Seaway – A Peek Down Below

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SEAWAY – A Peek Down Below
Seaway was designed / built by Sam Ford & measures approx 31’, with a beam of 8’10” & drawing 5’6”. Zoom zoom is via a ^0hp Ford diesel.
She has appeared on WW before but now thanks to trademe & Ian McDonalds spotting, we get a better look at her interior.
There has been a lot of TLC applied in the last 2 years & she appears to be a good buy at $25k, a good entry into classic wooden boating 🙂
You can see & read more on Seaway on this WW link, check out the comments section – lots of chat there.

Mystery Whangarei Launch

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The above launch is listed on trademe as a ‘Samsford’ – one would have to assume they mean Sam Ford.

What I can tell you about her is that is is 30’ in length, built of wood in 1965 & is powered by a 4 cyl. 72hp Ford diesel.

Home post is Whangarei. (thanks to Ian McDonald for the listing heads up)

Anyone able to ID the launch & tell us more about her?


Maka Maile + Waitematawoodys Hits 3,000,000 Views

Maka Maile-7

Drunken (Isslington) Bay Dec1938>Jan1939 – Aft hand = Eric Clay

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Drunken Bay 1938 – Speed = 10 knots

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Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island

Maka Maile + Waitematawoodys Hits 3,000,000 Views

Today’s photo essay on the 1937, Sam Ford built, Maka Maile to me is what makes WW so special – out of the blue a comment gets posted on WW by Perrin Reilly advising that he has a collection of photos of Maka Maile that belonged to his Grandfather-in-law, one Eric Clay. Eric crewed on Maka Maile in the late 1930’s. When launched Maka Maile was 41’ in length, with a 10’5” beam & powered by a Chrysler 77 petrol engine that pushed her along at 12 knots.

Perrin emailed the above photos to me & now instead of gathering dust in some one’s bottom draw, they can be shared with the classic wooden boating community. You can read more about Maka Maile’s past on this link Milestone – 3 Million Views

When I started this weblog I never imagined that it would grow into the site that it is today, with just over 2,000 stories & followers/viewers from almost every corner of the world. Obviously NZ tops the list with the USA & Australia 2nd & 3rd, after that its everywhere. As always with sites like WW, it would be nothing without the input of people like Perrin Reilly who take the time to send in their stories & photos, so to all of you –  many thanks for sharing. And on that topic, please keep sending in content – whether it’s old photos / stories, restoration projects or just you enjoying your woody.

I would like to slip an apology in – in the first 6>12mths of WW, I only really had 6>8 people who sent me content, I can tell you it was a real challenge doing a daily story back them, now I get over 100 emails a day. So the apology is for not always being able to answer your emails, it’s not that I’m lazy or rude – just busy working on the tomorrows story 🙂

Enjoy today’s WW story & remember there are over 2,000 more in the back library 😉

Alan Houghton


Marjorie Rosa



Marjorie Rosa

Marjorie Rosa these days is owned by a friend of mine, Fraser Wilson & lives on Lake Rotoiti (Nth Is.) She is a very different looking vessel from when she was launched by Sam Ford in 1930. You can view/read more about her past at the link below.

I was sent the photos above of her, when she was named Juliana, from Lindsay Thatcher, whose family owned it before the Algies. The top photo was taken when she was used to take people on picnics to Kawau Island from the boarding house and the other is when used from Algies as a commercial fishing boat.
At my count there are 20 people aboard in the top photo & I assume they were fare paying passengers – I would predict that there wouldn’t have been a life jacket aboard, not even for the skipper 🙂

Most of the classics still afloat today have lived thru numerous lives & owners & it’s wonderful to see so many in recent times being restored to as new condition. The ownership & restoration of classic wooden motor boats is at an all time high & will remain so. The sad /good thing is that the re-sale market is so depressed – BUT that means it’s a great time to buy 😉


Lady Karita






I very happy to be able to advise that the 1938,43′ Sam Ford designed bridge decker Lady Karita is now in the hands of a new woodys friendly owner, Murray Shaw. Murray also owns the Collings & Bell bridge decker Kawhiti so the man has been bitten by the bug 🙂 . Work is already underway to return her to her former glory, see photo above, ex Steve Thomas, of ‘work-in-progress’ restoring her brightwork. The immediate plans are for her to remain in the Nelson region, but hopefully one day we will see her back on the Waitemata.

Lady Karita was built in Kauri for a flag officer of the Ponsonby Cruisng Club, Mr Victor Salek. Powered by Ford 130hp diesel, shaft drive, sees her cruising economically at 8.5 Knots. For many years she has been based in the Pelorus Sounds.

