, 35’ launch Valerie. I last saw her in early 2018 in Whangaroa.
Valerie has had a change of ownership and is getting a ‘make-over’. When I spotted her at Opua , boatbuilder Ian Wood was hard at work getting her ready for a pre-xmas re-launch. The work would be best described as a ‘rollin restoration’. Included in the work to date is a re-power – out with the 65hp Ford and in with the 115hp Yanmar, check out her new prop – me thinks his old lady will be able to lift her skirt and dance 🙂

Read / see more on Valerie here:

CONNIE V – Saved


CONNIE V – Saved

It makes me happy to be able to announce that Connie V the 1949, Lane Motor Boat Co. built launch has been purchased and is now in very woody ownership. She will be restored to better than as-launched, more details in the New Year, but we will follow this restoration in detail.

In todays photos / videos (ex Jason Prew) we see her being relaunched at Panmure after a lengthy period on the hard. Lots more of photos and history at the WW link below

Photos below ex Gavin Cook and Harold Kidd of Connie V looking a lot smarter.

Well That Was A Short Splash – Now out again in her new home (photos ex Nathan Herbert)



Classic Launch Race Announcement 

Screen Shot 2019-12-22 at 8.38.56 PM

Screen Shot 2019-12-22 at 8.15.46 PM

If you are a woody launch owner and like to open the pipes up i.e. race against other woodys – Auckland’s Anniversary Day Regatta wants you and your launch.

In 2019 we saw the re-birth of classic launch racing to the regatta after an absence of some 100 years. 2020 is the 180th anniversary of the regatta. So woodys, if you are going to be back in Auckland on January 27th, after the world famous Mahurangi Regatta, click the link below to learn more about the regatta and the handicap launch race. Plus read how you could walk away with prize money including a $1,000 cash prize if you enter by 31 December, plus spot prizes including a Hawaiian holiday.







Rosemary M


Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 9.38.27 AM

Rosemary M – 4 Sale

Rosemary M is a 1915 Lanes built launch, constructed of carval planked kauri hull and top sides. Powered by a 1986 Yanmar, 80 horse power, 4-cylinder, diesel inboard engine, that gets her along at a top speed of 14 knots.
She was appeared numerous times on WW and has just come on the market after being overhauled / repaired by the Pollard Brothers after a wee marina oops, where a piece of floating plastic mistook his throttles for his gearshift and clipped the side of Rosemary M with his duckboard.
Like most Pollard boats 🙂 she is structurally and mechanically very good, just needs a steady hand with a paint brush to get her ready for summer.
Rosemary M would make a great entry level woody for someone wanting to join the wooden boat movement + the Yanmar is a bonus i.e. 14 knots !!
Links below to view her previous story on WW + recent video of her underway


Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 8.11.47 PM

Rosemary M – Insurance Salvage

Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 9.35.53 PM

Rosemary M – Insurance Salvage

Rosemary M is a 1915 Lanes built launch, constructed of carval planked kauri hull and top sides. Powered by a 1986 Yanmar, 80 horse power, 4-cylinder, diesel inboard engine,
She was appeared numerous times on WW and features today due to her suffering an impact (from another vessel) on the starboard side near the midships area, while berthed.
Given its an insurance sale – the boat will sell and from dockside chat I have had, the damage is easily repairable eg “a couple of broken ribs and a few planks” – someone could get a very low cost entry into the classic wooden boating scene.
Ps I’m told she did not sink or suffer any water damage.

Don’t normally included tme listing links but will this time

05-07-2019 Update –  Photo below ex Cameron Pollard of Rosemary M going back in the water 🙂

Rosemary M July2019

22-07-2019 Update ex Cameron Pollard – Rosemary M relaunched and underway


Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 5.08.01 PM

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 5.12.32 PM


Chatting with Chris McMullen and he mentioned that he had been recently contacted by Morgan Dawicki, the captain of the 74’ Brigantine – Fritha that Chris built back in 1986 for Jack R Butland. Chris commented that Jack Butland came to him with a modern design of what some one imagined a old time sailing vessel should look like. Chris was horrified and found him a nice design depicted in a 1940’s Rudder Magazine he had. They tracked down the designers son and bought the plans. The result  was ‘The Fritha’ and a very happy owner. Chris said he owed a great deal to the Butland family. McMullen and Wing built them three significant wooden boats. The first order placed was when Chris was under thirty years old.

These days Fritha is owned by the Northeast Maritime Institute, USA, who have recently dedicated a room to Jack Butland at the Institute, check out the opening here:

Her captain – Morgan told Chris that they are doing their best to share the lovely lady with our Kiwi friends and to share in her memories. His words were “She truly is the most beautiful boat on the water (in my opinion!) The craftsmanship is impeccable and it is nice to make the acquaintance of one of her builders”.

As of late, she has been spending the winters in North Carolina and summers in Buzzards Bay as a sail training ship for local high school age students. We mostly sail around Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

The Butland’s are a very old New Zealand boating family and their name has been alongside some of our best  examples of NZ boat building e.g.

J R Butland • an H28 then a Sailar 40 then the Fritha.

Ken Butland • Triton then Sirdar.

J M Butland • Thetis built by Lane Motor Boat Co. Panmure.

• Dufesne built by Max Carter.

• Durville built by Steel Yachts and Launches (McMullen and Wing)

• Inverness built by McMullen and Wing

Pleasant Surprise – while mooching around Mahurangi during the recent regatta weekend, a gent by the name of Tony McNeight unbeknown to me did a sketch of my Raindance, and it popped up on facebook. If you ever want a sketch / drawing of your boat, give Tony a call  021 925 031


Valerie – A Peek Down Below

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 10.09.12 PM

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 10.07.51 PM

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 10.07.51 PM

VALERIE – A Peek Down Below
Thanks to her trademe listing, we get to have a look down below on Valerie, the 1933 Lane Motor Boat Co. launch. Valerie measures approx. 40’ & is powered by a 65hp Ford diesel.
Valerie has been fastidiously maintained, her 2nd owner kept her in a boat shed for 70 years. I have seen Valerie ‘in-the-flesh’ at Whangaroa Marina – she is a very salty woody.
You can read / see more on her at the WW link below.

Blue Fin + An Old Sailor Dies


A few months ago Bay of Islands based woody Dean Wright, sent me the above photo of the 1948 Lane Motor Boat Co. launch Blue Fin, not sure when it happened but Harold Kidd comments on a previous WW story (link below) that originally she was 38’ but lengthened by 4’.
Dean found the photo on the wall of his neighbours garage – quite a stunning shot with BF in front of Percy Island, BOI.
Keith Dawson has ‘appeared’ numerous times on WW, along with his old yacht – Roxone – you can see & read more at the WW link below.
I was contacted yesterday by Keith’s brother Ross Dawson, who informed me that Keith had passed away. Ross also sent me the tale below

“Keith died in Port Macquarie, NSW, yesterday (Friday 7 Dec 2018) aged 105,…which must be something of a record for longevity for an Auckland yachtie?

Keith started boating (admittedly in a tin canoe bashed out of old corrugated roofing) circa 1920, graduating to a P class, and later Zeddie, sailed off Takapuna beach at the foot of Hauraki Road where his family lived.

I understand he was a foundation pupil of Takapuna Grammar School…albeit reluctantly….his sister says he was known to step through one door of the old steam tram, but dismount the other side to spend the day more productively at the beach! His first job was with John Burns, marine section.

He was a keen member of the RNZN volunteer reserve enjoying voyages on the cruisers HMS Dunedin & Diomede, based in NZ. He & mates often sailed the well known ketch “Seaward” on behalf of an absentee owner.

Together with his friend Dick Wellington, they purchased the Tercel yacht “Roxane” (ref. WW.) & sailed her across to Sydney, via Norfolk & Lord Howe Islands, and landfall at Newcastle At this time the Roxane at 26 foot overall was the smallest craft to complete the crossing…all this in the winter of 1937.

