MYSTERY LAUNCH > LEVANTER I think this ones going to be a goody – the two photos above were uncovered by Bill Brown in his families photo collection. Bill is my new ‘best friend’ – his family in the late 1960’s > early 1970’s owned my launch – Raindance. Then called Lady Gay. Bill sends me photos of her when he uncovers them – I like that 🙂
I can just make out the word – Whangarei, on the truck door.I suspect even Nathan Herbert will be scratching his head today 🙂 First one today that correctly names the boat (draw if more than one send in the correct answer) wins an Off Center Harbor cap. As always entry is only via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
30-09-2020 no winners – if we believe the caption on the rear of the photo (below) the boat is named – Levanter
Firstly I need to thank Predictwind for Saturdays forecast, 100% on the button, as usual. One woody at the picnic didn’t come by boat based on the forecast published in Saturdays NZ Herald newspaper……………….. I suspect they also believe the horoscopes in the same paper are factual.
The morning started off a tad eerie with a sea mist blanketing a lot of the sea area off the east coast – but this burned off late morning and we then enjoyed perfect weather. The NZH and coastguard weather forecasts saw the numbers of launches attending drop to 12 but great to see so many turning up by car. Also very fine to have 3 past CYA chairman in attendance – Steve Cranch, Rod Marler and Peter Mence. The waterfront based Stillwater Motor Camp is an idyllic setting for a gathering of classic wooden boats – deep water wharf access to raft up to + a tree shaded lawn. After some interesting docking (too many dockside expects) we had the launches tied up and everyone then decamped to the lawn. Special thanks to Mark Edmonds (Monterey) for again coordinating the venue. A lot of the group had not caught up since the CV-19 lock-downs so it was good to swap stories and boating plans for the upcoming summer.
There has always been good camaraderie on the water between boaties and its something that we foster at Woody Classics Weekends – proof of it in practice is seen below in the photo of Rod and Fiona aboard Arohanui taking Murray Deeble’s Waikiore under tow. Towed him all the way back to the entrance to Milford Creek, where another woody – Jason Prew had ventured out in rather unpleasant conditions to get Waikiore back on her Milford berth. Well done to everyone.
Message for Murray – “should have bought a Yamaha” 🙂
Next Woodys on the water event – November 8th – Riverhead Tavern Lunch Cruise
CLASSIC WOODEN BOAT WEEKEND CRUISE TO CLEVEDON – 72 Photos
Lets be honest, a large chunk of 2020 has been very average – locked marina’s, no on-the-water boating and cancelled events. After spending the weekend on-board Raindance, cruising up the Clevedon river and over-nighting with 12 other woody boats at the Clevedon Cruising Club, I realised what I had missed the most was the sense of fraternity that comes with being in a space shared with people who love the same things as I do – woody boats.
The trip up the Wairoa River revolves around a tide window, so it was a very early start for some of us, helped by coffee on-route, the smart ones left on Friday and were enjoying breakfast in a bay as we were sliding down the Tamaki Strait. We were meet at the river entrance by CCC member Barrie Abel who ‘piloted’ us up the river – no opps, so thank you Barrie.
Awaiting for us at the CCC wharf was Russell Ward with his steam boat – Romany. The gent deserves a medal – all day Saturday and Sunday morning he was taking the CCC members and families + the woodys for rides. Romany is coal fired and as Russell tells everyone getting aboard – “if its metal – its hot, if its varnished – its dirty 🙂 . I’m a big fan of Romany, but the star was Cooper the English springer spaniel – I could have taken him home.
After some wonderful ‘air-traffic control’ we managed to get everyone either alongside the wharf or rafted to another boat that was alongside – soft bumper fenders along the entire wharf makes for very civilized berthing. However – no names, but one woody had to leave the Saturday night BBQ to check that their diesel fired on-board central heating outlet wasn’t roasting the fenders 😉
The day was very leisurely with most people enjoying a dockside lunch and CCC members dropping down to view the boats and people having steam boat rides. One woody took the opportunity to buy some fuel from the club’s dockside bowser, seems he forgot to check the level before departing, staring to become a habit……….
