Manapouri Refit


Chatting last week with Mark Sorrenson, owner of the 43’ launch – Manapouri, that was built by Hector Parks, and he mentioned that he was part way thru a major refit of Manapouri. Obviously the request went out for photos, so today we get to have a peek at the work-in-progress. 

Manapouri has appeared several times before on WW – links below to those story. In the 1st link Marks gives us a great insight into her ownership history. The 2nd link is a doozy, if you scroll down Noel Fyfe (Parks) gives us a wonderful account of Manapouri’s backstory.

In the gallery above we see Manapouri wrapped up in a tent / shelter that Mark helped build. A summary of the TO DO / DONE LIST below: 

• New fuel tanks and lines • Complete engine room paint • New bridge sole and beams • Reconfigured engine hatches• New sound proofing • Full rewire  • New dash • New gauges and chart plotter  • New auto pilot• Fibreglass decks • Extend cockpit roof • Full exterior repaint • new dorade boxes • new name plates • strip, repair & varnish bridge doors 

Marks words “Needless to say, I’m poor, tired and won’t be boating at Xmas” 🙂

In Case You Are Hiding At Home, Wearing 2 Masks And Wondering What You’re Missing This Weekend – Check Out the 2019 Mahurangi Regatta

MAHURANGI REGATTA  2019 – The biggest & best classic wooden boat regatta in NZ – 90+ photos























MAHURANGI REGATTA  2019 – The biggest & best classic wooden boat regatta in NZ – 90+ photos

WoW what a woody weekend – simply stunning on all fronts –  sun > wind > location > people & of course the boats. On my estimate, the biggest turnout of classic wooden craft ever. Record numbers for Saturday mornings launch parade.
I’ll go out on a limb & repeat a comment made to me on the deck of Lidgard House, Kawau Island on Sunday night by one of our most prominent & influential classic wooden boat people – “Mahurangi is the real Auckland Anniversary Weekend Regatta” & after cruising back into Auckland today, & not seeing a lot of yachts, I would have to agree.
On Saturday between Jason Prew on My Girl & myself with Raindance we hosted three of the wooden boating world’s superstars – if you read or follow the WoodenBoat magazine, Classic Boat & the hottest property on the block – the vblog,
then the names Maynard Bray, Benjamin Mendlowitz & Steve Stone will be very familiar to you. These gents were motored around the harbour & very selectively photographed / filmed our beautiful woodys. When I mentioned that I had cancelled my trip to next months Hobart Wooden Boat Festival, one commented “why would you go – it’s all here” & woodys – it was.
I have never attempted to understand the ‘politics’ / issues between the Mahurangi Cruising Club & The Friends of Mahurangi people – but between them they turn on a wonderful day, that equals anything on the world classic wooden boat calendar. As with anything, a few wee niggles e.g. crap PA sound system at the beach prize giving meant most people didn’t know the results – but I can tell you that Tony Blake & the crew on Thelma gave all the other A division skippers as master class in regatta sailing. It was wonderful to see the big 5 Arch Logan yachts – Thelma (1897), Rainbow (1898), Ariki (1904), Rawhiti (1905) & Rawene (1908) all on the same race track together, for the first time ever (I think I’m right – Harold?) The results were:
Thelma, followed by Rawhiti, followed by Ariki, then Rainbow & Rawene.
As a result of playing driver for the overseas crew – I’m a little light on sailing photos, but you can see from the gallery above that it was a special day.
Well done MCC and F. of M. for another magic weekend.
If anyone else had the camera out & captured some goodies, email them to
We bailed out of Mahurangi on Sunday morning & headed to Kawau Island for some family R&R – photos below.
Question – what do you do when there is no shotgun to signal sunset & the lowering of the burgee? – well a few lads decided to bang some pots together, then drop the flags at Lidgard House – me thinks there might be a letter in the mail to certain members 🙂

Check out the video below of Rawhiti – sent in from Benjamin Mendlowitz from Off Center Harbour

Update – due to not all launches completing 2 laps of the launch parade – I missed photographing a few boats – photos below ex Justine Ricketts (edited by myself)

AND MORE – link below to the Off Center Harbour video of the 2017 regatta, featuring Steve Horsley’s stunning 1904 Chas Bailey Jnr – Ngatira

UPDATE ex Graeme Finch of the A Class fleet racing Saturday + one of Raindance showing myself & Steve Stone from Off Center Harbour filming / clicking away 🙂

As always – click photos to enlarge 😉

rd @ mr2019

Also from Graeme – one of Bruce Tantrum’s pride & joy – Paramour + Graemes stunning ship – Te Arahi 🙂



UPDATE – An early Saturday morning drone fly-by over Sullivans Bay, Mahurangi. Filmed by Neil Lawton, heads up on the movie from Ian Gavin.

