Mystery Woody at Whangateau

IMG_0478 Interesting woody in Wangateau Harbour


Mystery Woody at Whangateau
Woody Denis O’Callahan (MV Tasman) spotted the above woody anchored last Saturday when he was mooching around the Whangateau Harbour.
There appears to be a ‘pole’ (maybe the main mast) lashed to the starboard bulwarks.
A few splashes of paint on the stern might be concealing a name, home port?
Anyone able to ID the vessel for us?

Waitematawoodys T-Shirts + New Release – Caps – Perfect Christmas Presents

Well woodys Summers almost here so it’s T-shirt weather. If you want a WW t-shirt nows the time to order – details below.
  1. Some background on the T’s – I only source top quality garments & use high-end screen printing for really tight detail & a durable finish. I’m passionate about WW & will only put the logo on something that is 100% quality.
  2. In terms of colour – we are like Henry Ford, we only do one colour – a very dark blue (navy) with white logo. 
  3. Price – same price for the last 3 years  – $34.95 (gst inclusive) + $5 p&p (one off freight charge, no matter the number you order). If that’s too much to pay for a quality T-shirt, well I guess you won’t be buying one, but I’m not prepared to compromise on standards. This years T’s are an even better cut / fit.
  4. Sizes – Refer chart below. If there is interest I will do a smaller female sizes.
  5. Ordering – B4 Xmas I’m doing a limited print run, so if you want a shirt/s – I need your order by Monday 25th November, sooner would be even better. I’ll advise payment details when I confirm your order.
I have done a small run of WW Caps and the feedback from my crash-test dummies has been very positive – so we have added caps to the merchandise list.
1. One size fits all
2. Light weight, 6 panel
3. Two colour options Navy Blue / Light Blue
4. Price is $32 (gst inclusive) + $5 p&p (no charge if ordered with T-shirt/s)

What’s next – email me at & advise:


# Your name 

# Postal address

# Phone 

# Quantity & size/s & colour (cap only)

Ps – Sent in a sealed courier bag, so if you are ordering for a Xmas present, no-one will know the contents.

Size Guide

1940’s Woody Speed Boat

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1940’s Woody Speed Boat

Todays woody speedboat was built by Richard Hall’s father and his best mate John Primrose in the late 1940’s. The zoom zoom came from a 1938 Cadillac V8.
The caption on the back of the photos says 35 knots – very impressive – refer the photo below for more more details.
Richard commented that John Primrose had a boatbuilding business in Gisborne, undertaking a lot of Govt. contract work.
Can anyone tell us the name of the speedboat and what became of her?
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Mystery Boats October 1939


Mystery Boats October 1939

The above photo is tagged ‘Auckland’s Fine Holiday Week-End’ and is dated October 1939.
And interesting mix of craft hauled out, given the stated date, I would have thought it was a little late in the year to have that number of yachts with their rigs out.
Any one behave enough to name them?
Des Townson Book
The postman/lady delivered a special parcel today, I have been sent one of ten review copies of the book ‘Des Townson – A Sailing Legacy’ by Brian Peet. It is a big read (both in size and weight – 1.8kg) with 340+ pages loaded with tales, details and hundreds of photos and line drawings.
The Foreword is written by our own Harold Kidd and I’m sure Harold and author Brian Peet won’t mind me quoting from it.
“It is without doubt, the most intimate and accurate portrayal that we will ever see of Des Townson and his yachts, but it also provides insight into that vibrant network of highly skilled people – yachtsman and yachtswoman, yacht designers and yacht builders – who have made the last 75 years of the sport in New Zealand so amazingly successful home, and on the world stage.” HKD
The on-sale date is 18th September  – I will do a review before then.  BUT GOOD NEWS waitematawoodys have two copies on offer as prizes – details to follow 🙂

Hawkes Bay Mystery Motorsailer

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Hawkes Bay Mystery Motorsailer

