Chatting recently with Sam Douglas he mentioned he owned a Max Carter 18’ runabout that he was restoring, obviously I asked for details – below is Sam’s reply.
“Launched in 1959, Gerry Gowan commissioned Max Carter to design and build this 18 foot outboard runabout to his specification. As far as I can tell she is kauri framework, solid mahogany trim and mahogany ply. Sometime in the 1960’s she was fiber-glassed to the chine. She has had about 5 outboard changes in her life, starting with a 40hp Johnson and ending with her current 1970’s Mercury 800. It is believed she was the first one of her kind and possibly an extended version of some earlier, smaller Max Carter runabouts. There is believed to be one other boat later built to the same design but Mandingo is the original. She remained unnamed until sometime in the 1970’s when the OBC, where she was a member, required all boats to be named. At the time one of the family was reading the controversial novel ‘Mandingo’ and so somehow the name stuck. Used extensively for cruising and fishing the Hauraki gulf, often to Tiritiri and Rakino she later took up residence at the family bach at Rotoiti where she stayed until the late 1980’s when she was sold to a family friend in Turangi where she resided until early 2018 when I purchased her and brought her back to Auckland.  
She had been sitting unused in a shed for 15 years. Unfortunately at some point said shed sprung a leak, dripped down onto the deck and fresh water had left a tide line in her bilge. I bought her as a project site unseen and made the journey down to Turangi early one morning to collect her, not entirely sure whether she’d happily be coming back up with me. The trailer also hadn’t been moved in anger all this time but I was informed it had been driven a few hundred meters recently in order to have one tyre replaced (the other is still the original radial). Aside from the obvious downsides of fresh water and wood, what I did find on arrival was that the fresh water of the lakes where she’d resided for the latter part of her life had been very kind to the custom built trailer and the main outboard as well as the original 1950’s Seagull auxiliary looked in great condition and still turned over freely. The light board too plugged up and worked perfectly. So, with nothing to lose I nervously begun the journey home and with frequent stops to check such things as heat in the bearings and a lot of time spent looking in the mirrors to see if a wheel had yet fallen off, made it back to Auckland incredibly incident free that afternoon. (photo below)
She now resides less than a km from where she was originally built, in a shed in my backyard where I am trying to breath some new life into her (and learning a lot on the way!). I have now finished the hull and am working on the decks and interior. One of these days (a longer time after I had initially thought) I hope to re float her, use her extensively in the harbour again and reunite her with her 2 previous family custodians.”
‘Old’ photos below of Mandingo ex the Gowan family, the 2 black and white water skiing ones are presumed early 1960’s when she had a 40hp Johnson and the colour one 1983, sporting her still current Mercury 800.  Sam believes all are from Lake Rotoiti (North Island).
Mandingo smallIMG_1560

Not Everyone Had A Good Holiday Boating Experience




Not Everyone Had A Good Holiday Boating Experience

I’ll keep the names of the photographers that sent me the above photos anonymous 😉

• Moana, the 23’ Max Carter built clinker day boat must have been in a hurry to get back into Milford Marina & cut the corner, not the first to suffer the embarrassment of waiting for the tide in a very public spot & they won’t be the last. It appears very little damage was done, other than a bruised ego.

At the other end of the scale – a very large Azimut ‘kissed’ some rocks in the Bay of Islands at speed – the photos above of her hauled out only show a fraction of the damage – one prop was bent out of shape & the other almost non-existent. The gearboxes ‘exploded’ – a rather large insurance claim me thinks. And some marine engineer will be starting the new year with a big fat repair job.

And another oops below from early evening yesterday, the photo was snapped in the next bay along from Chamberlains Bay, Ponui Island. Low water was 2 hours away from this photo so it was only going to get uglier.  

Seems someone didn’t allow for the downside of the current high tides i.e. very low low tides.

As they say folks – be careful out there.


Arethusa In The B.O.I.

I posted yesterday a selection of photos taken by Dean Wright. Just like me, Dean’s normally behind the camera & we do not see this woody – the Bob Brown built, 100-year-old, 33’ classic Arethusa. The photo below was taken by Grant Anson, skipper of Marie-J.

