Classic Woody Yard Mooching

Classic Woody Yard Mooching

Dropped into The Slipway Milford the other day, very pleased to see the 1937, 38’ Sam Ford built launch – Menai, getting some serious TLC after languishing at the CYA’s Heritage Landing for many years, dockside chat was it was a permanent fixture. 

As with most things in life, boat ownership goes in cycles and with new owners she is get the attention she deserves. Always nice to see painting prep well executed i.e. back to bare wood – that kauri looks as good as the day Sam Ford fastened it.

I understand a new engine has been installed so the TCL is serious – we like that 🙂

See more on Menai here https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/09/11/menai-a-peek-down-below-2/

While there the 1945 K-Class – Jenanne was getting a Jason Prew Paint Job, the photo is coat one of two top coats, already very slick.

Now a tip on how to get marine engineers to come down to your boat – keep your engine room as ship-shape as the 1965 Owen Woolley built launch – Adonis – the man from the Moon didn’t even have to put his overalls on 🙂

Classic Launches – Lady Karita, Menai, Valsan + Others – 1947 NZ National Film Unit

Classic Launches – Lady Karita, Menai, Valsan + Others – 1947 – NZ Diary #8 Movie

Following on from yesterday story on the launch – Lady Karita, Robert Phillips sent in a link to a 1947 movie tagged – ‘NZ Diary #8’ from the NZ National Film Unit. Its a great look back at post war life in Auckland. The movie is only 5 1/2min long so watch it all but if you’re time poor – go to 1.43min in and to 2.07min where it shows Lady Karita motoring on the Auckland Harbour in 1947 with someone wake boarding (or Aqua-Plane as they called it back then ) behind her. Carrying on further and we see more wake boarding at Kawau Island with Menai and others in the background. Later in the video, more wake boarding, this time behind the launch –  Valsan.

Wonderful to see all the launches and yachts, most of which are still around 75 years later and looking as good or better than in 1947.


Woodys Classics Weekend Cruise To Clevedon – Call for RVSP’s
The dates for the next Woody Weekend Cruise to the Clevedon Cruising Club are Saturday 21st > Sunday 22nd May 2022.As always due to wharf and river size numbers are restricted – so Woodys if you are interested in doing this event RSVP to address below ASAP to avoid disappointment. Send – Your name > Boat name > and if you know approx. numbers on board. Well behaved dogs are welcome. 

RSVP TO   waitematawoodys@waitematawoodys

Flashback Friday – Menai and Valsan

Menai c.1947/8
Menai c.1947/8
Valsan c.1947/8

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – MENAI AND VALSAN 

Recently I was contacted by Pat Menzies the youngest son of Clive Menzies who bought the launch Menai from Arnold Baldwin. In a previous WW story Harold Kidd refers to Clive as ‘C.B. Menzies’, link to that story below. After reading the numerous WW stories on Menai, Pat decided to share a little more information that he hopes may be of interest to us. It is a good yarn so I’ll hand over to Pat and let him tell the story.  https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/09/02/menai-valsan-her-owners/

“First, a little background about Arnold Baldwin “Baldie” to his friends (unsurprisingly). He is referred to as “involerd in the paper and printing industry”. But he was a bit more significant than that. Born in Canada, he emigrated to New Zealand some time pre-war and founded Universal Business Directories Ltd. By the 1950s and continuing through most of the next half-century UBD’s metropolitan provincial editions were the first place to look for detailed information about businesses of all and any sorts and the advertising revenue they engendered had made Baldie quite a rich man. Very rich by the standards of the day. I presume he must have been in the RNZ Volunteer Reseve pre-war and was appointed skipper of the Menai during the war years when it was commandeered the Navy and put to Coastal Patrol duties.  (I believe that virtually every harbour which had a fleet of launches had some commandeered by the Navy for this purpose, but the Menai is the only one I know about. After the war I understand Mr Reynolds, the original owner did not want it back and Arnold was able to buy it. By the late 40s he was looking for a bigger boat and bought the Valsan, selling the Menai to my father.

