A Recount Of Our Classic Wooden Craft DNA 

CLICK The Headline – Grace Under Sail to view

A Recount Of Our Classic Wooden Craft DNA 

Recently I was sent a link to an article that appeared in the New Zealand Geographic magazine back in 2000 – in fact issue 45 , Jan-March. The article was headlined – GRACE UNDER FIRE, written by Vaughan Yarwood with supporting photos from the late Henry Winkelmann and more recent photos ex Hamish Ross and Paul Gillbert.

The stars of the article is the 42’ 1908 Logan built gaff rigged cutter – Rawene, and her then skipper Russell Brooke.

This is a brilliant insight into the early days of boating in and around Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, I’m sure there will be some mix ups re dates, skipper/craft names but overall we get to see and read the history of these magnificent craft, a lot of which are still sailing today.

Have a read, its only 10>15 minutes, longer if if you linger over the photos 🙂  – even a die-hard motorboat owner like myself found it a fascinating read.

Lipton Cup – 100th Anniversary – Photo Gallery

Lipton Cup – 100th Anniversary – Photo Gallery

Following on from yesterdays teaser and results oops – I’m a launch person wont know an L Mullet boat from an H Mullet boat – no one died, its a new day, we move on.The winner of the actual Lipton Cup, hosted by the Ponsonby Cruising Club  – L division (22’) was Orion, 2nd went to Limited Edition, with Tamerau 3rd.The H division winner was Corona. As of Sunday night there were no results posted on the PCC website – so at some stage soon 🙂 go there for details.

There are lots of tales around how the PCC obtained the magnificent trophy, which was crafted by the same jewellers as the Americas Cup – you can read more about the history of the cup here https://www.pcc.org.nz/history

I was land based, using a long lens so some are a little fuzzy, but you get the vibe of the day. Sorry if your boats missing – drop me an email and I’ll check the photos, took lots, but some had other boats in the background etc. As always click on photos to enlarge.

Good to see Geoff Bagnall floating around on his launch, must have escaped Gisborne for the weekend 😉 
Photos below ex Don MacLeod

The Start
Rounding The Second Mark
Fleet Leaders Second Mark – Tamatea > Orion > Tamerau > Limited Edition

Name The Launch

Name The Launch

Todays woody shouldn’t be too hard to name, from Lew Redwood’s fb we know that it was owned by Edward Bullmore and in the photo which is dated 1993, she is afloat on Lake Tarawera. And then there’s those rather distinctive ‘decorations’.

So woodys – boat name, builder, year ? The Drake brothers will be able to enlighten us I’m sure.

Ngahere L34

Have been contacted by Jonathan Edmeades whose grandfather – Graham Cole, owned Ngahere back in 1947/48. On a WW story, there is mention that she is now owned by Chris Harris, Jonathan would love to contact Chris and if possible, view the yacht. Could anyone that knows Chris email me his contact details  – Jason Prew? (thanks JP – passed on) waitematawoodys@gmail.com

And remember woodys – on Saturday May 1st we have the 100th birthday of the Lipton Cup. Details below

