The ex work boat (Waitemata Fisheries) Waipawa has made a brief appearance on WW back in 2016 (WW link below) Now thanks to Ian McDonald’s road trip in the Far North we get to have a look down below.
The photos above show her on the hard at Opua, in mid October. The 50’ Waipawa was built by Percy Vos and her owner Pete McIntyre, understands she was launched in 1940).
What’s Happening With The Percy Vos Shed?
MANAIA – Launch Day
The above photos of Manaia were sent to me by Paul Drake – I’ll let Paul tell the story behind them.
“The first four I took on launching day. I was 15 and in the midst of School Certificate. No exam that day, so off I went on my bike from home in Balmoral, camera in my bag.
In the second pic, Capt. Warwick Dunsford can be seen in charge on the foredeck (white boiler suit and black beret).
In the third pic, Percy Vos himself is clearly recognizable just by the fore foot.
The last two photos I have had since the 1960’s & most likely come from the camera of TW Collins. Great photos, especially the one from the port quarter, and show MANAIA at work.
MANAIA is certainly very original, but note that the stem now has an unattractive (to me) hook near the top. Much better straight in my view. Also note unusual chine aft. Double ender but hard chine aft. That’s why she can do 15 knots if required!
MANAIA was about the last of the large wooden pilot vessels built for New Zealand ports. About the same time as AKARANA and 10 years after TIAKINA (Wellington – and also a Collings design). TIAKINA of course built in England and steamed out via Suez Canal.”
You can see photos of Manaia today, looking very smart & read extensive details on her past here https://waitematawoodys.com/2018/01/26/manaia/
Volvo Round-the-World Yacht Race -Auckland Start
Photos Below In The Order They Passed North Head
And a couple of Woodys amongst the sea of plastic boats
THREE TAUPO BOATS
Post a visit by Paul Drake & his brothers to the 2017 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition & a side trip to the Auckland Maritime Museum, Paul sent me the above photos & the story below – which I have re-produced unedited as its perfect as is. Read & enjoy J
In the mid 1920’s, two gents and their families fell in love with Taupo. Both of them commissioned boats from Auckland builders. Hawke Bay’s Guy Rochfort had TUI (16 feet and clinker) built by Percy Vos. TUI was on display at the recent Classic Clinker Exhibition at the Viaduct in Auckland. Auckland’s Robert Laidlaw had the 17 foot speedboat SEAHORSE built by an unspecified builder. After a weather related fright on the lake in 1929, Robert approached Collings and Bell, and the 28 foot PIRI PONO (faithful friend) was the result. Honduras mahogany and bright finished, no expense was spared. PIRI PONO is on display at the Maritime Museum in Auckland. With her 150 HP straight eight Niagara, she weighed just over a ton and could do about 30 knots. Housed in her boatshed at Two Mile Bay, alongside Laidlaw’s house ‘Monte Vista’, access to the water was via a slipway. A private jetty and offshore mooring completed the picture.
PIRI PONO was the fastest boat on the lake. But by 1935, she had a rival in the form of local man Stan Gillies’s LUYVON, locally designed and built by Jack Taylor and measuring 22 feet. She was light (about half the weight of PIRI PONO) and powered with a Dodge, driving through an outboard drive. Informal drag races indicated that the boats were very similar in speed. A more formal test was required. Regatta Day 1936 (probably) was the day. PIRI PONO had her bottom waxed, new spark plugs fitted, all surplus gear removed, and half her fuel pumped out. The day dawned fine and calm, to PIRI PONO’s disadvantage. LUYVON and PIRI PONO lined up for the 20 lap race. LUYVON had the edge because she cornered faster – PIRI PONO would catch her on the straights. Robert Laidlaw ordered his crew (son Lincoln) to the aft cockpit to get the bow up a bit. Stan Gillies was still ahead. Back came Lincoln, returning aft with the anchor. This was enough. PIRI PONO won and Robert retained his title as fastest man on the lake.
PIRI PONO was commandeered by the Air Force during WW2 and was the Commodore’s launch at Hobsonville. They replaced the Niagara with a Chrysler (Crown?) and built a cabin over the forward cockpits. Having won the war, the Air Force returned PIRI PONO to Taupo. She was re-engined with twin Gray’s which are in her to this day. There are conflicting stories as to how this came about. One source has it that she was returned by the Air Force without an engine. Another has it that Laidlaw was disappointed with the speed produced by the Chrysler. Yet another has it that the Air Force wrote off the Chrysler while trying to reverse PIRI PONO off her transporter and into the lake (overheating due to lack of cooling water).