30-01-2019 Update – photos of Laughing Lady ex Jason Prew

Update 11-02-2019 photos below ex Angus Rogers.



Manapouri On The Move

Manapouri On The Move

The above photo, ex Bob Brown’s fb would have made a great mystery launch story, but seeing we have probably one of the best written and most accurate stories on the boat, I thought I’d just link to it below – its a terrific read + lots of photos.

A quick overview – Manapouri, designed and built by Frank Ewen for Hector Alexander Parks, at 43’ she is a scaled down version of a 53ft “Thorneycroft Gentleman’s Cruiser.” With the upper structure changed by Frank Ewen to avoid copyright issues, and it did make a better-looking craft. She was built in Hector’s converted brooding shed on his poultry farm at 66 Anzac Rd, Whangarei, Northland.

photo ex Dean Wright

WW past story link:

MILFORD CREEK QUIZ WINNER – The winner of the WW bucket hat is Nathan Herbert, and very appropriate as only Nathan ID’ed two launches (1) Lady Mavis (4) Koala/Amaryllis. Which gave him two chances in the draw.


Woodys Cruising The Bay of Islands – Summer 2019/20 – Part One



Linda – 1927 – Colin Wild


Nautilus – Oliver & Gilpin


Darleen – 1920 – Possibly Bailey & Lowe


Echo – 1935 – Les Coulthard



Thetis – 1955 – Lane Motor Boat Company


Lady Crossley – 1947 – Colin Wild


Lady Ngaio – 1928 – Collings & Bell


Manapouri – 1960 – Parkes


Just got home yesterday from 10 days mooching around Waiheke and while clearing the in-box I spotted an email from Dean Wright, now Dean is a Bay of Islands based professional photographer with a passion for wooden boats. He even owns one  – the 1917, Arethusa.

Now any email from Dean normally contains some stunning photos and yesterdays one was a cracker – too good to run all as one, so I will split them in two.
Today we have featured pleasure launches – the first being one of the smartest classic wooden launches in our fleet – Linda. She has appeared on WW many times so if you want o know more just enter Linda in the WW search box.
I love the photo above because its the personification of our classic wooden boating movement.
Below I have included a photo of the 2018/19 built ‘spirit of tradition’ launch – Grace, and with her beautiful lines, she could only ever be a Salthouse 🙂
I have captioned the Woodys that I have been able to ID. To read more on the boats featured, use the WW search box 😉


Grace – 2019 – Salthouse



CYA Double Banger – Riverhead Launch Cruise + Vintage & Veterans Yacht Race




My Girl



My Girl + Raindance


Monterey, Te Arahi, Altair, Manapouri

CYA Double Banger – Riverhead Launch Cruise + Vintage & Veterans Yacht Race

While mooching around under the Harbour Bridge waiting for the launch stragglers , I snapped a few photos of the yacht fleet tuning up for the start of the annual Vintage & Veterans yacht race – Photos below
The weather for the launch cruise was almost ideal, after we had arrived at the Riverhead Tavern and had planted ourselves in the bar, the rain started, so while we by dinning and chatting – the old girls got a fresh water wash down – perfect.
A good turn out for late in the season – 16 woodys – made up of 12 CYA members and 4 woodys that joined us for the day. I convinced one to join, but Jason Prew tells me I need to improve on my 25% conversion rate 🙂
Nice to catch up with those that made the trip by motorcar.
As always the food was excellent, just a wee hick-up with a power oops slowed the service down a tad but all good.
Sorry if I missed your woody with my camera – the fleet were very spaced out, so arrive times didn’t suit the need to sustenance 😉
As always, click photos to enlarge.