In addition to the activities afloat we were treated to some eye-candy in the car park – a stunning 1947 Ford Coupe and a replica 1945 Fairliner Torpedo speed boat.
Come 4pm we invaded the CCC club house for the main event – as always amazing hospitality from the club and to use that old saying “a good time was had by all”. It was announced that our visit will be a compulsory event on the club’s annual calendar – so woodys – no excuses for missing out next year. Date to be advised.
Check out the outdoor heater – a piece of kiwiana and it worked a treat.
Overnight it was a tad nippy, with several re-filling the boat water bottles in the early hours of the morning. But we woke to a stunning day and departed at 10am for the trip home.
And the Clevedon Coast Oysters were divine – photo below was my lunch – another set were dispatched as a appetizer – 8.5/10 – not Bluff but on the day as good 🙂
Special note of thanks to David Cook (Trinidad) who is my sidekick pulling these events together 🙂
I spend a large chunk of my leisure time, pulling together the waitematawoodys stories that you all get to enjoy each day. One of the coolest parts is connecting people and boats, more often than not – it’s a grandchild looking for grandads old wooden classic or someone who used to crew on a boat and wants to contact with the long lost woodys they boated with. There have been some amazing link-ups, some taking years to surface, a common situation is someone sends in an old photo of a boat, it appears on WW, we generate some intel on the boat, then the story goes into hibernation for a while, sometimes years. Then someone does a google search on an old boats name and bang – up pops the WW story and we are away, they supply more details + photos and then that generates more – its called self populating. With over 5,500,000 views the WW site rates very well with google, also people tend to spend a lot of time on the site so that tells google the site is valued by people, so the boffins at google ‘assist’ the search functionality.
Anyway starting to get boring – yesterday was my day, my turn to be wowed by waitematawoodys. I received an email that stopped the clock. After 13 years of looking for more intel on my boat – Raindance, a gent named William Brown reached out to WW asking for assistance in tracking down a launch named Lady Gay that his father owned in the late 1960’s. Bill’s parents were Correen and James Brown and were lifetime boaties with a flotilla of craft over the years – James was also a former Commodore of the Onerahi Yacht Club and a member of the Whangarei Cruising Club.
One glance at Bill’s photos told me it was Raindance. Bill’s email is below
“It’s been fun during the lockdown to still have the consistency of your regular Waitemata Woodys posts. Thanks for that.
Back at the beginning of March, I won one of your Waitemata Woody T shirts on the Townson 28 quiz and I have been proudly wearing it around my neighbourhood during lockdown. I’ll send a picture in at some stage with perhaps a different story/email to today’s one.
Ok, so I was I digging into my old photos recently and uncovered a couple of pictures (sorry about the quality), of our family’s launch that we owned for about 5 or 6 years in the late 1960s. We knew her then as Lady Gay, but as a youngster I never knew much about her provenance. I am not actually sure my dad knew much of her design or year built either. We used her extensively in the Whangarei harbour for family holidays and fishing trips. The coloured picture has me on the stern, while anchored at Tamaterau and the black and white photo is outside the old quarry in the top of McLeods Bay. I did see her once on the hard at Orakei, so believe she was in Auckland in the 1980s at some stage. She was about 27′ long, narrow and rolled around a bit. Dad fitted stabilizing chocks to her, closed in the canvas in the cockpit and added a decent sized mast, so we could run a stabilizing sail on her. She had a big old Ruston diesel if I remember right, which was incredibly reliable and economical. Those big saloon windows were pretty recognizable, functional, but ugly!
I would be most interested to find out more of the history of this “Lady Gay” ( i realize there are other more famous Lady Gay’s around and not even sure if she was originally given this name or indeed kept it after our ownership. I wonder if she is still going strong today and if so where she is based? Some good family memories were had on her for sure!”