On his first night ashore at Sydney he met,…”a very attractive red head,  Betty”. The result, he later married her, Roxane was sold, and Keith spent the next 81 years “in” Australia, but remaining, emphatically, a “Kiwi”! For many years he worked among the Sydney yachting scene, mainly as a rigger.

In 1987, on his 74th birthday his family arranged a surprise visit to Cairns, where to his delight he went for a sail on old Roxane. He later lost touch with her various owners, but this sturdy Tercel built kauri vessels quite possibly remains in some Aussie anchorage?

“Home is the sailor, home from the sea” (R L Stevenson) Voyage on brother…”

I’m assuming that you / they already have a waitematawoodys t-shirt, so the next best thing has to be a pair of woody jandels.
Marketed / sold in NZ by a company named Moana Road – these are great, 100% rubber, ultra comfortable & only $24.95 (that is cheap for rubber jandels). They have a non-slip sole so great on the boat. I bought mine in Devonport, but if you go to you will find a stockist near you. Just remember – I’m only here to make you look good 🙂

RainDance Back In The Water

Version 2

RainDance Back In The Water

I have had RD hauled out at Geoff Bagnall’s Milford yard for some winter maintenance & TCL. I always rock up with a list, the content of which makes Geoff chuckle & say “are you serious?”.
This year there were a few jobs that to most people would seem frivolous e.g. can you reduce the height of the bow rail. It was completely out of proportion for the size of RD.

I come back the next day & Geoff has done a template of the height (less than I wanted) & new shape – as always he was spot on & the finished job, to me, is perfect (not to Jason Prew – who has been telling me for years to remove it).

Thats the thing with Geoff Bagnall, he has a great eye for what is appropriate & more importantly what looks right.
It will be a sad day when he closes the shed doors for the last time & heads North. The wooden boating scene will be the poorer, great wooden boat craftsman & railway haul outs are few & far between these days. So woodys – while he is still around – use him 09 486 1445
Lots of other stuff on the list, including re-caulking an area of the garboard seam to fix a persistent wee leak, but the #1 – happy wife = happy life project was a completely new toilet set up. These days the size of a 12v electric head has reduced greatly, so we ripped the (not that old) unit out along with way too much piping / fittings & installed a new electric number + a monster electric pump to empty the holding tank (used to be a manual pump).
Still needs some shiny paint in / around the new head area, but very happy, there will have to be a ribbon cutting ceremony 🙂
Slashed some paint & Uroxsys on & in my eyes – she’s looking very smart. Still got a long To-Do list but thats 1/2 the fun of owning a woody, if you don’t like the process, buy a plastic boat 😉
RD Aug2018
RD was in good company at Milford, Nathan Herbert’s new woody – Pacific, is getting some major love & Jason Prew’s – My Girl, is very close to splashing, even sitting on the trailer, she looks very quick.
Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 6.34.32 PM
18-08-2018 Update

As requested by Jason Prew – photos below of my latest piece of bling – a Cattroll Collapsible Pennant Mast, made 25+ years ago by an Auckland company named R. Geo Cattroll. They were based a 1114 New North Rd, Auckland. The box it came in stated “Can be fitted to cabin top or deck mounting. Precision engineered from solid brass, chrome plated. Unique locking devise. Height of mast 889mm

I found it for sale on trademe, bid & won the auction – now he’s the twist. The seller was woody Nick Voerman, who owns the classic launch – Maria (ww link below). Nick bought a ‘job lot’ of old marine accessories / fittings for someone contacted to the long closed Cottroll business.
Fast forward several months & I was having 2nd thoughts fitting it to Raindance when snap – I spy the exact same fitting gracing the foredeck of Jason Prew’s launch – My Girl. Chatting to Jason, seems several CYA launch owners have acquired one from Nick. In fact the trademe listing is still live so he must still have a few. Be quick 😉
Excuse the square-drive screw, I’m doing my best to convert Geoff B 🙂 they will be replace .

You will note in the above photos the deck was a little worn so as part of the 90th birthday treat, the decks, toe-rails, tram-top & dog-house got a lick of paint.







Woody Nathan Herbert snapped the above photo of Susanne, recently will mooching around Havelock.

The B/W photo is from Brian Worthington’s site – NZ Classic Game Boats & states that she was built by the Lane Motor Boat Company.

Can we flush out more details on her past?

Harold Kidd Input – She was registered with Lloyds’ Yacht Register in 1964 when owned by E S Nichol of Bluff. Her builder was given as Lane Motor Boat Co in 1956 and designer as Frederick R Parker. Dimensions were 35’x33’6×11/2’8″ and power twin 125hp 6 cylinder petrol Chryslers.
Who was Parker?


Woody Winter Weekend

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 7.26.52 am

Version 2




Woody Winter Weekend

Given the weather in Auckland last Friday you would struggle to believe the above photos were taken over the weekend. I escaped the Principality of Devonport early Saturday morning & headed down to Waikehe Island. Did not even stop on-route to the marina for supplies. The forecast said variable so I was planning on dining ashore.

Well for once all the forecasters got it right – Saturday was a stunner. After a few months of cleaning oil out of the bilge several times & numerous repairs I was very much in the “bugger this old boat gig” mode. We are a shallow lot – one good day / night & I had the bug again J

If you do not like crowds – winter cruising is the way to go.

Coming back on Sunday afternoon I rubbed shoulders with the magnificent ship Felicitare & the 1927, Colin Wild built, Lady Margaret – both looking stunning & doing the same as me i.e. slopping off for some R&R. I was sure Felicitare had featured on ww before but my search showed nothing – what do we know about her?

Great Workmanship

I own several dinghy’s from classic clinkers to what Harold Kidd once called a ‘Baby Riviera’ – he was referring to my American built Walker Bay dinghy. I bought her 2nd hand & have owned her for 10 years – towed behind a woody, she is pig ugly but without a doubt the most stable tender I have come across.

She was looking very sad & the inflatable tube patches were out numbering the good areas. So had to make the big decision – take the tubes off & just have a normal dinghy or order replacement tubes from the USA (US$850). Enter Terminator Boats (Kevin Tomlin) in Albany. They said they could manufacture a new set of replacement tubes, I was a little hesitant about the final look, but went with it & as you’ll see in the photos below, they have done a brilliant job, in fact better than new. I highly recommend them

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 4.51.17 pm


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

Ma Cherie



Ma Cherie (Adi Cherie)

Ma Cherie was built by the Lane Motor Boat Co in 1962 for L.G. Foster of 4 Awatere Road, Hamilton. She measured 50’/14’6″/4′ and was powered with twin Ford 6 cylinder diesels. Her name was changed to Adi Kuila but owner Markham Thomson has done the right thing & gone back to the original.
You can find more details & photos on her past here

Ma Cherie has just seen a major re-fit that included fiberglassed topsides, rot removed / rebuilt, rewired, starting/charging system upgraded, new interior, engines head jobs & new water tanks. She is looking very smart, in fact she even gets away with the hothouse up top, just the right height.
Details ex Harold Kidd.

Lady Pat





Built by the Lane Motor Boat Co. – Lady Pat measures 30’9”  x 9’ x 2’9”. Older photos & more details can be viewed here:

Her owner Philip Simpson has just finished giving her some TLC at the Mana Marina, Philip had the help  of boat builder Maurice Dickie with the specialist.
Still to be added is the spray dodger.

09-12-2018 Input from – past owner Peter King (Motueka)

“These few words just to add my pennyworth to your historical records of dear old Lady Pat.  I”m 84 now and  miss her terribly still. Her photo along with mine will be on my funeral program.