Rawhiti A2 + Rainbow A7 + Waitangi A6


Arcturus K8638


Little Jim A16

Photos below of Thelma sent in by Simon Smith

Manapouri – The Early Days





MANAPOURI – The Early Days

I have been contacted by Manapouri’s owner Mark Sorrenson who has uncovered wonderful documentation on the design & built of her, along with some great photos from this period. This essay on the 1960, 43’ classic launch has been brought together by Noel Fyfe (Parks) to whom we are indebted.
I’ll let Mark & Noel tell the story below 🙂
“Manapouri, is a 43ft Motor Launch built for Hector Alexander Parks.
She is a scaled down version of a 53ft “Thorneycroft Gentleman’s Cruiser.” A launch that featured in the Sea Spray magazine. The upper structure was changed by Frank Ewen to cover their backsides, and it did make a better-looking craft. 
Noel’s Uncle, Frank Ewen designed and built Manapouri, drew the plans and built a scale model before construction started in Hectors converted brooding shed on his Poultry farm at 66 Anzac Rd, Whangarei. (This now called Hilltop Road. The original house is still there, it has since been sheathed with narrow corrugated iron). Frank Ewen was one of the Ewen brothers. Frank, (he married Hazel who was Noel Fyfe’s mother’s sister) Ernie and John Ewen, also built the 24ft Gaff Cutter ‘Dolphin’, now owned by The Tino Rawa Trust and the 6 mtr C-class ‘Scout’whose story is recounted in the book by Sandra Gorters, “100 Years Astern”.
The Kauri for Manapouri was selected from two trees and milled by Lanes Saw Mills in Totara North. The Kauri was seasoned for twelve months before construction commenced. The Pohutakawa for the bow, stern and other smaller knees were sawn from over hanging trees at Manganese Point, Parua Bay in daring dawn raids. These raids were carried out in a dinghy built by Frank and powered by a 6hp Johnson, she never let a drop of water penetrate through her planks. A great stable dinghy. This dinghy slipped away from Manapouri in a storm and 3 weeks later Frank got a call from the Coromandel Police to say she had been found upside down. Her anchor had caught in the kelp, which had saved her from the rocks. All the boats Frank built had his name and address carved under a seat. The Pohutakawa and Puriri knees were stored for two years under sacks that were kept damp to stop them from splitting. Frank adzed and laid the keel, finishing it with a draw knife until it had the perfect finish. Hector’s stepson (Noel, who is now a sprightly 88, and without whom I could not have put together this early history), recalls that Frank was a perfectionist. All the planks were fitted with feeler gauges and no putty used other than to cover the silicon bronze nails used to fix the planks at the bow and stern or screws as were required. The planks were cut out of wider boards, with the curve required so that after steaming they were only bent on their flat edge.
Noel was at the time working as a builder during the week, building his first home at the weekend and helping Hector with the rooving of the planks in his spare time. Frank would mark out where he wanted the copper nails driven into the planks, in a fashion that did not split or damage any of the grain. This was a slow and tedious process that was left to Hector and Noel. Frank would later inspect this process to ensure the nails were rooved perfectly smooth inside the hull. The construction took approximately 3 years, with input from Alex Baxter.
Alex made the hatches and sliding doors and the skylights. These were fitted by John Roberts, who worked for Ken Lowe and Alen Orams. John Roberts worked for Ken Lowe for three years, then for Alen Orams for fifteen years, boat building. 
Hector deconstructed the chicken brooding shed and Manapouri was taken to Ken Lowes Boat Building shed in Ewings Rd. This slipway was originally Frank Ewen & Brothers Business in the earlier years. Here the motors, gearboxes and shafts were fitted. The original motors were Listers and were purchased from Schofields in Auckland. One of the Listers was reconditioned and gave some trouble over the years. The Engine Room was under The Wheelhouse floor. This floor was loose screwed so you could get to the motors. The Cabin top was made to a very high standard by John Roberts and was made so it could be removed with ease should the motors need to come out. Peter Macdonald replaced the motors and changed the cabin style to suit his needs.
The engineering work was undertaken by Ron Lowe who was a brother of Ken Lowe. Ron would have been one of the best engineers in the North. He was a hard man to peg down, he loved his beer and you could find him most days heading down to his main watering hole The Settlers Hotel. This old wooden pub was pulled down a few years ago and is now the site of the Whangarei Police Headquarters. It is thought that Donovans completed the Electrical works.
Once this work was finalized Manapouri was taken to Kioreroa Ramp by trailer. This was supplied by McBreen Jenkins and was a low loader used for D10 Bulldozers and was fitted out to suit Manapouri. With the help of Steve Bignall’s crane called Tiny, Manapouri was launched, and the man in charge of this operation was Peter Macdonald. (The same Peter Macdonald who later purchased Manapouri.) 
Hector worked for many years operating the dredging bucket crane in Whangarei
Harbour. The skipper was Peter Diamond, and the Dredge was the William Fraser, and working for the Whangarei Harbour Board gave Hector a leg up regarding securing a berth for Manapouri.  He also ran a Charter Business taking fishing parties out of the harbour on Manapouri. He was tied up to the main wharf and lived aboard her for many years until he had “words” with the new Board regarding his operating his fishing business without a licence.
Throughout these years, Hector who was a poor sailor, would get violently seasick in a long oily swell and was unable to swim, hence Manapouri was built with high continuous handrails to her decks.
Hec, on moving from Whangarei Town Basin purchased a Bach at One Tree Point,
Black Smiths Creek. (This is now the New Marina’s Main Channel, and Hecs old property has a very expensive home where his Bach once stood.) Manapouri was moored on the inside channel opposite the Bach. She broke her moorings twice over the years, and the last time Hector boged his tractor and struggled to refloat her it was the last straw. He sold her to Peter Macdonald a short time later. 
Hector and his wife (Noel Parks Mother) were moved to Rambourne House. There they lived until they died, Hector at 96 and his wife at 95.”
You can see & read more on her past at the WW link below