Post lock-down Bill will be visiting his mother (lives in Northland still) and hopefully will obtain more details and photos.
As a result of Bill’s email I have filled in some of the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle – but I would love to uncover details from her launch date (c.1928) to the early 1960’s. Hopefully the above photos and details on her owner might jog some memories.
Below I have reproduced what I had previously been able to piece together on the boats past – if I’ve got my wires crossed, please let me know:-)
Lady Gay > Lady Gai > Nona C > Raindance (as at June 2015)
When I purchased the boat in August 2007 she was named ‘Nona C’, after the then owners (Craig Colven, a Auckland Harbour Board pilot boat skipper) daughter. He told me the boat was previously called ‘Lady Gay’. I did not like the name Nona C so was in the process of reverting back to Lady Gay when I was advised of another launch called Lady Gay (owned by Graham Wilson of the Wilson & Horton publishing family), not wanting to confuse things & on the advice of several marine historians I decided to chose a new name & went with ‘RainDance’. Interestingly Graham Wilson was prepared to add II (2) to his launches name.
I was not aware that ‘Gay’ had been changed to the Irish spelling ‘Gai’ until when I was given a copy of the Dunsford Marine Surveyors Ltd pre-purchase survey commissioned in March 2003 by a Dr. Rex Ferris. Had I known about the Gai/Gay I would have retained the Lady Gai name. I obtained Rex Ferris’s address from the survey & did a Google search which resulted in an Auckland District Health Board employment link & I contacted Rex Ferris. Like myself he knew little about her past, there are still huge gaps e.g. the 1930’s > early 1980’s but below is some history I have gained.
I have also spoke in Jan 2010 to Blair Cole (boat builder) refer below.
Peter & Ann Gill, the motoring journalist, bought the boat in c.1987 & at the time had a waterfront property in the Upper Harbour (near Paremoremo wharf) with a mooring put down. He saw the boat advertised in ‘Boat Trader’, she was moored in the Tamaki Estuary & he purchased her for about $7,000. He can’t remember the name of the owner but was told the boat was built by Lane Motor Boats in 1928, there is however some discussion that she may have been built by ‘Collings & Bell’. She had a single cylinder Bukh diesel engine, which was started via a decompression lever & hand cranking. The owner told Peter that she had been based at Great Barrier Island as a ‘long-liner’ fishing boat for many years prior to him buying her. When she was moored off Peters house, she took on quite a bit of water, and it was necessary for him to go out as often as twice a week and operate the manual bilge pump. He hired a tradesman who specialized in old boats and he decided that it was the stern gland that was the problem. Peter her hauled out and they filled the stern gland with tallow. It was not a one hundred percent fix & she continued to take on water. Peter was never very comfortable with the boat & to use his words ‘we never went far in her’. She was not a pretty boat in those days with a cabin top that looked like it had been made from a ply-wood car case. (Photos below)
I have spoken to Peter several times & while he is very friendly & chatty about the boat he is very elusive about when & to whom he sold her. The reason for this is that either Peter or the next owner (?) let her sink on her mooring in the upper harbour & she remain submerged for several weeks. Given the swallow, sheltered tidal nature of the mooring this had no major negative effect on the boat.
The next chapter is amusing – the mast only of the boat was visible from the Salthouse Boat Builders yard at Greenhite & the tradesman there were running a sweep-stake as to how long she would remain submerged before the owner rescued her. During this period two of the Salthouse apprentices – Blair Cole & Kelly Archer (who both went on to become well respected boat builders in their own right) hatched a plan to buy the boat. They tracked down the owner & both approached him independently, Kelly advised it would cost $3,000 to re-float the boat. Blair then approached the owner & offered an as-is-where-is price of $2,000. The owner accepted Blair’s offer. The boat was hauled out at Salthouse’s yard, she later moved to Blair’s house where he undertook a major restoration (John Salthouse told me at a CYA function once that he had a ‘guiding’ hand in the process).
