Mystery Devonport Classic Launch
Mystery Devonport Classic Launch
photos above & details ex Greg Lees & John Macfarlane (Boating NZ)
Today’s post features Greg Lees restored classic runabout (she has no name), one of a small fleet of these cool British craft in NZ. In their day these we very chic boats, the owners list was a real who’s who – Prince Rainer of Monaco, Prince Phillip, Stirling Moss & even the bombshell Bridget Bardot.
The story starts back in the UK c.1949 when two engineers, Archie Peace & Peter Hives set up a company named ‘Albatross Marine’ to design & build a small runabout, called the Albatross. They had great credentials with Hives the son of a Rolls Royce director & Peace an aeronautics engineer. Post WWII there was no shortage of aluminum so given Peace’s plane background the chosen build material was alloy.
They initially built two versions – the Mk1 was a 2 seater sports, powered by a marinised Ford 100E side-value Prefect 1172cc engine & the Mk2 which had twin carbs (SU’s) for more zoom. Later on a Mk3 was launched with even more zoom. A 4 seater, called the Continental was also marketed, powered Mk1= 100E motor, Mk2 = Ford Kent 1500cc 60hp motor. The last 150 built had a 88hp Coventry Climax engine.
Come the 1960’s that evil substance that starts with F & has the word glass at the end was entering the boating scene & even though they tried other models, the company folded in the mid 1960’s.
The Auckland agent was Campbell Motors & they sold approximately a dozen boats, most as hire boats at the Lake Okataina Lodge.(Rotorua) This was not a great success & the fleet was broken up & sold to other hire operators – Hinehopu (Lake Rotoiti), Rotorua & Queenstown.
Now back to Greg Lees , who owns the very classic friendly boat yard Lees Marine at Sandspit. Greg bought his Albatross in 1990 & the Lees family used extensively her for many years. Fast forward to the year 2000, Greg & daughter Rosie (talented lady – search her name on ww) started a full restoration, including rebuilding the 100E engine. The restoration took a few years (12 in fact) & since then the boat has been doing the rounds of the classic wooden boat lake events – both North & South Island Lake Rotoiti.
These boats are highly collectable in the UK with less than 100 left a float. Greg’s business has also completed a restoration on another Albatross for a kiwi classic boating client.
The photos below I took at the 2015 Lake Rotoiti Wooden Boat Parade (Nth Is.), Greg’s Albatross must be the smallest powerboat to fly the RNZYS burgee 🙂
Rosie Lees & Summertime
Where it all started
Final Push / Prep
photos ex Lees Family
How today being Christmas Eve I really wanted a nice, feel good post today – when the details & photos of this one started to hit my email inbox, it went straight to a file tagged 24/12/14 🙂
If you follow ww you will know that Greg Lees is a very talented boat builder & runs one of the best classic friendly boat yards in NZ, what most of you would not have known is that Rosie his 20 year old daughter is also very talented. Todays post is proof of just how talented.
In October 2013 Rosie started building a Pelin Ventura, named ‘Summertime’ – now the build timeline got a little stretched out with things like work (Blenheim) getting in the way. However a 6 week period between Sept & Nov 2014 provided the ideal window to finish ‘Summertime’ off & she was splashed in early December 2014. You can see from the above photos that the boat looked beautiful and I’m told went better than expected i.e. 45mph with ease & Rosie was thrilled. Now this lady does not muck around, Saturday night Summertime was wrapped in shrink wrap and Sunday morning Greg and co. towed it down to Wellington in time for the ferry to Blenheim. Seems Rosie has a Regatta to attend. By the standard of the artistry, both the boat & Rosie the builder, should scoop a few awards.
Now this is quite an achievement for a 20 year old, seems to me that the Lees gene pool is mighty strong 🙂
05/03/2015 – Rosie & Summertime In the news (Marlborough Express)