Nelson Marina Mooching

Nelson Marina Mooching

Shamus Fairhead, owner of the very smart woody – Sequoia, sent in a photo report from a recent sortie to Nelson.

Above we see the launches – Lady Dorothy > Rarangi > Kanona. Shamus commented that Lady Dorothy had Oliver & Gilpin written all over her. Rarangi has made several appearances on WW – link here

The other two are WW virgins i.e. have not appeared on the site before, so keen to learn more about these wooden craft.

26-01-2023 INPUT EX MARK MCLAUGHLIN – KANONA was built in Havelock by Sonny Johnson in the early 1960’s and was used until the early 1970’s by the Johnson family for the mail run there. She was then used as a commercial passenger boat out of Havelock under different owners (Eric Huddleston was one, there may have been more) until the mid 1990’s when she was sold to Nelson. The flying bridge and cockpit dodger roof and covers are additions since her time in Nelson. I travelled on her once on the way home from a high school camp in the Sounds and she is quite fast.

Eye Candy

One of my Waiheke spies sent in the photo below of Lady Crossley and LC’s owners daughters launch at anchor – we like woody families 🙂



The refit / restoration of the 1938 Sam Ford built 43’ brigedecker Lady Karita would have to be a contender for the longest ‘rolling restoration’. I’m sure there are a lot of projects that have gone longer but most likely have been stalled for a number of years. Lady Karita on the other hand has been a labour of love for her Nelson based owner and the level of workmanship is wonderful.

The boat has made numerous appearances on WW – in fact too many to list the individual links – the below one will take you to a summary of all the stories.

The photos above were taken by woody Mark Dixon, owner of the two classic launches – Echo + Awarua. Yes you read correctly – two ! Mark has drunk the cool-aid. 

Mark was in Nelson over Labour weekend and as you do was walking the docks. 

20-11-2022 Update – photo below ex owner, from I suspect the camera of John Burland

Mark also spotted the launch Katoa that back in June 2021 we asked the question on WW of her status – and were advised by her new owners that she was scheduled for some serious TCL that winter – reviewing Marks photos below – she certainly got her share of the love – looking very impressive.

Nelson Marina – Easter Weekend

Nelson Marina – Easter Weekend

Over Easter while I was dodging mud/sand banks on the Waihou River on-route to Paeroa, the other 1/2 was attacking the Abel Tasman Park walk. After ticking off the 3 day walk , they arrived late at night at their Nelson hotel, I get a txt the next morning of a photo of the marina view from the hotel room. Took a lot of pleading to get the walker out of bed and catch the good light looking for woodys.

Nice to see Seabird looking very smart – new paint job?

Any Nelson woodys able to ID the other boats – I can read Seabird, Amuri and Madison Rose. A tad sad to see that Madison Rose hasn’t ‘lost’ the davits from her stern – refer previous WW story

Nelson Marina Dockside Mooch

Lady Karita

Nelson Marina Dockside Mooch

One of my southern spies (in the summer months) John Burland sent in the above gallery of woodys that he spotted while patrolling the docks. From top to bottom we have Katoa – all spruced up, then Kelvin and then two unknowns. Finally the very regal Lady Karita, who is looking very well turned out these days, more on her tomorrow.

Update – 4th launch down is – Rarangi – WW story here

Lady Ellison




Lady Ellison

The photos above of the 36’ c.1952/53 possibly Sam Ford built – Lady Ellison were sent in by John Burland and show her at Nelson Marina.

The lady has made two appearances (July 2015 and May 2019) on WW, links below, from the photos above its obvious that she is now a well used, semi commercial vessel. Read the links and comments sections –  lots of chat on her past.

Two photos below – b/w = as launched. Colour = 2015 (click to enlarge)


Spotted In Nelson



Spotted in Nelson

While Trinidad has been sitting in Nelson waiting for a weather window to start the 2nd leg of their circumnavigation Nelson > Milford Sound), Barbara Cooke has been sniffing around the marina with her phone camera. The two small woodys above are an interesting mix – one would like to think the clinker motorboat does not venture too far from port. The deflated dinghy along side is a worry 🙂

The canoe stern yacht on the other hand looks very salty.

Anyone able to ID these two woodys?


Lady Gillian




John Burland sent me the above photos of Lady Gillian moored at Nelson. She appeared on ww back in Oct 2014 (link below) & at the time her owners (Beatson family) commented that she needed ‘a bit of a tidy up’, by all appearances she has had that 🙂 The the 3rd photo we see her berth near Lady Karita, while LK is undergoing a re-fit.

We still do not know much about her – given there is a much bigger ww audience these days, maybe someone knows more about her past?

17-06-2017 Update – new photo below ex Andy Beatson

Lady Gillian (2)


Check out the link below to a cool youtube clip that features Steve Thomas’s 1908, John Reid designed classic launch – Seabird, in the musician Greg Johnson’s music video for the song ‘Never turn back’. It was filmed at Cable Bay near Nelson. Nice to see the CYA burgee flying on Seabird. Enjoy.

Woody Nelson Trip



Nelson Woody Trip

Woody John Sankey sent me the above photos from his early September Nelson visit.
The first photo shows the double-ender Trade Wind & Manana stern on – both very smart, small ships.

The other vessel is Eclipse, we are light on info but do know that she was built by James McFerson in Dunedin in 1907.
Current owner got her off a deceased estate & believes she may have been owned by a Ronny Kingston.
The owner had her out of the water 4 years ago and spent $7k on some new planking.
Apparently always been a cabin boat.  A little overdue for a bottom clean 🙂

Any woodys able to expand on what we know about Eclipse?

Harold Kidd Input
There was a Dunedin ECLIPSE in 1907, probably built by Knewstubb. This one was built in November 1922 by James McPherson at Dunedin for W. Webber of Ravensbourne. There was another ECLIPSE in Picton and Blenheim around 1910 owned by Palamountain (10hp Kapai engine) and another on the Kaipara and Wellington. The Wellington and Picton boat were probably the same.

PS I confirm that this ECLIPSE was owned at Lyttelton in 1953 by E.E. Coombes and in 1973 by R.J. Kingston.