Te Kouma Woody Mooching






Dennis Macconaghie sent in the above collection of photos from Te Kouma Harbour. Dennis had just finished a charter and in his words ‘did a quick flick around the harbour to take a few picks of some local woodys’. Many thanks Dennis also good to see what’s wintering on the Coromandel side.
I have to say the all white double-ender (1st photo) is very salty – anyone able to enlighten us more on her?
Input from Jim Lott
The ketch shown in the photos is Aorangi II, a Bert Woollacott 34 ft design (Ladybird?). She was built by Ron Evans who lived at Bucklands Beach out of full length kauri planks over frames, launched late 60’s. From about 1977 until 2017 she was owned by AAH (Hubert) Schulte of Howick and berthed at HM Bay. Around 1980 the original Kelvin engine was replaced with a Yanmar and centre line shaft.
Always look forward to getting the email from WoodenBoat advising my digital copy of WB is available for download – so pleased to see James Dreyer’s Laughing Lady has made the front cover of the July/August issue – well done James and everyone that rubbed up against her during her restoration.
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WCW Riverhead June2020
RSVP waitematawoodys@gmail.com

2020 New Zealand Classic Yacht Regatta Photo Gallery – 100+ photos and videos














2020 New Zealand Classic Yacht Regatta Photo Gallery – 100+ photos and videos

As I have mentioned in the last two WW stories, the Classic Yacht Association of New Zealand have over the last 3 days been running its annual classic yachting event on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.
The near perfect conditions on all three days made for happy skippers and a relieved race organisers. I was on the water for two of the three days and had a blast. The gallery above is a mix of Races 1/2/3. If your boat doesn’t make an appearance, I apologize, I was only a passenger, so captured those that were within range.
On the second day, James Dreyer and myself hosted the world acclaimed marine photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz onboard Jame’s motorboat – Laughing Lady, the perfect platform for recording the on the water activities.
For me it was a master class in boat positioning and photography angles, I tried to keep out of Ben’s way and took the above photos / videos when I could without being in Ben’s line of sight.
These days the CYA run the regatta using the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron as Race HQ and entertainment hub, it is the perfect venue and as always the service and staff were 10/10.
 Scroll down for the official regatta results below
As always – click on photos to enlarge.
Race Course Videos Below (Races 2/3)






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Auckland Anniversary Day – Classic Launch Race – 26 Wooden Boat Photos


Auckland Anniversary Day – Classic Launch Race

Over the long weekend we had a smorgasbord of boating events to chose from, one being a ‘classic’ launch race on the Monday, as part of the 2020 Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta. The format is a handicapped race around a set inner harbour course, effectively a drag race. Handicapping for these races is a challenge, there are so many variables that come into play.
Reviewing the results, the handicapping appears to have done a good job.
The day was near perfect and a delayed start meant that I was able to take the above photos. I was heading back for Mahurangi and was not planning to be at the event.
As you would expect, there were numerous mechanical problems and a few DNF’s.
Photos a little ‘hairy’ – long lens.
1st:   Ngaio
2nd: Sterling
3rd:  Fancy Free







The Marine Photographer’s Eye, Benjamin Mendlowitz – OCH Video Featuring Kiwi Classic Wooden Boats

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The Marine Photographer’s Eye, Benjamin Mendlowitz – OCH Video Featuring Kiwi Classic Wooden Boats – The best photos of our fleet you will have ever seen!

Today’s story is rather special as the team at offcenterharbor.com have given waitematawoody readers access to their latest video that features woodys from this years Mahurangi Regatta. The OCH site contains over 500 videos (& 500 articles) that range from boatbuilding, to trimming sails, to a complete course on understanding every aspect of your marine diesel engine. There’s even a 42-part series on how to build a Caledonia Yawl camp cruiser. The collection of videos features mariners and craftspeople at the very top of the boating field, showing exactly how they do things, and which products they use in their work.

One of the OCH founders is Benjamin Mendlowitz who, in my eyes, is the worlds finest photographer of classic wooden boats, this January, Ben and his co-founders escaped the US winter and headed down under. Whilst in NZ their #1 mission was to attended the Mahurangi Regatta and to this end on the Saturday Jason Prew with My Girl & myself with Raindance hosted – Maynard Bray, Benjamin Mendlowitz & Steve Stone for a Regatta photo shoot.

In the 11 minute video, Ben talks us through his day on the water filming woodys. In the opening section when Ben is commenting on our classic fleet he says “I was newly inspired in my photography”. When a photographer with as much experience as Benjamin Mendlowitz says that – that is saying something about our woody fleet. Plus the video is a master class for anyone interested in marine photography.




