Sea Bee – Part 2 + Mollie Sinks

AS FOUND

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RESTORATION STAGE ONE

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NOW PHOTOS

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SEA BEE – Part 2

 The launch See Bee recently appeared on WW & interest was expressed in her background & what had  happened to her – link to the previous WW story is here   https://wordpress.com/post/waitematawoodys.com/33451

I have broken the photos into 3 sections – As Found > Restoration Stage One – As She Is Today. The first two photo groups are from her current owner, Rick Coster & the current photos are ex Ken Ricketts. Ken also scanned a lot of the older images from prints.

Post the 1st ww story, boat builder Colin Brown alerted Ken to the fact that Sea Bee  was alive & well on her owner’s property at Point Wells & in the final stages of a 8+ year restoration.

Rick Coster is by trade an engineer, just check out the engine / drive installation photos, & he bought Sea Bee off Phillip Waye approx. 10 years ago, Waye had her on a private property at Whangaparaoa, but only owned her for approx. 1 year. He had bought her from an unknown yard in Silverdale.

Ken commented that he recalls seeing her in the 1980’s or early 1990’s on the Te Atatu Boat Club hardstand, & believes she had sat there for a number of years & had also spent time on a pile mooring at TBC. Her owner had got too old to care for her any longer, but had loved fishing & used to go out very regularly, for many days at a time, & bring back lots of fish, in an extensive refrigeration system she had onboard. Ken also recalls Sea Bee from back to the very early 1950’s when he was mooching around the Kawau Island area, & believes she looked almost identical to how she looks today. She had 2 engines in that era, with stern exhausts, not the 2 top stacks with truck mufflers, seen in the above photos. She now has a new side exhaust out the starboard side.

The photos show that Rick has done an amazing amount of work on Sea Bee & while not following the traditional classic look with her new interior fit-out, she will be, when launched, a very practical woody.

A summary of the work – below:

  • Removed the 2 x 4 cyl Mitsubishi diesels, & replaced them with 1 x 108hp 4 cyl, Moon converted, Nissan diesel.
  • Completely replaced the rotten coamings, with almost identical looking new ones, & built a new interior layout.
  • Also had the bottom partially re-planked including the garboard, & partially re-ribbed, by master craftsman boat builder Colin Brown & son in law Josh.

Given that she is kauri planked, with South Island beech ribs, & a pohutukawa stem, which Colin Brown scarfed a new section into, the suggestions in the original WW story that she was an imported Chris Craft cannot be correct – that does not rule out a kiwi knock off 🙂

04-05-2018 Update from Grant Renall

“It is great to find out more history about Grandad Redges boat Seabee and have talked to my father again about what happened to her after she blew up.the whole cabin top was blown off and sides off the hull were extensively damaged worst being the left hand side.when back on the hard at the garage he owned seabee was completely gutted,dad and uncle Don went to Awhitu and found a kauri partially cut up which was 30 ft long by 2 ft by 8 or 9 inches thick which he formed to make the runners, excuse my limited timber boat building jargon.then they found a piece of pohutakawa branch with the right bend to cut up to form the chines .to shape these right he recalls took a lot of work for an engineer /mechanic and riveted in?.all the ribs were replaced with kauri ones which he made a steam press for the task.Dad and Uncle Don got the job of fitting these after school.The cross beams were made from Tanekaha and fitted snuggly together Dad recallsHe had plenty of kauri which was used for the extension and rebuild.He said they painted arsenic all throughout the hull and can remember it stinging his hands and eyes,amazing he is still alive .he had a look at the new photos posted and likes the look of her now and would like to see her when finished as I would.Dad reckons he wagged school and cycled to john burns to buy the steering wheel and a hand basin amongst other things during the rebuild.Seabee was purchased from Easton products limited when a year or two old who told them she came in from the states as deck cargo the boat was a freighter perhaps taking troops back.Colin Brown reckons not but with all the rebuild who knows,I will try and find out more as Dad is moving soon and I will look at Grandads records if he still has them,thanks Grant Renall ps Colin was the youngest and moved to a farm in Waimauku with the family in reply to someones comment.”

RIP MOLLIE

Sad to report that the 1911, 39’ Lane Motor Boat Co. built – Mollie, sank off Stanmore Bay over the weekend, in the storm. Not sure if she was beached but I understand she has had 2 tides over her, so not good. Thanks to Nathan Herbert for the fb heads up.

You can view photos & read more on her past at the WW link below – make sure you read the comments section —  https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/03/07/mollie/

Can anyone update us?

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UPDATE at 2.00pm today (photos ex Ken Rickets)

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I HOPE SOMEONE SAVED THIS 

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Update 2 – ex Ken Ricketts

Ken has just sent in the photos below of the remains of Mollie hauled out on the ramp at Stanmore Bay.