Laidlaw was an enthusiast. He was the founder of Farmers Trading Company. He was a very active Christian, and his name lives on in Laidlaw College, formerly the Bible College of New Zealand, which trains people for Christian ministry. He also has a rock named after him, informally at least. During an early evening spin in PIRI PONO, with 23 POB (so it is said), PIRI PONO struck, at speed, the large flat rock in Mine Bay between the islets and the shore at the eastern end of the bay. The damage must have been enormous and she quickly sank in a few metres of water. Passengers, some of them not-so-young ladies in fur coats, were rescued by nearby launches. Jack Taylor’s PONUI and VICTORY salvaged PIRI PONO the next day and she was repaired in time for the following summer.
Meanwhile, TUI led an uneventful life, and lived afloat in a Taupo Boat Harbour boatshed. LUYVON lived in a boatshed nearby, but was kept dry (and light) by being lifted clear of the water on a cradle once in the shed. LUYVON also survives, still owned by the Gillies family, and has been awaiting restoration for some 30 years now.
The book by Ian Hunter, ‘Robert Laidlaw – Man for our Time’ makes a very interesting read.
UPDATE 01-11-2017 Photo below showing TAMATI in the Lake Taupo Boat Harbour, with the fishing lodge (ex TONGARIRO) in the background, and the Collings and Bell PIRI PONO in the fore ground.
A Beautiful Clinker
Baden Pascoe sent the above two photos of the Rockfort skiff that Percy Vos built in 1926. Baden commented that it has the most attractive planking of any boat he has ever seen – big call 😉
These days it is owned by the Percy Vos Charitable Trust & resides at the, maybe one day it will be restored – Vos Shed.
The real reason for today’s post is to remind you all about this weekend’s Clinker Boat exhibition at the waterfront / viaduct – details below
The Vos clinker will be on show, so you can check out if Baden is right re the planking 🙂
Kaikoura in the B.O.I.
The above launch is pictured above anchored in the Bay of Islands, Dean Wright scanned the image from ‘old’ film but is unaware of the boats name.
Anyone able to ID her & provide some history on the vessel ?
Update: Vessel has been ID’ed as the 1952 built launch Kaikoura. Lots of chat in the WW Comments section & photos at the link below
03-09-2017 – Updated photos below ex owner of 25 years – Peter Jones, via Ken Ricketts. Peter bought her off the Bridgeford family & this would make him only her 3rd owner.
She still has her 2 x 510 cu. in. 165 h.p .V8 Perkins diesels.
QUEST – Sailing Sunday
Mid-week we were lucky to have a peep at some of Peter Midgley’s fathers photo collection, that show the launch Kenya & the Joe Slattery boat shed. I asked Peter if he could share with us anymore of Eric Midgley’s photos & today we have the yacht Quest, built at the Vos yard for a Mr Wood of Devonport.
The top photo shows the launching on 10 December 1936, Peter commented that this photo of the exact moment a lady christens Quest has always fascinated him as a great moment frozen in time. Eric is third from the left with his arms folded. The man in uniform far left appears to be a St Johns person, did they have then at launchings in case of accidents? The man next to him with pen & paper in hand is perhaps a reporter for the “Star” or “Herald”. Then a lady in a heavy overcoat & umbrella, looks like a wet day in December.
Then the man far right also with umbrella “Photo Bombing” the photo.
Unfortunately the lady doing the honours, is blocking our view of the man holding the sledge hammer, Peter has an identical one in his dad’s toolbox.
Then the real character of this photo, the lady with a piece of paper in her hand having just read some words, with an expression of surprise as liquid sprays back towards her. Perhaps she is the wife of the owner – Mr Woods?
You have to love the way two planks of wood balancing on two saw horses is sufficient for the lady to stand on, no health & safety in those days!
The bottom photo of Quest moored presumably after launching.
As a footnote in the Percy Vos book, ‘Launching Dreams’, it states Eric Midgley worked at the Vos yard from 1937 to 1938 & only worked on the ‘Korea’ but Peter thinks he was there in 1936 working on the Quest. He went on to work at the Devonport Dockyard throughout the war & built the sailing dinghy ‘Kiwi’ in 1947, the NZ Navys gift to Princess Elizabeth & Prince Phillip for their wedding. Link here
It would be great if any woodys could identify people in this photo.
Input from Harold Kidd
QUEST was a design by Dr. Harrison Butler (he of the metacentric shelf) built by Percy Vos (with one S) in December 1936 for L.M. (Milton) Wood of Devonport. His brother Lincoln had the Butler-designed 22 footer MEMORY built by Fred Mann in 1930. She’s very English in her lines (and all the better for that).
As to the people my guess is, from left, A St John’s “Zambuck” who used to be present at Rugby matches (and possibly launchings if they were yachties, as many were), W.A. (Wilkie) Wilkinson of the Auckland Star, Vos employee, the matriarch Mrs Sarah Wood, Milton and his wife/fiancee not sure when they married), Lincoln being silly. There was a multitude of Wood brothers and sisters, so the latter could any one of the other brothers.