I Peter King purchased Lady Pat from Tim Reilly in 9/95 and spent many very happy years cruising, fishing and overnight on moorings in Queen Charlott but  mainly  in Pelorous until the boat was sold in 7/2008 because I had lost my crew and also could not afford the overall cost any longer.    I never recorded those 13 years in a log.  However I do have a v ery interesting one written by a man called A.J. Bradshaw who purchased Lady Pat in Whangarei in November 1970 and sailed her down to  Tuna Bay with Abbie King-Turner as crew.  The boat  was later sold when Bradshaw died  in January 1980 .. In 2000  I had a meeting at sea with a man in a small boat who recognised Lady Pat and he turned out to be Bradshaw”s son.  After some later correspondence between us the son sent me his late fathers remaining. boat records but including  only 3/4 photos

Best of luck putting all the historical pieces  together  I would dearly like to see the end result some day…. Kind regards Peter King”

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 🙂




Sobrine & Luana

Sobrine and Luana

SOBRINE c1989 ex Carol Stewart



photos ex Harold Kidd, Brian Mace & Carol Stewart. info ex Ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H

Following on from yesterdays post on Manuroa (Lady Doreen), Gordon Mac replaced her with Sobrine after selling Lady Doreen to Len Swan of Orakei in 1951, Swan immediately changed her name to Manuroa.

Sobrine’s hull was built by Jack Taylor in Onehunga & moved, after some disagreement with Taylor, to the Lane Motor Boat Co in Panmure, to be finished & she was launched in November 1956.

When launched she was 38′ but had her bow extended by approx 4′ by Shipbuilders Ltd., 1 > 2yrs later. When lengthened Mace moved her original stern exhaust to a short stack on one side of the rear of the bridgedeck cabin top, which had to be on one side because of her internal layout. In the interests of aesthetic balance he put a non active ‘look alike’ on the other side.

She originally had a Graymarine petrol engine when launched, which was replaced with a Gardner 6LW diesel, when she was very new. Gordon Mace’s son Brian advised she needed to have the bridgedeck cabin top cut off, in order to lower the Gardner in place.

In c.1962 the Mace’s had moved to Coromandel, along with Sobrine to live.

Mace sold her to a friend, Jeff Innes of Coromandel. The story goes that Jeff Innes had fallen in love with her Sobrine at first sight & had pestered Mace for some time to buy her. One day Mace on the spur of the moment accepted an offer from Innes & the boat was sold, much to the families disapproval.

Innes sold her to Bruce Stewart, of Thames in c.1980’s.

Stewart sold her in July 1992 to Roy Ladd of Auckland, who still owns her.

Note: The name Sobrine came about by one of lifes little oops moments – Gordon Mace’s eldest daughter, Aileen, when christening the boat mixed up the intended name ‘Sabrene’ (pronounced Sabreeny) with Sobrine & with her being very young at the time, the family decided to stay with Sobrine 🙂

Manuroa (Lady Doreen)


Whakatakataka Bay c1963


Milford Marina 2015

Manuroa (Lady Doreen)
photos ex Rob Alloway, Brian Worthington, Rob Swan. research ex Ken Ricketts (edited by Alan H)

Manuroa started out in life as Lady Doreen & was the last of 3 identical sister ships ( Wanda II – 1948, for Fred Porter, then Connie V for Valentines of Hamilton, refer previous ww stories). Then Manuroa (Lady Doreen) in 1949 & built by Lane Motor Boat Company for Gordon Mace of Panmure. Mace lived 5 minutes up the road from Lane Motor Boat’s premises on the waters edge of the Tamaki River. She was named after his wife Doreen & was the first of 2 boats that were associated with Lanes for him, the other being the Sobrine which was built partly by Lanes, in 1956.
Mace sold Lady Doreen to Len Swan of Orakei on 12th June 1951, who immediately changed her name to Manuroa, which it has been ever since (65 yrs).

Swan sold her in c.1962 to Harold Alloway, a Waikato (Rotorangi) farmer. He kept her in Whakatakataka Bay & slipped her in the green sheds in the bay, whilst at Rotorangi & also when he later moved to Auckland. She stayed there until c1966/67 when according to his son Francis, Harold moved to Whitianga & took Manuroa with him. While at Whitianga, he fitted her with game fishing poles & used her for game fishing in the later part of his ownership.
Alloway sold her on 30th Sept. 1970 to a John Quinn of Ponsonby, Auckland & she was reportedly seen moored in Westhaven not long after. It was possibly Quinn that sold the vessel to Dick & Paula Hillary of Auckland.

The next record of her sees her popping up in Sept. 1996 owned by the Hillary’s, they owned her for many years, just how many years is unclear but research by KR  indicates they may well have owned her from some time in the 1970’s, until when they sold her in Sept. 1996 to Fred & Flo Presland of Kawau Island. During the Hillary ownership they replaced the Gardner 4LW diesel (imported direct from England by Gordon Mace & installed in Nov 1950) with the 6LW that she still has today.

The Preslands sold her c.2000 to Bernie Wood, a Auckland boat broker of Half Moon Bay. When Wood passed away his estate sold her in Sept. 2005 to her present owner Bruce Johnston of Milford. Bruce supplied the two pages below from the 1951 log book.

MANUROA  Log 1951

Log Book Page 1 – 1951

MANUROA LOG - 1951-  1

Log 1 1951



Log 2 1951

Tangaroa (Seaway)

TANGAROA @ GH 26.4.16-9

details ex Bill Burrill, photos ex Ken Rickets

According to Bill Burrill, Seaway was built in 1953 for Fred Brake, of Riverview Rd, Panmure, by the Lane Motor Boat Company, for whom, Fred, worked for about 8 years & which was right next door to his family home. Fred was also the harbour master for Panmure, in that era, & kept Seaway at the bottom of his garden on a pile mooring & slipped her on a railed electric slipway that he built on his property.
Fred B sold her to a Mr Gray who owned the station at Man o war bay Waiheke (which he later sold to the Spencers) in approx. 1955. He died in 1959 & Max Burrill bought her through the Guardian Trust, off the estate in 1959. He changed her name to from Seaway to Tangaroa upon purchase. Max Burrill died in 1984 &  Bill Burrill, his son, bought her off his mother. Bill sold her this year (2016) to Allen Heatley.
She was moored at Pine Harbour but is now berthed at Fairway Bay, Gulf Harbour. The Heatleys intend to live aboard for the next 12 months whilst they build a property in the area.

She was originally powered by a P6 Perkins diesel when built which was replaced around 1960 with a 6-305 6 cyl. Perkins diesel & 5 years later this was also replaced with a horizontal 6-354 Perkins diesel, to fit under the floor, thereby giving more cabin room. The 6-354 died in 2000 & Bill  replaced it with a 100hp 4 cyl. Yanmar turbo diesel, which she still has today.

Hauled out at Te Atatu BC 2017. photos below ex Ken Rickets

05-09-2018 Update – Interior photos below ex trademe via Ian MacDonald

Nor West



Nor West
photos & details ex Peter Crane

Peter has just taken possession of ‘Nor West’ & is a little frustrated with the lack of known info on. Obviously from the builders plate she is a Lane, designed & built in 1951 by the Lane Motor Boat Co. in Panmure, Auckland.
There is lots of data on ww about the other ‘Nor West’ built by Lanes  but zip on this one.

Can anyone help Peter out?

Update from Don Rae via Ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H. photos ex KR

Don Rae bought her  in July 2007 off  Cam Wilson. She was at Milford at that time. He in turn, had bought her from Peter Anderson, in July 2001 according to Don.

She has been everywhere from the top of North island right down to Tauranga and everywhere in between for the Raes.  They spent a lot of time in the Mahurangi area Don said.

Unfortunately Don didn’t have time to use her, at a time in his life when he feels he should be able to, hence she he put her up for sale.

Don had a love of launches from an early age as his father (Monty) had a Roy Parris boat built in 1954, the 33′ Pleasure Lady, which he is happy to say, is back in his family and fully restored & in beautiful condition. She is owned by his nephew Tony Rae. Previously featured on ww.

Nor West is a  wonderfully well built boat according to Don, and must have been very expensive in her day he says.

Powered by a petrol engine early on and now has a 6 cylinder 120hp Ford.