Todays photos come to us fro Lew Redwood’s fb, the name of the yacht is unknown, but we know it was owned by J.A. Louis Hay.
Again the location is also unknown, but the photo is tagged MTG Hawkes Bay which is – Museum Theatre Gallery, Napier – so that might be a big help ID’ing the location.
Interesting ‘funnel’ , I assume for a solid fuel stove. And speaking of wood stoves on boats (my dream) Mondays WW story ticks a lot of my boxes – wood stove + a Ford Model T wheel / helm.
Harold Kidd Input – I’ve scratched my head over this one before. J A Louis Hay was a well-known Napier Architect and amateur musician. Just a guess, he designed he boat himself and had it built locally at Westshore by R. Farquhar, very possibly the unnamed one he built in September 1915 before Hay went overseas to France, She was 26’6″x6′ with a 4hp Monarch. The “funnel” is probably a dry exhaust.
Bonus Read
I’m a big fan of the UK website Classic Sailor, it started out as a magazine, published by a past editor of Classic Boat magazine, but then after a few issues, went to a weblog format. They have some great articleds- check out this one on the restoration of the yawl – Wayward – see link below.

Woody Lake Boat Project





Woody Lake Boat Project

I’m pretty sure this woody was a trademe listing for a very long time, so when I received a note from Rachel Jamieson from the Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat group telling me Micheal Booth had bought an old wooden kauri 4 seater, carvel construction speedboat for restoration and attached the above photos –  I was so rapped that she had a new owner and her restoration would be completed.
I’ll let Micheal Booth tell the story 

“She  belonged to Andrew Lang the previous Harbour Master who now skippers in the Med. Andrew bought the boat in Rotoru and tracked the motor down in Rotoiti which he then restored. He had started restoration but because of his circumstances has elected to sell.

 I believe the boat was used by the Rangiheuia sisters on Lake Tarawera in the early days. It is of kauri construction and has an oregon ply transom. It is powered by an Austin 7 Thetis motor. Apparently the local historian knew of the boat but has unfortunately passed away. Andrew thinks this boat was designed by the  Logans and built by Lidgard. The boat is thought to be around 1934-36.
The boat builders I have taken it to aren’t convinced and wonder if the boat was of an American design but built locally. It measures 4850mm long, 1600mm wide and 1250 wide at the stern.”
Michael is wondering if anyone may some more information on the boat.

1910-1920’s Mystery Launch & Yachts on the Waitemata Harbour


1910-1920’s Mystery Launch & Yachts on the Waitemata Harbour
The above photo comes to us from the Auckland Museum, Bourne collection – via Lew Redwood’s fb. 
It shows a smallish motorboat towing two gaff rigged yacht.
Can we ID all 3?
10-04-2019 Update from Steve Horsley – photo below
Ngatira & Kotiri

FLYING 15 4sale

screen shot 2019-01-12 at 8.09.07 pm
I have been contacted by Rachel Jamieson, the driving force behind the Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Association, asking for help finding a new owner for her parents 20’ Flying Fifteen yacht. I’ll let Rachel tell you about the yacht – 
“ She is currently named Ffelony & registered as ff 851. From what I can find out she was launched in 1966 as Aphrodite, then renamed ffelony in 1971.
My parents raced her in Wellington in the 1980’s and were calling her flying forties, as they were in their 40’s. she does not have a name on her.
Next she came up to Lake Rotoiti where she has been ever since, only taken out of the shed occasionally in summer and not for the past 5-6 years at all except to re-coat the deck with Sikkens.
She appears to have a few sets of sails, all quite old as they have not been replaced since she was raced.
She has stainless steel lifting eyes for crane-age launching which is what was used when in Wellington.
She has a launching trailer, but it does need repair, the main part of it is galvanised so not to bad, but the uprights at the back to guide the boat on have rusted away…
Overall the boat is in not too bad a shape, she is complete and sailable. It is a wooden hull (glassed over), plywood decks with aluminium mast, boom and spinnaker pole.”
She has a no reserve starting price on trademe of $250, so someone will get a bargain. Talking with Rachel, their #1 issue is finding a good home for the yacht. She has been in rachel’s family for the last 40 years.
Viewing is in Otaramarae, Lake Rotoiti – please email Rachel to make a time.

