In the bundle of prints I received from Bryce Strong were the above photos of the 1925 Collings & Bell built launch – Ruamano. Sadly she was abandoned in 2000 off the West Coast of the North Island. I have not come across many colour photos of her, so published these to showcase what a fine ship she was.
Reading reports of the incident she might have been saved, it would appear that her crew were a little too hasty in climbing off her. You can read more about the incident in the first WW story link below.
Given the passage of time, maybe someone would like to tell us more about how she came to be abandoned.
As I understand it the crew were in fact business associates of the owner and skipper. Supposedly they had to be in certain places at certain times to fit their business schedules and this played a part in putting pressure on to go round the top and head south in a marginal weather break. Deteriorating conditions forced the boat to head south west – out to sea – and a vicious cross sea developed. The skipper was handing his boat well and the boat was handing the conditions well but nobody else was. I believe there was no one fit to relieve the skipper on the helm and he eventually became completely exhausted. In the mean time the demands to abandon the ship became increasingly insistent and so the call was put out. Ironically all the busy chaps then had to sail off to Korea on the logging ship that took them off. The abandoning of the boat was extremely hazardous and it was apparently a wonder that nobody was injured. The boat’s brand new engines were running perfectly and the only damage was caused by running alongside the freighter. I believe a fishing boat spotted her some time later but she was by then swamped and no attempt was made to salvage her.Its a sad story and I feel for her owner as he had done an outstanding job restoring her to absolutely tip top condition.
Brian Fulton (MV Silens) sent in the photos below of Ruamano that were given to him by John Griffiths. John’s father owned her for approx. 18 years (dates unknown). They used her to get from Jack & Jill Bay to their house at Hauai Bay, on the Rawhiti Peninsula in the Bay of Islands. In the days before roads we put in.
Another of those very special parts of our history & heritage & part of the group that could perhaps include vessels such as LINDA, LADY GAY, WIRIHANA, RAIONA, etc., She was built for the Court family of John Courts Ltd major department store owners in Queen St Auck, in the late 1920 or early 1930s. was 46 ft long, & was sadly lost at sea, off the West Coast post 2000, by the owners of the day, who abandoned her at sea during a circumnavigation attempt around NZ, which she had previously completed once before, in her earlier days,. They left, in inappropriate conditions, struck high seas off the West Coast of the North Island, were taken off by a merchant vessel in the area, & they abandoned her with the engine running, & left her to founder ( she was seen a few days later by another merchant vessel still with the engine idling) — very sad ending for a very beautiful lady.
When built she had 2 Redwing Petrol engines which were replaced about 1947 with a single Graymarine 6-71 diesel, a 2 cycle diesel engine, — virtually a GM Detroit, marinised by Graymarine, which she had until her demise.
During the mid 40s she had her original dodger replaced with the beautiful stainless steel dodger which she has in the pic, which must have cost a fortune, but suited her very well. I only ever saw her once with her original dodger & have known her since 1946. I took the pic in Matiatia in 1949 She belonged to Jim Luke of the Claude Neon Lights Ltd family, of Glendowie whom I knew, in the later 40s & 50s.
Story & photo supplied by Ken Ricketts
NOTE: In a later posting of waitmatawoodys I will expand on the ill fated circumnavigation story. alan h