Dad and Arnold were at the time (and for a number of years thereafter) flag officers of the Auckland Motor Yacht Club and were able to organise the various transfers to suit their calendars and cash flow. Dad sold the “Taufale” a 28 footer launch which he had bought in 1944 (I think. May have been 1945.) I was only about 5 at the time so my memory of such details is non-existent.

Dad owned the Menai through to some time in the early 1960s when he sold it to a then well-known local architect – surname Dalton. I did know his first name but have long since forgotten it. He, after quite a short period on-sold it to Alan (I think) Martin who was at the time CEO of TVNZ Auckland and did a lot of work on the boat. It then went through a number of owners before Peter Smith bought it and turned it into the film star beauty she is now.

The reference to Horry Whimp as an owner is quite mysterious.  He was, as stated, the manager of the UBD printing works, had worked for Arnold for many years and had the perk of being boat husband, first for the Menai and later for the Valsan.  It could very well be that Horry had the use of the Menai over the 48-49 season while Dad and Arnold were trading their paths to each owning only one boat – and that Ken Ricketts (who is/was a couple of years older than me) simply assumed he owned it.

Menai was powered by a flathead Ford V8 with a marine conversion by OSCA, rated at 100hp. Whether that was as a car motor or marine I don’t know. It had a 2 to 1 reduction box and we cruised at 1750rpm on the rev counter.  Dad went through about three propellers and numerous re-pitchings and re-cuppings and finally achieved claimed figures of cruising speed of about 6.5 knots and petrol consumption of 1 3/4 gallons per hour. Pushing it up to 7 or 7.5 knots resulted in it squatting at the stern (“digging a big hole in the water” Dad used to say) and consumption soaring to about 4 gallons/hour.

Dad also fitted a Ford 8 auxiliary motor following a rather nasty experience when the motor stalled (a scale of rust in the fuel line, I believe) and left us powerless on a lee shore, either down the Bottom End or over on the Coromandel. I was about 11 or 12 and getting ready to drop the 45lb big pick when the motor fired up again. He also fitted another smaller motor to charge the batteries so we didn’t have to go cruising to have  electricity. He also fitted a gas powered freezer box under the starboard seat in the bridgedeck. Larger boats such as the Valsan generally had such facilities but the Menai was well up-to-date for its age and size. One of the perks of being one of Arnold’s friends was that ownership of the Valsan came with one of the boatsheds on Ngapipi Rd – the third from Tamaki Drive. Arnold ran a tight timetable. He had the shed from about Easter to near to Queen’s Birthday and then Dad and several other of his friends each had about 2 weeks or so, during which we worked hard to complete the season’s maintenance. Dad would go to the shed each evening direct from work and I would pitch on at the weekends working from dawn to as late as we needed. I remember varnishing the coamings in half-light of a winter evening was a truly awful task. But better than doing it in the open at Vos Bros or any other shipyard. At least we didn’t have dust to contend with”.

Moa Ra and Menai Update

MOA RA

The above photos of the launch Moe Ra just popped up on Lew Redwood’s fb (via Te Papa > Christopher Bede).They are dated 1969, not sure if thats the build year of photo year, could be both.
The boat draw a total blank with me, so suspect its had a name change along the way. Can we learn more about her?

Harold Kidd Input – MOE RA was built by Alan Orams in Whangarei in 1966.according to APYMBA records when first owner Eric Lane registered her.


MENAI – Has a new owner 🙂 after many years of being almost a permanent structure at the Classic Yacht Association’s viaduct marina – yachty Bruce Tantrum has in his words “moved over to the dark side” and bought the classic launch – Menai. (Disclosure: not a Wooden Boat  Bureau sale) We look forward to seeing her out and about again on the Waitemata.

Speaking of the CYA marina (Heritage Landing) if you are a CYA member and have a well presented (NZ designed & built) classic launch and are looking for a marina, Put your name on the CYA waiting list (I’m told its a very short list e.g. no one on it) Added bonus I understand it costs less than $100 a month 😉