The OCH site is 100 percent membership driven, and they do not accept advertising. Not lining their pockets with advertising enables them to provide OCH members with the unvarnished truth, straight from legendary masters of their craft – without worrying whether they piss off an advertiser 🙂

In addition to allowing WW woodys to view the video at no-charge, they have also put together a one-off subscription offer for WW readers.

They are offering 50% off the annual rate – thats an amazing US$24.50 – BUT woodys be quick it will not last for long + there is a Risk Free Guarantee – try it for a few days, if your not happy they will provide you with a 100% refund. I’m a subscriber – I love the site, I have watched one story probably 10 times.




  • FULL ACCESS to everything on the site for 1 full year (including our growing library of over 1,000 videos and articles)
  • Your membership includes three full “how-to-build” video series (80+ videos worth over $500 that you get free)
  • You can get your questions answered in the “comments” section under each video and article
  • Join our community of “off-center” boating enthusiasts around the world



Shemara + Laughing Lady in the spotlight



The photo above shows the ketch Shemara being launched in Wellington 0n the 9th August 1958, it looks a very miserable day – the wee girl I’m sure would rather be elsewhere. Photo ex Lew Redwood > fb.

Do we know what became of Shemara?

Input below from Gavin Pascoe

I own Sherama. She’s moored at Clyde Quay Wellington. 23′ LOA but feels more like 26 or 28′. She was Roydon Thomas’s first design. Built by Frank Ballinger. That’s him with his two sons Peter and Trevor, who are both still active boating in Wellington. She’s an awesome boat, Australian hardwood to the waterline, Alaskan cedar above. There’s footage of her being hauled up to Grafton Road prior to her launching (plus other cool footage) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hSB9RWMMlw&t=29s. Many, many stories go with both the boat and Roydon Thomas. Stories of Roydon Thomas’ exploits are legion. Some clean ones may be read here: https://thomasfamilyhistorynz.wordpress.com/

Shemara was never ketch rigged. People would call her a sloop as she carries one main and one jib at a time. However her mast is stepped quite well aft in comparison with most sloops, and therefore strictly speaking is more accurately described as a cutter. Though I’m no expert in the finer points of these matters: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155263975080674&set=pcb.10155263977035674&type=3&theater and https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155191194915674&set=pcb.10155191195575674&type=3&theater

And speaking of miserable days – the November 1963 photo below of the Oriental Bay boat harbour in Wellington, is proof of why they build such sturdy vessels so down there 🙂


Not often a classic woody graces the cover of a NZ boating mag

When you are out & about, pick up a copy of the May issue of Boating NZ, they feature Laughing Lady, post launching at the Mahurangi Regatta. Great story & photos. You can see / read about her restoration > launching at the link below (lots of links to stories). There is also a feature on my boat builder friend, Geoff Bagnall, another great reason to grab a copy 😉


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Best Kiwi Woody Boating Photos Of Summer



Best Woody Boating Photos Of Summer

The above photos showing James & Michael Dreyer’s recently relaunched  33’ 1949 Luders designed motorboat – Laughing Lady & Jason Prew’s 1904 Arch Logan gaff rigger- Wairaki – are my 2 favourite photos from this summer. They capture what classic kiwi wooden boating is all about – fun, friendship & fraternity. 

The rebirth of these woodys would not have happened without people like Jason & James & the dozens of talented, enthusiastic craftspeople & helpers that rubbed up against the projects. And amazingly both of the guys have other classic woody projects on the go – Jason is restoring (rebuilding) the 1925 Dick Lang motor launch – My Girl. And James has a Rhodes 33 sloop in restoration in the USA, that hopefully will makes its way down under one day. In the meantime he gets his sailing fix from a 1937, 31’ Yankee One Design – made of kauri here in NZ, that he co-owns with his dad, Barry.

If your interested in viewing the restoration of LL or Wairiki, just search they name in the WW search box. 

  At the other end of the scale below is a short video on the 1910 Camper & Nicholson 162’ classic super yacht – Orion of the Seas, for sale in Italy. It is just magnificent but her maintenance budget would be bigger than the GDP of a lot of African nations. Enjoy the varnish porn. Tomorrow I’ll share with you my trip aboard Trinidad from Whangaroa, down the west coast of NZ to Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton.



