Little Tasman Restoration

Click Image To View Video


We followed the refit of the 26′ Colin Wild 1925 built launch – Little Tasman extensively on WW, links below will give you a great insight into the project undertaken by Colin Brown and Josh Hawke at the Omaha Yard.

The other day I uncovered a very cool video put together by Kauri Classics that gives us an overview of the project.

Post re-launching Little Tasman was relocated to her new home in Wellington.





Paul Newell sent me the above photo of a small 20ft launch, named Carolyn,  he owned for about 20 years. Paul purchased her in the late 70s from Don Garner of Onehunga who had purchased the launch Little Tasman and was in the early stages of restoring her when he became ill and passed away. 

Carolyn was powered by a Ford Consul petrol engine which Paul removed and fitted a BMC Captain diesel. There was a log book on board which said she was built by Lanes of Panmure for a Mr Wells, a City Councillor of Panmure. 

Paul sold Carolyn in the late 1990’s when he purchased the McGeady built launch Arohanui. Paul saw Carolyn a few years later in very run down condition.

Other than sharing the photo with us, Paul’s primary reason for contacting WW is to enquire if she is still around today? 

Any woodys able to help out with intel?

Welly Woodys








Little Tasman

Welly Woodys

Rob Uivel has been promising me some photos of his recently re-furbished 36′, 1928 Joe Slattery launch Mataroa  for some time, well last weekend the Wellington weather gods smiled & delivered up a near perfect day for a classic woody launch cruise – in the photos above we see Mataroa joined by Waiata (32′, 1913 built by David Reid), both boats had a jaunt around the inner harbour, finally anchoring and rafting up in Oriental Bay. After a pleasant swim and lounge around while heading home they spotted Little Tasman coming out of Clyde Quay marina. Fantastic to have the 3 beautiful classic’s together. All 3 woodys have been featured extensively on ww & you can see / read more on them by using the ww search box.

REMEMBER: This Sundays CYA Classic Woody Launch Parade & Riverhead Hotel Cruise. Non CYA boats welcome. RSVP (boat name & approx. crew numbers) to Angus Rogers    rsvp email link  Scroll down 2 ww posts to see details 😉

Included also below are photos of Prima Donna, which Rob feels bears some resemblance to an old Auckland boat called All Black.

27-02-2017 photo below of All Black dated 1910 ex Maxwell Uivel


Little Tasman Moves South After 91 years in Auckland Waters






Little Tasman Moves South After 91 years in Auckland Waters

Late November 2016 saw a part of Auckland’s maritime heritage leave our waters & head to her new home in Wellington.  The 1925 Colin Wild built launch Little Tasman has graced the waters of the Waitemata for approx. 91 year. While Auckland’s loss is undoubtedly Wellington’s gain, she is in good& I’m sure will return home one day – they all do 🙂
Her restoration has been well documented on ww so to view/read more on her – type her name in the ww search panel.

The montage of photos above are from numerous cameras, including Ken Ricketts, who also emailed me the photo of her below, in Mansion House Bay, taken in 1936 by Tudor Collins, courtesy Auckland Museum, for comparison of then & now. A wonderful restoration at the hands of Colin Brown & son-in-law Josh.


Little Tasman Out Of The Shed & Re-launched


Little Tasman Out Of The Shed – relaunched

Since last Thursday my mobile has been running hot with woodys letting me know that the 26′ 1925 Colin Wild built launch Little Tasman had left boat builder Colin Brown’s Omaha shed & was now on the hard at Sandspit, for her final touches. ww has been following Little Tasman since back in early 2012 when Mark Edmonds spotted her on a section in Pt. Wells.
There have been numerous ww posts recording her progress, links below. ww thanks Mark Edmonds, Harold Kidd, Jason Prew, Bruce Pullman, Ken Ricketts & Russell Ward for your input & photos.
The story started in April 2015 when Little Tasman was bought by a new owner, fast forward to July 2015 & she is safely ensconced in Colin Brown’s shed, under going a serious restoration.
Ken Ricketts was on hand last week to record the journey to Sandspit & take a few hardstand photos. Unfortunately the conditions were not perfect for photography, but I have tried to digitally enhance them – see below. The photos above were taken by Steve Horsley the next day when conditions were better, but only shot on an earlier model iPhone.

ww understands that Little Tasman’s owner is Wellington based so post sea trials Little Tasman will be heading south 😦

The photos below were taken on Saturday by Jason Prew – again dodgy conditions


23-09-2016 Update – Re-launched. Photos below by Dave Walker, email to me by Ken Ricketts.