She was described as 32ft in sales jargon, when he bought her, but he measured her at 33′, with a beam of 10′ drawing 3’6″ .

Don feels the fly bridge was added  probably about the seventies, when they were all the go. She is built of heart kauri.

Below a two early days photos of Nor West sent in by owner Peter Crane, who received them from Warren Fleming.



09-04-2016 – photos below (ex Ken Ricketts) of Nor West hauled out  at Gulf Harbour Nov 2015

30-05-2017 Additional photos

Arohanui Restoration – Watch it ‘live’


Arohanui Restoration – Watch it ‘live’

The above video records the renovation of the classic 1965 Lane Motor Boat Co. built launch Arohanui. The refit work was undertaken in 2015 at the Sandspit yard of Lees Boatbuilders for owners Fiona Driver & Rod Marler. Greg Lees & his team have established themselves as the go to yard for the application of Awlwood MA (Uroxsys) the flexible polyurethane marine clear coat finish. But I have to say that the yards craftsmanship & attention to detail prior to the final applications was second to none. Lees is a very classic friendly yard & whether the vessel is sail or motorboat, large or small its in good hands.

The short film was produced by Gareth Cooke (SubZero) who also filmed the restoration of Trinidad at Lees, refer below videos.


Arohanui Relaunched

photos ex David & Barbara Cooke and Greg Lees

Yesterday was a one of those special days in the classic wooden boating scene, after what seems like the whole of winter, the 1966, 48′ Lane Motor Boat Co. built Arohanui slipped out of the Sandspit shed of Greg Lees Boat Builder. Her owners Fiona & Rod were very proud owners of the ‘new’ Arohanui.
We have come to expect only the best from Greg Lees & his team of craftspeople & they have not disappointed, again. The standard for workmanship & finish is world class. Speaking with Greg, he made special mention of Dale Colins the yard forman.  Not only does he cut to the chase when directing the work to be done and his expected result,  Dale is extremely talented on the end of a spray gun & the finish Dale gets is 2nd to none in the industry.  Just one of those multi-talented guys that make us DIY’ers look so bad 🙂
Brian Thompson did the new cabinet work matching the existing cabinetry, another true craftsman, but saying that, the whole crew at the yard are pretty special. The classic wooden boat scene is very lucky to have this yard on its back door.

Arohanui always has been a special boat & in the past been gifted with great owners, read more about her here

Fiona & Rod have taken her up several levels & she will join the ever-increasing fleet of spectacularly restored big classics that now grace the Waitemata. I can see I have solved the problem of who I’m going to sell my supply of USA brass/bronze polish to 😉

I will post more on her soon. For now I’ll let the photos tell the story. Remember you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them 😉
waitematawoody t-shirts – remember to get your order in – limited print run, full details here

Old Logo ww shirt


Winsome II


details / words from Harold Kidd. photos ex Ken Ricketts ex Brian Worthington
Winsome II was built by Lane Motor Boat Co in 1924 for David Teed, the Mayor of Newmarket (after whom Teed Street is named) with a 100hp Stearns engine and named Maude T (about the 4th of that name). Teed died in 1925, prematurely, and his estate sold her to Captain Emanuel who renamed her Latex (a very long story there). Emanuel sold her to W S Pratt, the manager of the Northern Roller Mills in 1931 and she was bought for the RNZAF in 1941 for service at Tauranga, a secondary seaplane base. She was sold by the Crown in 1946 to Andrew Donovan who removed the, by now clapped out, Stearns and replaced it with a brand new 1946 Chrysler 8 cylinder marine engine, renaming her Winsome after his daughter but added the “II” when he realised that the Pickmeres still had Winsome in Whangarei.
Andrew kept her for many years. He died in 1989. She went to Whangarei where she was kept in the Town Basin. Then she was sold to Havelock where I saw her recently, still in splendid order.

When Andrew registered her on Lloyds Yacht Register in 1964 he put down that her designer was W. Hand, the famous American yacht and powerboat designer of the twenties and thirties. No mention had ever been made of that before but there is likely to be more than a germ of truth in the claim in that US yachting mags like Rudder and Motorboat and Yachting were avidly followed by New Zealanders, providing more relevant models for our waters than, say, the English mags. Certainly, it is likely that the design for Maude T/Latex/Winsome II was lifted from a Hand design published in such a US mag and that US “look” was faithfully reproduced.

Despite what the Register of British Ships says, Pratt did not own her through to 1941. She was owned in Tauranga by D Cambie from about 1935 onwards and used for gamefishing which is why she was taken over by the RNZAF for Tauranga work in 1941 as a local launch in good nick, I imagine.

Note – Winsome II has been featured before on ww but with poor photos – the above photos warranted an updated post. Alan H

12/03/2015– a recent photo below of her in Picton marina wearing her WW II livery.

22-10-2015 Update
The photo below from the Northern Advocate, Monday, February 12, 1973 was sent in by Judy Donovan, Andrew Donovan’s daughter, it shows Winsome II starting in the first Bay of Islands international billfish tournament. The start was a ‘Grand Prix’ style e.g. a drag race 🙂



Mollie is currently for sale on trademe & Harold Kidd commented that she is most likely the Mollie built by Lane Motor Boat Co. in December 1911 for P R Colebrook which he replaced with the second Mollie (now Raiona) in 1919.
She is 39′ long & carvel planked . Currently powered by a a 120hp Perkins that pushes her along at 8 to 9 knots.

Anyone able to add more to her history?

Blue Fin

photos & details ex Harold Kidd

The above photo of Blue Fin is from the Tudor Collins Bay of Islands game fishing collection*. She was built in 1948 by the Lane Motor Boat Co for Sid Guest of Whangarei who had  Meander built by Sam Ford in 1937.
Blue Fin was originally 38′ but was later lengthened by 4′. She had twin Scripps V8s originally.

*the images in the collection were bought at a flea-market by Sharon Knight who has made them available via Harold for all of ww followers to relish.

15-02-2018 Update from Nathan Herbert – photo below ex ‘NZ Cars, Boats, Motorbikes,Truck,Vans,Utes, Pre 1975 FB page. Shows Alma G & Blue Fin. Photo from the Akl Museum Tudor Collins collection



Wanda II


Built by Lane Motor Boat Company in 1948 for Fred Porter. 38’6″ in length she was rebuilt (year unknown) by the Seftons, so she has good bones & been well cared for. Currently powered by twin BMC Commodore engines.
I understand her owner Chris Horsley, brother of CYA member Steve Horsley (Ngatira), has her for sale. For not a lot of money Wanda II could be a very smart classic motor boat i.e. take the coamings back to a bright finish. The topsides, coamings & interior have been repainted, new squabs & curtains + new head – so we are just talking about a few tweaks, that aside she is ready now for the summer cruise.

Chris can be contacted on 021 111 5631

Lots of chat & older photos of Wanda II already on ww so use the search box to view.

As always click photos to enlarge 😉



Designed by Andrew Donovan & built by the Lane Motor Boat Company in 1966, as launched she was LOA 45′. Beam 13’8″, Draft 3’5″. In 1991 the Salthouse yard lengthened her to 48′.
When launched in the mid 1960’s Arohanui was leading edge in terms of hull design, you can see the influence of the USA Hacker marque in her hull. As a comparison – the Salthouse yard were turning out the likes of Trinidad at the same time.
Her interior fit out & styling was the best money could buy & amazingly she has survived almost ‘as-original’, refer to the photo of the bulkhead storage layout. Her original condition was one of the key factors the helped Fiona & Rod Marler make the final purchase decision.