Back in June, CYA member Mark McLaughlin (Mapuna) alerted me to the fact that LK was on the market, Marks father has been Lady Karita’s caretaker/skipper for the last 15 years in Havelock & supplied the 2 press clippings below.


04-04-2018 Photo below ex owner Murray Shaw of Lady Karita hauled out in Nelson. In the background is Lady Ellison – nice to see the two Sam Ford built launches together 🙂



The Meteor


photo ex Mac Taylor collection

Until seeing the above photo I was not aware that we built anything like this sedan runabout in NZ. The Meteor was owned by Mr. W. Goodfellow & cost approx. £1,600 to build. She was 30′ long & capable of a speed of 30 mph. The forward closed cockpit had seating for 8 persons & was upholstered in grey leather.

So woodys – who built her, when, what powered her & what became of her?

Harold Kidd Update

METEOR was built for William Goodfellow in May 1931 by Sam Ford. She was 30ft x 7ft and constructed of Honduras mahogany with a double-skinned bottom. Her original power was a 225hp Kermath. She was capable of 30mph. He kept her in one of the sheds in Ngapipi Road where her nameplate is still on the wall.
Goodfellow sold her to the NZ Coastguard Service just before WW2 when she was taken over by the military. The Government disposed of her by tender in May 1945. Lanes remodelled her for Beamish-White for use on Lake Okataina where she was kept as a tourist attraction for many years. I have a nice pic of her there which I’ll send to Alan.
She’s still around; no doubt other WW followers can bring her up to date.

I took the photo below, of her old name board – while visiting one of the Ngapipi Rd boat sheds to view Matareka II, back on March 2014.


Lake Okataina photo below ex Harold Kidd

29-05-2016 photo below ex Nathan Herbert

Meteor ex NH


Lady Ellison

photos & info ex Mark Jarvis for Steve Simms

Lady Ellison was built in 1950 & given her shape & those trademark windows in the side of the centre cabin coamings she is most likely of Sam Ford pedigree. Length is 36′ , beam 11′ 4″ , draught 2′ 9″.

Her present owner Steve Simms of Motueka lives aboard & has had her for 8 years. Steve sails her regularly in the Abel Tasman Park & across to the Marlborough Sounds. He believes she has always been called Lady Ellison.
Previous owners were Bruce & Betty McNab & they owned for 37 years & kept her in Havelock. They replaced the BMC commodore for the current Ford 120hp.

It is believed that she went to Paremata after leaving Auckland but no dates. As a kid in the 1950’s Mark Jarvis lived in Paremata & remembers a similar looking Sam Ford moored in Browns Bay, Paremata with a yellow painted cabin, he suspects it was this boat. Adding to this is when Steve purchased her she was yellow and green (see photos below) & Steve then raised the centre cabin by 9″ & gave the windscreen a visor & added side moldings to the cabin edges.

Anyone able to confirm the Sam Ford link & supply more info on her ?

Photos Below As Purchased

Harold Kidd Update (edited by AH)
The hull was built by Sam Ford c1952-3 for Albert Ritchie Hammer of 22 Dommett Ave Epsom. Hammer worked on her for 6 months at Sam’s yard and she was launched at Okahu Bay. Somewhere I have a pic of her on her way to be launched. The treatment of the coamings and Ford trademark windows is a bit clumsy compared with Sam’s usual treatment of them, but probably a combination of the current owner raising the center cabin by 9″ & Hammer’s handy work rather than Sam. She was first registered with APYMBA in 1953 with the call-sign ZMZL and was still in Auckland in 1957.

PS Hammer died in 2001 aged 84 but his descendants may be able to fill in LADY ELLISON’s early history.

06-072015 Harold Kidd Update

John Blundell has emailed me to say that he knew Bert Hammer well. He ran a second hand furniture shop (and was an auctioneer) on Broadway Newmarket. John got to know him when he started work at the family firm, Fisher & Blundell around 1953-4 and sailed with him on Hammer’s keeler VECTIS (Bert Woollacott, 1929, originally B15, then C15, then F15). They broke the mast on one night race to Kawau.
John’s later memories of Hammer were when he owned BOUNTY which was famous for its escapades in the South Pacific when owned by Errol Flynn (?)…..any comments on BOUNTY.?She’s outside my timescale. She was part of the fleet that went to Mururoa to protest against the French nuclear tests. She was about 40ft oa and a heavy double-ended ketch.
Finally John makes the point that Bert Hammer never married so he doubts if we will hear from any descendants!