Between 1988>89 Blair spent in excess of 1800 hours on the restoration – the work involved replacing the ply wood box cabin top with a more sympathetic tram top & doghouse. The two bronze port holes were added to the front of the cabin, along with the bronze mushroom deck vents, new twin plastic fuel tanks, a reconditioned 58hp Ford engine, new shaft, new 2 blade prop, new hydraulic steering (since replaced), anchor winch (since replaced). Extensive new ribs & sister ribs where fitted & her seams were re-caulked. All windows where replaced & new bunks fitted. He also removed her alloy mast & built & fitted the current oregon pine mast. The duck-board was also added. The s/s rod holders on her stern (since removed) came off the old Salvation Army launch.
Blair & his wife cruised the Gulf extensively in the boat in the 1990’s. Blair is a little hazy on whom & when he sold the boat to but thinks it was to someone who lived in Kumeu & they only keep the boat for less than 2 years. They probably sold it Dr. Rex & Sharron Ferris.
In 2003 Rex Ferris purchased her post the Dunstan marine survey (photo below during survey) but it appears he did not address any of the ‘faults’ identified in the survey. Rex Ferris spoke to Blair Cole (Cole Marine Services) in June 2003 & Blair confirmed the restoration work he undertook. Blair also confirmed that she was named Lady Gai.
(Unknown ownership / date photos)
In 2005 the boat was for sale on the hard at Bayswater Marina, I looked at her but she would have been too much of a burden for me at the time. The boat was purchased by Craig Colven who undertook hull work (replaced some planking, caulking, ribs, floors & keel bolts, as identified in the 2003 survey) & installed a new 45hp 4-cylinder Daidong diesel motor & replacement of all major machinery, electrics and plumbing. Including a freezer, new 3-blade prop, shaft bearings, bilge pumps. Devonport craftsmen’s Robbie Robertson (deceased) & Charlie Webley undertook the work.
Craig, over a 2 year period commissioned this work but never completed her, his wife did not share his passion for the sea & I purchased her in August 2007 for what I considered a bargain given what Craig Colven had spent on her in time & money. (Photo below when I purchased her)
I then undertook over the next few years what is called a rolling restoration i.e. I used the boat each summer but hauled her out in winter & continued the project. I retained the services of then Milford based wooden boat builder Geoff Bagnall for the big stuff, there were several areas (stem, cockpit decks, doghouse windows) of rot that needed to be removed plus we made her more ‘comfortable’ in terms of helm seat, doghouse hatch layout etc. New auto anchor winch & bow launcher were installed along with forward hatch porthole to improve light in forward cabin. I rolled my sleeves up on the rest.
I’m thankful for the care bestowed on the boat over the years – everyone that has rubbed up to her has helped get her thru the last 92 years.
(Recent – AH ownership photos)
And one of the two Lady Gay’s 🙂
Photos below ex Bill Brown from when his parents owned Lady Gay / Raindance in the late 1960’s > early 1970’s.
One is in Parua Bay at a little anchorage called Peach point,(dated 1971), where they regularly careened Lady Gay. The others are at Peach Cove, a beautiful little cove out towards Bream Head, and the last two are in the Nook, Parua Bay. And one stern on showing her then cockpit layout.
Another great turn out for Saturdays gathering at Little Oneroa – I counted 16 woodys in the bay, rowing past a couple I may have detected a whiff of PVC but they were lookers and all had a healthy mix of timber and bronze. Attending boats tagged in the story.
Most people decided to order lunch from the wood-fired pizza caravan and were not disappointed – very yum.
The timing seemed to work for everyone – several boat travelled long distances to participate and 1/2 the fleet were just there for the day. Also dog friendly venues are appreciated – again 1/2 the boats had pooches aboard. Perfect weather and very low numbers of what the islanders call ‘day trippers’.
