Te Kouma Woody Mooching






Dennis Macconaghie sent in the above collection of photos from Te Kouma Harbour. Dennis had just finished a charter and in his words ‘did a quick flick around the harbour to take a few picks of some local woodys’. Many thanks Dennis also good to see what’s wintering on the Coromandel side.
I have to say the all white double-ender (1st photo) is very salty – anyone able to enlighten us more on her?
Input from Jim Lott
The ketch shown in the photos is Aorangi II, a Bert Woollacott 34 ft design (Ladybird?). She was built by Ron Evans who lived at Bucklands Beach out of full length kauri planks over frames, launched late 60’s. From about 1977 until 2017 she was owned by AAH (Hubert) Schulte of Howick and berthed at HM Bay. Around 1980 the original Kelvin engine was replaced with a Yanmar and centre line shaft.
Always look forward to getting the email from WoodenBoat advising my digital copy of WB is available for download – so pleased to see James Dreyer’s Laughing Lady has made the front cover of the July/August issue – well done James and everyone that rubbed up against her during her restoration.
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WCW Riverhead June2020
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Best Kiwi Woody Boating Photos Of Summer



Best Woody Boating Photos Of Summer

The above photos showing James & Michael Dreyer’s recently relaunched  33’ 1949 Luders designed motorboat – Laughing Lady & Jason Prew’s 1904 Arch Logan gaff rigger- Wairaki – are my 2 favourite photos from this summer. They capture what classic kiwi wooden boating is all about – fun, friendship & fraternity. 

The rebirth of these woodys would not have happened without people like Jason & James & the dozens of talented, enthusiastic craftspeople & helpers that rubbed up against the projects. And amazingly both of the guys have other classic woody projects on the go – Jason is restoring (rebuilding) the 1925 Dick Lang motor launch – My Girl. And James has a Rhodes 33 sloop in restoration in the USA, that hopefully will makes its way down under one day. In the meantime he gets his sailing fix from a 1937, 31’ Yankee One Design – made of kauri here in NZ, that he co-owns with his dad, Barry.

If your interested in viewing the restoration of LL or Wairiki, just search they name in the WW search box. 

  At the other end of the scale below is a short video on the 1910 Camper & Nicholson 162’ classic super yacht – Orion of the Seas, for sale in Italy. It is just magnificent but her maintenance budget would be bigger than the GDP of a lot of African nations. Enjoy the varnish porn. Tomorrow I’ll share with you my trip aboard Trinidad from Whangaroa, down the west coast of NZ to Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton.



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Yesterday, I was privileged to join a small group of friends of the extended Dreyer family at Omaha wharf to celebrate the re-launching of Laughing Lady, owned by brothers James & Michael.
 It’s hard to believe it was over 4 years ago that I first talked to James about the purchase of Laughing Lady in the USA & where would be a good home for her during her restoration. Given James overseas work schedule & desire to be hands on with the project, there really was only one option – the Whangateau boat yard, so that was where she went, just under 4 years ago.
With projects of this size & standard – the end result is always a reflection of the number & calibre of people that have ‘rubbed-up-against’ the vessel, in LL’s case there have been a lot – from Pam, George, James & an army of friends & family. As time ticked on & a re-launch date was set, more wooden boat artisans were roped in. Having seen LL in the flesh, the photos above do not do justice to the work that has been done on her, everyone should take a well deserved a bow.
I was very pleased to see that the project has been a restoration, not a rebuild, James & Michael have kept most things as close to ‘as-launched’ as possible – sure there is modern material & technology in play but its tucked away out of view – the GPS / nav unit is a perfect example, when not needed, it drops down out of sight – very James Bond.
Stunning boat, but the big question, where to keep her – anyone got a vacant boat shed for hire?
I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.
The old lady has had a lot of air time on WW – click the clinks below to view the process (top > bottom) – enjoy
This link will show you photos of her being re – floated https://www.facebook.com/287523138699/photos/rpp.287523138699/10155947222558700/?type=3&theater

Laughing Lady Getting Dressed


Laughing Lady Getting Dressed Photos

Todays ww post is a wee peek into the final stages of Laughing Lady’s restoration at the Whangateau boat yard. Photos ex James Dreyer’s ‘Seven Oceans Boatworks’ facebook page – click here to see more on the project https://www.facebook.com/sevenoceansboatworks/?pnref=lhc

In the last few days James has used the services of a good old fashioned master craftsman with experience in the hot rod movement to apply some of the finishing touches to LL.
Given the level of presentation that LL will have when launched one would have to wonder where her home will be – certainly not a swing mooring in the Tamaki River, probably a boat shed or maybe even one of the dry docks?

ww awaits details on the splash date, must be fast approaching 😉

30-12-2016 The original plans have just surfaced. Read more in comments section.


04-05-2017 – Owner James Dreyer hard at work at the Whangateau Boat shed.


Laughing Lady


A ‘new’ lady from the USA joins the NZ classic fleet. But first stop is the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard. Click any image to enlarge.

Luders built the motorboat Laughing Lady in Connecticut in 1949 as a day fishing boat for a wealthy American socialite. A few years later she sold it to David Gardiner, who considered himself the 16th Lord of Gardiners Island. The island has an interesting history. As Americas largest private island, It had been in the family ever since his ancestor, the English settler Lion Gardiner, bought it from the Montaukett Indians in 1639 for ”one large dog, one gun, some powder and shot, some rum and several blankets”. He also obtained a charter for the island from King Charles I of England. Captain Kidd once buried treasure there, and the family withstood several attacks by pirates. Gardiner used the Laughing Lady to commute from the Island to New York where he worked as a stockbroker and also across to the up market Hamptons to ferry his guests to the Island, including Jacqui Kennedy-Onassis. Before David Gardiner passed away in 2004 the boat was sold and transported to a yard in San Diego where it underwent significant restoration of the hull before the restoration eventually stalled.

Enter Kiwis, Michael & Katy his sister-in-law who have both worked in the yachting industry and found a love for old boats working as crew on the historic 142 foot Dutch built Feadship Istros and also crewing aboard Fife yachts in various classic yacht regattas around the Mediterranean. They were looking for a small-scale project of their own and found the Laughing Lady languishing in a yacht yard in San Diego last year. They made an offer and the boat was theirs. The boat was then loaded onto a cargo ship in Los Angeles and shipped to Tauranga in March 2014, then towed on a large trailer up to Whangateau in early April (refer photos above). After being shoehorned into the main shed at Whangateau Traditional Boat yard, work will now commence returning the lady back to her former glory.

Luders stopped making boats in the 1980’s but had a fine pedigree in boat building, pioneering hot molded construction and the use of plywood during WWII.  The yard built and designed, fast commuter yachts, Navy patrol boats, tugs, launches and racing yachts including the 1962 America’s Cup winner Weatherly.

Laughing Lady is 32 foot long and was originally powered by Packard straight 8’s, nowadays is powered by twin Volvo turbo diesels.

Built of double planked cedar and mahogany with oak framing and a unique hot molded cabin trunk, she still has the basin that was used for shaving on the way to work and cast bronze fish fighting chairs. The boat will be kept as original as possible, but they will add some modern navigational equipment and something to cook on for overnight trips. Aside from that there is a lot of wiring, wood working, plumbing, paint and varnish to be done before she is completed and back on the water and turning heads as a fishing boat on her new home – the Hauraki Gulf.

Waitematawoodys will follow the work her owners will be undertaking with the assistance of Pam & George at the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard.

This might be easier to read