Sirius – A Peek Down Below

Sirius 1

SIRIUS – A Peek Down Below

The 1956, 32′, Owen Woolley built launch, Sirius, has appeared before on ww, you can read all about her at this link
Now thanks to a trademe listing we get a peek below. Quite a smart classic, just not too sure about the mast > main > jib set up (there is a photo of her motor sailing in the link above). Not what you would expect, but I’m sure they do the trick, because its been like that for a long time. Again thanks to Ian McDonald for the heads up.



AIan Sexton took the above photos of the Owen Woolley built ‘Takitimu’ at Whangaroa. Takitimu was launched in 1975 for the then GM of NZ Forest Products, Doug Walker. She is 42′ and was powered with a horizontal 250hp Volvo, possibly still is looking at the smoke coming from her 🙂

The Walkers started boating the same time as Alan, their first launch was Gay Dawn in 1971, a couple of years later they purchased the Woolley Karere II, followed by Takitimu. They owned Takitimu for approx 10yrs then downsized to a 10.5m Woolley flybridge launch. Doug’s son Paul later ran the Woolley launch Alchemy in charter.
The only change to Takitimu since launching is the raised flybridge windscreen and solid canopy.


Taree – A Peek Down Below

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Taree, the 1966 Owen Woolley designed / built 36′ launch changed ownership in Dec 2015 & new owner Don Bruce undertook an impressive refurbishment that started in June  2016, at the Brin Wilson Shed, Gulf Harbour.
Between June 1 & December22,  2016, approx. 1500 hrs went into boat building, engineering, replacing glass, painting, varnishing, plumbing, re-wiring & re-chroming. Don himself spent 12 hours every day,  Monday > Sunday working on the boat.
The results are impressive & Don speaks very highly of the Brin Wilson team & associated contractors that worked on Taree.

I saw Taree just after her re-launch, in late January 2017 at the Mahurangi Regatta weekend, the first photo above, I took there, the refurbishment ones are ex the owner, emailed to me by Ken Ricketts.
Previously on ww we had a peek at the work-in-progress & when she first left the shed, you can view / read that story here




Taree, the 1966 36’ Owen Woolley sedan launch has appeared before, briefly, on ww.  Back in the late 1980’s I even looked at buying her. I think she held a few records:

(1) the longest trademe listing for a classic launch
(2) the number of failed surveys

So to see her in the hands of a new owner & one thats sympathetic to woodys is a very good thing. From the photos above, some ex her owner & some 2016 emailed to me by Ken Ricketts, she is getting the attention she deserves.The name Taree  means “sticks” in Aborigine, I assume a link to the fact that she is built with kauri, carvel planked over jarrah ribs, the Australian hardwood. She has teak coamings.
Power these days is via a GM 165 hp V8 Diesel fuel pincher, installed by the previous owner in 2009. This sees her easily cruise at 8 knots.

She was bought by present owner Don Bruce in Dec 2015 & is now kept at Gulf Harbour. He  bought her off a  John Graham, who owned her for  23 years & kept her at Pine Harbour

Her current owner believes she was built for Emmitt Keenan and had a Perkins 46109 installed when launched.

Gray Mathias, possibly the 3rd or 4th owner,  fitted a 2 stroke Detroit in 1985 and after one more owner Mike McDonald, John Cameron bought her in 1988. The Detroit lasted till 2005 and the 165hp V8 fuel pincher was fitted in 2009, at a cost of $17000.

Recently she has spent time in the Brin Wilson shed at Gulf Harbour (see photos above), receiving some serious TLC.
Always good to see a classic get lucky & find a good home – well done Don Bruce 🙂

Peter Peal  Book Winner
The winner of yesterdays quiz for a copy of – Thoughts on Clinker Lapstrake Dinghy Construction.
Is Nathan Herbert with – Z Class. Lots of people sent in Silver Fern & Frostbite but surprisingly only one – Z Class entry.
Well done Nathan.





I have deleted my comments about this boat – yes its for sale but be careful. The 4 sale story & her actual past appear to not add up.