Ngahere L34

Ngahere 5022

Ngahere 4021

Ngahere 2019

The mullet boat Ngahere was built in 1938 by the Graham Bros. of Otahuhu. Baden Pascoe believes that she may possibly been named Zamira (L 34) when built or renamed. She was owned by Billy Matthews for many years. Baden’s father, Howard, bought her in a rundown state in the 1980’s and replaced several ribs and had her in very tidy condition. Her mast was cut down to its original length and Frank Warnock supplied new sails. Howard sailed her to Auckland for several Lipton Cups and AAR events.
Baden commented that Howard loved racing centre board boats and while Ngahere was never a champion boat, under Howard’s command she performed well at all of these events.
In the top photo we see – Howard Pascoe, Baden Pascoe, Owen Bray, Keven Pascoe, Puka (Les) Pascoe.
Any of the rag and stick woodys able to tell us more about Ngahere?
Update 1 ex Simon Smith – photo below of Ngahere (today 19-04-2020) at The Slipway, Milford.
Update 2 – Photos below sent in by Jason Prew (The Slipway) and owner, Chris Harris
Update 3 – Harold Kidd Input – NGAHERE was built by J Graham at Otahuhu for his son Scott Graham in late 1939 as ZAMIRA the Russian for “peace”. Because of the war, she didn’t do much racing. Her first race appears to have been at the Tamaki Yacht Club on 13th December 1940 followed by the Lipton Cup representing the Otahuhu Sailing Club on 25th January 1941 (3rd) then the Anniversary Regatta when she was on scratch. It looks like Billy Matthews changed her name to NGAHERE around 1945.
21-04-2020 Input es Janet Watkins –With the 100th race for the Lipton Cup coming up I have been compiling a dossier on all the L Class and every Lipton Cup Race sailed over the century from old Club records, newspaper reports, magazines and sailors but there are still gaps.
Of Zamira / Ngahere I have this information. Zamira was built by Graham Bros Otahuhu and launched in 1938. She raced for the Lipton Cup in 1941-fin 3rd and in Jan 1946. Her name was changed in late 1946 to Ngahere and she raced as Ngahere for the Lipton Cup in Dec 1946, ’53,’54,’58,’61,’62,’63. (There were 2 Lipton Cup races in 1946 being of 2 seasons but none in 1947) She was still reg. with PCC 1966 & ’72. In the 1970’s she was reported to be at Coromandel. From WW I now know she was bought by Howard Pascoe in rundown state 1980’s, new ribs and rig fitted. Howard sailed her to AK for Lipton Cup race/s. I have yet to locate all the entry and race details for the 1970’s & 80’s – can anyone help?Now looking spruce in Milford Marina and owned by Chris Harris. (Thank you WW) Will she be joining us for the big Lipton Cup Centennial, hopefully, in March 2021? Unfortunately, the Lockdown stopped the sailing of the 99th Lipton Cup which the Ponsonby Cruising Club is waiting to reschedule!!Who was the original owner? When did Billy Matthews own her? Who were the owners and skippers during the Lipton Cup races?

21-04-2020 Harold Kidd Update – The 1938 date is a canard gleaned from “Mullet Boats ‘n Quotes” at page 46. Newspaper reports of the time say she was under construction by J. Graham of Otahuhu for his son Scott Graham in September 1939. Scott Graham was her original owner and raced her until the 1941 Lipton Cup when she was described as “new” and then in the Anniversary Regatta a week or so later.
Billy Matthews was shown as owner in the APYMBA records for 1946.
Graham Cole of Karaka Bay and L Good owned her in 1946. They sold to Ross Weaver of Whangarei c1948.S Hammond of Regina St Grey Lynn owned her in 1952. S Daniels of Webber St Grey Lynn in 1953. M Aitken of Mt Roskill in 1973. Ray Esdale Northcote c1980 followed by Howard Pascoe of course.

22-04-2020 – Robin Elliott Input – Ah … Mullet Boats N Quotes. Duck soup.

I don’t think she actually went into the water until some time in 1940, hence the ‘new’ tag in the 1941 Lipton Cup Report. I have an unconfirmed note that J. Graham and S. Graham were respectively the father and brother of Mark Graham the Kiwi rugby League Player – but he was not born until 1955, so I am not sure.

Regatta Programmes:
Billy Matthews entered her as Zamira in the 1946 Anniversary regatta, she came 6th across the line from 12 starters. He entered her as Ngahere in the 1947 Regatta so the name change was ‘possibly’ from the start of the 1946/47 season although he could have changed the name the day before the placed his regatta entry in January 1947. 🙂
Messrs Cole & Good enter her in the 1948 and 1949 Regattas, R. Weaver in the 1950 Regatta.

No regatta mentions until S. Hammond enters her in the 1953 and 1954 AAR
Nothing until 1961 AAR when entered by ‘Naylor, and then 1962, 1963 by N.E. ‘Taylor’

Other Registered owners were : K.W. Skinner, Wharf Rd, Herne Bay 1955+?; R.E.(N.E.?) Naylor, Hauraki St, Birkenhead 1960?/63+?; Munro 1966+?; M. O’Brien, Cameron St Ponsonby 1966+?; M.C. Chitty, East Coast Rd Browns Bay. 1968+?; H.L. Whitcombe, Onewa Rd Northcote 1970+?; M. Aitken, Tory St, Mt Roskill 1973+?

After that, darkness descends as the Auckland Yachting Assn stopped publishing their year books (or rather no one has given me anything after 1973.)

Nor’ East + Lipton Cup + CYA Events



The above photo of the launch Nor’ East appeared via Lew Redwood on the NZ Cars, Boats etc. face book page. Its thought the photo was taken in the 1970’s.

I could be very wrong but to my eyes she looks to be leaving Milford Creek, Auckland.