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Yesterday, I was privileged to join a small group of friends of the extended Dreyer family at Omaha wharf to celebrate the re-launching of Laughing Lady, owned by brothers James & Michael.
 It’s hard to believe it was over 4 years ago that I first talked to James about the purchase of Laughing Lady in the USA & where would be a good home for her during her restoration. Given James overseas work schedule & desire to be hands on with the project, there really was only one option – the Whangateau boat yard, so that was where she went, just under 4 years ago.
With projects of this size & standard – the end result is always a reflection of the number & calibre of people that have ‘rubbed-up-against’ the vessel, in LL’s case there have been a lot – from Pam, George, James & an army of friends & family. As time ticked on & a re-launch date was set, more wooden boat artisans were roped in. Having seen LL in the flesh, the photos above do not do justice to the work that has been done on her, everyone should take a well deserved a bow.
I was very pleased to see that the project has been a restoration, not a rebuild, James & Michael have kept most things as close to ‘as-launched’ as possible – sure there is modern material & technology in play but its tucked away out of view – the GPS / nav unit is a perfect example, when not needed, it drops down out of sight – very James Bond.
Stunning boat, but the big question, where to keep her – anyone got a vacant boat shed for hire?
I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.
The old lady has had a lot of air time on WW – click the clinks below to view the process (top > bottom) – enjoy
This link will show you photos of her being re – floated https://www.facebook.com/287523138699/photos/rpp.287523138699/10155947222558700/?type=3&theater

Laughing Lady Yard Updates

V 126

Reremai V126 – Sailing Sunday

I was recently contacted by Nick Atkinson I own Melita (L-28), Nick has been looking for info on the V class
Reremai, for a good friend of his who’s currently working on a Fife (Eilean) in the Med.
The only info they have been able to uncover a previous owner who commented – “We purchased the “Reremai” in or around 1953-4, we moored her in Okahu Bay. She was originally an un-ballasted racing 18ft Mullet Boat and the builders plaque stated that she was built by the Logan Bros. Hr registered number was V126. We added heaps of ballast and sailed the gulf for many years, the only worth while photo is attached, this was taken on the Waitamata during a regatta. The last time I saw the “Reremai” was at “Kawau Island” where she was under a reconstruction by (we think) a guy named “Morris”.

Can any of the woodys – help Nick out?

Harold Kidd Input

As for REREMAI, Logan Bros went out of business in 1911 so any builder’s plate with their name on it was a fake.
REREMAI was built in late 1933 probably by Douglas Kusabs at 15 Church St., Onehunga. It is possible that she may have been built by a professional such as Les Coulthard, but there’s no record I can find of that.
She raced on the Manukau at first but Kusabs brought her over to the Waitemata in late 1935/early 1936. Her sail number was V72. Kusabs sold her to B. Foote in November 1936 and he sold her to R. Verran of Northcote in 1938.
In the image above we see, from left, V105, BON VOYAGE built by the Ragg brothers in 1939, V124, SYLVIA, later MARIE, and V126, REREMAI with a new sail number consequent upon her being reregistered with APYMBA in 1953 to H & A Davis of Tanekaha Road, Titirangi.
These were all ballasted 18 footers, loosely called “mullet boats”. REREMAI had 8cwt of internal ballast.
REREMAI’s racing history was mainly on the Manukau and then in the occasional Northcote-Birkenhead and Auckland Anniversary Regatta once she got to the Waitemata..

20-03-2017 – Input from Robin Elliott – Further to the above.
The Manukau clubs issued their own sail identification, the Cruising Club letters A-Z, while the Yacht & Motor Boat Club used numbers from 1 upwards. By the mid 1930’s this had started to breakdown under the regular import of Waitemata boats with Waitemata sail numbers. Also A-Z only gave the Cruising club 26 boats and was self-limiting.
It seems likely that Reremai did not have a numbered sail prior to 1935 when Kusabs took her to the Waitemata whereupon she was issued with V-72. She was stolen from her mooring in Mechanics Bay in March 1936 and the photograph published in the Herald, while poor quality, appears to show no registration number.
A 1935/36 list gives Reremai the number V-60 but this is a confusion with the Panmure 18-footer Reretai, something that continued until Reretai dropped out of sight during the mid 1940’s.
The Auckland Museum has photos of V-60 dated 1941, some labelled Reremai others Reretai.
She took V-126 in 1951 when owned by D.F. Baker of Hobsonville.
In the 1973 NZYF register she was owned by M. Peterson and reported as carrying sail V-129. This number was also repeated in the NZYF registration of 1976 and 1978, owner A. Keyworth, This number may well be a typo just picked up and carried over..
It may have even been a borrowed sail. V-129 was issued in 1954 to a boat named Cobra (dunno what that was). Nobody really cared what you did with these old girls and things were what you said they were.You made up your own history.
By 1988 she was owned by A. Morris and apparently carrying V-72 again.
She appeared on TradeMe Sep 2007: For Sale, port side damaged in storm, $1000
Still out there somewhere.