You can see / read more on this amazing classic’s life at this link


Max Carter Memorial Service

Max Carter Memorial Service

The family of the late Max Carter invite Max’s friends, past employees and Carter design admirers to a memorial service to celebrate Max’s life and achievements, details below.
Venue:  R.N.Z.Y.S  Dinghy Locker Bar
Date:    Sunday 21st of August
Time:    2 pm

It would a nice gesture to have one of Max’s designs or builds (modern or classic) on the dock outside the squadron. If someone is able to help with a boat, please contact Max’s long time friend, Tony Barclay on 022 1079689 .

Could you please help spread the message out to anyone that you know, that would be interested in attending. Bar (cash) will be open.





Back in approx. 2003 I nearly bought Moana, the 23′ Max Carter designed & built clinker day boat. The reason I didn’t was from memory the then owners were asking silly money, they had spent a disproportionate amount of money on her relative to her size & were looking to recover that + the purchase price.

Above are a collection of photos from back in the early 2000’s & fyi below is a copy of a survey that the owners had obtained to gain insurance cover. Moana is powered by a 50hp Perkins diesel.

She has been kept in Milford Marina for a very long time & from my casual observations, well cared for. I was recently made aware that she was back on the market, would make a great lake boat.

Photo below as she is today.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 5.57.51 AM




A Visit to Chris McMullen’s Boat Shed

One of Chris’s experiments

And of a few photos of one of the prettiest boats on the Waitemata – Wirihana, the 1933 Colin Wild launch.

A Visit to Chris McMullen’s Boat Shed

Yesterday was a biggie on the wooden boating front – Barbara Cooke & myself organized for the Classic Yacht Association a visit to Chris McMullen’s workshop & boat shed. I have posted photos of the shed & its contents on ww before & ww has published several of Chris’s posts on the topic of electrochemical damage to wooden boats – but it was special for the members to meet the man himself & hear him speak on his past, his current passions / projects & future plans. The reproduction 1898 Herreshoff steam launch project just has to be one of the best kiwi ‘can-do’ tales around. The day she hits the water will be a very special occasion, I just hope I’m around to see it 😉

Today two things stood out for me:
1. The turn-out of two wooden boating icons – John Salthouse & Max Carter
2. The healthy number of sub 35 year old guys with a new found passion for classic wooden boats in attendance

If your a CYA member & you didn’t make the effort to come to the event – more fool you – as one of your most respected members said to me “today was a privilege, Chris is a one of a kind, his practical knowledge on boat building and engineering is unique”.

In my time as CYA launch captain one of my personal goals was to help deliver up events & access to people & ‘cool stuff’ that people would not normally have access to without being CYA members – from the comments & the smiles as people where departing today, Barb & I got it right today 🙂

To read / view more on Chris, his boats & the topic of electrochemical damage to wooden boats just enter – Chis McMullen – in the ww search box 😉

Orinda II


photos & details ex Grant Gillett, Wayne Williams & Ken Ricketts – edit by Alan H

Built in 1964 by Max Carter, she measured 36′ x 12′ x 3′. her first owner was Roley Gillett of Howick & he kept in the Tamaki River, adjacent to Lane Motor Boat Co. & Joe Coggan’s Tiromoana during his stewardship.

Below is the transcript of the text  found on the back of an original framed photo of her, in Gillett’s own handwriting. Refer photo above, given to KR courtesy of his son,  Grant Gillett.

“Roley Gillett, ORINDA II Registered ship, built by Max Carter in Penrose 1964 36 feet x 12 feet x 3 feet. Powered by Graymarine 4 port down draft carburetor, 8 cyl. 285 h.p. Petrol engine. Speed 24 M.P.H. at !8 Gal per hour at 4400 R.P.M.. Cruises at 3200 R.P.M. 16 M.P.H. 130 gal. high octane petrol 160 gal. Water. Alcohol cooking, 15 cu. ft freezer, 8 cu, ft refrigerator, from 5 h.p. Italian compressor.”

The Graymarine was replaced with a 6 cyl., 155 h.p. turbo Ford diesel in 1977. This reduced her speed to 12 knots, according to the British Registry documents. She must however have had another engine change somewhere along the way, as she now has a 240 hp Ford diesel.
Grant Gillett told KR his father named her after a small town in America, where the Gillett family had close friends.

