Romance II


As I said on yesterdays post one of the highlights for me personally of attending the 2015 Mahurangi Regatta was getting to see Pauline & Harold Kidd’s 1919 Bailey & Lowe launch Romance II post her restoration under the hands of Marco Scuderi. If you asked Marco he would tell you that Harold was VERY clear in the project brief, in fact I would suspect there has not been a launch that has been so thoroughly researched & documented 😉 The brains trust of classic wooden boats were all over this project, Harold even had Robert Brooke swinging the caulking mallet.
There are still a few projects to be completed but visually the team have nailed it.
Unfortunately I did not manage to get a photo of her at speed, she was just to quick for Raindance. She did look very smart leaving the harbour on Sunday morning at ‘full chat’ (a HDK term).

Harold Update

We took about half a ton of modern excrescences out of her, sink bench, stove/oven and that huge hideous dodger, leaving only coms, stereo, deep freeze and head. Marco repositioned the Morse control so that we can now get full revs (probably 3500) out of the lusty Moon Engines-set up Hino diesel.
Walter Bailey designed her for 17 knots with a 100/150hp Sterling so she has the lines but is much lighter without the Yankee benzine-gobbler.
She now gets up on what passes for a plane earlier than before but we carried out no full power trials and didn’t get anywhere near “full chat” at Mahurangi, just hurried along to catch up with and photograph the lovely JESSIE LOGAN and WAIRIKI heading home on Sunday morning. I reckon she’ll nudge 20 knots when we summon up the courage.
On the other hand, she handled the nasty easterly jobble coming home from Bon Accord early on Monday morning well, ticking over at 1200 rpm and making 8 knots (plus flood tide).
When the Navy did a survey of launches available for patrol purposes in 1927 she had a 100hp Stearns, the “hot” engine of the time. The comment was “good seaboat”. We confirm that.
The Mills family of Devonport, who commissioned her from Bailey & Lowe in 1919, lived in Huia Street where I lived for many years, so there are multiple resonances for us.

2015 Mahurangi Regatta Weekend – 70+ Photos

2015 Mahurangi Regatta Weekend – 70+ Photo Parade

The photos tell the story of the weekend – perfect weather, stunning boats & nice people having a great time. Todays post is just a slice of the 3 days of classic wooden boating. I have 100’s of photos that will filter thru into ww over time. Not all are ‘picture perfect’ – its hard to helm the boat (solo) & take photos in a very congested waterway.
As always you’ll see a mix of motor-boats & yachts because even though some people seem blind to the world of classic launches – the weekend is in fact the biggest collection of classic wooden boats afloat in one place in NZ. Remember people – its all about wooden boats 🙂
Saturday nights prize giving & dance ashore at Scotts Landing was one of those evenings out of the bag – a perfect sunset to cap the day off, the panoramic photo above was sent to me by Mark Lever (owner of the very smart 1926, B.J.L. Juke designed launch – Nereides) & portrays the scene perfectly.
I counted 30+ classic CYA launches around the bays – I’m sure there were more, just didn’t see them all. The launches had a wee parade around the bays on the Saturday to fly the flag for the CYA launch fleet. There was a ‘names in the hat’ draw at the prize giving & one of our newest members – Bill Mitchinson owner of MV Gay Dawn, who traveled up from Tauranga for the weekend, won the ‘Motor Launch Log Trophy’. Now all we need is for last years winner (a non CYA member) to play the game & return the trophy 😦
The trip north for me had one big objective – to see Pauline & Harold Kidd’s just re-launched classic launch – Romance II afloat. Harold & boat builder Marco Scuderi have rebuilt R2’s dog-house & tram-top to pretty dam close to the day in 1919 she slipped down the Bailey & Lowe ramp. In my eyes her lines & proportions are spot-on. There is a photo of her in todays post but I will feature her in more detail on ww tomorrow.
Winners Are Grinners – the CYA boats, skippers & crew cleaned up all the major sailing races at the regatta – photos from the prize giving at the end of the post.
Enjoy & remember you can enlarge any photo by clicking on it 😉


This is what makes the regatta racing so special – where else do you get sailing like this?

Yes, there were life jackets on-board for everyone

Saturday Night Prize Giving & Dance


Grinners Are Winners


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Just received a photo of R2 on the trailer just prior to re-launching yesterday at Gulf Harbour. I have to say that Harold & Marco have nailed it in terms of restoring her back to almost the exact original configuration. Take a bow Mr & Mrs Kidd.

You can stop the slide show above to view individual photos in detail 😉



Mystery Launch + Romance II Relaunch

Mystery Launch

photo ex Peter Louglin ex papers past

Todays photo is from the NZ Herald 09-10-1928, appears to be a very manual process, note the tin of tallow on hand to grease the rails. Who can ID her?