What do we know about Nor’ East?

Input from Kevin Cassidy – The photo of Nor ‘East is from the cover of Seaspray mag in early 60’s with the caption Nor ‘East maiden voyage. She was built by Allen Williams at Milford creek.

97th Lipton Cup

Popped over to Westhaven to get some fuel yesterday afternoon & by chance caught the end of the 97th Lipton Cup, Mullet boat race (details below*). Not sure of the winner so will leave that announcement to the host club – the ‘Royal’ Ponsonby Cruising Club. 

A nice breeze saw them scooting along at a good turn of speed.  A selection of the boats below (ex iphone & blown up, so a little grainy)

*The Lipton Cup is NZ yachting oldest competed for trophy that is sailed for in 22ft (6.7mt) L Class yachts which are commonly referred to as Mullet Boats. Some of the race fleet are now over 100 years old and are still very competitive.


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A Message for CYA Members

Next weekend is a double banger for CYA launch owners – on Saturday (24th) there is the annual Cake Day & Round Rangi Yacht Race. The day ends with a raft-up in Islington Bay, where along with lots of refreshing fizzy drinks, there is a cake competition (not compulsory but a lot of fun). The gathering is a great opportunity for CYA launch owners to mix & mingle with the rag & stick boys.

Then on Sunday (25th) we have a lunch cruise up to the Riverhead Hotel – these days are brilliant classic outings – details on the CYA website http://classicyacht.org.nz



If you are doing the trip (I will be) – be a good lad & follow the leader up the creek. The skipper of the plastic boat below, who shall remain nameless, but steers very big commercial vessels for a living, last weekend ignored the channel & spent a long night on the mud flats 🙂



A Couple of Mulletties – Sailing Sunday


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A Couple of Mulletties – Sailing Sunday

The 2 photos above were sent in by Kevin Cassidy (Mulletty Mick) via Gill Bouzaid. The top one is of Bob Ewing’s Buona Sera in the 1969 Lipton Cup & lower photo is of Ron Copeland’s Taotane at Russell, New Years Day 1968.

In the comments section of ww yesterday, June Kendall was asking what became of her fathers mulletty – Celox, which he co-owned in the 1920’s >30’s. It was reported on ww that back in Feb 2015 she had sunk in the Bay of Islands & while salvaged her owner was offering her ‘free to a good home’ – June   was wondering what became of the yacht & if the she was still in Opua? So woodys – can anyone help out with an update?
ww story on Celox here https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/02/01/celox-sos/

Building the Mullet boat ‘Tamatea’ by Chris McMullen

Tamatea 17

1961 – the build begins @ 67 Waiatarua Road, Remuera

Tamatea 22

Tamatea 1

Tamatea 29


Building the 22’ Mullet boat ‘Tamatea’ – Sailing Sunday

photos & story by Chris McMullen. edited by Alan H

After Chris McMullen saw last weeks ww story on ‘Tamariki’ he contacted me re sharing his ‘Tamatea’ photos that had been languishing in an album kept for him by his dear mother, Vera McMullen. I couldn’t let Chris escape with just sending the photos to me, so I asked him (nicely) to write us a story. Now that’s something he is always a tad hesitant to do, why I don’t know he tells a good yarn. But being the great guy he is, he put pen to paper, in doing so Chris commented that he hoped that bringing these photos into the daylight may encourage others to share their boating or boat building history on waitamatawoodys.

Below is Chris’s story on the building, launch & sailing of the 22′ mullet boat Tamatea. Remember you can enlarge photos by clicking on them 😉

“In the early 1960’s I was apprenticed to boat builder, Morrie Palmer who was also an enthusiastic Mullet boat sailor. Sailing, cruising and Mullet boats were the conversation most lunch breaks.
Morrie had in mind to build a 22ft Mullet boat but family and business commitments at the time, delayed his plans. He had a new steel centre board plate, a profile plan and the offsets of a design for a hull that was supposed to be the Charlie Colling’s design ‘Tamariki’. I am not sure how he got these offsets but the original lines plan were in safe keeping at the R.N.Z.Y.S and not available to anyone at the time.