Laughing Lady Update
A wee update on Laughing Lady ex the ‘Seven Oceans Boatworks FB page, photos below. Looks like a splash is a happening thing soon at the Whangateau boat yard 😉

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Update 07-08-2017 – Getting Closer, some nice detail; work happening 🙂




22-08-2017 Update – poking her nose out 😉


19-12-2017 Update – Getting So Close. Check out the chrome game chairs 😉



Mystery Launches at Thames

Mystery Thames Boats

Mystery Launches at Thames

The above photo shows a group of ‘settler’ style launches berthed  at the Shortland Wharf in Thames.
Are we able to ID any of them & put a date on the photo? Are the bow numbers fishing registration numbers ? photo ex trademe via Peter Thorpy

Laughing Lady Update

James Dreyer has the foot to the floor on the final stages of the restoration of Laughing Lady & has master craftsman Paul Tingy roped in to help with the final details – the photos below show Paul’s reproduction of the original swim ladder & ‘new’ helm.

Laughing Lady Getting Dressed


Laughing Lady Getting Dressed Photos

Todays ww post is a wee peek into the final stages of Laughing Lady’s restoration at the Whangateau boat yard. Photos ex James Dreyer’s ‘Seven Oceans Boatworks’ facebook page – click here to see more on the project https://www.facebook.com/sevenoceansboatworks/?pnref=lhc

In the last few days James has used the services of a good old fashioned master craftsman with experience in the hot rod movement to apply some of the finishing touches to LL.
Given the level of presentation that LL will have when launched one would have to wonder where her home will be – certainly not a swing mooring in the Tamaki River, probably a boat shed or maybe even one of the dry docks?

ww awaits details on the splash date, must be fast approaching 😉

30-12-2016 The original plans have just surfaced. Read more in comments section.


04-05-2017 – Owner James Dreyer hard at work at the Whangateau Boat shed.


Laughing Lady Restoration Update

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Laughing Lady Looking Very Shiny

Trolling the web I came across the Seven Oceans Boatworks facebook page, the above photos do not need any copy, if you want to see lots & lots of photos of the work being done on Laughing Lady, check out sevenoceansboatworks on facebook 😉

24-09-2016  Update – getting closer. Love the ‘n0w you see it now you don’t GPS unit” 🙂



Click to view GPS Unit ‘jack-in-the-box’

Laughing Lady Updates



Laughing Lady June 2016 Update
photos ex James Dreyer

Chatting with James on-line a while ago I nudged him for an update on LL. As ww followers will know the Lady has been tucked up in the shed at Whangateau Boat yard for over two years getting a serious over-haul from Pam & when in country James + hangers on. James & LL’s co-owners re to be commended on they desire to return LL to her former elegance – below is the note James sent me (slightly edited)

“I was hoping to get some varnish on the topsides before departing offshore and subsequently photographing her looking sharp and shiny but it didn’t happen.  We did, as you know get her in her new coat of Flag Blue.  Unfortunately the port side will need a re-shoot due to some sags – the weather was not in our favor the day we had to spray. We will definitely be in better shape to give a good update in August as we should be well on the way with putting her together.

Pam and I had a bit of a discussion recently and think it is probably worth me commenting on the dark two part LP finish that I have gone with, before the armchair generals and experienced boat builders / owners wade in.  There has been many well qualified comments about the potential for paint failure over the last two years and they have certainly been weighed up and taken onboard.
When LL had her hull rebuild in San Diego, she was taken back to bare wood, re-framed and re-fastened, then impregnated with two coats of epoxy and many seams were splined.  She is tight seamed double planking and the new bottom is double planked and epoxy glued.  The paint system that was applied to her extremely fair hull 10 years ago in San Diego is a two pack epoxy / LP system – Awlgrip above the waterline and International below.  After 10 years sitting in a semi finished state, in the rather extreme conditions of an inland San Diego yard, she had cracked and opened a number of seams, but to be honest, no more than the single pack finishes on the boats around her.  

