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photo & details ex Harold Kidd
A new photo of Wenna has surfaced from Bob Wiley of Boat Haulage, whose father did a lot of cruising on Wenna when she was owned by Willie McWhirter during the 1950s and 1960s.
Willie McWhirter (1902-1983) was a long-term Auckland Harbour Board employee, son of Tom McWhirter, brother of Jack, of the well-known yachting family of St. Mary’s Bay.
He lived at 61 St. Mary’s Road. Dave Jackson knew him well.
When McWhirter owned Wenna he carried a food safe on the dodger which was most unusual and characteristic of the launch during his ownership.
Harold commented this is now a a missing chunk of Wenna’s history accounted for.
Back then the crack was “Wenna you going to buy me a beer?” 🙂
ps excuse the fly poo on the photo – HDK was worried that cleaning it might have damaged the original print 🙂
To view more photos on Wenna old & current – enter Wenna in the ww search box.
11/11/14 – Harold Kidd Update
Jack Taylor has given me the good oil on WENNA. He used to work alongside Alf Bell of Collings & Bell and Alf told him some facts about WENNA.
1. She WAS built by Collings & Bell.
2. They took their time over construction so Eric O’Neill, who lived in Ring Terrace a few yards away, kept nagging them, ” When are you going to get my boat finished”, and the WENNA stuck.
3. Eric was known around the waterfront as “Peggy” O’Neill after the song. He was a cheerful bloke and everyone liked him.
4. He knew nothing about boating at the start. He brought WENNA back from Barrier through the bad February 1936 hurricane and complained to Alex Collings that she leaked. 40 boats were lost in Auckland in that blow.
5. However, he got to be good enough to skipper PAIKEA on occasion during her NAPS service.
With ww I try to plan the posts a few days in advance, well yesterday Harold Kidd turned my schedule upside down when he sent in the above photo of Wenna. Earlier this week,
Harold was the recipient (on loan) of a photo album from Margaret Field of the O’Neill* family. One of the photos was the stunning one of Wenna above.
Wenna was recently purchased as Rangitira & renovated by Pam Gundy at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard (launch day photo below)
*Eric O’Neill arrived in NZ with his family just after WW1 and lived in Ring Terrace, just above St. Mary’s Bay & Wenna was built for him around 1925. Given his residence, most likely by a St. Mary’s Bay builder, the options being Collings & Bell, Leon Warne, Dick Lang (or Sam Ford who took over Lang’s yard in 1923 and used Ford’s moulds until 1924 when Lang returned).
Now two days ago I was sent a photo of Marua (below), by Dave Jackson via Adrienne, Dave’s father, (David Jackson Snr) was one of the owners of the Marua c.1955-56. Dave commented that Marua & Wenna were very similar in design, with Marua being built in 1915 for E. McKeown by Peter A. Smith who was an engine supplier and contracted out his hulls to St Mary’s Bay builders. Harold would pick Dick Lang as the builder of Marua’s hull, not Leon Warne who was still with Collings & Bell in 1915. It’s likely that Dick (or Sam Ford possibly) built Wenna too. Marua was a total loss as a result of the fire that destroyed the Baileys yard.
There’s always the possibility that Collings & Bell built both boats but Harold does not think they did much (if any) work for Peter A. Smith as they were more interested in selling their own brands of marine engines where the greater profit margin lay and weren’t short of their own orders.
All of the above aside – both Marua and Wenna are best described as typical St. Mary’s Bay – built launches of the period.
Note – when Pam’s partner George (Emtage) saw Margaret Field’s photo of Wenna, he starting looking for his chainsaw – he liked what Harold described as the slinky look – so do I.
Pam on the other hand is happy with Wennna’s tram-top, which according to Dave Jackson was built by Cyril Freeman of Ponsonby. He was working for Shipbuilders at the time, but this job was a ‘homer’. This was during the late 1940’s maybe even the early 1950’s.
WENNA (Rangitira) 2014
07/11/14 – photo of Wenna ex Harld Kidd ex Bob Wiley
This 32′ early 1920’s Collings & Bell classic launch would have to be one of the luckiest classics around – a few months ago I gave Rangitira, as she was named then, a big plug on ww as she was for sale on trademe at what was the buy of the year price. Then a few months ago she was ‘adopted’ by Pam Cundy at Whangateau Traditional Boats.
To use Pam’s own words she “pushed through a quick paint job and varnished hatch and mast, now for a new name board to come”. Pam will be reverting to her old name Wenna. She slipped back into the water last week. Looks pretty slick to me & Pam has a great eye for colours.
To read / view photos from her past click this link
Update from Pam Cundy
After several years of watching for a suitable motor boat this felt like an opportune time to purchase. After looking her over with the usual ‘check for …’ And with the usual ‘old boat’ problems the only thing that bothered me was this old girl had seemingly lost her real identity. Fortunately shortly after purchasing her and conducting a search Adrienne and Dave called by with some details and Harold contributed also.
Wenna ( Rangitira) – according to Dave Jackson
Dave identified her as being Wenna – 1940’s to1970’s he knew her to be Wenna.
His friends would say “when are you going to shout?”.
1967-68 Dave purchased her to tow his mullet boat down to the Ponsonby yacht club from Birkenhead.
She had a Morris Commodore petrol engine in her then.
1940’s owner was Mr O’Neil of Ring Terrace Ponsonby. He installed the raised cabin. When Mr O’Neil passed away he left the boat to William ( Bill ) McWhirter.
Bill sold it to Mr Wylie (Jacks father – Boat haulage).
Harold on Wenna
Eric Cathbart Fergus O’Neil of Ponsonby (b.1886,d.1957), engineer, owned Wenna from at least 1925.
“Unfortunately” Harold said, ” I can’t connect her back to Collings and Bell but if Dave J says Collings and Bell, that was good enough for me”.
O’Neil did a lot of game fishing with her in the mid 1920s and 1930s.
In March1930 she was attacked by a big mako off the Great Barrier, splintering some planks and then got free.
Wenna – ” maiden” or “white seas”
Thanks also to Tim Jackson, previous owner
See you at the Mahurangi Regatta!!!
An awesome blog Alan and Harold- Look what it turned up for me : )
Looking for a good entry level classic motor launch? Rangitira is currently for sale on trademe. The listing states that she was built in 1929 by Collings & Bell & as expected of a vessel of this era is kauri carvel plank construction.
At 32′ & powered by a Ford 60hp diesel engine that pushes her effortlessly thru the water & she is therefore very economical to run.
The photos of her were taken over the last few years. While her interior is a little tired, she has good bones & has not been ‘mucked around’ with. Very usable as is, but a restoration would be relatively straight forward.
I do not normally mention prices on ww but at $18,000 it is a good entry into classic boating.
As always – ww is interested in hearing more about her past.
Update & photo from previous owner – Tom Jackson
Stolen from her mooring by school boys from an Auckland boys school and taken to Waiheke.Garboard plank smashed and she sunk. Then refurbished by Derek Dempster. Sold to me by a Mr Pack in Auckland in 1989 as a Dick Lang launch. He purchased it from a Whangarei owner who installed the butterfly hatch. Sold by me in 1991 to an American who took her to BOI. Many fond party memories.A great boat.