The waitematawoodys X Factor

The waitematawoodys X Factor

One of the great things about the WW site is its ability to bring together past owners of woody classics with the current owners. Two examples in recent weeks

1. Alan Warren dropped me a note re the launch – Pirate , that was owned by Keith Warren in the period 1989>1994. Alan included the above stunning photo and commented that the photo was mounted near the kauri saloon table. Collectively we were able to get a high res copy of the photo to Pirate’s new owners.

2. Over the last year I have been trying to coordinate with Kennedy Warne for his 90+ year old father Ken Warne, son of Leone Warne who designed and built Pirate, to visit the boat – covid popped it’s head up every time there was a planned meeting – well last weekend the stars aligned and the family got to visit Pirate at Pine Harbour marina . Owners Tracy and Alan were shocked and thrilled when the Warne’s handed over the original line drawing done by Leone Warne for the boat. 

UPDATE ex Kennedy Warne

The below photo (of Dad with the Gilders in Pirate’s saloon) was taken when we meet the owners. It was just so good to reunite Dad with a launch that he had seen being built when he was a nine-year-old boy at Russell. We were able to supply Alan and Tracy with a couple more photos from when she was launched, and, as you noted, with the pencil plans, with their edges well chewed by sliverfish. Interestingly the plans showed she was originally planned as a 42-footer. At some point Leon must have decided that wasn’t enough, and she grew. 

There is an interesting story of how she was named ‘Pirate’ – it’s recounted in Neil Illingworth’s book ‘Fighting Fins’, refer the relevant pages below. 

Tracy & Alan Gilder + Ken Warne

Beautiful Boats Attract Beautiful People

Beautiful Boats Attract Beautiful People

Friday was one of those special woody days – I travelled out to Pine Harbour marina to see the re-launch of Pirate, the Leon Warne 1939 built, 46’ launch.

Why was it special? Well back in March the launch Kokoru was ravaged in a dockside fire, just weeks after a total refit / restoration, links below to Kokoru. One of the few salvageable items were the brand new twin Yanmar 75hp engines. 

The owners made the tough call and decided to purchase another classic and use Kokoru as a donor. The lucky woody purchased was – Pirate. And she became the recipient of Kokoua’s engines.

For the last 6 weeks the transplant and associated bits – new shafts, props etc and a lot of work to the tankage – size and location, has been happening.

Still a work in progress but back in the water and ready for the next stage of the project. Amazingly Pirate did not take on any water, probably the result of her owners hosing the hull down twice a day while hauled out.

WW will visit again when Pirate is ship-shape and knowing the owners – sparkling 🙂

A big shout out to the owners – it takes special people to (1) restore a woody (2) recover from seeing her destroyed (3) leaping back in and buy another – well done Tracy and Alan. I read somewhere the other day a quote that “beautiful boats attract beautiful people” – seems to fit this story 🙂

( fyi – Kokoru went to a good home and we understand, overtime will be rebuilt, so a happy ending)



Marina Mooching – Warkworth / Mahurangi River 

Pirate – Leon Warne 1938
Anam Cara – Logan 33
Leisure Hour – Jimmy Reid 1937

Marina Mooching – Warkworth / Mahurangi River 

Over the weekend I had cause to visit an area that I had often passed by boat but never on land – the area I refer to is the ‘Old Cement Works’. Home these days to the very funky Mahurangi Marina. Its just 5 minutes from the Warworth township and as well as dockside berths, offers halibut and hardstand facilities.

There is a nice selection of woody / classic craft tied up and with the ruins of the cement works as a backdrop, its very pleasant. The grounds I imagine would be a popular picnic spot and there’s even a fresh water lake, photos below.

Enjoy the gallery


Leaving ‘Freighter’s Bay’ (Opunga Cove) Dad with his Dad. Photo by Doug Gallagher from ‘Milady’
Stella at Anchor, Otehei Bay perhaps
Early days, platform added but still has mast
Stella – On the hard at BOIYC

Approx. 4 weeks ago on WW we ran a story on  Iorana > Stella, she is now sitting on a paddock in Northland – crying out for restoration. As tends to happen on WW that story and photos (link ) flushed out a previous owner / family connection. I was contacted by Dave and Pat Cochran who supplied the above photos and the story below – I’ll let Dave tell you about the family link to Stella.

“My father Max Cochran (John Maxwell Cochran,) bought her together with Eric Berry when I was about 15, so about 1961.   I believe she was sitting in the Tamaki River then, pretty scruffy but caught dad’s eye.    We lived in Northland, dad was Head Teacher of the Ohaeawai Maori School and Eric owned the Northern News in Kaikohe.  So the boat came up to Waitangi in the Bay of Islands and we set about cleaning her up.   River stones covered in diesel and oil as ballast under the floor, so she stank of that for a long time, even after the stones were all dumped into the Waitangi river !  She was moored above the bridge at Waitangi, initially on a mooring then onto the piles when they came.   She had a 4cyl Fordson in her, a mast and steadying headsail, and a long deep keelson running all the way to the bow.  Made her hard to turn in tight manoeuvres, but supposedly was to assist a previous life long-lining.     I was aware she had had a Maori name but could not have told you what it was.We took the mast away after a year or two of in and out under the Waitangi bridge and we cut away the deep forefoot to the keel line you now see.   Originally the belting along the side was lower, as you can see in the other photos, but the subsequent owner, Peter Sharp, modified it to give more width to that lower side-deck.   Unfortunately, to my eye at least, it really spoilt her lines.Dad and Mum retired to Paihia, and bought Eric out of the boat after a few years.    He subsequently owned her for I believe 26 years.   I did a hell of a lot of work on her from all the usual grinding off thick old paint and antifouling to quite a lot of wood work in later years.   Replaced/doubled up damaged ribs, quite a bit of planking, a new starboard belting, etc.She was a boat that became well known in the Bay, dad was a stalwart of the Bay of Islands Yacht Club from it’s beginnings, and she was hauled out every year at the club slipway.He sold her to Peter Sharp about 1986?  Peter was the Acting Harbour Master at Opua, and put her in the powder sheds there for about a year to give her another ‘birthday’.  She was in need of new garboard planks, they were tired and couldn’t be properly caulked, plus things like moving the beltings, as I mentioned.I noticed in the recent WW photo’s of her in the paddock, the port side-deck hatch-way has been taken out of the aft dodger, I’m not sure if Peter did that when he added the beltings to the lower side-decks or whether it was later. It was quite a neat, and relatively unique feature.”

Below I have included a reproduction of the original ‘For Sale’ listing that Dave’s father wrote for Stella when he was selling her. Dave commented that at that time Peter had left Paihia and moved to Whangarei and the maintenance was looming a bit large for his father. She really needed some refastening in the bottom by then, and Dave thinks Peter Sharp had that done when he put her into the shed when he first bought her, about 1986. 


I wonder if anyone in the last 4 weeks has grown some gonads and will front the elephant in the room e.g. clarification of the 40 berth Heritage Basin sub-committees intent i.e. will the classic vessels berthed there be a true representation of the CYA’s Classic Yacht Policy, as per the constitution – “New Zealand or foreign designed yachts, launches, dinghies, boats, vessels of all sizes, description, ages, whether powered by wind, steam, combustion or otherwise’. OR woodys – a parking lot for what I understand the sub-committee openly refers to as ’The Heritage Sailing Fleet’. Read more by clicking the Tui banner above.

The original conceptual sketch*, below, of the CYA’s current marina (Heritage Landing) certainty portrayed a fair mix of craft 🙂 *david barker