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

Iorana > Stella – SOS

Back in January 2015 Harold Kidd sent in a wee bit of a mystery quiz, a photo of a bridge deck launch (b/w photo below) and told us she was built in 1922 and measured 38’. Plus, that when launched she had a 6 cylinder Alpha engine.

There was lots of speculation but we uncovered that she was designed and built by Leon Warne and named – Iorana  (Tahitian for “Gidday”). HDK told us that Leon Warne got a lot of work out of Whangarei because he took the launch – Rosemary north every Christmas and raced her at Onerahi and Russell. Warne built Iorana for Selwyn Blake of Whangarei who had just sold Wild Thyme. Iorana was originally painted glossy black but was repainted white in her second season. Blake came to live in St. Mary’s Bay in 1924 and brought Iorana with him. He sold her to C.D. Sellars who sold her to W. Joll of Ponsonby and then she went to Whangamata and, around 1950, to George Manktelow of Paeroa, where he kept her moored in the willows on the Ohinemuri River near the Puki Bridge alongside the launch – Gleniffer. The b/w photo below was taken there.

Whist we learnt a lot about Iorana, we were not able to discover if she was still around – then SNAP early this week – WW comes good again – I get an email from Cole Gordon – see below 

“Hi there I was wandering if anyone had any information or history on my late fathers launch “Stella” , 36ft Lanes bridge decker 80 horse Ford, paragon gearbox. Possibly once named “Wendy Frances” we have had it since the late 1990’s purchased from Peter Sharp of Opua. I am unable to find any photos of her former glory days, but I have endless memories of long summer days spent on her as a child in the Bay of Islands. She was pulled out of the water around 2012 because the fastenings on her bow lost their grip. We never got the time or resources to fix her and now she’s far to gone for me to have a chance at fixing her. She has to be broken up as my family are moving off the land. I will save the bronze brass and kauri. I am interested in knowing more about her past.”

Very quickly I did two things – #1 asked Cole to grab the handbrake on the demolition #2 sent photos of to Nathan Herbert, Nathan’s reply below:

“F_ _k, I think you’ve uncovered the Leon Warne ‘Iorana’. Search WW”

So I did and it appears that Nathan is right, so woodys we have a gold nugget here that needs saving. The boat is currently sitting on a farm in the B.O.I.’s and I imagine could be acquired for a modest sum.Even if you aren’t ready for a project – can we not find a suitable home for her until the right person comes along. You would struggle to find a more original classic of her era.

Also keen to learn more about her past, there are a few big gap in time that need filling 🙂

Jan 2015 WW Story

12-10-2021 Update – Cameron Pollard sent in the photo below of Iorana hauled on Waitangi slipway. The photo was posted on fb by Guy Ross Thorburn who said she was owned by his grandfather under the Stella name. Update unknown, possibly late 1970’s? This photo would have to be a good incentive for someone considering taking on the restoration. She is certainly a looker.

25-01-2022 Update ex Neil Hammond (potential next owner) who has advised that Stella was unfortunately blown off her props in that storm that hit northland a week ago. Hylton Edmonds kindly had a look at her for Neil to check on the damage. His assessment was that she is now too far gone to be able to realistically save. I very sad end to an old girl on her 100th birthday.

PIRATE – A Peek Down Below + 4sale

Photo below ex Greg Philpott, of Pirate next to the Deeming’s boat shed at Tapu Point across the water from Opua. 

PIRATE – A Peek Down Below

Unless you are a Warkworth river rat, mooching around the upper reaches of the Mahurangi Harbour you wouldn’t have seen much of the stunning 1939 46’ launch – Pirate. Launched in 1939 at Matauwhi Bay in Russell, Bay of Islands, designed and built by Leon Warne. She has spent a large chunk of the last 18 years berthed alongside the old Cement Works. She always makes an appearance over the Mahurangi Regatta weekend and is one of those boats that just look right from any angle.

Pirate is constructed in full length kauri carvel plank and has twin Ford 6 cylinder 100HP diesel engines.

Pirate has an interesting provenance having been built for a German wool buyer (Otto Sommer), commissioned by the NZ Navy in World War II and used in degaussing operations, and subsequently in 1944, became Auckland’s second Police launch, replacing Tirimoana. Later she was a well known big-game fishing boat in the North, hosting among others Lord Mountbatten, who signed the Log Book. 

She is a fine example of a classic launch restored and cared for by passionate owners (18 yrs), these owners have just made the hard decision that it is time to pass Pirate onto her next custodian – so woodys, this is a unique opportunity to own a classic wooden boat of the caliber of Pirate.
Expressions of interest should be directed to BUT – do not hang back, boats of Pirates size, presentation and provenance find new owners very quickly

 RSVP TODAY – Boat name & appox. # attending