Orakei Hard Stand




Today’s photos come to us via Lew Redwood’s fb, and show a selection of launches & yachts hauled out. The probate date is somewhere in the 1920>30’s.
The 2nd photo shows a magnificent collection of rear ends 🙂 Whilst I would never be able toID them, a woody like Simon Smith (convalescing at home, should be able to 😉
I’ll give a 2019 Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Calendar (see below) to the woody that correctly ID’s the most bums 🙂
I’ll have to get outside help to judge the winner. Entries (this time) via the WW comments section.
Closes Jan 7th, 2019.

No Varnish Today :-)


No Varnish Today 🙂

I received an email from Jake Bradshaw yesterday, Jake is from Southland, for the non Kiwi woodys that’s the bottom of the South Island. Jake was asking if any WW followers may know the  hull design of the woody runabout above that he has just acquired. The boat is 12’ & appears to have a marinised Vauxhall motor, from what Jake can work out.
And when a woody dies – the photo below is where we hope we will end up – looks like boating heaven.
Boat Heaven

McKenzie Bay – Rangitoto Island

McKenzie Bay

McKenzie Bay – Rangitoto Island

The above photo show a collection of woodys anchored in McKenzie Bay, the photo is ex an old photo album that Steve Horsley uncovered. The owner of which is unknown.

Can we ID any of the vessels? Steve has sent me a high-res copy of the image & have taken close-ups of the boats (see below).

I’m pretty sure the ‘big’ launch closest to the camera in the 1st photo is Romance II , as to the others, what do you think?

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Vixen > Water Beetle – Akaroa


Vixen > Water Beetle – Akaroa

Another photo ex Lew Redwood’s fb page, this time we have a yacht anchored at Akaroa, the photo is dated 1911. It’s a great photo

Any of the woodys able to ID this gaffer?

07-05-2018 Input from Harold Kidd – 

She’s the little half-rater WATER BEETLE designed by Prof Scott and built for Wardrop of Wellington by Robert Logan Sr in 1895 as VIXEN. MASCOTTE (53ft) and YVONNE (42ft) were big gaffers. Scott later bought her, renamed her WATER BEETLE and raced her at Lyttelton. He sold her in 1901.

VIXEN/WATER BEETLE had a lugsail like most of the Wellington half-raters which raced with the Arawa Sailing Club and was 24ft loa. She was owned at the time of this photograph by J.L. Vangioni of Akaroa. Prof Scott had owned YVONNE for many years at this time.

21-07-2018 Update ex Ian Campball

Ian sent in the photo below from 1910 showing Waterbeetle on Akaroa Harbour, owned at the time by Louis J Vangioni MBE of Akaroa (1872-1951).

1910c Waterbeetle


Good Things Take Time

Greg Fenwick sent me the photo below that he took last November on a trip to Oban, Stewart Island. Pretty well sums up wooden boat building 🙂


And a wee bonus today – check out this Facebook movie of dinghy sailing back in 1955, at Plymouth, Devon, UK. Link via Wooden Boat fb – enjoy

A Treasure Trove of Old Auckland Sailing Photos




A Treasure Trove of Old Auckland Sailing Photos

I was contacted by Keith Humphreys who told me that in the 1950’s he discovered a box of glass plates under the Anglican parish hall (Devonport).

A friend’s father, an amateur photographer printed them off for him at the time, but Keith had no idea what or where they’re of?

He presumes that they’re taken in Auckland.

Can we help ID them? HDK, a wee job after chapel & before your bike ride today 😉

ID’ing the cricket match photo below will be tougher challenge 🙂 A WW t-shirt if some can, & prove it. 


Harold Kidd Input – Top pic RAINBOW? 2nd pic IDA? 3rd THELMA? The Anglican Parish Hall is next door to Le Huquet’s former residence and last yard and I think WAIONE was built in the near vicinity. Mad guess at the cricket match with a little church on a hill is Waiheke. Awaroa? Owhanake before the 1918 flu epidemic which just about wiped out all the Maori population there?

Unknown / Mystery Boat 20-07-2017 + Woody Homes


Unknown / Mystery Boat 20-07-2017

I was sent the above photo by Ray Morey, Ray is hoping to be able to ID the vessel.  It was on the Waikato River in the mid 1950’s operated by ‘Henry’s Sand Co.’, until being replaced by the steel tug “S.P.”  – Ray has no idea where she came from nor where she went.

