Awatea @ Thames

Mystery Launch @ Thames

Awatea @ Thames

Check out the mud berth, these guys must get a few seasons out of their anti-fowl paint, 1/2 the day they are high & dry 😉

The above photo was sent in by Nathan Herbert & we have no details on the launch. Aside from the luggage rack on top of the cockpit roof , she is quite a pretty ship, in my eyes.

Anyone able to tells some more about the vessel?

Update – a collection of photos below from Nathan Herbert & Ken Ricketts from over the years – my question is – whats the current name of the launch, can a Thames woody confirm she is named ‘Awatea” ? (It is – thx Jason P)


Updated Details (ex Ken Ricketts) Her original name was Flolaine after the owners wife Flo & daughter in law Elaine, & was built by & for Major (a Christian name) Bailey, in a shed, a behind his Caltex Service Station, (Southdown Motors),  in Penrose, in 1958. She is now Called Awatea. – She is powered by a 6 cyl 80/100 hp Ford diesel .
She was not built with a flying bridge but one had been added by an owner somewhere along the way, back around the 1970s/80s, when she was living at Westpark Marina.

The Baileys owned her for several years & replaced her with another 34′ launch Major B. built in the 1960’s called Christine (photo below)

CHRISTINE in the 1970's


Leilani (Florae / Floray)



Leilani was built by building contractor & service station proprietor, Major Bailey, a friend of Ken Rickett’s family, on the Cnr. of Wheturangi & Green Lane Rds., & launched in 1949.
Currently owned by Jason Lockwood for the last 5 years. The previous owner had kept the boat at Coromandel for many years & eventually took her to Thames with a view to removing rot from the upper sections of the bow.
It was while at Thames that Jason saw her & bought her, then moved her to Kopu (photo above) – where she was for approx. 3 years. Jason moved her to his property at Thames town around  2 years ago.

When purchased she had a 6cyl. Ford diesel & was fitted with a shoe rudder prop & shaft, however whilst at Kopu these ‘disappeared’.
Jason had removed her paint & started a re-caulking process as part of a major refit / repair & refurbish, looking at the photo, taken by Ken (April 2016), this appears to have stalled & the coamings have reached the stage of disrepair, to the point where they will have to be demolished as they are semi collapsed.

Can we expand more on her history – design, past owners etc. Ken recalls that she was a late 1940’s build.

13-08-2016 Harold Kidd Input

She was built as FLORAE (Latin for “flowers”) not FLORAY. I think Lidgards built the hull and Major George Bailey finished her at his Wheturangi Road home. It was PERCY Coutts who owned her until he died in 1960. He bought my father’s business and renamed it Coutts Motors and was very successful importing fine cars, now part of the Giltrap empire on the same site in Great North Road.
As LEILANI she had numerous owners after Percy Coutts, including A.G. Sibun of Bleakhouse Road, Ken Archer who was active in Coastguard with her, followed by B.J. Craies,  and finally a spell in Coromandel where I photographed her in 1999. She’s not the game boat LEILANI that was at Mangonui, run by Don Lightband of course. In fact I can’t vouch for the fact that the LEILANI owned by Sibun and Archer is this one and may well be the game boat.
No doubt WW spotters will pick that up and put me right with relish!