Morrie encouraged me to build this design and gave me his centre board plate and loaned me the offsets. I managed to scrounge some primitive basic machinery and set out to build the boat. As an 18 year old apprentice boatbuilder I had no money, no car and no girl friend but I was full of enthusiasm and wanted to go sailing. And yes, I had read Johnny Wray’s book. “South Seas Vagabonds” many times.
The Tamatea was built in my parent’s back yard at 67 Waiatarua Rd Remuera. These days such a project would not be possible due to the noise regulation’s but in the early 1960’s people were remarkably tolerant and it was not unusual to see half built boats on people’s quarter acre sections.

 Riveting of Tamatea at night was not really fair on the neighbours. I got one complaint by working too late. I had to enlist my friends to back up the nails with a dolly. If they came late, we worked late. I was desperate to get it done. Another source of irritation was my Fathers Desoutter electric drill. It had no suppressor and affected the people who had TV’s. I was the neighbour from Hell for a while.

Now to the photos.

The photos feature some of my friends who helped. Recognised in the photos are
John Jennings, Des Laery, Ken Wilding, Murray Napier, sorry but I can’t remember all the names but Alan Bell and Neil Gillard would have been there. In the dinghy sculling is ‘Snow’ (Neville Stacey) who was / is a well known helpful character; he loved boats and spent much of his time at the ‘Okahu Bay’ hardstand.
The young man painting the Tamatea in the colour picture is the late John Eastwood. In the same image but in the cockpit is a another young man, John Court, also since deceased. My Model A truck alongside the boat, used as a work bench. The sailing cockpit shot shows Ken Jaspers and with me on the helm. These three guys and John MacDonald built and loaned me gear and helped finish the boat. I guess this was the year after she was launched. I was grateful for their help as I could not afford to run the boat myself at that time.  

You may notice in some of the images, the concrete blocks on the roof of the shed. These allowed me to force rocker (bend) into the keel using a timber prop under the rafters, their weight prevented the roof lifting. Looking at it now, I am lucky the lot never collapsed on top of me.

I never lofted the hull; I just made the temporary frames (moulds) direct from the offsets and cut the plank rabbet’s (rebate) by eye using battens.
The hull was planked with kauri over temporary frames or moulds. The planks were tapered towards the ends like a wooden barrel. The garboard plank was steamed but most was bent cold and edge set. I broke some planks! They should have all been steamed but with my primitive steam box it would have taken too long and I was in a hurry and wanted to go sailing.  
The short planks left out in some of the photos are called stealers and have to be spiled. I remember the frustration of not having a thin plank to use for a spiling batten. I could have borrowed one from my boss but with no car or trailer, how could I get it from Devonport to Remuera on a motorbike?
The ribs were Tanekaha, all steamed and held with riveted copper nails. The centreboard case was demolition kauri held to the keel with galvanised bolts.

Some of the images show the most distinctive feature of a proper Mullet boat – the hollow sections aft and the deep built down deadwood. The boats are a built to certain design and scantling rules.

Tamatea was transported to the water using a trailer kindly loaned by Sandy Sands of Sea Craft and towed by a neighbour Mr Picket with his (at the time) huge truck. A dangerous load? Well maybe, but we got there!

Tamatea was the last planked 22 foot Mullet boat.

My boss, Morrie Palmer forced change to the class rules by building “Controversy” using 3 diagonal layers of ¼” kauri over stringers instead of carvel planking caulked over ribs. Now Mullet boats can now be built in G.R.P.

I was about 18 when I built Tamatea, she was rather amateur built as I was a second year apprentice and although, I thought I knew it all, I was very green. She was built under difficult conditions almost in the open and exposed to the weather, I had very primitive tools and no transport or money to purchase anything other than what went into the boat. Later, I replaced a damaged plank in the “Contessa” built by Cal Crooks and sailed on the”Patiri”built by Bob Harkin. Both these Mullet boats were beautifully built by apprentice boat builders but to be fair, they were older and more experienced than me.

I built the Tamatea for cruising and she was a raised deck Mullet boat. She was very spartan when launched. Second hand sails and a poor rig. We cruised north to Whangaroa the first season but some time later lost the first mast. Insurance paid Baileys to build a new box section oregon mast and my new crew of engineers made all new mast fitting and a set of backstay levers. Their efforts made a huge improvement to the yacht.
Leo Bouzaid (‘Sails & Covers’) built a new dacron mainsail and gave me a year to pay. That was in April 1962 I still have the original invoice for 126 Pounds!

I/we sailed in the Lipton Cup but with poor results. Since then the raised deck has been cut down to a conventional sheer and she has a modern rig. Sailed by others she has won the Lipton Cup a number of times.