As proof that all you need to be welcomed at a Woody Classics event, is a passion for wooden boats – my boat of the day was Allan and Pam Hooper’s – Katherine. Her dinghy (built by Allan) gets her a 10/10 tick in my book. You can read more about Katherine here https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/02/03/katherine/
Little Oneroa – Waiheke Island
I spotted Allan’s dinghy ashore on Sunday morning at Oneroa – now Allan is a perfectionist, so his score drops to 9.9/10 – he left the stickers on the oars 🙂
Mahurangi Weekend – Biggest On-The -Water Wooden Boating Event Down Under – 200+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos
I think I should start today by apologizing to all the partners and bosses out there – I can see a very slow start to the week, might take a few hours to digest the above photo gallery – a selection of photos from Friday night thru until my trip home on Monday.
The weather for Auckland’s long weekend was just ace – for everyone, launches and yachts, for the whole 4 days.
As always the turnout for the regatta was incredible, I would predict record numbers afloat. The woody launch parade saw 25 launches register and another 17 (approx.) joined in on the day. One of the photos above shows some of the parade launches snaking across the harbour. Well done woodys.
If the attendance count was based solely on the number of dinghies at Scotts Landing for the Saturday night party, again it would have to be a record.
I apologize for the lack of photos from the Saturday night party at Scotts Landing, I was unable to attend, I was banned . Now I can imagine maybe one person on any committee could be a dog hater, but for the ‘Mahurangi Action’ (formerly known as ‘Friends of Mahurangi’) committee to agree on a total 48hr dog ban ashore is hard to believe. But then I was told by a very public figure in the area – none of them have ever had to buy contraception in their lives – they use they personalities. So my question – Is it actually their ‘role’ to decide on whether boat owners can bring Fideo ashore?.
Maybe Mahurangi Action should stick to their core reason for being i.e. the Mahurangi Harbour.
I can imagine the relationship between the Mahurangi Cruising Club, the promoters of the actual boating regatta – the reason we all attend and Mahurangi Action, who run the shore based activities at Sullivans Bay and the Saturday night party, must at times be interesting. If I was MCC I would be appointing an event manager and running a solo event, including a function that the revenue from, would help fund the club. The weekend has got too big – I and a lot that I have spoken to would buy a ticket to attend – food for thought MCC ……..
Ps There were numerous dogs ashore, I was just one of the unlucky one that were apprehended coming ashore. What a waste of rate payers money to have professional security there + a dog ranger……….
A special thank you to Roger Mills for the aerial (drone) photos of Scotts Landing and the launch parade. Also Graeme Finch for topping up my photos with some of his own – thanks Graeme.
The photo below, while out of focus due to distance and 2 moving boats – sums up woody boating perfectly. The launch is Linda and the gathering of life jackets on the bow is the Brooke clan 🙂
Monday also saw the CYA running a launch race as part of the Auckland anniversary day regatta – coverage of this later in the week.
WAITANGI DAY WOODY BEACH PICNIC – FEB 6 – Put A Circle In Your Diary, All Woodys Welcome. RSVP Below
Last weekend we decided to slipped away to Rakino Island, and in an almost unheard of event, we departed early and dropped the anchor in West Bay at 9.30am.
On route and in and around the Island we spotted a healthy collection of woodys. Some familiar faces and some newbies. Scroll over photos for captions
The sunset on Saturday night was a stunner. When I popped the head out of the hatch on Sunday morning, I did a double take – a very large cruise ship was sliding down the Rakino Channel, spotted again later in the day off Waiheke Island.
Enjoy the photos – can anyone tell us more about the launches – Asereht, Bon Voyage, Poco Lento ?
Input from Geoff Bagnall – Asereht was built by himself and Bon Voyage by Dave Jackson.
IMPORTANT DATES FOR THIS WEEKENDS WOODY ACTIVITY
SATURDAY 25 JAN
Mahurangi Regatta Classic Launch Parade (meeting at 10.15am off Scotts Landing – parade will be in alpha order)
We had 23 classic launches confirm for Sundays Riverhead cruise but folks I can report that the weather at times was a little evil. Not too bad for the big girls but the sub 30’ crowd were rocking & rolling. Lots of white water over the top. But it was only for a short time, after Herald Island things improved 🙂
On the day, 15 launches travelled to the Riverhead Tavern and had a ball, neat people , stunning boats, lots of good chat. Big ups to those that came by car to join the gathering, nice gesture.