As launched she had twin 120hp Perkins installed, in 1993 these were replace with twin 300hp turbo Iveco’s – thats 600hp of zoom = 20+knots. A big step up from 7.5 knots Rod’s 1934 Arch Logan yacht, Little Jim will run out at 🙂 Now if you or a group of classic friendly buddies are looking for a classic yacht – Little Jim is on the market & to quote one of the saltiest yachties I know –  “is arguably NZ’s best classic yacht afloat in terms of pedigree, condition & sail-ability” view here

Now I have a few kooky interests in my life, one of them is marine instruments / gauges – the collection on Arohanui caught my eye, I tried to convince Rod to “pull those old things out & fit new digital instruments” but he saw through me on that 🙂

Arohanui was the cover / feature vessel on the April 1966 issue of Sea Spray magazine

Andy Donovan’s Original Drawings

22-10-2015 Update

Arohanui is currently hauled at Sandspit & in the shed at Lees Boat Builders where Greg Lees & his team of artisans are giving her a makeover. The standard of work is A+ & the yard have belong the go to location for classic vessel’s. The next project is outside on a swing mooring waiting patiently for Arohanui to slide out.

THETIS (II) & The Lane Motor Boat Co.

THETIS (II) &  Building Motor Boats at The Lane Motor Boat Company

thanks to current owner Paul Harris & indirectly Max Carter for photo & details

Thetis was built by the Lane Motor Boat Company in 1955. In a 2004 note to Chris McMullen, Max Carter describes the ‘process’ i.e. like all LMBC boats they came off a model. A solid 1/2 model was carved, usually 3/4″ to the foot – a convenient scale. All these Lane models were unfortunately most likely destroyed when the Panmure office (Riverview Road) & workshop burnt down.

In terms of design style – Max commented that American magazines like ‘Yachting’, ‘MotorBoat & Rudder were always lying around & inspiration for Thetis may have come from these & past models on display.

It worked like this (Max Carters words) – “a solid half model was built from a block of kauri & once the modeler was satisfied, the profile & deck line were penciled around onto the ‘plan’. After an assured waterline & the mould station intervals had been marked onto the model a saw kerf was made part way into the model. Pieces of stiff thin card were rough cut & inserted into the kerfs – a pencil run a around the section & the centre line, deck line & assumed waterline marked on. The card was then very carefully trimmed to the section outline & the section transferred to the ‘plan’.”

The only people at Lanes (at that time) that could calculate the volume off the ‘plan’ was Dick Hart & Max, they got the sections by triangulation. Max was taught how to do this & other basic calculations by Sandy Sands at Seacraft, were Max had been apprenticed.

The Thetis model was craved by Peter Parsons from a block of kauri during breaks. The ‘brains trust’ would pass comments like – ‘more flare’, ‘less tumble home’ etc & if Peter agreed he would scrape a little off a little with a piece of broken window glass & glass paper. They used to have an old mirror there & they would place the models on it to see the effect of both sides – moving it around to see it from all angles.

At the time Max worked for LMBC the yard consisted of an old tin shed, which was the office, lunch room, toilet & joinery shop all in one. There was no road down to the lower shop set into the riverbank, the only way to get there was by a narrow winding path or by water. Materials had to be slid down the path. Max recalls sliding the Grey Marine engines down the hill, knowing that if they got it wrong & they were damaged they would all be sacked. In 1955 everything was still in short supply & you needed an import licence, the Butlands seemed to have no trouble sourcing Thetis’s engines.

LMBC only had a table saw, a band saw, thicknesser & buzzer. The only portable tools being a disc grinder & a few electric drills. Most holes were drilled by hand. Hulls were built right side up & cleaned off by hand plane, blade scrapper & long board (a long & arduous job).

Thetis was built in the shed but they lofted it on plywood in the Anglican Church hall across the road. Like all Lane boats they built on shadow moulds so they could trim a bit off or pack the moulds.
Thetis was single skin, the rule being 1/32″ per foot for planking so it was probably 1 3/8″ thick. They would hold the planks to the moulds with temporary screws & place the steam bent spotted gum timber inside & drive the fastenings while hot (really hard work).

Launching were always an exciting time because no one knew the weight of the vessel & everyone had an opinion of where the hull would float & trim. Once launched they would measure the free board at the stem, stern & amidships & work out the weight.

Max recalls at the launching there was a big crowd gathered including a lot of ladies from the Navy League, Ray Pateman was to work the winch & the rest of the yard workers were to stay in the background to retrieve the cradle & any wayward blocks floating down the river. All workers were issued with white overalls for the day & given strict instructions on what to do & to behave. The bottle was broken & Thetis duly launched down the ways when Rays white overall got caught in the winch & ripped his clothes off – everyone thought that was a even greater event than the launching.

Note: at this time, the order of seniority at Lanes (Max’s memory) was Peter Parsons – foreman, Ray Pateman – leading hand, Dick Hart, Clarence Thorpe, Russell Philpot, Trevor Ford, Roy Deane, Bill Bailey, Max Carter, apprentices were Jimmy Emptage, Bob Ryan, Gary Linkhorn & Arthur Ellis.

An amusing tale from Max Carter – Lanes used to contract painters who came & went as the job progressed. One day one of the painters was limping & had his forearm in plaster. When questioned on what happened he replied he had been on a scaffold painting the outside of the city morgue when a guy in a white coat lent out of the window & asked “Do you want a hand?” & to his reply “Yes”, passed him a severed hand, with the result he stepped back off the scaffold & fell.

Also attached of interest, sent in by Scott Taylor, son of the broker – Mac Taylor –  is the 1964 sale papers when Jack Butland sold Thetis to Dr. Jefcoate Harbutt for 13,350 pounds, a lot of money in those days. In chat with Harold Kidd it appears that on APYMBA records Jack Butland sold the boat to G Robertson, maybe they did not inform the APYMBA of the sale & Harbutt was missed out on the records?
As an aside – the present owner, Paul Harris,  knew Dr Harbutt as he flew him & his family to the Harbutt farm at the bottom end of Waiheke in the 1960’s & Paul lived up the road from Mac Taylor in Devonport –  its a small world we live in.

I hope I have assembled & retold these ‘tales’ accurately – if not I’m sure someone will pull me up & correct me 🙂

New photos ex Ken Ricketts 15/09/2014

26-04-2018 UPDATE

Ken Ricketts reports that having recently spoken with Thetis’s owner that 
the 2 in line, 6 cyl, 4-cycle, 120hp Gray Marine engines, installed in 1960 (still there today) are a very rare model & type. They were manufactured during WWII for the American forces & could possibly be the only 2 in NZ. The owner believes her original owner Jack Butland in the later 1950’s probably reconditioned, or war surplus imported them. 
Ken commented that until now, the only 6 cyl, in line, Gray Marine diesel engines he had heard of, were the 2-cycle, Gray Marine conversion of the 671 Detroit series.

Below are 2 photos of the manufacturers handbook.

Has anyone else ever head of them?


Sea Rover


Photos & detail ex trademe

Was built by the Lane Motor Boat Company (Panmure) in 1960. Kauri carvel planked, 44’6” in length with a beam of 10’5” & drawing 4’3”. She is powered by a 120 hp Lees Marine Ford. The addition of the fly bridge / 2nd helm has been done by someone with a good eye & does not clash with the original Lane lines, the same can not be said for the bimini. I’m sure its very practical but does it need to be so tall.

Anyone able to supply more on her past.

UPDATE from Brian Worthington

In the ‘old’ photo above she was then owned by Maurie Condor  of Tauranga. Previous owner was Maurice Deadman  an Apiarist from Okoroire.



Photos from Alan H & Papers Past.
Details from Harold Kidd & Robin Elliott

Valerie was built by the Lane Motor Boat Company & launched on 29 August 1929. Her owner was Mr. M. G. King of Whangarei. She is 35′ with a 9′ beam. When launched she featured two cabins & had a 35hp St Lawrence engine.

