Mystery Lake Okataina Launch – Can We Now Confirm Her ID

Mystery Lake Okataina Launch – Can We Now Confirm Her ID

Back in February 2022 we ran a story, link below, on an unknown launch (2nd photo above) at an unknown location. At the time the location was ID’ed as Lake Okataina, Rotorua. The was a couple of potential ID’d on the launch from the two of the WW wise men 🙂

Harold Kidd suggested it may have been the bridgedecker – Merlin, owned by Beamish-White, that later went to Kawhia

Paul Drake was keen on her being the launch – Karina, that was in commercial service at Taupo in the 1960’s, owned by Jim Story.

Today thanks to Greg Philpott uncovering the top photo from the Archive NZ collection – taken by JG Duncan, we get a much better view of the launch, which was tagged 1951, Lake Okataina – so hopefully we can confirm her name and builder etc

Link to previous WW story

Mystery Launch 01-11-2023 – Waipeke

Mystery Launch 01-11-2022 – Waipeke

Todays woody photo was sent in by Nathan Herbert and comes to us from Lance Lange, grandson of boatbuilder Phil Lang, so there’s your 1st clue 😉 Rather a smart looking woody – can we put a name to her?

UPDATE – as advised by everyone and confirmed by Nathan Herbert – the launch is – Waipeke. Photo below ex Ken Ricketts

Wooden Boat Folk Series – today we also get to view latest release from the crew at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, the video showcases the 1892 yacht – Clara. Launched in 1892 by Thomas Williams at the Domain Slipway in Hobart. 

Clara is possibly the 2nd oldest wooden craft in Tasmania still afloat. Enjoy !

Read more on the up coming (Feb 10 >13th 2023) festival here

Mystery Launch Off Devonport Yacht Club – Raumati II > Moeraki


Todays mystery launch photo comes to us via Mitchell Hutchings fb from the Parsonson Family collection.

There appears to be a working-bee underway at the Devonport Yacht Club on what must be the western slipway.

The Mason Clipper in the photo must help date the photo.

19-10-2022 INPUT FROM FRANK WARNOCK I am almost certain that the launch in Mondays report moored off the Devonport Yacht Club was Happy Wanderer owned by John Senior. The working bee was replacing a rail on the Western slipway or cementing an existing one back after a storm. The date would be the 1960s.

30-10-2022 INPUT ex Nathan Herbert – the vessel is Raumati II > Moeraki





The launch Rata recently made an appearance on Lew Redwoods fb, a WW search comes up with several craft of the same name but not this woody. The location looks ’southern’ to my eyes.

Can we expand of her past and current location?

19-10-2022 Input ex Ray Morey – After Whangarei Towboats folded up, (Jack Fisher, Kay Fisher and Ivan Rolfe) Ivan bought Rata from a ship broker in Auckland where she was lying. We brought her up to Whangarei where we put a heavy panting beam across behind the engine and mounted a towpost bridge behind the wheelhouse, after the style of the Alert, where the load was transfered to the deck, not the cabins.She had a 4-71 with 2:1 red box so swung a decent prop.I spent a lot of time towing one of the W.H.B. bottom dump suction dredge barges, mostly “Rua” with her mainly on the main channel before Westminster came in and deepened the place. We also did provisioning of the oil tankers at Marsden Point and bunkering oils for the ships. I knew she had come from the sounds area origionally. When “A.A. Tankcleaning” sold her I believe she went “up to the islands” as a village supply boat but was lost soon after. I was driving her about 1964-65.

Photo Below – by again ex Ray Morey of Rata off Onerahi about 1965 when owned by Ivan Rolfe.

Something From Left Field 

Like most classic woody boating enthusiasts I’m not a fan of jet skis / personal water craft etc – they have a habit of shattering the peace and quiet in a bay. The ones used for fishing are all good. The one below is almost starting to look ok, lose the white on white paint scheme and it would be very cool.



Todays woody launch – Rosella recently popped up on Lew Redwoods fb, and comes to us from the Auckland Libraries Heritage collection, and was originally taken by Frank Morris.

The photo is tagged 1930>39 and the location is Falls Park, Henderson, West Auckland. 

To me a very pretty boat, the proportions are spot on. Little features make a big difference to the look of a boat – the ‘eye-brow’ on both the tram top and doghouse is an example of this.

Are we able to cast some light on her provenance ?

Mystery Bayswater Launch


Mooching around Bayswater Marina last week I spotted a new addition, she had slotted into the berth previously occupied by the unlucky Parma

No name but looks either recently done up or very well cared for. Owner must like the colour white 🙂

Can anyone put a name to the launch and ideally more details?

Thanks to input from a ‘Steve’ in the comments section – he reminded me it has been on WW before – link below – but we still do not have confirmation of name.

Input ex Murray Deeble – Was in the South Island and featured as the detectives launch in a NZ made TV series lay in Milford called Sea Princess for a while getting worse and worse.

Mystery Lake Te Anau Launch

I was recently contacted by Richard Hockey who resides in Brisbane in regard to the above launch. Richard is very keen to find out anything about the launch.The top photo (must be by a professional – stunning quality) is dated 1947 and the location is Brods Bay, on Lake Te Anau (see info on the area below). The photo is ex Archives NZ, a Tourist and Publicity image, photographer unknown.