In the photo below with two adults and a backside in the clinker dinghy we have Hector on the oars and Frank Ewen with his back to the camera. Frank built the dinghy in 1946.

A Woodys Weekend


A Woodys Weekend
photos ex Alan H

Just back from a really great woody weekend. The CYA hosted a gathering at Fairway Bay Marina, Gulf Harbour that saw the boats all rafted up in the ‘gated’ upper lagoon. We were greeted by Grant the marina manager in his tender that made berthing easy for those without bow-thruster ;-). In fact Grant was the perfect host & made the weekend extra special.
I have to say that rafting up & boat hopping is such a cool thing, perfect way to catch up & tell fibs about your boat while enjoying a refreshing .
When I slid Raindance alongside Trinidad the smell was amazing, bread baking – the latest additional to Trinny is a ‘fitted’ bread maker. It doesn’t get much better than waking up to the smell of bread baking 🙂
Nice to see CYA vice chairman Peter Mence mooching around in his rather cute gaff rigged clinker.
After an afternoon of socializing we all went ashore for a BBQ at the marina bar. Nathan Herbert & Jason Prew were the the chefs on the BBQ & did a superb job, its not often I trust someone to cook my thick-cut aged sirloin steak.
Special mention to the CYA members that turned up by road, Sue & Mark Edmonds (Monterey), Ian Miller (Alpheus) & the new owners of Young Nick.

Included are some random photos of woodys I spotted along the way. Enjoy.

ww is not the place to air ones dirty laundry but I have to say that despite the amazing job that CYA launch captain Nathan Herbert did promoting & hosting the weekend – 7 boats is a p_ss poor turn out from a fleet of 200+ vessels. For those that did not attend, again you missed a great event. Maybe next time………………………?

Photos below from Ken Ricketts taken at arrival & departure.

Now heading back I got a call on the mobile from Jason Prew to say Dolphin had entered Milford Creek (marina) on the wrong side of the channel mark & was aground & could I try & tow them off. When I arrived it was looking like a long day/night for the crew of Dolphin………., Milford is intimidating to even the locals so I was on high alert as we nudged Raindance in VERY close. Robyn was on rock watch & telling me “they are right in front of us”. We managed to get a line bow to stern but she would not budge – not surprising when you look at the photos from later in the day, with the tide out. Hopefully she re-floated last night. She was on-route to Geoff Bagnall’s boat yard so any damage will not be a problem to Geoff & his crew. One negative was that in the process we pulled the outboard off the stern 😦


Keeping Fine Company

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Keeping Fine Company

photos ex Brian Fulton
Anchored this morning at Rotoroa Island along with a fine collection of classic woodys. Yesterday after lunch at Man ‘O War vineyard (Waiheke Island) several of us where motoring across the Waiheke Channel when we were ‘joined’ by the rather grand 300′ super yacht Nahlin, owned by British industrial entrepreneur Sir James Dyson. Truely a magniciciant 1930 ship.
The CYA gang all went a shore for a BBQ dinner at Rotoroa & later a very shinny black chopper landed to collect Sir & Lady James who had spent the day on Rotoroa.
We were treated to a stunning sunset.