These days Valerie is kept at Whangaroa Marina and currently owned by John Briers and Jackie Te Hore of Cable Bay. Valerie was for many years owned by the Reynolds family, close friends of the Pickmeres, who owned her up until the late 1960’s. Apart from a short period in Auckland during the 1960’s she has spent almost all her life in Whangarei and the Far North. It is believed Valerie was sometimes used by H. Pickmere when he was charting the far north

In the colour photo above Valerie (r) is anchored with Robin Elliott’s Logan 33 replica, Lady Dorothy (l), off Milford Island in Whangaroa Harbour, Jan 2013.



photos & details from trademe

LANAI was built by Lanes for Frank Pidgeon of the Ace Tyre Company in 1949. Frank was shifted from Christchurch to run their Auckland operation in the late 1920s and had a succession of great launches. Frank owned her until 1953 when Vic Bedford bought her. In 1965 R E Thomas and J S Menzies owned her. She was first registered with the APYMBA with a single 106hp Graymarine and with dimensions 32’6″x 31’6″x10’6″x2’9″.

She originally had 2 x 6 cyl. Graymarine petrol engines, but is now re-powered with 2 x 4 cyl. Leyland diesels.
She is  presently berthed in Tauranga, owned by a Mr Neil, previous owners include Owen Johnson, who had her for many years & kept her at Coromandel & sometimes at Ngatea, where he was a panel beater. Owen Johnson sold her to  Rotorua owner, who sold her to Mr Neil.

In her original form, there was no fly bridge & the coamings were a fairly light coloured varnish. Another great example of the Lane craftsmanship

12-09-2016 – Updated photos

Lady Pat


Lady Pat (30’9”  x 9’ x 2’9”) was built by the Lane Motor Boat Company for Mr P Walker of Papatoetoe. She is pictured above undergoing her sea trials, where she achieved a top speed of 11 knots.
Harold Kidd advises that Lady Pat owned for many years in the 1960s and 1970s by H E Goldsboro of Meadowbank  and was powered with a Chrysler Crown. In 1973 she was owned by R. Parr of Church St, Devonport , a member of DYC, the best little yacht club in the world 🙂

Update 30/06/2014 – The 2 photos below were sent to me by Chris Manning & show Lady Pat at Mana Marina  in 2014, in fact I think as of now. Check out the chat in the Comments section – her current owner, Philip Simpson has questioned if the b/w photo is in fact the Lady Pat below – your thoughts – I think it is.



Where Is She Now?

Photo 2006 Mahurangi Regatta ex Jason Prew

All I know is that I saw her a couple of years ago hauled out at the Te Atatu Boat Club & last year I snapped a photo of her leaving the Viaduct Basin one afternoon.
Its claimed that she is possibly built by Lanes c.1924 – and I can hear Harold Kidd going “and weren’t  they all” when he reads this 🙂

She may have been a CYA boat in the mid / late 2000’s.

Harold Kidd Input

I can’t find the exact provenance for YVONNE but she was in existence in January 1924. Her long term owner (and possibly her first owner) was Andrew Ernest Graham of Browns Bay, later Takapuna. He was a painter and decorator by trade and kept YVONNE in Milford Creek. Later he moved to Te Aroha and sold YVONNE to H. Henderson in 1930. Henderson sold to B.G. Gribbon in 1936. In 2001 she was pretty derelict at Te Atatu but was nicely overhauled by Tony Broughton to her present state.
The story is that she was built by Lanes and that is entirely likely, but she could just as well have been built by any number of Auckland builders from, say, 1912 to to 1924 and may even have started life as a flushdecker under a different name.

PS However, I think she was brand new in January 1924 when she was scratch boat in the Anniversary Regatta launch race for launches under 7 knots, indicating probably that she had not raced before. The following year she was in the race for 7 to 9 knots but broke down..




photos ex trademe, details ex Ken Ricketts.

39 ft 6 inches built by the Lane Motor Boat Co. in Riverview Rd Panmure in 1954. She has spent much of her life game fishing out of Tauranga, initially, then Whitianga & to the B.O.I., & back to the Whitianga region, as at now.

Present owner Colin Orr has owned her for 11 > 12 years & previous owners include Ron Elliott in 1950s & 60s who sold her to Morris Mitchell who initially kept her at Whitianga, in the later 1960s or early 70s, & he owned her until the mid 1980s. During this time he relocated to the B.O.I. where he sold her.

She presently has a 6 cyl. 135hp Ford diesel. She is of the era & stable, of Sou East, Nor West & Tangaroa, with her distinctive coamings styling, especially in the mid section.

Some classic boats end up with a block of flats on top, this old girl has an apartment building 🙂  Ken & I agree that her cabin top / open flybridge, as shown in the early B & W photo, suits her perfectly.

Rosemary M


I could be wrong (Harold??, help me here) but I think she is a 1925 Lane Motor Boat.

Seen here in several disguises – white, blue & now back to white. The most recent photo taken by Harold Kidd in March 2013 on Lipton Cup day.

Harold Kidd Info

I think we went through this launch’s highly complex ancestry on the CYA Forum a while back. It would take a page to go through her changes of name and ownership in detail. There is a pic of her on page 93 of “N Z Vintage Launches” as SPEEDWELL in 1925 She was built as ROTHESAY by Lanes in 1915 and was subsequently, MAUDE T, SPEEDWELL, JEAN, and finally ROSEMARY M.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


photos & details ex Mark Lane
I recently received some more images from the past of the Lane Motor Boat, Mapu. AH
The b/w photo is pre WW2 & when she was ‘in her hey day’
The shed photo was ‘as purchased’ by Mark Lane prior to commencing the restoration,late 1990’s.
The ‘restored’ photo was taken during an Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, work boat race, c.2003


Story & photos ex Russell Ward
Another good looker from Lanes. 
I remember Marnine from the early ’60s. Those Fodens that she had were not subdued in the early days!
Fred Porter had her built by Lane Motor Boat Co to (I think) much of his own design. Jim Francis reckoned that Lady Margaret was quite an inspiration in the design. She apparently needed some beefing up in the bow sections and, not long after launching, was virtually opened up from amidships and effectively lengthened.
We were up at Kawau in the very early ’60s and she was very much in evidence for many seasons.
The Porters had a lot of use out of her.
Update ex Ken Ricketts
It is fabulous that at last she has come up in the system, I have been waiting for this, but  until now have done nothing because I have never had any pics of her
I know quite a lot about her early days & was on board several times during construction in Lane’s shed.
As I have said in other blogs, my late father Ralph Ricketts was the machine shop man at Mason & Porter, owned by the Porter family until the later 80s or 90s, for 35 years, & he designed, & him & his staff made virtually all her mechanical & shipchandlery equipment, perhaps like RAKANOA & the Parkers.
Anyway she of course had the 2 x 6cyl Fodens which were the same as L.M.II had, & (which were put in L.M. II at more or less the same time as Marnine was built.
Me dad made a wonderful muffler & exhaust system for both boats, with lovely little short 316 stainless steel stacks, that protruded discretely about 12 inches up, out of each side of the roof of the dodgers of both boats– . Superb & perfect!!
We all know that with GM Detroit, Foden, Graymarine, & Commer TS3, diesels, it was usual that if you were at Kawau, you could hear boats coming round North Head in those days, however with L.M. II & Marnine, you could virtually not hear a sound.
In Schoolhouse Bay, Kawau Island, one still morning, during a Christmas cruise, ins me own boat at that time, FLYING SCUD, with MARNINE next door, & noticed 2 momentary tiny white puffs of smoke, one out of each stack, & then Marnine just glided totally silently out of the bay, — beautiful!!!
She was originally built 6 or 8 feet shorter than she is today, & when dad saw her for the 1st time under construction, he said she would never go properly as she was much to bluff or full in the bow. This is exactly what happened, & as a result of this Fred P. had Lanes add  6 or 8 feet to the bow — a very difficult expensive & unusual place to add length, however I have another story I will relate later, about the SOBRINE built for the late Gordon Mace, where G. Lane did the same thing, & also later added to SOBRINE’S bow the same way.
Once these additions were made, this has made her a fabulous craft.
Must mention the interior finishing & craftsmanship.
She was built very much in the era of “formica,” & had masses of beautifully crafted natural timber cupboards & storage compartments, as well as the interior itself being virtually all natural timber finish, (the timber was very light in colour & may have been oak), with teak combings of course, & every cupboard was fully lined with formica, & even both sides of the cupboard shelves, were veneered formica, to avoid any possibility of them buckling, with just a single side done this way.
The Porters owned MARNINE for many years, & as Russell said, used her a great deal, eventually replacing her with their 80 foot Alloy motor yacht SIMRAN, built by Mc Mullen & Wing, a company which they later bought.
Porters & the Ted Clarkes were not only friends, but almost certainly “best friends,” for many years, & once Marnine was built, they shared the same shed in Whakatakataka Bay, for maintenance of  the 2 boats.