She is presently owned by Wayne & Glennis Williams of Whangaparaoa & is moored at Gulf Harbour, & I have perused her 2 registration certificates courtesy of Wayne W.–

She was originally registered as a British Ship Registry vessel, from when she was new, which was replaced the under the “New Zealand  Ship Registration Act 1992” with a “NZ Certificate of Registry”, on the 27th January 1994 & all, or almost all, of her substantial pedigree of historical ownership details, are fully recorded.

A précis of the contents of these certificates is as follows:

Official number under British registry 317591.
Built for Roland George Gillett in 1964  by M C Carter at 36 Hallifax Ave Auckland S.E.6. Registered as a British ship on 5th November 1965.
On 19.10.1967 ownership was transferred to Derek Agar of Kohimaramara Auckland, & transferred again on 24.1.1976, to Earle Yandall,  a real estate agent, of Blockhouse Bay Auckland. The next transfer recorded, was on 5.12.79, to Stuart & Sally Morrison, Motel Proprietors, of Tauranga, & on 16.5.1980, transferred to Stuart Morrison, as a real estate salesman, alone. The date of 2.12.1985, saw her transferred to Video City Tauranga Ltd, who transferred her on 19.3.1986, to Graham Heron, of Whitianga. He transferred her to T.G. Paterson Contractors Ltd, of Red Beach Auckland, on 5.12.1988, & then on to the next one, which was to Ian Anderson, a builder, of Arkles Bay Whangaparaoa Auckland, on 15.11.1989, who moved & transferred his address to Stanmore Bay Whangaparaoa, on 18.8.1993.

The British Ship Certificate Registry was cancelled, & the registry closed in N.Z., on 27.1.1994. – I quote –  “& transferred to a New Register book for Part A (or port A – handwriting on cert. unclear),  of the New Zealand Register of Ships & new Certificate of registry Number 317591 was issued under the Ship Registration Act 1992.”
Ownership of ORINDA II, was reregistered to Ian Anderson, of Stanmore Bay Whangaparaoa, on 17.1.1994 under the new N.Z. Registry of Ships, with the official number as above, of 317591.
This was transferred to Wayne & Glennis Williams, of  Matakatia Bay Whangaparaoa, on 29.4.2005, who still own her as at today.

Ken commented that this is probably the most extensive recorded history of any launch he has ever researched. Ken would also like to  acknowledge Grant Gillett & Wayne Williams for the input of their valuable time, family photos &copies of documents.

THETIS (II) & The Lane Motor Boat Co.

THETIS (II) &  Building Motor Boats at The Lane Motor Boat Company

thanks to current owner Paul Harris & indirectly Max Carter for photo & details

Thetis was built by the Lane Motor Boat Company in 1955. In a 2004 note to Chris McMullen, Max Carter describes the ‘process’ i.e. like all LMBC boats they came off a model. A solid 1/2 model was carved, usually 3/4″ to the foot – a convenient scale. All these Lane models were unfortunately most likely destroyed when the Panmure office (Riverview Road) & workshop burnt down.

In terms of design style – Max commented that American magazines like ‘Yachting’, ‘MotorBoat & Rudder were always lying around & inspiration for Thetis may have come from these & past models on display.

It worked like this (Max Carters words) – “a solid half model was built from a block of kauri & once the modeler was satisfied, the profile & deck line were penciled around onto the ‘plan’. After an assured waterline & the mould station intervals had been marked onto the model a saw kerf was made part way into the model. Pieces of stiff thin card were rough cut & inserted into the kerfs – a pencil run a around the section & the centre line, deck line & assumed waterline marked on. The card was then very carefully trimmed to the section outline & the section transferred to the ‘plan’.”

The only people at Lanes (at that time) that could calculate the volume off the ‘plan’ was Dick Hart & Max, they got the sections by triangulation. Max was taught how to do this & other basic calculations by Sandy Sands at Seacraft, were Max had been apprenticed.

The Thetis model was craved by Peter Parsons from a block of kauri during breaks. The ‘brains trust’ would pass comments like – ‘more flare’, ‘less tumble home’ etc & if Peter agreed he would scrape a little off a little with a piece of broken window glass & glass paper. They used to have an old mirror there & they would place the models on it to see the effect of both sides – moving it around to see it from all angles.