I repeat – be careful – in fact refer the last ww story on her – link below

26-11-2016 UPDATE

This weblog is many things to many people, one of those things is to ensure that the classic wooden boating community is kept abreast of happenings in & around the many marinas & boat yards scattered across NZ.
We get sent 100’s of photos of boats hauled out, photos of work-in-progress – both good work & dodgy work, I publish most things, often just an addition to  previous story, that way future owners can get an insight into a vessels maintenance history. Quite often an owner gets a surprize to learn that at some stage in the past their pride & joy may have hit a rock, or even been to the bottom. In fact I learned this about my own boat.

So folks when I hear things that appear to be not right, I alert you to them – the launch Vacuna is a case in point – I have NEVER had so many phone calls or emails about one single vessel, all I’ll say is that I would not buy her 😉

Also at waitematawoodys we very rarely moderate what others post in the comments section – the seller of Vacuna has attempted to post 9 comments that we have chosen to not publish – the last will be enough to get them banned from waitematawoodys, only the 2nd person ever.
I have repeated the comment below – this was their reply to a comment made by one of waitematawoodys most loyal & knowledgeable woodys.

“Get your facts right before you comment on marking a quick Buck.
Who the hell are or what are you. A lose mouthed women that has no idea about anything trying to get a name for her self at the expense of others.”


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VACUNA – a woody project?
Vacuna is a 36′ Owen Woolley launch, designed and built in 1958. Unfortunately she has had a wee oops, to quote the insurers she was flooded to the top of her twin Perkins diesel engines, not sure how that happened but we are told the engines were immediately flushed & inhibited.
At the moment Vucuna is hauled out at Half Moon Bay & available for inspection. Bidding starts at $5,000 & closes 23 August.

Now if it stays low, someone will get a nice woody that appears to not need too much to bring her back.
Do we know anything about her past ?

Input from Paul Drake
My understanding is that she was built for a Mr Bull (Jack?)by Owen Woolley. She was built of totara, since she was destined for Taupo, and her owner was wary of rot which, in some quarters, is associated with fresh water boats. She was at Taupo for many years under the same name. Mr Bull had previously owned KATOA, well covered in WW. This information is as I have always understood it, and was recently confirmed by the original owner’s son, who I chanced to meet down at the boat harbour here in Taupo.  It is interesting to note the beamy, hard chine VACUNA compared with the narrow gutted, round bilge KATOA. No doubt the Bull family had had enough of rolling around. A VACUNA story was related to my brother Michael only two days ago. VACUNA was on a temporary mooring off the beach at Kinloch. She came free in a sou’westerly and was about to wash up on the beach. The call went out to the local holiday population and dozens of them entered the water in an effort to save her, much like a beached whale. One of them, a strong swimmer, took a line back to the mooring buoy, and VACUNA was hauled off the beach.
Below is a pic of VACUNA, it shows her on her mooring in the Taupo boat harbour in the early 1960’s. The other launch is EL ALAMEIN, now RANUI, already featured on woodys.
The boatsheds in the background are long gone, sadly. SIR FRANCIS occupied the shed seen here over the stern of EL ALAMEIN. The door is open and our car parked on the road outside. The photo I took, of course, from SIR FRANCIS.

L>R Ranui > Vacuna
photo below ex Ken Ricketts




info ex Les Sharman via Ken Ricketts

Sirius was built by Owen Woolley in 1956. She is 32′ long & is powered by a 4 cyl Ford diesel, which owner Les says is 90 hp.
Les bought Sirius in 1999 off a retired car dealer called Fraser Chapman. She was moored in Thames at that time.

Les spoke to Owen Woolley before he died, when he lived in the  Warkworth area &  Owen told him she was the first boat he built, after he completed his apprenticeship & she was built at Panmure. Sirius is berthed at Gulf Harbour

Any of the woodys able to supply more info on her earlier days?

Harold Kidd input

According to APYMBA records this SIRIUS was built by Owen Woolley in 1956 with dimensions 32’x29’8″x10’4″x2’9″ and had a 52hp Fordson diesel. Her owners in the period 1960-73 were G.D.B. & J.M. Chambers of Hinemoa St., Birkenhead. There seems to have been another SIRIUS in 1957 owned by D.H. McMillan of Lunn Ave., Mt Wellington, with a different registered number but it could be the same boat, I suppose.

Off Gt. Barrier 2003


17-04-2016 photos c.1990’s, ex past owner Fraser Chapman via Ken Ricketts