Update from Ken Ricketts (refer shed photo)

Dec 2013 – she is in Brin Wilsons shed at Gulf Harbour & Ken went aboard & reports that she is in absolutely original in every detail, — the 2 x 6 cyl. Fodens still looking immaculate under the bridgedeck floor & the underwater fittings appear in still perfect condition.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Story & photos by Mark Lane

Built in 1914 by Lane Motor Boat Company for TM Lane and Sons who were timber millers in Totara North, 30′ x 7′.6″  She was taken north to Whangaroa.  She was a classic flat decker and I am not sure with what she was origonally powered with other than it was an air cooled motor.

My grandfather Clarence Lane (son of Thomas Major Lane) who was instrumental in setting up the Lane Motor Boat Company) went away on his honeymoon on Mapu in 1916   She was originaly built as a pleasure and workboat where her role primarily towing logs out of the local rivers and towing barges a role she filled over the next 30-40 year.

In 1939 she came back to Auckland to be repowered with a Scrips marine conversion of a Hercules truck motor producing 110hp.  This made her the fastest boat on the whangaroa harbour pulling around 22-24 knots

During the war she acted as the supply boat for the local gun emplacement at the heads of the Whangaroa Harbour and also towed for them targets between the heads and Stephenson Island.  My father Trevor Lane (son of Clarence) used her for crayfishing around this time as well. She was re-fastened in 1950.

By the 1960,s she was primarly a pleasure boat used by my father and his brother and their families for fishing picnicing etc.   In the 1970 she was repowered with a Fordson deisel  but by the mid 1980s she was largely unused and stored intially in a boatshed on the Lane and Sons property and subsequently in the tide in the “barge shed” where her seams having opened so much the tide came in and out of her.

In the late 1990,s Lane and Sons was being wound up and I brought her in an as is where is state.  Thus I am the 4th generation of my family to own her….

Trevor Ford (son of Sam Ford and a retired boatbuilder from the Lane Motor Boat Company) assessed her and undertook to rebuild her.  He showed me a hand-drawn picture of Mapu with a cabin and dodger and then proceeded to rebuild and repower her.  The project took him over three years in a barn on his property in the Bombay hills.

She was repowered with a Nanni convesion of a Kubota deisel (50 hp)

She was relaunched in 2003.  She heads north  in summer to Whangaroa her “home” for then retrns to Auckland at the beginning of winter and is berthd in Pine Harbour Marina.  She competed in the 2008 Rudder Cup race around sail rock and came second in her division.

Cruising speed  is 8.2 knots and full speed about 9.7-10.4knots depending on the cleanliness of her hull!!!.

I suspect the owner of Raindance will acknowledge she is pretty quick for her size and power.. (edited – the owner of Raindance hopes the CYA launch handicapper reads waitematawoodys 🙂  )

Understanding the Lanes by Baden Pascoe

Understanding the Lanes by Baden Pascoe

As time drifts on, there is much confusion growing over who actually built some of our older wooden boats. I often skim through Trade-A-Boat or surf the boat section in Trade Me and see these old boats with, Bailey Built, Lane Built, and Miller & Tonnage etc. Often you see boats with the wrong builders name and the broker is at a total loss over the heritage of the boat. I have told one or two of them if they spent a little time on getting their facts correct, they may have more of a chance of selling the boat! However the name is often correct but most of these families had no business relationship with other family members even though they were in the same industry and often the designs varied as well.

Overall Lanes would have to be the most confusing name in the wooden boat building industry in New Zealand. I will endeavor to give you a very brief overview of the history and structure of this amazingly talented family. This subject certainly deserves more words than I can put in this article. I will also add that the history of the maritime side of the Lane family is one of my favourite subjects, thanks to my old friend Arch Fell and the writings of David Ward. Arch was Joe Fells (served time at Lane & Brown and married into the Lane family) son and he was a very meticulous man and a perfect gentleman may I add, who understood the boat building side of things.

I may receive a little flack for making this statement, but the roots of this boat building dynasty dates back earlier than our most popular Auckland based boat builders who are fairly well researched and recorded. To add to this the Lanes and their extended family built the widest range of designs and size in this country.

All this started when William Lane and his wife Mary Ann, Cotswold farmers who arrived in Auckland on 20th August 1860 on the “Persia”. Soon after this they traveled north and settled in the Bay of Islands at Clendon Cove (near Russell) while their house was being built at Kaeo. Most of  the timber and hardware for the house they brought with them.

While at Clendon Cove they became good friends with a man by the name of William Paine Brown who ran a business repairing smaller trading boats. This was the perfect place for their second eldest son Thomas Major Lane to learn the trade of shipwright and boat builder. His older brother Soloway was immediately apprenticed to Sydney based ship owners, W. McArthur & Co as a seaman.

William Paine Brown was a man with the sea in his blood. He came from the southern English port of Deal and was the son of a local pilot and attended a school set up for, only sons of pilots. At the age of 12 he started his apprenticeship as a shipwright & boat builder with his uncle and by the age of 16 he wanted to extend his seafaring abilities, so signed on as crew on the ship “Pusine Hall”. He stayed with this ship for quite a few years after visiting many ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans including Japan. In 1833 he left Deal for the last time, final destination, New Zealand. He arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1836 and to cut a long story short after a lot of crewing problems on the ship, went A.W.O.L into the hills of Kawakawa. After the ship left he then returned to Kororeka (now Russell) where he spent 3 weeks. He described the town as a “hell hole”. He did go back to sea and served on several missionary coastal ships for about three years as first mate. In 1838 when back in “ The Bay” he met William Gardner and formed both a friendship and business partnership. They purchased land at Te Whahapu from Gilbert Mair who had the “Karere” built in 1831. (one of the first boats built in New Zealand, poss first 5)

The two Williams were possibly the first ones to establish a ship and boat building business, as we know it today. Before this most of the boats were built as one off projects on temporary sites. Brown had eight children and amongst these was son William Jnr who was two years younger to apprentice Thomas Major Lane. Things got more intertwined when William Paine’s wife, Catherine died of pneumonia. By his time William was 46 years of age with five smaller children and he needed help. So he married Mary Elizabeth Lane aged 22  sister of Thomas Major Lane.

After T.M Lane finished his apprenticeship he left Browns business and went freelance building,  houses, bridges and boats around the district but set up base in Kaeo in 1868.

The first boat he built there was the 45’ x 12.8 x 5.2 “Sunbeam” and he called on the help of his close friend William Brown Jnr and relations William and Joseph Hare and Thomas Skinner. She was launched in 1870 (reg). This was the very beginning of the famous Lane & Brown name that I think is a major part of the D.N.A. of the boat building industry we have today. Another boat was built near the site of the Kaeo Fish factory (was a dairy factory) and at a later date they took up the site in Totara North where the Lane Timber Mill still stands. Looking  back, I think the strengths of these two families and the business was that they were surround by the very best boat building timber known to man. They ran their own mill and milled the timber exactly how they wished, especially for various parts of shipbuilding. Willie Brown and Thomas Lane simply lived and breathed ship and boat building and as a result of this so did their off spring. Both of these men and their wives were deeply religious and honesty and integrity was a part of every thing they did. At the height of things the building sheds (there were two) had a total floor space of 15,000 square feet, one shed was 140’ x 40’ and the other 120 x 30’. The larger shed and its slipping gear could cater for ships up to 350 tones. The equipment included two vertical, one band and five circular saws. They also had planing, trunelling, moulding and turning machinery, all driven by a portable Marshall semi-portable engine. So it was not hard to see this would have been a state of the art place for young men to learn the trade. The quality of Lane & Brown ships and boats was high and orders came from Australia and the Pacific. Some say this partnership built the greatest tonnage of wooden ships and boats in New Zealand. That is to be researched and debated.