Can any of the woodys help out with any details?

Woody Homes

Woody Brett Evans sent me a link to a feature on a sleepy seaside village in France with a small fishing port, a population of less than 3,000 and some very peculiar-looking houses. At a moment’s glance, they could almost appear to be an unfortunate pod of beached orcas, but look again carefully at those unusual roofs. Yes, those are boats … upside down! Local fishermen of Équihen-Plage have lived under scavenged boat hulls here for over a century and today, many of these upturned vessels now serve as a unique holiday accommodation for travelers visiting the French coast. Very cool idea. You can see more at the link below.



Where Is She Today?

Lost Runabout


Today’s boat, isn’t a mystery boat as we know that it was owned by one of the Allen family (owners of the launch Tiromoana & the C class yacht Tuirangi in the later 1940s-50s) & was probably belonged to Henry Allen’s son in law Joe Coggan.
The photo was taken in front of the family’s business premises at that time in Manukau Rd Epsom opposite Epsom Girls Grammar. Photo emailed in by Ken Ricketts.

Can we put a name to her to & what became of her ?

Mystery Hull > Riki



Morning woodys – the above photos were sent to me by Peter Mence, Chairman of the NZ Classic Yacht Association. Peter spotted the hull ‘resting’ in Pine Valley Road, Dairy Flat, Albany.
Someone must know who she is & how she ended up.

Update 01-05-2017 ex Barry Davis – Bay of Islands 1971

Riki BOI 1971

50% Off Sale

Boat below ex Tim Evill on Waiheke Island, I hope she was not headed for the landfill, would make a get firewood shelter.



Mystery Boat



The above photos were sent in by Nathan Herbert & were taken on the Hokianga Harbour. Very sad to see this boat neglected like this.

So woodys – first one to correctly ID her wins a Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Regatta 2017 Calendar. Entries via the ww comments section.

Mystery Launch & A Few Yachts


Mystery Launch & A Few Yachts

I’m hoping that I have not published this photo before, its from the Mac Taylor collection. Interested in ID’ing the launch.

Sorry for a rather lame post today but I’m laid low with the man flu, feeling very average, in fact didn’t even watch the All Blacks test last night. hits Two MILLION Views + a Great Prize

ww mystery hits 2 MILLION Views + a Great Prize 2 be Won

Yesterday saw the waitematawoodys site hit 2 million views, something quite amazing for such a niche topic. As  stated in the site masthead, waitematawoodies was founded upon a desire to tell the stories & a need to archive the history of our classic wooden boats, the craftsman who built them & the characters that owned & crewed on them. A lot of people thought we would run out of content to write about in a few months, well that has not happened & given the size of my email in-box won’t  🙂

One of the things that differentiates waitematawoodys from traditional media is the ability for readers to interact with the site & with each other. So far there have been over 1,500 stories & 10,000 comments posted on the site, if you are one of the many that comments – thank you for your contribution, if you have not commented, maybe its time you did. Everyone has at least one good story to tell 😉

While at the start it was not the intention to create a reference library on classic wooden boats, we have ended up with one & its pretty awesome – I have Harold Kidd to thank for giving me a wee ‘fire-side chat’ about striving to get accurate data on the site. These days you can search by vessel name, designer, builder, year, length, category – launch/yacht/work boat, boats for sale & a lot more. Again if you have not tried the Search Box on waitematawoodys – give it a ago.

Cheers Alan Houghton

WIN – Now I’d like to offer up a very cool prize to mark the 2 million milestone. Regular ww readers will be aware that Robert Brooke recently published his book ‘Beautiful Boats’. Robert has been collecting classic yacht designs for over 50 years, amongst his collection is work from our most talented & recognized designers – Arch Logan, Chas Bailey, Charlie & Alex Collings, Colin Wild, Bert Woolacott, Bob Stewart, Des Townson, Alan Wright & Robert’s father – John Brooke. From his collection Robert has chosen 50 & redrawn each design, tracing off the original drawings to present them in a similar format. To add to the wow factor, Robert used the drawing equipment & ships curves that were once used by either Arch Logan, Charlie & Alex Collings or his father. The 105 page, A4 size book allocates 2 pages to each vessel with specs & photo/s on the left & the drawings – hull lines, profile, half breadths, sections, diagonals & sail plan on the right hand page. We have given away 4 copies of the book on waitematawoodys over the last few weeks, in addition Robert donated a framed 380mm x 300mm rendered print of one of the featured boats. Sample below


