Mystery Tutakaka Launch (Merlin) + Nereides

Dean Wright sent in the above photo of this launch berthed at Tutukaka. No visible name so would be nice if we could ID her.

17-05-2021 Update ex Keeny West – the mystery game boat above is Merlin owned by Brett Bracey.


One of the growth boating areas is time share – where you get access to a boat for a set period of time for a set cost.Normally the only boats available in these ‘partnerships’ are pieces of white plastic and a 3rd party is clipping the ticket, with a rather large pair of clippers. For several years Mark Lever the owner of the 1926 classic launch – Nereides, has been making her available to suitable parties via similar agreement to the above. Nereides is one of our best maintained and presented woodys, in fact just drop dead gorgeous, see more photos below. Mark contacted me during the week for a chat and he drop in that a, what he calls – ‘Crew Spot’ was coming available , so I asked for details – I’ll let Mark explain how it works below, but if you are interested give him a call or drop an email for more details    021 747 102 or email

“Nereides is berthed at Sandspit Marina one hour north of Auckland. She is a  glamorous Wellington boat from 1926, gaff rigged main sail, mizzen and headsail perfect for coastal cruising. The skipper looks after maintenance. Looking for someone, or a couple who would like to share the use of this classic launch.The cost is $6k per year with a weekend a month and a week over the summer period.” 

Merlin – Sailing Sunday




MERLIN – Sailing Sunday

I recently received a note from Andrew Hewitt from Ashburton, concerning his 22’ yacht Merlin. Andrew became custodian of her three years ago, when she was put up for sale by a broker on behalf of her former owner’s widow (Peter Beaven, a notable Christchurch architect and heritage advocate).

Peter had had her hull restored professionally in Christchurch some time previously, but the earthquakes and his ultimate death intervened. Andrew completed the job, rigged her and commissioned a trailer for her locally. So she’s now, home from the sea in her retirement – converted for use as a ‘trailer-sailor’ and lives protected from the elements in a boat shed at Lake Hood (just east of Ashburton) – where Andrew sails her when time allows.

Andrew commented that Harold Kidd kindly supplied a little history on her and Les McBean (Dunedin) also did a quite an extensive one (link here Les McBean Merlin), but unfortunately they contradict each other J According to Les, it seems she dates from around 1902 by Mr Derwent Aitcheson of Waikouaiti, where she was originally a fishing boat fitted with an engine. She appears to have been based there and Moeraki, moving about in the general Otago area. At some time mid-century she was converted to a yacht, and was well known in Otago Harbour for some decades, prior to becoming derelict and ultimate salvation by Peter Beaven.

The registration number seems original (V9) – it is on an old cotton sail that came with her.

Like all woodys, Merlin’s restoration is an ongoing thing….. the photos above ange from the fitting out/rigging stage at Andrew’s home to an early pic of Andrew under sail at Lake Hood.

Andrew is keen to discover more on Merlin past, to date he has made one or two connections through the Canterbury Classic Boat meets and tried both the Port Chalmers Maritime Museum and the two yacht clubs down there for info, but nothing forthcoming. The Museum at Waikouaiti knew of the builder, but didn’t supply any info when requested.

2017 Centreboard Cup – Herne Bay Yacht Club – Sat 9th Dec – Sloanes Beach, Herne Bay

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Pencil midday on Saturday the 9th of December into the diary, the Herne Bay Crusing Club are hosting their legendary Centreboard Cup Regatta. Its one of the coolest sailing events in town & the venue is rather special.

Details here

And check out my photos from a previous regatta.

Anyone Looking For a Wooden Mast?

The Herne Bay Cruising Club have a 31’6″ laminated, hollow wooden mast that needs a home, the price will be very attractive if its for a classic yacht, if you want it as a flag pole expect to pay more 🙂 email Andrew Mason at