The photos above show the Percy Vos built boat, Waipawa, back in September getting ready to leave Napier after a week sheltering from a storm.
The skipper’s name is Pete & he was heading north to Whangarei after spending a winter in the Fiords and Stewart Island.
Photo sent in by Michael O’Dwyer. What do we know about her?
Looking For A Xmas Treat?
The above little beauty, Lady Alice, just popped up on trademe, perfect for the lakes or as a Mahurangi boat.
Now this one is a tad special, she is a Percy Vos boat so almost royalty on the classic wooden boating scene.
Her details are – 12’6″ kauri clinker, built 1950 & powered by a 8hp Kohler petrol inboard – with electric start, perfect for the old woodys with a bad back 😉
Her current owner has owned her for 33 years which is a rarity with a boat this size. I don’t know much about trailers but she sits on a ‘Hosking’ trailer which supposedly makes launching very easy.
This ww story is not a commercial listing – I just saw the boat & thought someone needs to buy her (asking $8k)
And seeing its Xmas , I’ll give a copy of Baden Pascoe’s book ‘Launching Dreams – Percy Vos – The Boats & His Boys’ to the woody that can tell me where Percy Vos served his boat building apprenticeship ? Answers via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org , prize draw 9.00pm 21-12-2016. (copies available from email@example.com )
ww only knows a little about Te Arahi but as they say in the architecture game, she has good bones – being a Percy Vos bridge decker. She was launched in 1965. Her owner Graeme Finch was at the CYA Patio Bay weekend & the photos above are from both mine & Chris Millers camera’s. Photos also ex Brian Worthington & Ken Ricketts.
Graeme’s father built the speed-boat Mystic Miss, pictured below and was a life member of the Manukau Speedboat Club.
Keen to learn more about her past.
Input from owner
Hi – we are the current proud owners of Te Arahi, and thoroughly enjoying the transition from fibreglass yacht to classic wooden bridgedecker. I am only the 5th owner of this vessel, the previous owners shown below.
Owner Name Position
1 Roy V Gibbs South Auckland timber merchant 1965 – 1968
2 Capt Williams Harbour Master at Whangarei 1968 – 1974
3 Colin Armiger Manager at Bendon 1974 – 1999
4 Cpt John Martin Airline captain with Air NZ. 1999 – 2015
5 Graeme Finch University of Auckland 2015 –
As mentioned boat is built from a kauri tree milled at Helensville in 1963, built by Percy Vos and launched in 1965 – it is powered by twin 120HP Ford diesels, and electrical system was upgraded by previous owner John.
I would be interested to learn when the flybridge and walk through transon were added, plus any other history.
Graeme & Maggie Finch
MAHAKI – Sailing Sunday
photos & details ex Angus Rogers
Angus Rogers has sent in the above photos of the yacht Mahaki, owned by his grandfather Lionel B Rogers with EJ Jamieson and JF Harrison in Wellington and the photos were taken about 1909. Angus knows nothing about the design but is a fan of her clipper bow.
Sadly Mahaki was wrecked on the Wairarapa coast a year or so later on a trip which Angus’s grandfather wanted to go on but could not because he was made by his mother to go to a funeral of an aunt. It was fortunate that he didn’t because all lives on board were lost with the boat.
Note: the information about the name, owners and locations are from writing on the backs of the photos
Can we shed some more light on Mahaki in terms of designer / builder & other owners?
Positive News On The Historic Vos Boat Yard – view video footage of CYA member Baden Pascoe talking about the Vos yard & the funding announcement.
Photos from the Round The Island race during the British Classic Week
Harold Kidd Input
This Wellington MAHAKI was designed and built by J.T. Pratt in late 1895 for himself. The design may well have come from an overseas design, possibly in one of Dixon Kemp’s books, as did many other at the time. She was quite small, rating 1.6 or 1.7. Pratt sold her Wiggins and Hannah about 1899 and subsequent owners were Anderson & Co (1902) then the Jamieson syndicate (1906). Birch and Elliott appear to have owned her from 1907 but may just be members of the Jamieson syndicate. When her owners “went to the Front” in WW1 she was hauled up at Balaena Bay and deteriorated. She was broken up for her lead there in late 1917. Several other yachts were scrapped at the same time including MAY.
I think the tale of the wreck on the Wairarapa coast is a conflation with the wreck of a similar yacht around the same time, one of many Wellington yachts that left their bones in and around Palliser Bay.