How to enter & a few t&c’s
1. The first woody that can supply the name, designer, builder, year & photo location of the large yacht on the right in the photo above wins the print.
2. Entries must be in the ww comments section & have all 5 answers correct. You can enter as many times as you like.
3. The judges (thats me) decision is final & no correspondence will be entered into.
4. The winner must collect the prize from Auckland.
5. HDK you are excluded – you have already got one 🙂
If you would like a copy of the book – visit Boat Books at 22 Westhaven Drive, Westhaven, Auckland & grab a copy for yourself, cost is $60. For out of towners or those who refer the web – copies are available on line at
ps I have also held back posting this on ww until 7.00am to give all woodys (not just the night owls) a chance to win 🙂

Whats Happening Here?

Whats Happening Here?
photo ex Barry Davis

Ok woodys, by now you should have recovered from yesterdays 3rd serving of Christmas ham & pudding, so time to test the brain.
Whats the reason for the above flotilla – (1) reason/occasion (2) the date (3) can we ID any of the launches?

The answer via an update from Brian Davis
The photo (+ another added) are from the Weekly News of 15 May 1924, being the occasion of the arrival of the battlecruisers HMS Hood and Repulse and light cruiser Delhi.

Brian thinks the 2 masted launch may be the Lady Eva and the dark painted one ahead looks like either the Ionaero or Ionoto of Blue Boat origin. Some of them are certainly overloaded by todays standards.

Mystery Launch 29-09-2015

Mystery Launch 29-09-2015
photos ex Harold Kidd

Harold bought the old postcard that the above images are from.  It’s obviously a Waitemata working launch with that fender on her bow but he can’t place the launch, any woodys able to help?

The reference to the ‘winning crew’ might mean it was a fishing excursion & possibly the ‘Mr. Davenport’ was the boss.

Zoomed in pic of the boat

Input from Chris McMullen
Could be the “Sambo” ? Was sunk at Nagles Cove in the 1960’s. Raised by Maurice Palmer and taken to his yard at 15 Clarence St Devonport. I worked on her as an apprentice boat builder. No idea of what happened to her after that.
Harold Kidd Reply
I hadn’t thought of SAMBO (or her sister JUMBO) and Chris is likely to be right. Both were built for Bentley & Pearce, later Auckland Towboat Co, by Tom Le Huquet around 1915-16. I last saw SAMBO (or was it JUMBO?) at the Paeroa Maritime Museum maybe 25 years ago. She was lying outside, a bare hull painted Union SS Co green and seemingly still sound. Someone out there will know where she is now, Baden/Russell in particular. Was it Barry Brickell who was going to install a Simpson Strickland steam plant in her? Or am I conflating stuff?
Photo of Sambo below, ex Barry Davis, that he took in 1973 on the hard stand at Half Moon Bay.

Mystery Yacht – Sailing Sunday


Mystery Yacht – Sailing Sunday

photos ex Shamus Fairhall

Today’s post is total mystery to myself & Shamus, all Shamus knows is that a friend asked him to scan the photographs – I’m sure one of the rag & rope woodys will be able to at least ID the class of yacht, if not the actual name.



Waihora (Mystery Boat 05-08-2015)

photo ex Jason Prew

Today’s post is another photo from Jason Prew’s trip up the Tamaki River with Otira to the Chris McMullen workshop CYA visit. Jason photographed some of the many moored wooden boats moored on-route. The launch is a very well cared for sedan top &  I can just make out a shortish name on her coamings, something like Wai_ora??, I’m sure one of the river rats will be able to ID her & hopefully supply more info on her.

Not a mystery after all 🙂

Mystery Boats & Location 01/08

Mystery Boats & Location
photo ex Scott Taylor ex ‘Old Auckland’

Today’s post is a wee bit of a mystery, from back in the days before we had acres of marinas. The one thing I do know is the mooring fees would have been affordable, these days you have to sell of a child for medical experiments to afford to berth your boat close to the city.

