What’s Happening With The Percy Vos Shed?
QUEST – Sailing Sunday
Mid-week we were lucky to have a peep at some of Peter Midgley’s fathers photo collection, that show the launch Kenya & the Joe Slattery boat shed. I asked Peter if he could share with us anymore of Eric Midgley’s photos & today we have the yacht Quest, built at the Vos yard for a Mr Wood of Devonport.
The top photo shows the launching on 10 December 1936, Peter commented that this photo of the exact moment a lady christens Quest has always fascinated him as a great moment frozen in time. Eric is third from the left with his arms folded. The man in uniform far left appears to be a St Johns person, did they have then at launchings in case of accidents? The man next to him with pen & paper in hand is perhaps a reporter for the “Star” or “Herald”. Then a lady in a heavy overcoat & umbrella, looks like a wet day in December.
Then the man far right also with umbrella “Photo Bombing” the photo.
Unfortunately the lady doing the honours, is blocking our view of the man holding the sledge hammer, Peter has an identical one in his dad’s toolbox.
Then the real character of this photo, the lady with a piece of paper in her hand having just read some words, with an expression of surprise as liquid sprays back towards her. Perhaps she is the wife of the owner – Mr Woods?
You have to love the way two planks of wood balancing on two saw horses is sufficient for the lady to stand on, no health & safety in those days!
The bottom photo of Quest moored presumably after launching.
As a footnote in the Percy Vos book, ‘Launching Dreams’, it states Eric Midgley worked at the Vos yard from 1937 to 1938 & only worked on the ‘Korea’ but Peter thinks he was there in 1936 working on the Quest. He went on to work at the Devonport Dockyard throughout the war & built the sailing dinghy ‘Kiwi’ in 1947, the NZ Navys gift to Princess Elizabeth & Prince Phillip for their wedding. Link here
It would be great if any woodys could identify people in this photo.
Input from Harold Kidd
QUEST was a design by Dr. Harrison Butler (he of the metacentric shelf) built by Percy Vos (with one S) in December 1936 for L.M. (Milton) Wood of Devonport. His brother Lincoln had the Butler-designed 22 footer MEMORY built by Fred Mann in 1930. She’s very English in her lines (and all the better for that).
As to the people my guess is, from left, A St John’s “Zambuck” who used to be present at Rugby matches (and possibly launchings if they were yachties, as many were), W.A. (Wilkie) Wilkinson of the Auckland Star, Vos employee, the matriarch Mrs Sarah Wood, Milton and his wife/fiancee not sure when they married), Lincoln being silly. There was a multitude of Wood brothers and sisters, so the latter could any one of the other brothers.
MAHAKI – Sailing Sunday
photos & details ex Angus Rogers
Angus Rogers has sent in the above photos of the yacht Mahaki, owned by his grandfather Lionel B Rogers with EJ Jamieson and JF Harrison in Wellington and the photos were taken about 1909. Angus knows nothing about the design but is a fan of her clipper bow.
Sadly Mahaki was wrecked on the Wairarapa coast a year or so later on a trip which Angus’s grandfather wanted to go on but could not because he was made by his mother to go to a funeral of an aunt. It was fortunate that he didn’t because all lives on board were lost with the boat.
Note: the information about the name, owners and locations are from writing on the backs of the photos
Can we shed some more light on Mahaki in terms of designer / builder & other owners?
Positive News On The Historic Vos Boat Yard – view video footage of CYA member Baden Pascoe talking about the Vos yard & the funding announcement.
Photos from the Round The Island race during the British Classic Week
Harold Kidd Input
This Wellington MAHAKI was designed and built by J.T. Pratt in late 1895 for himself. The design may well have come from an overseas design, possibly in one of Dixon Kemp’s books, as did many other at the time. She was quite small, rating 1.6 or 1.7. Pratt sold her Wiggins and Hannah about 1899 and subsequent owners were Anderson & Co (1902) then the Jamieson syndicate (1906). Birch and Elliott appear to have owned her from 1907 but may just be members of the Jamieson syndicate. When her owners “went to the Front” in WW1 she was hauled up at Balaena Bay and deteriorated. She was broken up for her lead there in late 1917. Several other yachts were scrapped at the same time including MAY.
I think the tale of the wreck on the Wairarapa coast is a conflation with the wreck of a similar yacht around the same time, one of many Wellington yachts that left their bones in and around Palliser Bay.
PS thinking about the wreck, supposedly of MAHAKI, I reckon the story of the loss of the 24ft keel yacht TE AROHA has got mixed up with the legend. TE AROHA was built in late 1899 by R.G. Millman and foundered on January 2nd 1905 at Wellington Heads after returning from the Sounds. All three on board lost their lives. Maybe Lionel Rogers was meant to sail on TE AROHA?