In the ‘tractor’ photo below, just look at that hull, Colin Wild knew how to build a pretty boat – whether it was 26′ or 46′ 🙂







Little Tasman



shed photos & info ex Ken Ricketts. Pt Wells photo ex Mark Edmonds. details ex Harold Kidd. edited a lot by Alan H

Back in early March Ken Ricketts dropped in to see artisan boat builder Colin Brown at his Omaha yard. Colin & side kick, Josh, have been restoring the rather pretty 26′ Colin Wild launch Little Tasman.  She was named Tasman when built in 1925 for Albert Spencer & changed her name to Little Tasman in 1927 when the bigger Tasman (photo included below) was launched by the same owner/builder. Its said she that LT was a prototype / test boat – Mr Spencer was not short of a few pennies 😉

It is such good news to see whats happening to Little Tasman as she sat on a front lawn at Pt. Wells for a number of years (photo below) & her future was at risk.

Little Tasman at Pt Wells

In Harold Kidd’s words Little Tasman is ‘pure class’ & whats happening in Colin’s shed is also pure class  – the man is one of the best classic friendly tradies out there.

You will see in the above photos that she now has a brand new 4 cyl Nanni 38 hp diesel in place, which should give her a top speed of around 10 knots, with a cruising speed, with her 2 to 1 reduction gear, of around 7 knots. Will be interesting to see her performance as the Nanni is a lot lighter than the old 6 cyl Ford diesel it is replacing.

Her restoration has seen most of her ribs replaced, a full recaulk (no splining), work on the forepeak & bow, a new dodger, very faithfully copied from the original & a full interior refit & partial redesign of the interior layout, for greater space use, & practicality.
Steering will be from the front of the tram top, as it was before, where there will be a large hatch fitted, to the newly replaced, as original, T & G cabin top. Check out the stern photo, classic Colin Wild on show there 🙂

Launch date is fast approaching so we will update on the event.

Read more on her past here

Below is a photo of Tasman that I took a few years ago in Sullivans Bay. She is stunner & on a lot of woodys bucket list.

Tasman @ Sullivans Bay

30-06-2016 – Another great photo update from Ken R of Little Tasman’s restoration at Colin Brown’s yard. Remember click on photos to enlarge 😉

Upper Harbour Power Boat Racing

Upper Harbour Power Boat Racing
photo ex Historic NZ Photos

I may have posted this before, but do not think so, there are a lot of similar images around from c.1930’s of motorboats moored to watch a power boat regatta held in the upper reaches of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.

Russell Ward commented that the launch on the left is Little Tasman, which given how good-looking she is would have to be correct.

Anyone able to ID the launch on the right & supply some details on the wee racer Peggy?

12-01-2016 Harold Kidd Input

It’s pretty clear to me that this pic was taken at the NZPBA Regatta at the Whau Creek/River on Saturday 18th February 1928. TASMAN was an entrant in the race for “fast cruisers” and PEGGY in the Burns Gold Cup for outboards.
The starters in the fast cruisers race were TARUA (scr), TASMAN (3m), ROMANCE II (5m 45s) and LADY MARGARET (8m40s). TARUA carrying number 18 won from TASMAN carrying 82. I think it’s possible the mystery launch in the above image is TARUA (photo below). While the hull details in the above image generally match, the strake forward is absent and she’s painted quite differently. What do you guys reckon?
If not TARUA then she’s a spectator launch and there’s no record of those for this event.