The second photo is dated c.1950, again Lake Te Anau and was by a VC Browne uncovered in a collection of photos put up for sale by Webb’s the auction house. 

Can anyone tell us more about this rather fine launch? Side note – she appears quite bow down in both photos.

Info for readers outside of NZ – Lake Te Anau is in the southwestern corner of the South Island of New Zealand. The lake covers an area of 344 km 2 (133 sq mi), making it the second-largest lake by surface area in New Zealand (after LakeTaupō, North Island) and the largest in the South Island. It is the largest lake in Australasia by fresh water volume. 


WW readers will be familiar with the name Benjamin Mendlowitz, one of the worlds top marine photo journalists. For the last 40 years Benjamin and his buddy Maynard Bray have been publishing the mega selling calendar – ‘Calendar Of Wooden Boats’. If you have a copy, when you flip the page today for September, bang – there you’ll see the interior of my pride & joy – Raindance. Needless to say I bought a few copies 🙂

Benjamin and Maynard are also co-founders of the wonderful video-blog – Off Center Harbor that we plug often on WW. And to even further confirm Benjamin’s woody credentials – the man co-owns one of the fastest and prettiest woodys on the Waitemata – the 1919 Bailey & Lowe built launch – Romance II – we like that 🙂

The 2023 edition has just rolled of the press – details below



Haven’t offered up a prize in a while so today is a goodie. Thanks to a Mitchell Hutchings fb post we get to share the two brilliant photos above of the St Mary’s Bay area. Mitchell commented that the photos were dated 1980 but he was not sure of the date. Neil Gillard also commented that the date was more like the 1960’s, as at that time he was serving his time at Chas Bailey’s yard and he recalls the boats (probably the ferries) being moored there then. 

This how the quiz will work – each launch you correctly ID, gives you one point – get all there right and you have 3 chances in the draw. ID only 1 = 1 chance. Launch (c) will be a challenge. 

Entries by email only – closes 7pm 29-08-22 Answers to

THE PRIZE: A copy of the Jenni Mence’s superb tome – ‘K-Class – The Hauraki Gulf’s Iconic Racer-Cruiser’ – 360 pages of photographs, illustrations and tales from the skippers and crew that sailed these stunning classic yachts.

A Call For Help


Woody Bruce Ryrie has taken on a project – a c.1960’s Couldrey classic launch that he acquired from the Firth of Thames. Unfortunately no name, so the first ask is does anyone know more about the boat?

The second ask is a little bigger, as you can see in the above photos there are a few planks that need replacing and Bruce would really appreciate a hand with the work, or even some guidance.

The launch is hauled out at Clevedon.


It has recently been brought to my attention that our friends at Auckland Council are very anti boating – read below a summary of what’s been happening –

It’s not only the government that thinks it knows best.  Auckland City has determined that the Haulout at Okahu bay, known as the Orakei Landing, will be shut down and the area will become a park reserve!  The local board, despite overwhelming submissions against any change, decided in its woke way that the Landing haulout facilities, which have been a part of Auckland since the year dot, should be closed to provide another park.  The haulout has and is being used by many owners of traditional wooden boats where owners as well as professionals work on them near to their homes.  With the closure of this there will be no inner harbour haulouts on the Southern side of the harbour.  There are also a number of professionals who will be out of a job or whose businesses will be reduced because of losing this facility.  Auckland once touted itself as the city of sails.  It seems it no longer thinks this is part of its makeup.In credibly the committee of the RAYC sent out an email to its members encouraging them to vote to close the Landing.  That was done in a way which unless you read it carefully and understood what was happening would have led to many members completing the form supplied to submit for closure!  It all smells a bit.

If you are even slightly motivated to voice your concern re the closure of the Okahu Bay haul out area – I suggest to use the channel I find works best with local politicians – they hate negative publicity – contact the chairman of the  Orakei Local Board – Scott Milne direct via Facebook and leave a message – link here


Local Board members that voted in favour of closing the hardstand*: 

· Scott Milne: / 021 876 326 

· Sarah Powrie: / 021 142 2913 

· Margaret Voyce: / 029 880 9900 

· Troy Elliott: / 021 658 769

Blue Seas


The above photo popped up in my ‘odds and sods’ file – it is dated late Jan 2022 so may have been from when I was helping deliver – Korawai to the BOI. But the photos code tells me it was taken on a Samsung device and I do not touch those, so maybe one of the other crew.

Anyway the launch is most likely named – Blue Seas, can anyone tell us if that is her name and any more intel about her.

INPUT ex Graham Hunter – She is still named BLUE SEAS Waiheke Island is also on the transom. She is now on a Mooring in Whakatakata Bay By OBC

25-07-2022 Input below from Chris Cotter (co-owner)


If you need more proof on why not to bond your wooden boat and attach anodes – have a look below – luckily it was very localised. Very scary, the rudder shaft and surrounding area was VERY close to just not being there and you can guess what would have happened.

And if you need more read the most referenced story on the WW site – link below

28-07-2022 UPDATE – Looking a lot healthier 🙂

30-07-2022 UPDATE – All fixed 🙂