Manapouri @ Mahurangi Regatta 2014


Mystery Launch #1 @ Mahurangi Regatta 2014

Manapouri @ Mahurangi Regatta 2014

Every year I look out the cabin window & go “where did that come from & how come I have never seen her before”.

Well it happened again this year, this beauty attempted to drop anchor on top of the launch I was enjoying a cleansing ale aboard. Could not get a clear view of the name board but if my life depended on it I would say it said something like ‘Manapori’. As quick as she arrived she was gone again off to the other side of the bay.

Can anyone ID her & shed some light on her story.

Harold Kidd Update

I think that’s MANAPOURI built by Parkes in Whangarei c1960 and owned for many years by Peter MacDonald there. Now owned by Mark Sorenson in Auckland.

Update 06/02/2014  –  I can confirm it is Manapouri & it was built in 1960 & I’m told the design being ‘Thornycroft’ ??. Still owned by Mark Sorrenson – so top of the class again Mr Kidd 🙂 And they have just joined the CYA.

Message for Mark Sorrenson – 24/02/2014

Hello Alan and Harold,
with regards to Manapouri. Firstly, excuse my anchoring skills.
I have researched Manapouri’s history and have a complete list of owners and rough dates.
I have little information regarding her design. Terry? Ashby of Ashby’s boat builders believes that she may have been a Thornycroft design.
She was built for Hector Parks by Crow Ewings at Ewings boat builders at the end of Ewings Rd Whangarei. It is said that one Kauri was felled and milled for her construction. Hector and Celia lived at One Tree Point, Marsden Bay and spent their final years at Ramburne Rest Home.
She was sold to Peter MacDonald whom I believe was the transport manager at McBreans Transport. He replaced the two Lister engines with Ford 120’s. He also reconfigured the rudder from a single to a double set up. I believe that he has passed away.
She was then sold to Jack Turnbull and was based in Lyttleton Harbour. Jack is survived by Rosemary and Richard. They remember many happy summer holidays spent in the Malborough Sounds aboard Manapouri
She was then sold to Ken McLeod who is based in Christchurch. He remembers many crossings of the Cook Straight and some in terrible conditions.
She was then sold to Graham Ashby (Ashby Boat Builders family). Graham recalled one trip from Picton to Auckland in 40 Knots and remembers that she is a sound boat with no vices. Graham owned her from 1990 to 2000.
She was then sold to Peter the marine engineer. He was estranged from his wife and was a live aboard at Opua. Unfortunately he drowned whilst trying to board Manapouri after a night on the Rum at a Christmas party. 2001-2003.
She was then purchased from the estate by Derek Stokes, who now owns the Whangaroa Motel.
Derek had the walk through transom built and replaced the soft coverings throughout the interior.
Derek had a reasonable amount of paper work and photos of Manapouri and he gave them to a prospective puchaser. She was never bought by this person and the photos where not returned.
Derek had to, with some reluctance sell Manapouri.
She was then sold to a Character by the name of Hawkins, who owned the Kaikoura Motel. I have not managed to contact him.
Jeremy Glubb was her next owner, whom I purchased her of.
Both Glubb and Hawkins were unkind to her and I found her rather neglected and in need of much attention.
I purchased Manapouri through Gordon Low in February 2009, she was my reward for recovering from Lymphoma. I have enjoyed her for five years and have beavered away, endeavoring to return her to her former glory. She now rests at M054 in the Gulf Harbour Marine Village.
Lastly, I have a note in my journal that says Hector Parks bought her plans from Thornycroft through the rudder Magazine. But I do not recall who gave me this information.

30-08-2016 Update – My name is Brian Nobbs, from Whangarei.  I was Heck’s next door neighbour, I was only a boy at the time approximately 16 years old.  I’m the one who held the dolly under the boat while Heck peined the copper rivets inside the boat and that would have been approximately 1958, and the boat was built in Heck’s property in a large shed on Anzac Road, Whangarei.   Also a Bill Keogh helped Heck to built the boat. Brian also recalls that the bow was made out of a bent pohutakawa. When it was finished we did a trip to Great Barrier for 2 weeks – and had a really enjoyable time, good memories.  Heck was a real character.