Little Tasman Gets Some Serious TLC

Little Tasman Gets Some Serious TLC

photos above ex Ken Ricketts

Today’s post is the 26′, 1925 Colin Wild designed / built Little Tasman, who until recently had been hiding under a trap at Point Wells. Now she is tucked away in boat builder Colin Brown’s shed at Omaha & getting a major fright 🙂
I love it when we see an old girl undergoing this degree of restoration – well done the new owner. I know there will be several woodys very happy to see today’s post.
Nathan – that Kawau race fleet is starting to look healthy, you & Jason P need to shake a leg if you want to be on the start line 🙂
Lots more on Little Tasman here

Pt Wells photos below

Quite a wee speedster in her day

Little Tasman

details from Russell Ward

Russell was the bearer of some great news last week – the Colin Wild built Little Tasman, has found a new owner. Over the last few years numerious woodys have sent me photos of Little Tasman hauled out at Point Wells. I’m told a while ago a 4sale sign appeared, now I wish I had know – there are a few woodys out there that would have snapped up a Colin Wild built launch with the provenance that LT has. Wild built her for Albert Spencer & she was called Tasman & was a trial for his next (larger) boat also called Tasman so #1 then became Little Tasman. In the sepia photo above she looks to have a good turn of speed – I don’t imagine Albert Spencer would not have been chugging around the harbour at 7 knots 🙂

I’ll let Russell time his tale about Little Tasman.

“My memories of her go back to the mid ‘60s when all was Radio Hauraki, psychedelia, Beach Boys, Strolling Bones and Beatles. Oh and sheilas. Boats were somewhere in there and Bon Accord harbour was the stage. Mansion House was still privately run and the authorities didn’t know about the “Snake Pit”. There were usually several mullet boats nosed into the beach and crews in varying stages of recovery/rehydration. You couldn’t get your anchor to hold reliably in the bay because of all the bottles on the bottom!

The Kawau Yacht Club was pretty moribund, although the AMYC were making preliminaries to taking it on (my old man was on the committee of AMYC) so we had great hopes.
Mrs Lidgard was in residence, Skip Lawler had the Fairmile Ngaroma alongside the wharf for a while, and the Comettis had a fantastic garden. My potted history of the Christmas holidays.

The Ward family (no relation) had Little Tasman at that time and it was party time. If I said that one of the mullet  boats that had rafted alongside one memorable noisy night, was pushing off at just before sunrise because “they didn’t want to get us mulletties a bad name”, you get the picture.

But enough of that (it was just to get the old salts of Cobweb Corner reminiscing about their misspent youths). I have always been keen on machinery and when Harold Kidd mentioned that Little Tasman had a Stearns, I wondered what sort of engine they made. No pictures in my books. It was pretty obvious that there must have been classy because they were going into classy boats. American of course. And Stearns Knight made sleeve valve engines for their cars, the assumption that there was a connection was there. But no, no relation.

I contacted an old colleague in the US to see what he could find. And Richard Durgee sent me a raft of pics and adverts (refer below). They are 1924 and 26 so just right timing. I am fascinated that they have an amazingly modern head. Prod rod of course and the combustion chamber apparently in the piston.  You remember –what the Chrysler invented in the ‘70s for the Chrysler Hemi! Nuthin’ new out there, son. ’S all been dun before apart from nukes. Most marine engines were side valve –slower flame propagation and plenty of low down torque”.

Remember click image to enlarge

Tasman / Little Tasman

Tasman / Little Tasman (Mystery Launch 01/07)

Time for a little quiz – who can ID this launch.

The answer is Little Tasman

To quote Harold Kidd – it’s the first TASMAN, a 26 footer built by Colin Wild for Albert Spencer in December 1925.
She was later known as “Little Tasman” . In the photo she is honking along in 1927 with her Stearns bellowing.

An update on Little Tasman

CYA member Bruce Pullan (MV Ann Michelle) have sent me a later photo of Little Tasman, Bruce received this from the then owner when she was for sale a few years ago on trademe. She was at Kawau at time and not running. The owner advised that he was going to take it out of the water back at the mainland if it did not sell.
Bruce first came across Little Tasman on the Manukau during the 1970s (late he thinks) she was owned by Don Garner who was the Commodore of the Manukau Cruising Club at the time. The Manukau Cruising Club was still racing launches during the 1970s.

Here she is in Feb 2012 hauled out at Pt Wells. Photo by CYA member Mark Edmonds

Photo below from Ken Ricketts – Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island – Xmas 1948. Showing Little Tasman.