Resurrection Of Avalon


Back in February 2020 a friend was cruising the streets on Auckland’s North Shore (he is allowed to – drives a car with a strip of lights on the roof) when he spotted the woody launch – Avalon, resting on a residential properties lawn. Turns out the 80+ year old owner has owned Avalon all her life – you can read and see more at the link below

Fast forward nearly two years and it turns out that the launches owner , Marjorie Mumme is Tobias Forsyth’s grandmother. Tobias owns MV Callisto and his Dad, Iain Forsyth has MV Meola. Tobias being a good grandson has stepped up to the mark and taken on the restoration of Avalon. To quote Tobias – no rush, first step = put her in a shed, the fear was she would end up as a garden sleep-out.
Avalon was designed and built in 1954 by Sam Ford and is a one owner boat (Lloyd and Marjorie Mumme) , in fact still has the original Morris Navigator petrol engine. When launch she was 24’ but has 2’ added to the stern soon after.These days health & safety would lock you up for transporting a boat like we see on the truck above.  The video was filmed by Tobias.

30-11-2021 INPUT FROM Carol Forsyth  (nee Mumme)    From birth to bikinis and boyfriends, my sisters and I grew up on Avalon. Motuihe, Browns Island, Islington Bay, Waiheke, Coromandel and Kawau was our playground and oh the stories that boat could tell!  Dad loved Avalon as much as we did and when he passed on Mum took over Dad’s loving care. Now that Mum has finally handed over Avalon to my son Tobias and his family we look forward to seeing her in the water again.The black and white image of Avalon under sail was taken off Kauri Point and I would assume Dad had the Morris Navigator ticking over, but maybe she was under sail only.   

HELP NEEDEDTobias would like to find out more about the petrol Morris Navigator in Avalon. He is looking for any one that may have spares or have had a lot to do with them in the past but any info or spare parts would be greatly appreciated as he would love to keep the original engine but it must be reliable. Mainly if there are some Morris car guys that know if this engine is just a marinised version of a car engine of some vintage possibly? I can email better copies of the above photos if that would help.

I like the sail set-up – very salty, if I put that on Raindance, I might qualify to be one of the chosen ones to berth at Chad Thompson’s yacht only, new 40 berth Heritage Basin at the Viaduct 🙂

Fox II (Iris Eileen)

FOX II (Iris Eileen)

When launched at Freemans Bay on Christmas Eve (11.55pm) 1922, Fox II was named Iris Eileen after the owners (George W.A> Elley) daughter. Designed by Charles Gouk who also supervised the build by her owner. Fox II is 48’6” on deck, with a beam of 12’6” and draws 5’.

Over the years her owners have included – Fred Arnold, Billy Silver, Lou Cahoon, O’Brian, Michael Nola and Mike Vela. She was re-named – Fox II in 1937, when Arthur Policandriotis took ownership. Story goes no one could pronounce his last name, so called him – ‘Arthur the Fox’, after his first boat.

When launched she was rigged as a ‘Gaff Cutter’ with a steel centre-board and tiller steering. The first engine installed was a 7hp steam engine from Whangaroa. She fished out of Port Charles for crayfish and would come to Auckland to then cook them, using the steam from the boiler, selling the crays at the wharf.

When the Nola Bros bought her in 1940, they fitted a new Kelvin K3 diesel. Starting the K3 was a performance  – she had a petrol start with its own magneto and carburettor. The petrol pumped to each of the 3 cylinders, with a large atomiser, then it took 15 pumps in the carburettor. A hand crank was lifted over TDC, with the compression lever open. The spark plug would ignite the gasses and when the revs got up, the lever would be thrown to bring on the full compression and start running on diesel.

Fox II fished out of Auckland as AK59 with the Southern Seas Food & Export Co. She was sold to Jack Lidgard in the 1970’s, then onto Dave Skyrme and then Iain Forsyth + others. Ian Forsyth converted her back to sail. Rebuilding a new wheelhouse over the engine room. The fish hold became the main saloon and an aft cabin was also added.

Fox II is now based in Akaroa / Lytteton and takes out dolphin watching parties.

Fox II popped up on WW back in April 2018 where Barbara Cooke spotted her in Akaroa, when they were circumnavigating NZ on Trinidad. At the time the story generated a lot of comments and input from people connected to the vessel – worth a read.

Details and photos come to us from Iain Forsyth, who these days owns the stunning 42’ Miller & Tunnage, 1961 built, ex work-boat – Meola. See and read all about Meola at the WW links below

Round Rangitoto Island Classic Race and BBQ


Saturday was a first (in a long time) on the classic launch scene – we had a launch race around Rangitoto (+ Motutapu) , now a race is not that unusual , but female skippers only (helms person) is – the winning skipper on Kumi would have failed a chromosome test but the race committee (Jason Prew) was swayed by the skippers attire 🙂

The post race BBQ at Islington Bay  proved more popular than the race and 11 woodys dropped anchor in the bay for the BBQ. We all tend to forget about this location, great sunsets and easy anchorage. Cool video of My Girl sliding back down the harbour at dusk. On route I caught the tail-end charlies in the yacht fleet who also raced around the island – photos below.

A question – if you’re a large A-Class gaffer (no names but its painted black) and you constantly finish at the back of the fleet, as you did again on Saturday, why would you sail so close to a mark that you hit it? The rules say you are out of the race for that – BUT what makes it worse is when the mark is a classic launch and it is the finish boat, and all the yacht crew do is laugh 😦  The invoice for repairs will be in the mail. Yachties wonder why launch owners do not put their hand up when asked to perform this task, I suspect they will struggle even more for ‘volunteers’ in the future 🙂

UPDATE– Combine the above with another A-Class yacht (no Prize for guessing which one it was) colliding (yacht in the wrong) with a very large classic launch at Mahurangi and the yacht skippers / crew post collision arrogance – the CYA maybe needs to have a wee chat re rules and manners. Just because your are a classic yacht you don’t get any special privileges 😉

Woodys Cruising The Bay Of Islands – Summer 2019/2 – Part 2







Yesterday we featured a gallery of classic wooden launches that photographer Dean Wright has snapped over the xmas / new year period in the Bay of Islands.
Today we get to view some magnificent examples of ex work boats, now enjoying their twilight years as leisure craft.
Meola steals hearts where ever she goes and has made numerous appearances on WW.
Donna Maree was built by Jorgensens at Waipawa, Picton for Charlie Hebberley for the Tory Channel- not sure of the date. Now owned by Cal Crook.
I’m in the dark on details on the other to boats – Liberator and the unnamed one.
All the boats featured yesterday and today are stunning examples of why we love classic boats – the photo below unfortunately is an example to what we see hanging out in the Bay of Islands at this time of the year – “a face only a mother could love” 😦