One of the reasons I published this photo is that today a very similar motor boat, Pauline & Harold Kidd’s Bailey & Lowe – Romance II is re-launching after a refit at Marco Scuderi’s yard that has seen R2 returned to very close to her original configuration. Still a few last minute jobs to finish so unfortunately R2 will not be at Patio Bay this weekend. ww will feature R2 when complete.
View a gallery of the refit here

Romance II


Romance II was built in 1919 by Bailey & Lowe. She is a rather quick old girl, always has been, as the older photos show. The colour photos were taken by Jason Prew at the 2006 Mahurangi Regatta, prior to her current owner Pauline Kidd purchasing her. Romance II had been on the Kidd’s bucket list for a very long time & has just been transported to Marco Scuderi’s yard (MSN Shipwrights) in Helensville for some extensive work that will see her returned to a style closely matching her ‘as launched’ configuration. It would be hard to find a project manager with a better eye & classic knowledge than Pauline’s husband Harold, so ww will be watching this project with great interest – rest assured there will be no fly bridge, solar panels etc 🙂

Rudder Cup photos (by Chris Miller) added

As always – you can enlarge any photo by clicking on it

28 Nov. 1929 photo added (ex Paperspast) below of Romance II being lowered into the water near Queens Wharf after being reconditioned (their words) at Mt Eden. Now you can see why she is so quick.

Zoom Zoom
Walter Bailey designed her for 17 knots which she exceeded with her original 15/21hp (rated) Sterling. That was replaced with the biggest Stearns available, a 35hp (rated), in June 1923. Other, more pedestrian, engines followed including a 4 cylinder Ford diesel post-WW2 and, most recently, a 6 cylinder 150hp Hino marine diesel by Moon Engines, which is a truly superb installation. We can see just under 20 knots on the GPS at 3100 but she’s tricky to handle at that speed because she’s really riding on the prop and “sensitive”, shall I say. We’ve removed most modern junk including the gas bottle and stove and the sink bench but are jibbing at removing the toilet and the deep freeze. Simplicate and add lightness!
Basically she’s Bailey & Lowe’s standard 35 footer but tweaked in the sections. Beam is 8ft , draught 2ft 6in, displacement 4.2 tons wet.

Update from HDK (24/08/2014) see comments section for previous posts

Progress is good. There have been interesting questions to resolve regarding the new dodger in our efforts to re-create her as she was launched in 1919. When you are dealing with three dimensional and aesthetic issues based on a handful of contemporary images it takes a lot of careful thinking and analysis (not to say compromise). Marco is highly sensitive to these issues, thank goodness, so our weekly brainstorming is fun and productive. We are now down to millimeter issues.
One correction however, the camber of the dodger top IS the same as the camber of the main cabin top. Anything else does look wrong and is not borne out by a careful examination of the early images nor by the fossil evidence in the boat. The shapes of the four forward facing windows gave an illusion of a higher camber, but it is an illusion.
Marco keeps his website up to date with images:


1925 Anniversary Regatta “bona fide cruisers over 9 knots” Race.

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1925 Anniversary Regatta “bona fide cruisers over 9 knots” Race.

The 4 boats nearest the camera, from left ROMANCE II (W C Mills….winner by miles), ROSEMARY (Leon Warne), ALL BELL leading (Alf Bell….NO Collings in this one…it’s All BELL….lots of angst between Mr. Collings and Mr. Bell post WW1), and CARMINE (ex-MAUDIE..Bailey & Lowe). At the rear are, on left, CAVALIER (Bell brothers, Alf and his brother whose name I’ve temporarily forgotten but great uncles of Dick Coughlan) at left and KATHRYN R (built by Leon Warne for W J Reid, Des Townson’s grandfather) on the right. Big St Mary’s Bay representation, 2 Warne boats and two Bell boats (and 2 Bailey & Lowe boats)

2nd photo of Romance II ‘at full chat’ crossing a finish line in 1925 (possibly the same race as above)

3rd photo shows Romance II not moving fast at all – high & dry near Coromandel one Easter, she re-floated on the next tide with no damage other than the crews egos, the owner Frank Aspden was in Sydney at the time. The next crew meeting would have been a dozy 🙂

Anniversary details ex Harold Kidd, photos ex ‘Sir George Grey Special Collections (Auckland Libraries)

Harold Kidd Update:

ROMANCE II cheekily entered the next race too, the “Open Speed Race” against the flyers of the day, Chas. Collings’ FLEETWING JR (120hp Hall-Scott), MISS VIRGINIA (220hp Hispano-Suiza), MISS AUCKLAND (ohc Masport), MISS EILEEN (6 cylinder Buick), MISS DEVONPORT (90hp Curtiss), MISS MILFORD (ex-FLEETWING I), and FIREFLY Colin Wild-built, 6 cylinder Studebaker). Some of these hydroplanes were running war surplus aero engines of course. ROMANCE II was given 20mins and won on handicap.

She will see some action this season after Pauline and I have had a sad time in the past 18 months with family matters and my bloody arthritis. She’s out at Gulf Harbour right now for antifouling and a tidy up. She was built for 17 knots and still does that (and quite a bit more if you have the courage to push the Morse to the bulkhead). Basically she’s a standard Bailey & Lowe 35 footer hull, but fined down forward and with a flatter run aft. It may not be your classic planing, but it sure feels like it!





Romance is the older and smaller sister of Romance II. She was built August 1914 by Bailey & Lowe for W.C. Mils of Devonport who replaced her with Romance II in 1919. Romance was 26ft oa and fitted with an ohv 4 cyl petrol engine. W.E. Utting owned her for many years after Mills.

She then went to Napier and was bought by Sydney Hole and was the Holes family boat for many years on Lake Taupo. Pictured is Ken Hole(Sydney’s son) and Belle Hole standing beside Romance)

In 2006 she was in charter on the lake.

photo ex Alan Good, words Harold Kidd & Alan Good.