So woodys where is it & can we ID any of the boats?


photo ex Jason Prew

Photo from Jason Prew’s during his trip up the Tamaki River with Otira to the Chris McMullen workshop CYA visit. Jason photographed some of the many moored wooden boats moored on-route.

Today’s launch is an ‘interesting’ mix of styles…………. I can just make out a shortish name on her stern starting with W, can anyone ID her & supply more details on her past?

Input from Cameron Pollard

“Wainui” 33ft x not a lot x 3ft. Two skin kauri, built around 1900 .
We have owned her for close to 20 years and was the start of our obsession / illness of collecting old boats.
Steamed from New Plymouth to Onehunga wharf after fishing down there for years.
We rescued her as a half sunk hulk at Te Atatu after the cabin had been fitted in back streets behind K’Road by previous owner.
Replaced quarter of her stern. (Counter already shortened by then)
Fitted a 3LW Gardner of course to replace the old ford. (No clapped out Jap import truck engines go in our fleet)
Used her as our taxi up and down the Tamaki river.
Got tired of the 3LW shaking the coke out of the rum so 6 or more years ago we pulled her at Half Moon Bay and gave her a birthday.
Eased up the window shapes that had previously been fitted retaining the main structure tho as room inside is ample for her size.
Removed the 3LW and fitted a rebuilt 4LK light weight high revving (2000rpm) Gardner. Engine very rare ex ww2 midget submarine but that’s another story on its own.
Relaunched and now a very smooth and quiet wee launch.
Due for her 3 yearly tidy up but will always be part of our clan.

21-07-2015 Photos added – Wainui at Onehunga wharf in 1987 after her trip from New Plymouth & 2 showing her out of the water.

Mystery Boat 20-06-2015

Mystery Boat 20-06-2015
photos & details ex Jason Prew

Now the remains of the small double-skinned boat pictured above will test the Lake woodys – to quote Jason’s uncle, Kevin O’Hara, “she was pulled up from Lake Taupo last year & is now sitting at Will Shirer`s place at Kuratau”, near Turangi. Photos from Will’s camera.

Now if we get a proven ID on her – I’ll give the winner a ww t-shirt, as below. Note: the raspberry pavlova is not include 😦

Mystery Boat 30-04-2015

MYSTERY BOAT 30-04-2015

Been a while since we had a “who can ID this boat” on ww. All I know is that the photo was taken in Auckland. Her colour scheme is quite distinctive & the location says Clevedon to me, so hopefully we can uncover some info on her.
In my eyes a nice sedan, without the fruit on top 😉

Mystery boats at Lake Taupo

photo ex Ken Ricketts

Ok, one for the train spotters today – Ken sent me the photo above but has know idea the location or date. His guess on the date is late 1930>1940. He also believes that Lady Ava is 3rd from the right on the hard stand.
What say the rest of you on where & which boats?

Update from Paul (& Nigel) Drake

In consultation with brother Nigel, here are some more details. Starting from the left, we have ROTHESAY – previously discussed on WW. This is Don McLeod’s “new” ROTHESAY. Behind her is MOANA (Sam Ford). Don’t know the next one. Then we have DESTINY (Coulthard) – then MOANA ROA, locally built of totara and now in Whangarei. On the slip is ARCADIA, still at Taupo. Then WAIHAHA now AVALON, now at Rotoiti as previously discussed.
Across the river we have VICTORY, built locally by Jack Taylor during WW2 without power tools, and still at Taupo (Kinloch Marina). Astern of her the 1907 Logan double ender PONUI, On the hard behind Jack Taylor’s house is EL ALEMAIN, now RANUI, built at Rotorua for a rehab hospital for returned servicemen and still at Taupo. Astern of her is ROMANCE (Bailey and Lowe 1914). In the water, second from the right, is NOMAD, now thought to be at Rotorua. Further upstream, above ARCADIA, is CHAMPION, ex IONA,, now in Brown’s Bay, Paremata, Wellington, under another name.
A remarkable photo – thank you Ken!