My concerns were that she would move significantly once parked in the Whangateau shed as she adapted to the cool, moist environment.  Pam repaired various areas that were in need, primarily around the extreme flare and planking twist in the bow, then built a good base of primer.  We let her sit for a year in primer, and surprisingly there was no movement or cracking to speak of.  To strip her back to bare wood was to remove the hundreds of hours of fairing and painting that had been never seen the water even though it was done years before.

On this basis and after much deliberation and discussion, I chose to continue with the two pack system.  The aim from the start was to get her in the water and in use as soon as practicable (as far as restorations go).  

For the first 50 years of her life, she was painted jet black and spent hot summers in the water around Long Island and her winters in a snow covered shed.   After the work in San Diego she was painted Awlgrip royal blue.

We chose Awlcraft Flag blue as the topside color.  Awlcraft has some more give (urethane rather than polyurethane) and can be locally repaired and polished.  My goal was to have her looking as close to original as possible when she launched, and the dark hull is truly striking as I’m sure everyone agrees.

I am well aware that the system will probably show some failures around the seams as she moves.  Its also likely that we will be painting her white in a few years, but to me it makes sense to let her out the door in the current (gorgeous) state and see how she fares.  If need be, we will re-wood her and go single pot, but if not, then a white two part system will continue to be used”

REMEMBER – To enlarge a photo – just click on it 😉

16-07-2016 I received an email from James today with the 2 photos below attached – when LL was launched she was powered by Packard straight 8’s, nowadays is powered by twin Volvo turbo diesels. In his travels overseas James came across the engines below – my response to the email was short – “WALK AWAY & DO NOT LOOK BACK” 🙂


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August 2016 Update (ex James D fb)

It appears with the hull painted its now down to the shiny stuff 🙂



01-09-2016 Update ex James fb

Applying 24k gold leaf to the carved details on Laughing Ladys hull. The first arrow head needs a little tidying up, but with some more practice the unique scroll work detail carved into her bow in 1949 to identify her builder is going to look sweeeet!

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Laughing Lady Catch Up

Laughing Lady  Catch Up

Most of you would be aware from the posts on ww that LL is undergoing a restoration at the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard, if not details here https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/04/09/laughing-lady/

I was chatting (e-mail) with James last week & he has just sent me a batch of photos of LL both in the 1960s while under the ownership of Robert Lion Gardiner & some photos of the work completed by Doug Jones & Fernando Alva of Traditional Boat Works. As an aside these two have also been working over the years on the restoration of ‘Therapy’, James Rhodes 33 yacht in San Diego. details here (scroll down, Mr Uroxsys had a few photo posting issues at the start 🙂 http://classicyacht.org.nz/cyaforum/topic/natica-beater/

James mentioned a spot of good fortune / luck he had recently when he met with the previous owner, Bob Watkins. Bob is a marriage relation of Gardiner, & was kind enough to tell James a lot of her history & give him a collection of parts from his storage unit – including her original game fighting chairs (freshly re-chromed), some interior fittings, old photos, and the boats flag bag which contained the original skull and crossbones house flag of Gardiners Island and her New York Yacht club burgee.

The skull and cross bones refers to the fact that Captain Kidd buried his treasure on the island in 1699 and swore he would kill Lion Gardiner the 9th if it went missing.  Upon Kidds arrest, Gardiner directed the British Admiralty in its direction but the crowns inventory after digging it up by all accounts, was rather short.  Needless to say the Gardiners were always well off!

You can see the House flag flying in the old photos.

Bob recounted purchasing the boat from Gardiners widow, Eunice for a sum of $10,000 sight unseen and without survey in approximately 1998.

On arrival at the well known Driscolls Boat yard in San Deigo, he received a call to explain that his boat was there, unfortunately not in one piece, and every boat enthusiast and broker in the bay was stopping to view her as rumours spread about the unique vessel.

On inspection, the Volvo Pentas, (which replaced a pair of Chrysler inline eights in about 1987), were installed bolted to old frames and planking rather than new engine beds.  This, combined with four full 36 Gallon fuel tanks had resulted in massive structural bottom damage and the engines almost falling through her bottom during the trip from New York to Calfironia.

She was transferred to Clarke Custom Boats (which became Traditional Boatworks) where she was shored up, station molds fitted to return her to her lines, and the bottom essentially cut off.  Laminated frames were fitted, a large new section of stem glued in, and a double planked glued and screwed bottom of Cedar installed.  Up top there was some local splining and a full re-fastening.

The work done in San Diego was a sound basis for continuing the restoration and was was what justified taking the project on & transporting LL across the world to Whangateau :-).