At the time Max worked for LMBC the yard consisted of an old tin shed, which was the office, lunch room, toilet & joinery shop all in one. There was no road down to the lower shop set into the riverbank, the only way to get there was by a narrow winding path or by water. Materials had to be slid down the path. Max recalls sliding the Grey Marine engines down the hill, knowing that if they got it wrong & they were damaged they would all be sacked. In 1955 everything was still in short supply & you needed an import licence, the Butlands seemed to have no trouble sourcing Thetis’s engines.

LMBC only had a table saw, a band saw, thicknesser & buzzer. The only portable tools being a disc grinder & a few electric drills. Most holes were drilled by hand. Hulls were built right side up & cleaned off by hand plane, blade scrapper & long board (a long & arduous job).

Thetis was built in the shed but they lofted it on plywood in the Anglican Church hall across the road. Like all Lane boats they built on shadow moulds so they could trim a bit off or pack the moulds.
Thetis was single skin, the rule being 1/32″ per foot for planking so it was probably 1 3/8″ thick. They would hold the planks to the moulds with temporary screws & place the steam bent spotted gum timber inside & drive the fastenings while hot (really hard work).

Launching were always an exciting time because no one knew the weight of the vessel & everyone had an opinion of where the hull would float & trim. Once launched they would measure the free board at the stem, stern & amidships & work out the weight.

Max recalls at the launching there was a big crowd gathered including a lot of ladies from the Navy League, Ray Pateman was to work the winch & the rest of the yard workers were to stay in the background to retrieve the cradle & any wayward blocks floating down the river. All workers were issued with white overalls for the day & given strict instructions on what to do & to behave. The bottle was broken & Thetis duly launched down the ways when Rays white overall got caught in the winch & ripped his clothes off – everyone thought that was a even greater event than the launching.

Note: at this time, the order of seniority at Lanes (Max’s memory) was Peter Parsons – foreman, Ray Pateman – leading hand, Dick Hart, Clarence Thorpe, Russell Philpot, Trevor Ford, Roy Deane, Bill Bailey, Max Carter, apprentices were Jimmy Emptage, Bob Ryan, Gary Linkhorn & Arthur Ellis.

An amusing tale from Max Carter – Lanes used to contract painters who came & went as the job progressed. One day one of the painters was limping & had his forearm in plaster. When questioned on what happened he replied he had been on a scaffold painting the outside of the city morgue when a guy in a white coat lent out of the window & asked “Do you want a hand?” & to his reply “Yes”, passed him a severed hand, with the result he stepped back off the scaffold & fell.

Also attached of interest, sent in by Scott Taylor, son of the broker – Mac Taylor –  is the 1964 sale papers when Jack Butland sold Thetis to Dr. Jefcoate Harbutt for 13,350 pounds, a lot of money in those days. In chat with Harold Kidd it appears that on APYMBA records Jack Butland sold the boat to G Robertson, maybe they did not inform the APYMBA of the sale & Harbutt was missed out on the records?
As an aside – the present owner, Paul Harris,  knew Dr Harbutt as he flew him & his family to the Harbutt farm at the bottom end of Waiheke in the 1960’s & Paul lived up the road from Mac Taylor in Devonport –  its a small world we live in.

I hope I have assembled & retold these ‘tales’ accurately – if not I’m sure someone will pull me up & correct me 🙂

New photos ex Ken Ricketts 15/09/2014

26-04-2018 UPDATE

Ken Ricketts reports that having recently spoken with Thetis’s owner that 
the 2 in line, 6 cyl, 4-cycle, 120hp Gray Marine engines, installed in 1960 (still there today) are a very rare model & type. They were manufactured during WWII for the American forces & could possibly be the only 2 in NZ. The owner believes her original owner Jack Butland in the later 1950’s probably reconditioned, or war surplus imported them. 
Ken commented that until now, the only 6 cyl, in line, Gray Marine diesel engines he had heard of, were the 2-cycle, Gray Marine conversion of the 671 Detroit series.

Below are 2 photos of the manufacturers handbook.

Has anyone else ever head of them?