In discussion with her owner, Ken uncovered that:

  1. He had owned for about 4 years.
  2. He bought her from a Tauranga owner, & sailed her back to Stanmore Bay.
  3. Prior to this she had spent approx. 20 years in the Wade River.
  4. 
She had a 120hp Perkins engine.
  5. She had not been used for quite little while, as she had had a leak in the manifold, & it needed to be repaired — refer photo of the propeller complete with much growth.
  6. She sustained some damage during a blow last Christmas.
  7. Her final demise, her owner says, was created by her popping the stern door in the tuck, & filling & sinking through the stern.

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Update3 01-05-2018 ex Ken Ricketts –

Ken discovered that Mollie was completely copper sheathed below the waterline. The only good news is the owner has saved the section of her bow with the name on it & will restore as a memento.

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Seabee > Quality Afloat

Seabee

SEABEE > QUALITY AFLOAT

I have been contacted by Grant Rendell concerning the launch Seabee, that his grandfather Redge Renall owned many years ago & kept her moored at Te Atatu (as per above photo).

Post WW2, Redge had a farm in Waimauku, West Auckland & later retired to Henderson & was a past Commodore at the Te Atatu boating club.

In conversations with his father, Grant has discovered that Seabee was a Chris Craft imported into New Zealand in the 1940’s. Grant’s grandfather bought Seabee off Brian Eastman c.1946 / 1947.

At the time it was powered by two flathead Mercury V8’s. Redge installed a Red Wing 6 cyl. engine a few years later. This followed an incent where Redge lit his pipe while collecting scallops on the Manukau Harbour, the lighter flame blew a hole in the side of Seabee, they got her going with mattresses etc. plugging the hole up and beached her. Post this Redge also extended it from 26’ to 32’6” and later installed two Perkins PM6’s. One engine faced forward & one backwards to run the left hand pitch 22” prop. Rumour has it he never smoked again!

Grant’s uncle Tony Subritzky bought her in the 1990’s & renamed her Quality Afloat, he sold her to someone named Smith, who was using Seabee around Kawau Island area when one of the rubber couplings let go & the driveshaft put a hole in the bottom & nearly sank Seabee. This is the last that Grant heard of Seabee.

So woodys – do we know what became of Seabee, is she still around & if so where?

Update – Have just been sent the press clippings below, from Grants parents,  that confirm the explosion incident:

From The Waiuku News (and Franklin County Gazette)  dated Tuesday, October 1949 –reads as follows – EXPLOSION ON LAUNCH – Petrol Fumes ignite – Occupants Lucky Escape –  The occupants of Mr Renall’s, Waiuku launch had a miraculous escape on Saturday when petrol fumes inside the cabin exploded. The cabin top was lifted clean off, a crack opened round the hull about waterline, while the force of the explosion expanded the hull. The boat caught fire but the flames were extinguished before the outbreak got out of control. Accompanying Mr Renall were his wife and some members of the family. Some of them were inside the cabin at the time and it would appear that it was only an act of Providence that they were able to stand the force of such a violent explosion and escape with their lives. As it was, they were burnt about the legs and suffered from shock. A well appointed, 28 foot launch with 2 cabins and cockpit, Mr Renall had just completed refitting the vessel and preparing it for the summer. Saturday’s trip was the first of the season. Mr Renall had intended to go scalloping and the boat was run into shallow water on the banks between Awhitu and Grahams Beach. Going high and dry the launch canted over, and it is thought that while lying on its side, perhaps some petrol may have leaked out to cause the fumes. Later, on entering the cabin Mr Renall struck a match to light his pipe when the explosion occurred. The cabin was blown off and those on board jumped over the side. The flames were attacked with a a fire extinguisher and sea water. Fishermen in the vicinity also went to their assistance, one party being attracted by the big puff of black smoke issued from the boat. The launch was roughly caulked with kapok where it  had cracked around the hull, and taken into tow by Mr F. Smith, but Mr Renall got the engine running to proceed home under its own power. 

Unfortunately this clipping was not dated –  Another article in The Waiuku News – reads as follows  LAUNCH SHIFTED – After months of work spent in lengthening and rebuilding, Mr R Renall’s well appointed launch was shifted from the site between Mr Renall’s Garage (Renall Motors) and the Town Board’s office on Thursday afternoon. The boat was taken by trailer to be launched at Westhaven. The loading operations attracted a good gallery of spectators. The vessel suffered extensive damage some months ago when an explosion occurred while on the Manukau. Mr Renall then brought it to Waiuku to be repaired. An extra six feet was added to the boat making it a total length of over 30 feet –