Will You Be Boating This Summer

Will You be Boating This Summer
Later today, when we hear who the new government will be, I suspect some waitematawoodys readers will realise it’s time to take the plunge, and get yourself, your family, and your friends on the water this summer. 

Without sounding too much like Jacinda Ardern (be kind) – when people ask me about classic wooden boat ownership, I normally say that owning a woody has a positive effect on your life i.e. you end up forging a life you don’t need to escape from.

So woodys in the interest of your mental well being I have listed below a selection of boats that are currently berthed at the virtual Wooden Boat Bureau Sales Marina. To read more about WBB – click below. Links (blue) to each boat also included below. 


The Wooden Boat Bureau is uniquely placed to offer impartial, up-to-date market information and objective advice to both sellers and buyers. So if you are looking for a wooden boat or considering selling – email  waitematawoodys@gmail.com

MENAI38’ 1937 Sam Ford


RANUI 48’ 1948 Lidgard


MONTEREY 33’6” 1946 Lidgard


WAIKARO30’ 1978 Roy Paris/Geoff Bagnall


CASTAWAY33’ 1947 Dick Lang


TIME 38’ 2001 John Gander


ASTROLABE51’7” 1971 Bruce Clarke/John Salthouse


Total Wooden Boat Porn

Total Wooden Boat Porn

Over the last week I have had numerous woodys asking if I had seen the YouTube video on one of the UK’s stunning new motor boats – the Spirit P70. My answer was yes I had, so today I thought I had better share it with you. Built by Spirit Yachts to a very simple owner brief – it must be able to cover (non-stop) 1000nm at an average speed of 18 knots, she tops out at 23.5 knots. And budget? – somewhere between 4 and 5 million pounds. That woodys gets you are very swanky vessel, every single item is bespoke – check it out.

Menai – 4sale

MENAI – A Peek Down Below

Menai is one of those launches that no matter what angle you approach her from, she looks stunning. She’s a superb example of her type from a boat builder, Sam Ford, at the peak of their craft, restored by an owner with an exacting attitude to authenticity and originality. Menai was built in 1937 from full length since skin kauri, overall length is 38’, with a beam of 10’, drawing 3’.

She underwent a refit in 1983 and then got very lucky when she was purchased in 2007 by the late Peter Smith, who undertook an extensive restoration that returned her to her former glory of one of Auckland’s smartest classic wooden launches. She looks bigger than 38’ and whilst a bridge-decker, her configuration makes her a very relaxing vessel. The wheelhouse even has a wine cellar 🙂 Powered by a very economical 60hp Lees Marine Ford.

Now if this is starting to sound like a advertisement – that is because it is. Due to unforeseen family circumstances, her owner reluctantly has decided that the time has come to pass Menai on to her next custodian. Menai would be the most / best documented classic launch I have been on, makes wonderful reading. It sounds corny – but she will not be on the market for long – woodys like Menai only pop up ‘once in a blue moon’ 😉
Initial expressions of interest to waitematawoodys@gmail.com


Mahurangi / Warkworth c.1961

Mahurangi / Warkworth c.1961

photos ex Ken Ricketts

Todays post show 2 photos taken c1961, most likely at Xmas & show a collection of launches tied up at the wharf at Warkworth. The really neat thing is hat most of these craft are still a float today & in as good, if not better condition.
It would be nice to see some of those varnished coaming again 😉

Several of these launches will be at todays Mahurangi Regatta & weather & numbers interested – maybe making the trip up the river to Warkworth for lunch.

Ken has attempted to ID the launches – see below.

Front row Gay Dawn, Ken can’t identify outer 2 boats.

Top left row, tiny bit of bow too small to indentify next to wharf next is
Cherokee & next is Menai. Ken can’t identify outer boat of that group


Bottom left Gay Dawn, Ken can’t identify the other 2 boats.
Next row to right is Faye at wharf, next to her is Royal Falcon & next is
Cherokee & then Menai. Ken can’t identify the outer boat.

Far row to right –  boat at wharf is Southern Belle, may have been owned by Stan
Blundell, the outer boat next to her is Lady Karita.

Boat at anchor Reelemin II

Menai & Valsan & her Owners.

Menai & Valsan & her Owners.

details & b/w photos from Ken Ricketts. edited by Alan H 

In the late 1930s, earlier 1940s, Arnold D. Baldwin, a successful business man involved in the paper & printing industries purchased the 1936 (’37?) Sam Ford launch MENAI & used her regularly until 1948, when he bought VALSAN, off Peter Annan, who had renamed her LADY EDITH, which ADB changed back to VALSAN.

ADB sold MENAI to his factory manager, Horry Whimp who loved her, at least as much as ADB & continued to pour money into MENAI, as ADB had before him. HW owned MENAI well in to the 1950s. During this stage of her life MENAI had a flat head Ford V8.

Ken Ricketts met HW’s son, Barry Whimp, as a 3rd former at Auckland Grammar in 1950, they were in the same year & became good friends, & had many happy moments together whilst away on their parents boats, especially at Kawau, at Christmas.

(b/w photos taken by Ken Ricketts show Menai over Christmas 1948 /1949  just after the Whimps had bought her, & taken at Issy Bay & Kawau. The photo of Valsan in Schoolhouse Bay was taken during Christmas 1948 just after ADB had purchased her)

Menai Specs ex Alan H

Sam Ford, Ellerslie, designed and built Menai for Mr W T Reynolds of Whangarei and she was launched at Panmure Basin on 24th of December 1937.She immediately left Auckland on launching and arrived at Whangareri 25.12.1937.

She has a most interesting history, during WWII as a Navy patrol vessel she towed lifeboats from SS Niagara to safety.  She spent many years big game fishing both off Tutukaha and Tauranga and she is fine sea boat. In 1985 new owners did major renovations including the superb varnished interior. In 2007 she was purchased by the late Peter Smith who spent 3 years bringing her back to the wonderful condition she is today.

She is characteristic of the Ford design, a bridgedeck displacement launch, 10.97m (38 ft) length, beam 3.05m and draft 0.97m. Although there have been some substantial upgrades both the exterior lines and interior layout are original.

Construction: Single kauri skin (full length planking) over bolted and riveted frames and floors. The original upper works were built of kauri. In a 1985 major upgrade they were overlaid with 5/8 in teak and varnished.

Power: Lees-Marine 60hp Fordson diesel with 2:1 Lees-Marine hydraulic gearbox.

Harold Kidd Update

A few minor things about the above. MENAI was originally fitted with an 8 cylinder Lycoming engine which was changed to an Osco Ford V8 marine conversion, possibly during her NAPS service. Arnold Baldwin bought MENAI in 1942 when he was skippering her with NAPS and registered her as a British Registered Ship in 1948. According to those records and to the contemporary APYMBA records, Whimp did not own her at all, but that may well have been because he didn’t want to carry on the BR. Certainly, however, the BR records and the RNZYS records show that MENAI was 100% owned by C.B. Menzies from 1950 onwards. How Whimp and Menzies fit together, I have no idea.




When I was recently out at the NZ Traditional Boat Building School I spied this old (ish) photo on the wall of Menai, the 1936 Sam Ford designed launch, taken prior to the wonderful restoration by the late Peter Smith. While she looks very smart in this photo she was very sick down below. Another one thats on my bucket list.