Moving on from here to about 1900, between Willy and Thomas they had eleven boys who all wanted to be in the business. So mutually the business was split. Willy and his sons moved to Te Kopuru near Dargaville and set up W. Brown & Sons, and Thomas stayed put because I think this land was originally balloted to his father when he emmigrated to New Zealand. The name changed to T. M. Lane & Sons Boat building & Saw Milling. Later on an Auckland branch was established in 1909 on the Auckland waterfront and specialised in launch building with a few import agencies like Scripps Marine Engines. This business was run by Major Lane and later on by his son Garth and renamed the “Lane Motorboat Co” in 1927 on the death of Thomas. The business moved to Panmure in the early 1950’s. In 1904 one of the other brothers, Ernie after a stint in North America set up shop in Picton alongside the Rowing club. (were the Eco is now). He was a very versatile builder and built a range of workboats, launches and motor whale chasers right up until his death in 1949. From what I have researched he was possibly the father of our high-speed hard chine workboats.

Marrying into the family was another talented likable young man who was apprenticed to Thomas and Willy, named Joe Fell who eventually married Capt Solloway Lanes daughter, Hannah Laura Lane. They moved to the Hokianga about the same time as the other boys had spread their wings and built many farm launches and the legendary steamer “Traveller” now “Romo” in 1904.

There were other Lane boys who followed in Soloway’s footsteps as master mariners, and bloody good ones at that! Capt Henry Ellis Lane, master of the Tasman record breaker T.S. “ Huia” from 1917-1936. An absolute ace at his job! Then there was Edmund Lane (1896-1971) who grew up in the homeland of the Bay of Islands. He in fact started “The Famous Cream Run”, not A.E. Fuller is thought. There were others as well.

These people left a legacy of beautiful classic launches and work boats that we are now starting to enjoy and cherish. They are built from an irreplaceable material by a set of skills that are almost lost. We have to save and preserve as many as possible for the future. In addition to what we can still see and touch are all the men who started their careers as shipwrights and boat builders who have also carried on the Lane values. For example, names that still ring are, Jack Morgan who started with Ernie, George Curnow was another of Ernie’s boys and he taught many greats like Doug Robb. In Auckland there was many as well, Brian Lane, Ray Pateman who worked  for Lanes for the duration of his whole career, Max Carter and many more fine tradesmen.

And if you think the name Lane has gone for good, think again, there is Richard Lane of Whangarei with his Phoenix boats, in the aluminium workboat market. Richard is son of Picton Boy Dick Lane and Grandson of Ernie. Richard, I bet the old boy has a smile on his face when he looks down over our great boat building nation and your aluminium motor scows. Good on ya mate, keep on training those boys!

Credits: Arch Fell, David Ward, Kaeo Museum,

RAINDANCE > Nona C > Lady Gai

RAINDANCE > Nona C > Lady Gai  

When I purchased the boat she was named ‘Nona C’, after the then owners (Craig Colven, Auckland Harbour Board pilot boat skipper) daughter. He told me the boat was previously named ‘Lady Gay’. I had no connection to the name Nona C & was in the process of reverting back to Lady Gay when I was advised of another launch called Lady Gay, not wanting to confuse things I decided to chose a new name & chose the name ‘RainDance’.

At the time I was unaware of the Celtic spelling of the word Gai & discovered it when given a copy of the Dunsford Marine pre-purchase survey commissioned in March 2003 by a Dr. Rex Ferris. Had I known about the Gai spelling I would have retained the Lady Gai name. I obtained Rex Ferris’s address (East Coast Rd, North Shore, Auckland) from the survey & did a google search which resulted in the Auckland District Health Board employment link & I contacted Rex & Sharon Ferris. Retired, living in Tauranga.

Like myself he knew little about her past, there are still huge gaps e.g. the 1930’s > late 1970’s but below is some history I have gained.

Peter Gill, the motoring journalist, bought the boat in 1987 & at the time had a waterfront property in the Upper Harbour (near Paremoremo wharf) with a mooring put down. He saw the boat advertised in ‘Trader Boat’, she was moored in the Tamaki Estuary & he purchased her for about $7,000. He cannot remember the name of the owner but was told the boat was built by the Lane Motor Boat Company in 1928, there is however some discussion that she may have been built by ‘Collings & Bell’. She had a single cylinder Bukh diesel that was later replaced with an 6 cylinder Ford (he thinks). The owner told Peter that she had been based at Great Barrier Island as a ‘long-liner’ fishing boat for many years prior to him buying her.

When she was moored off Peters house, she took in quite a bit of water, and it was necessary for him to go out as often as twice a week and operate the manual bilge pump. He hired a tradesman who specialized in old boats, and he decided that it was the stern gland that was the problem. He had her hauled out and they filled the stern gland with tallow. It was not a one hundred percent fix & she continued to take on water. Peter was never very comfortable with the boat & to use his words ‘we never went far in her’. She was not a pretty boat in those days with a cabin top that looked like it had been made from a plywood car case, see montage photo above, small because its not pretty 😦

I have spoken to Peter several times but have never unearthed when & to whom he sold her. At some stage, I think post Peter’s ownership, she sank on her mooring in the Upper Harbour & remain submerged for several weeks. Given the swallow tidal nature of the area this had no major negative effect on the boat & some say probably helped in preserving her.

The next chapter is amusing – the mast only of the boat was visible from the Salthouse Boat Builders yard at Greenhite & the tradesman there were running a sweepstake as to how long she would remain submerged before the owner rescued her. During this period two of the Salthouse young boat builders – Blair Cole & Kelly Archer (who both went on to become well respected boat builders in their own right) hatched a plan as to how they could buy the boat. They tracked down the owner & both approached him ‘independently’ with offers for the boat as-is-where-is, one offer being very very low & the other very low, the owner faced with the cost of salvaging the boat accepted the ‘low’ offer. The boys hauled the boat out at Salthouse’s & started a major restoration; Bob Salthouse once told me he remembered the boat & that had to give the young boys a guiding nudge occasionally (thank god!). Half way thru Blair bought Kelly’s share & moved the boat to his property to finish the restoration. Blair & his wife cruised the Gulf extensively in the boat in the 1990’s. I have spoken to Blair & he has no record of who bought (or when) the boat off him. I’m pretty sure it was Rex Ferris in 2003.

In 2005 the boat was for sale on the hard at Bayswater Marina, I looked at her at the time but she would have been too much of a time burden for me at the time. The boat was purchased by Craig Colven who undertook major hull work (replaced some planking, caulking, ribs, floors & keel bolts) & the installation of a new 45hp 4 cylinder motor & replacement of all other machinery, electrics and plumbing. Devonport craftsmen’s Robbie Robertson (deceased) & Charlie Webley undertook the work. Craig, over a 2 year period commissioned this work but never fully completed her as his wife did not share his passion for the sea. I purchased her in mid 2007 for what I considered a bargain given what Craig had spent on her.

I then undertook over the next few years what is called a rolling restoration i.e. I used the boat each summer but hauled her out in winter & continued the project. I retained the services of Milford based wooden boat builder / guru Geoff Bagnall for the big stuff, there were several areas of rot that needed to be removed plus we made her more ‘comfortable’ in terms of helm, hatch layout. I rolled my sleeves up on the rest.

I’m thankful for the care bestowed on the boat over the years – everyone that has rubbed up to her has helped get her thru the last 80+ years.

Like most owners I would love to fill in some of the gaps, so if anyone knows anything about her – please post here or email to