Further – looking back to the early 1960’s to give my story some context :-
• I crossed the harbour every day usually on a steam ferry.
• There was six o’clock closing at all bars.
• There were few restaurants where you could buy a drink with your meal.
• A quart bottle of beer cost 2 shilling and sixpence or 3 shillings and sixpence at the   Mansion House, Kawau Island in ‘The Snake Pit’ sly grog bar.
• Many cruising boats carried a rifle on board.
• There were no imports except for essential industries or you could apply for special licence but it would be most likely declined. You could only buy a new car if you had overseas funds.
• A few importers had import licence and charged accordingly.
• There was death duties and high tax.
• There was black and white poor quality TV and manual calculators.
• There were No mobile phones.
• No double insulated power tools.
• No  epoxy  Glue.
• No GRP boats and very few synthetic sails
• No moorings in Matiatia.
• No marinas or travelift’s
• Most pleasure boats were hauled out for the winter.
• There were NO IMPORTED BOATS and you could buy kauri so wooden boat building was a competitive but viable business.”


Marie – A call for help – Sailing Sunday

MARIE – A Call for help
photos from PapersPast – NZ Herald

There are very few yachts that so clearly reflect the essence of our kiwi yachting roots, that evoke the memory of days gone by & that rekindle the desire to relive ones past as does the ‘Mullety’ . There iconic yachts are unique in that even today there is a strong active fleet & they are still competitively sailed. The Lipton Cup is one of the events on the sailing calendar & in 2012 will celebrates its centenary.

The purpose of todays post is to plant a seed in the minds of our classic boating community, that hopefully will result in this rather famous mullet boat being on the start line of the 100th Lipton Cup.
How will this happen?  by someone – an individual, a group of enthusiasts & or a corporate sponsor stepping up to the mark & taking custodianship of Marie. Lets be very clear, we are looking for a genuine restorer no dreamers, no gunners i.e. “I was gunner do it but now its in the shed”.

I’ll let Harold Kidd tell her story

“Errol Fensom has done a great deal to foster and preserve old mullet boats. He still owns the 24 footer MARERE (I1) but, some years ago rescued the 22 footer MARIE (L2) and preserved her for restoration.
Errol reckons it’s time to pass MARIE on to an energetic restorer or syndicate of restorers, so she’s available for free to a good home.
Her history is impeccable.
Roy Lidgard built her in 1918 on his return from WW1. He was working at Lane Motor Boat Co at the time and built her in their yard in Mechanics Bay. She was an instant success, eventually winning the Lipton Cup 5 times, 1923-5 and 1930-1. Her owners over the years have included Roy, Fred and Vic Lidgard, Ashton and Berridge Spencer, Milton Wood, Gordon Kells, L.R. Matthews and R.H. Wood, A.L. Barker and several others more recently, all sounding like a Who’s Who of Auckland yachting.
She’s had a strake or two added and the centreboard removed, although the case remains. A lead deadwood has been added of considerable weight and that goes with the yacht, almost enough to recast and provide the 1 ton of internal ballast required by the Restrictions, usually a major outlay. There is no rig.

This is a great opportunity to restore an authentic and important 22ft mullet boat in time for the centennial Lipton Cup race in 2021 which the Ponsonby Cruising Club will most certainly promote widely.

Contact Harold Kidd or Alan Houghton for more information.”

Harold@hklaw.co.nz      or     waitematawoodys@gmail.com


As always ww is interested in more photos & details so if you have any – send them in.

Update & photo from Dennis Rule
I believe I owned this boat in the early 1970’s, approx. 1973 – 1978, although she was then named Vagabond. I was told by her previous owner that she was Marie and the racing history he supplied supported that theory. She was certainly relatively narrow in the beam which I believe was a point of difference in Marie. She had been built up, cabinised, and her rig shortened by then and had a Ford 100E petrol engine with no reverse. The centrecase leaked like a sieve (recall that 1,000 pumps at a pint a stroke was the daily routine when sailing her). I shudder to think that I took my wife and two infants all over the Gulf in her in that condition with floorboards often floating. When I sold her to buy a Southerly 23 I thought she was a gonner, so it is fantastic to know she may have another chance.. I kept her on a mooring at Bucklands Beach (the pics are at BBYC hardstand).
Incidentally my brother Arnold Rule and his son Alan have owned the 26′ mulletty Bluestreak since 1973. I believe there is a story there.
I would love to know if the boat I owned is the Marie.