Now – confession time – on the email I to sent the skippers that had RSVP’ed I gave everyone a big wind up about behaving e.g. Indian File, follow the leader, no over taking etc etc and bugger me – Raindance went aground. Last bend before the hotel & I’m up on deck laying out the lines & fenders and the ‘duty’ skipper puts us in the mud. No amount of forward / reverse would move her. Thank goodness for my boatbuilder Geoff Bagnall and his wife Theresa on board Achillies, who came to our aid and pulled us off. Not before 1/2 the fleet passed us – very embarrassed. Hopefully the oops cleaned off some Baywater sludge. But I was not alone………. 2 others parked up as well 😉
Not a great day for photos, overcast and drizzle but the sun shone thru at the important times 🙂
Remember to put a big circle in your diary for the weekend of 19/20th of October for the next Woodys Classics Weekend. Its a picnic cruise to Still Water motor camp – Master of ceremonies / Officer of the day / Rear commodore / Chief Poo-bar / Mark Edmonds (who like titles) is finalising dates and details but there could be a band, classic cars / motorbikes and vehicle access for the boat less Woodys – more details soon.
Special thanks to Brendon Gardiner, Margo Hudson, Jason Prew and Alan Houghton for the photos.
Photos below from Michelle Maitland onboard Cleone
And more ex David Plummer and Geoff Steven
B/W photo below ex Mike Mahoney
Great view of Jason Prew’s – My Girl below. taken by Angus Rogers. Really shows off her lines, no wonder she is so quick 😉
The Marine Photographer’s Eye, Benjamin Mendlowitz – OCH Video Featuring Kiwi Classic Wooden Boats – The best photos of our fleet you will have ever seen!
Today’s story is rather special as the team at offcenterharbor.com have given waitematawoody readers access to their latest video that features woodys from this years Mahurangi Regatta. The OCH site contains over 500 videos (& 500 articles) that range from boatbuilding, to trimming sails, to a complete course on understanding every aspect of your marine diesel engine. There’s even a 42-part series on how to build a Caledonia Yawl camp cruiser. The collection of videos features mariners and craftspeople at the very top of the boating field, showing exactly how they do things, and which products they use in their work.
One of the OCH founders is Benjamin Mendlowitz who, in my eyes, is the worlds finest photographer of classic wooden boats, this January, Ben and his co-founders escaped the US winter and headed down under. Whilst in NZ their #1 mission was to attended the Mahurangi Regatta and to this end on the Saturday Jason Prew with My Girl & myself with Raindance hosted – Maynard Bray, Benjamin Mendlowitz & Steve Stone for a Regatta photo shoot.
In the 11 minute video, Ben talks us through his day on the water filming woodys. In the opening section when Ben is commenting on our classic fleet he says “I was newly inspired in my photography”. When a photographer with as much experience as Benjamin Mendlowitz says that – that is saying something about our woody fleet. Plus the video is a master class for anyone interested in marine photography.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW AND SIT BACK AND ENJOY + CHECK OUT THE COOL OCH OFFER BELOW
The OCH site is 100 percent membership driven, and they do not accept advertising. Not lining their pockets with advertising enables them to provide OCH members with the unvarnished truth, straight from legendary masters of their craft – without worrying whether they piss off an advertiser 🙂
In addition to allowing WW woodys to view the video at no-charge, they have also put together a one-off subscription offer for WW readers.
They are offering 50% off the annual rate – thats an amazing US$24.50 – BUT woodys be quick it will not last for long + there is a Risk Free Guarantee – try it for a few days, if your not happy they will provide you with a 100% refund. I’m a subscriber – I love the site, I have watched one story probably 10 times.