Back in early Dec 2022 Dean Wright sent me a bucket load of woody photos from a dockside walk he did at Havelock Marina while down south – one of the woodys Dean snapped was the launch – Mandalay, seen above. We ran a WW story at the time but did not generate any leads on Mandalay’s history – so today she get to stand alone i.e. not surrounded by a dozen other photos.

Can we learn more on her provenance.

30-05-2023 UPDATE ex PHIL VINING – I remember having her listed back maybe 1980’s. Ian has kindly forwarded the old listing to me from the Vinings archives. Copy of listing below. info as given by then owner.

Been a busy 2 weeks, had my boat hauled out at the Slipway Milford for some TLC – wasn’t all superficial, a few slightly worrying issues needed addressing (my lips are sealed) but being a good patient she was rewarded with some bling – which included a Jason Prew Paint Job (JPPJ) . The ‘painter’ is addicted to Grownup Donuts, there may be a connection between the quantity of donuts and the quality of the finish 🙂

WW Caps – the new low profile, canvas cloth caps have been a winner – the new understated colour topped with the dark brown WW embroidered logo has a dash of understated style. I have reorder 3 times and stocks are getting low – order today – just click the email link here and tell me your name, postal address and number of caps required ( best order was x5) I’ll come back to you with payment details – $38 + $6 p&p.

Parua Bay Woodys






Alistair McRae snapped the above woodys in mid May 2020 in Parua Bay, Whangarei.
The first photo is of Waipeke, once owned by Barbara and David Cooke. 30’ in length, built in 1963. Unsure of the builder.
The 2nd & 3rd are of the 23’, 1932, Ralph Shephard built launch – Mandalay. After a long period on the Clevedon River, Parua Bay is now her home.
The last photo is Aveline, the Roy Parris built launch. A new arrival in the Bay, owned by friends of Alistair’s.
Tomorrow on Woodys we have a great rescue story – a woody recovering from a near death experience 😉

Brin Wilson 1958 Classic Wooden Launch – Mandalay

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Brin Wilson 1958 Classic Wooden Launch – Mandalay

Today’s woody was designed by Brin Wilson and built in 1958 by Dave Jackson, so that makes her a special woody. Carvel planked and measuring 35’9” with a 11’1″ beam and drawing 2’11”.
She is powered by a Moon Engines – reconditioned (2000) Ford 120hp diesel, that sips 7L an hour at a cruise speed of 7>8 knots.
Anyone able to put a name to the boat. I understand her owner has had her for approx. 30 years. Its Mandalay (thanks Geoff Bagnall)






Back in late 2015 I posted some photos of the 1932, 23′ launch Mandalay that was built in 1932 by Ralph Shephard. Those photos showed her on the Clevedon River & she had been / was for sale on trademe. We enquired if anyone knew her where abouts. Well woodys I can happily report she was purchased by Mark Jack & has the custodian services of Mike Hughes, a traditional boatbuilder, based in Whangarei, who looks after her in Mark’s absence.

The above photos show her just re-launched after a refit that included the hull stripped back to bare timber, new stem, new paint job.
The photos are taken just off Parua Bay Tavern, Whangarei & also shown her tied to the stern of Omicron, a 20’ Harrison Butler yacht, build by P. Voss in 1945 that Mark Jack also owns.

You can view / read more on her here

27-03-2018 Update ex Mike Hughes (Boatbuilder/Custodian)

Mike sent me the photo below from Dec2017 of Mandalay being used to ferry a wedding party from Motukiori Island, Parua Bay, Whanagarei.

Mandalay is owned by Mark Jack & is 23’ in length, kauri carvel & zoom zoom comes from a 3 cylinder yanmar.

Mike has promised me photos of the refit / upgrade she has had, so fingers crossed.



photos ex Russell Ward

I last saw this little cutie 4sale on trademe back in Oct 2007. Back then it stated she was built in Auckland in 1932 but went into dry storage during WWII until 1986. Around then she was purchased by Dave Jackson of Northcote & recommissioned by ex Navy dockyard shipwright Jeff Cook. During the recommissioning she was re-powered with a 23hp Yanmar 3 cyl. inboard diesel, which pushed her along at 6 knots. Built with full length planks, edge fitted & riveted to ribs without caulking, decks are glass over ply. When advertised in 2007 she was moored in the Clevedon River & came with a road trailer.
The other day Russell sent in the above photos that were from a friend who owned her, possibly the trademe seller, during their ownership they kept her at Coromandel & the Waikato River. Russell commented that the friend believed that just prior to the WWII storage she had sunk at her moorings.

Its believed Mandalay is now in the Bay of Islands. Can any woodys report on where she is now & any more details?

Harold Kidd Input

She was built by Ralph Shepherd of Kowhai Rd Birkdale for himself in 1932 when he was 24. He and his brother Harry were in business as motor body builders. Their main customer was the Birkenhead Bus Co. Ralph went overseas during WW2.
My friend Wallace McNair, (and Russell’s too), the amazing vintage car restorer of Hamilton, had her on the Waikato at Hamilton for several years. His son Robert later had her on the Clevedon River. I’ll ask Wallace for some pics.