Todays woody – Puruatanga is a bit of a mystery, most likely built c.1960, but probably earlier (god I’m starting to sound like K Ricketts) her design / builder is unknown.

She measures 30’ in length and is powered by a 120hp Ford Lees diesel that gets her along at a comfortable cruising speed of 7>8 knots.

For the last 25 years the Waikawa, Picton based woody has been used as bach access transport, 1.5 hours each way so very reliable.

And that woodys is all we know about her. Thanks to Ian McDonald for the tme heads up.

Mystery Picton Launches

Mystery Picton Launches + Win A WW T-Shirt

The above Picton photo popped up on Lew Redwood’s fb earlier in the week, at the time Nathan Herbert commented that two of the launches are theses days moored alongside each other in Orakei Basin. I’m guessing the one on the left side of the dock (with people on cabin top) is Silver Spray, but I’m more often wrong than right 🙂

I’m sure at some stage during the day Nathan will correct me.

First woody (excluding J Prew esq) that emails the correct boat names to waitematawoodys.com wins a WW T-shirt. Mr Herbert will be the judge. 

Mollie Lyt




Just back from my slide around the upper North Island & down the west coast aboard Trinidad to Picton. Amazing trip, I will do a separate story on the trip soon. 

While berthed in – Waikawa Bay marina, Picton, I spotted Mollie Lyt – If she had, had a 4sale sign on her, she would be sold now. 

A perfect work boat conversation (I suspect?) that sticks all my boxes + a wood stove & a great name. So many nice touches, just needs a little TLC. 

Any Southern – able to tell us more about her ?

Mahurangi Regatta

Just waiting on my spotters to send me photos & we will have some coverage. I hear the Launch Parade was down on numbers – if you believe the MCC Year book, 50+ last year & 15’ish this year. For the first time in a long time, I missed the regatta 😦

The Launching of Rorqual


The Launching of Rorqual

Below is a tale about the launching of the whale chaser Rorqual, told by Graham Scott who rubbed up against her in her early days & whose father worked on the engine. Read on & enjoy 🙂

The Rorqual was built at Morgans Boatyard, Picton (now long gone) and launched in 1960. Gil Perano’s daughter Vivien christened the Rorqual, which proved to be a disaster, like when they lit the engine up after launching, with all the bullshit that went with it, they couldn’t get any oil pressure. This was followed by a “delaunching”, much to the embarrassment suffered by the hob knobs in attendance. The Rorqual was the first chaser to be painted light green, all the others having been painted dark green, the same as the Union Steamship boats. It was a bloody stupid colour to use, as the darker paint would blister like crazy. I suggested to Gil heaps of times, that it would pay to lighten the colour but I doubt whether a low life boatyard worker would have influenced the eventual and obvious decision. Of more concern was the reason why (supposedly) the brand new 600HP Kermath Sea Raider petrol engine proved to be faulty. There were 2 Kermaths imported at the same time, 1 a second-hand one, the other new and unfortunately Peranos’ got the wrong one. There was a hellava stink about it at the time, but seemingly nothing could be done about it. Subsequently there were extensive attempts at fixing the problem by all the so-called experts, including Cuddens in Blenheim, all to of no avail. The engine ended up on blocks down at Whenenui, destined to become a boat mooring. They pulled a motor out of one of the older boats, so the Rorqual could operate, which it did so for 4 years, until 1964 when whaling ended.
In the meantime and when Dad had some spare time, he asked Gil if he could have a go at fixing the Kermath. Gil told him it was a waste of time, as all the experts had declared it wasn’t fixable. In no time at all, Dad started the engine (with no silencing it made a hellava noise) and much to Gil’s horror up the hill, Dad didn’t shut it down as he “officially” should have done. Evidently Gil drove down the hill like a maniac, ready to give Dad a real bollicking. Dad told me he just said nothing, instead pointing to the oil pressure guage, which
showed it as normal. The Kermath was put back into the Rorqual, replacing the “temporary” one that had been installed..

Dad had an incredible talent at fixing engines, but he never told me how he fixed the Kermath. I do know however that he was deeply hurt when he was rewarded with diddily squat. After whaling finished, Gil had the Roqual modified from virtually no superstructure to a cabin etc and the installation of a diesel engine. So far as I know, Gil used it until he died in 1981, aged 72. That’s a bit scary – that’s my present age!!!!

Seems the name derives from Norwegian for Blue Whale which as an uneducated idiot from Nelson College I never knew. In fact most of the chasers were named after breeds of whales, including the Cachalot, Orca, Rorqual, Narwhal and Balaena.

Graham Scott