PS thinking about the wreck, supposedly of MAHAKI, I reckon the story of the loss of the 24ft keel yacht TE AROHA has got mixed up with the legend. TE AROHA was built in late 1899 by R.G. Millman and foundered on January 2nd 1905 at Wellington Heads after returning from the Sounds. All three on board lost their lives. Maybe Lionel Rogers was meant to sail on TE AROHA?
photos & details from Joseph Shanks
The 57ft. Waikawa was built in 1948 at the Percy Vos yard in Westhaven & launched as a fishing boat (AK41). Today her home is Lyttelton, Christchurch & she is owned by James Shanks (Joseph’s father) who has had her for 7 years & almost completed the restoration to the pleasure boat you see above. Joseph has promised to send in photos of the restoration so hopefully today’s post will spur him on 😉
The photos below of her during construction, on her sea trials & as a fishing boat are from Baden Pascoe’s magnificent book ‘Launching Dreams, Percy Vos – The Boats & his Boys’. Copies available from firstname.lastname@example.org
Reluctant Sale of Baldrick (Ngaku) the Steam Boat
Anyone need a nice little 16′ Vos clinker (has original builders plate) with divine provenance but a little prostituted by a steam engine and boiler. Built in Auckland in 1953 from Heart Kauri & Jara decks & pohutukawa stem, plus Mangaeo ribs.
CYA member & ww stalwart Russell Ward has the original Stuart Turner 8hp engine which he would pass on in part exchange for Baldrick’s steam plant.
Her current owner Gary Langstone bought her from Don Penn in Rotoiti and intended to use it.. However bad health has forced a sale.
Baldrick is in good going condition, on a trailer, stored in a shed & can be inspected at any time. Trailer rego is on hold but no problem to activate it.
The steam engine is by Don Hasbrook & built by Donn and others, the boiler is by McCarthy Engineering Ltd & only 15years old.
Gary paid $8000.00 for the craft and would like to recover this. For enquires phone Gary or come and see it . Phone 09 2946614 or email email@example.com
For more photos & history http://www.woodenboatparade.co.nz/40-59.htm
ps fingers crossed when she sells, her new owner reverts to her old name – Ngaku 🙂
click on slideshow to freeze image
Percy Vos Dory
Waitematawoodys follower Sam Leijen, has asked for some help, In 1964 Vos built an 18ft dory at a cost of 300 pound, that was used in the Waitomo Caves for many years, it was retired in 1990 and now sits at the Waitomo Museum under the lean of the roof. Photos above, including the plans.
Sam is keen to get a better understanding of the plans so that one day he can build a replica. He is looking for a better understanding of some of the plan details & asks for any comments to clarify the meanings in the plans.
Hopefully a ww follower can help Sam. I can email the plans if anyone wants a better ‘view’.
A Special Woody Weekend
Today was a special day on the woody boating front – Baden Pascoe officially launched his book ‘Launching Dreams – Percy Vos – The Boat & His Boys’ at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. We saw over 300 of the classic boating fraternity & people connected to Percy Vos – family, friends & ex work mates join together to celebrate the event & rub shoulders. Great speeches but the key message of the day came from John Street to Sir Bob Harvey (Chairman of Waterfront Auckland) & that was that the Vos Shed project was LONG over due & action was need NOW. Todays audience certainly agreed 🙂
A few photos from the launch / morning tea.
Copies in your local book-store now or from Baden on firstname.lastname@example.org
AN INVITE TO MORNING TEA
CYA member Baden Pascoe has written a magnificent pictorial and historical record that celebrates the life of Auckland businessman and renowned boatbuilder Percy Vos, his boats and the people who worked with him – ‘Launching Dreams – Percy Vos – The Boats & His Boys’
Baden’s interest in Percy Vos is fueled by the Pascoe family association to the Vos yard. Baden’s father, Howard Pascoe, a very talented centre board sailor and boatbuilder, worked for Percy in the 1940’s.
To quote Harold Kidd here on waitematawoodys “it’s not only a great read but a beautiful thing to hold in the hand; a superbly produced book that glitters at you at all sorts of levels. A complete “must buy” for anyone with a whiff of salt in his or her veins”
There is an open invitation to all lovers of classic yachts, launches & work boats to attend a morning tea to celebrate the launch of the book. The event will also be a wonderful opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the legends that worked at Vos and you will be able to buy an autographed copy of Launching Dreams. If you can’t make the morning tea, check out the major book sellers who have copies, the perfect Christmas gift for all waitematawoodys.
Venue : Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron – Dinghy Locker – Westhaven
Date: Sunday 24th November – this Sunday
A little bit of a heads up, very very soon we will see the launch of a new book ‘Launching Dreams – Percy Vos – The Boats & His Boys’ by CYA member Baden Pascoe. I have had the pleasure to work with Baden on the production of the publication & its a both a great read & a wonderful pictorial insight into the world of Percy Vos & the people that rubbed up against him.
It’s not only a great read but a beautiful thing to hold in the hand; a superbly produced book that glitters at you at all sorts of levels. A complete “must buy” for anyone with a whiff of salt in his or her veins.