Whangateau Update

Its not often we see the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard like this i.e. a working boat yard, normally the photos show it masquerading as a smoko room for the brilliant open days at the yard 🙂 In the photos we see Laughing Lady’s new hand rails.

07-05-2016 updates


27-05-2016 Update – James words “One month of solid sanding and painting, its time to paint her blue, amped”

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28-05-2016 Update – 3 coats of blue on today, 2 more to go 🙂

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A little bit of a mirror finish happening here – the ‘model’ is Mark Lever, owner of the very smart classic launch Nereides

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CYA Launch Group Road Trip

CYA Launch Group Road Trip

While the CYA yachties were having their 1st race of the season on Sunday, the launch group hit the road & headed north to Whangateau for a shed visit to check on the progress of ‘Laughing Lady’ at the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard. Good planning ensured we were there at high-tide, so we got to see all the old girls afloat. Regular readers of ww will have seen photos of the yard from my previous posts but today was special to share Pam & George’s magic space with a bunch of serious wooden boat nuts.

James Dreyer gave a brief talk on the the history of LL & how the restoration was coming along. Probably the best question of the day & best answer was – “Are you taking her back to the USA” – “No, she is here to stay, the Waitemata & greater Hauraki Gulf is her new home”.

Post the shed visit we headed up the hill to Carolyn & Shane Anderson’s (MV Waimiga) stunning property for a a tasting of locals wines & their own estate olive oil. A BBQ followed & then a coastal walk.
There are plans to make this trip a regular on the launch calendar.

A big thank you to Pam & George from Whangateau Traditional Boats + Carolyn & Shane. And James Dreyer for letting us all crawl over Laughing Lady 🙂

Enjoy the photos – click any to enlarge – I took so many, this is just a random selection, I’ll post more over time.

Laughing Lady


A ‘new’ lady from the USA joins the NZ classic fleet. But first stop is the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard. Click any image to enlarge.

Luders built the motorboat Laughing Lady in Connecticut in 1949 as a day fishing boat for a wealthy American socialite. A few years later she sold it to David Gardiner, who considered himself the 16th Lord of Gardiners Island. The island has an interesting history. As Americas largest private island, It had been in the family ever since his ancestor, the English settler Lion Gardiner, bought it from the Montaukett Indians in 1639 for ”one large dog, one gun, some powder and shot, some rum and several blankets”. He also obtained a charter for the island from King Charles I of England. Captain Kidd once buried treasure there, and the family withstood several attacks by pirates. Gardiner used the Laughing Lady to commute from the Island to New York where he worked as a stockbroker and also across to the up market Hamptons to ferry his guests to the Island, including Jacqui Kennedy-Onassis. Before David Gardiner passed away in 2004 the boat was sold and transported to a yard in San Diego where it underwent significant restoration of the hull before the restoration eventually stalled.

Enter Kiwis, Michael & Katy his sister-in-law who have both worked in the yachting industry and found a love for old boats working as crew on the historic 142 foot Dutch built Feadship Istros and also crewing aboard Fife yachts in various classic yacht regattas around the Mediterranean. They were looking for a small-scale project of their own and found the Laughing Lady languishing in a yacht yard in San Diego last year. They made an offer and the boat was theirs. The boat was then loaded onto a cargo ship in Los Angeles and shipped to Tauranga in March 2014, then towed on a large trailer up to Whangateau in early April (refer photos above). After being shoehorned into the main shed at Whangateau Traditional Boat yard, work will now commence returning the lady back to her former glory.

Luders stopped making boats in the 1980’s but had a fine pedigree in boat building, pioneering hot molded construction and the use of plywood during WWII.  The yard built and designed, fast commuter yachts, Navy patrol boats, tugs, launches and racing yachts including the 1962 America’s Cup winner Weatherly.

Laughing Lady is 32 foot long and was originally powered by Packard straight 8’s, nowadays is powered by twin Volvo turbo diesels.

Built of double planked cedar and mahogany with oak framing and a unique hot molded cabin trunk, she still has the basin that was used for shaving on the way to work and cast bronze fish fighting chairs. The boat will be kept as original as possible, but they will add some modern navigational equipment and something to cook on for overnight trips. Aside from that there is a lot of wiring, wood working, plumbing, paint and varnish to be done before she is completed and back on the water and turning heads as a fishing boat on her new home – the Hauraki Gulf.

Waitematawoodys will follow the work her owners will be undertaking with the assistance of Pam & George at the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard.

This might be easier to read