The refit / restoration of the 1938 Sam Ford built 43’ brigedecker Lady Karita would have to be a contender for the longest ‘rolling restoration’. I’m sure there are a lot of projects that have gone longer but most likely have been stalled for a number of years. Lady Karita on the other hand has been a labour of love for her Nelson based owner and the level of workmanship is wonderful.
The photos above were taken by woody Mark Dixon, owner of the two classic launches – Echo + Awarua. Yes you read correctly – two ! Mark has drunk the cool-aid.
Mark was in Nelson over Labour weekend and as you do was walking the docks.
20-11-2022 Update – photo below ex owner, from I suspect the camera of John Burland
Mark also spotted the launch Katoa that back in June 2021 we asked the question on WW of her status – and were advised by her new owners that she was scheduled for some serious TCL that winter – reviewing Marks photos below – she certainly got her share of the love – looking very impressive.
Yesterday the 30’ 1978 Roy Parris built launch – Waikaro, slipped back into the creek at the Slipway, Milford, looking very smart post a lot of work both in and outside. A Jason Prew paint job and 15+ coats of uroxsys were just the icing on the cake + lots of work on her systems and ‘lets keep the water on the outside’ eg new windows etc.
No sooner had Waikaro vacated the cradle, the 38’ 1937 Sam Ford built launch – Menai (below) was climbing into a warm bed. After a lot of deferred maintenance work, Menai had been ’settling down’ eg taking up on one of the Milford marina berths before getting her final top coats. The new bow-thruster certainly made manoeuvring in the creek easy.
UPDATE 12-07-2022 back in the water after the JPPJ at The Slipway Milford.
Update 05-07-2022 1st coat of the shinny stuff goes on
Classic Woody Yard Mooching
Dropped into The Slipway Milford the other day, very pleased to see the 1937, 38’ Sam Ford built launch – Menai, getting some serious TLC after languishing at the CYA’s Heritage Landing for many years, dockside chat was it was a permanent fixture.
As with most things in life, boat ownership goes in cycles and with new owners she is get the attention she deserves. Always nice to see painting prep well executed i.e. back to bare wood – that kauri looks as good as the day Sam Ford fastened it.
I understand a new engine has been installed so the TCL is serious – we like that 🙂
While there the 1945 K-Class – Jenanne was getting a Jason Prew Paint Job, the photo is coat one of two top coats, already very slick.
Now a tip on how to get marine engineers to come down to your boat – keep your engine room as ship-shape as the 1965 Owen Woolley built launch – Adonis – the man from the Moon didn’t even have to put his overalls on 🙂
The launch – Oscar according to her tme listing was built in 1970 by Sam Ford, which I suspect is wrong – Sam would have been a very old man at that stage – maybe it was built then to an old SF design.
All that aside Oscar could be the project boat buy of the year – last I looked the reserve had been meet at $11, yes eleven.
She is approx. 34.5’ in length, double skin diagonal kauri and powered by a 165hp Perkins.
The tme listing (thanks Ian McDonald) states – Oscar has been neglected for the past several years, languishing unused on a mooring, she’s in need of loads of TLC to bring her back to her prime. She recently developed a leak, we haven’t identified where it’s coming in.
Currently on the hard at Pier 21, Westhaven. Sold As-Is, Where-Is, the new owner to take delivery within three days of auction ending.
LADY KARITA – 1960’s Flashback Recently I was contacted by Robert Phillips in regard to the 1934 Sam Ford built 43′ classic launch – Lady Karita, Robert’s parents Jack and Zena Phillips owned Lady Karita for 14 year. They purchased her in 1957 in a very run-down state and during their ownership undertook numerous upgrade changes both internally and externally. Robert commented that he thought the WW readers would like some historical photos to continue to build to the current photographic heritage of Lady Karita on Waitemata Woodys.Some of those changes and upgrades, all done personally by Robert’s father, were as follows:-
Removal of the four forward bunks and installation of a slide out double bed and toilet and hand basin. Still there today.
Installation of a fridge in the galley and a stainless bench
Removal of the 105 hp petrol Gray marine engine and installation of a Leyland 75hp Diesel, ex truck engine, marinized and fitted with 2:1 Paragon gearbox plus Onan diesel generator. The exhaust for the diesel engine was unique in that is was routed up through the Bridge deck inside rear left window by the Safe, and across the top of the Bridge deck and up through the leading edge of a steel fabricated, galvanised and white painted mast on top of the Bridge deck, replacing the original wooden mast Since all replaced when upgrade later, by subsequent owner Jim Ratcliffe, who installed a 130hp 6 cylinder diesel Ford. The exhaust system and the Leyland diesel were extremely quiet and totally fume free at idle and when under way versus the transom exhaust of the original petrol engine. The power output was not high , but she still cruised happily at 8 knots and timed measured mile max of 10 knots. Various props, 3 blade and 4 blade, were experimented with, and I think the 4 blade was settled on. Average fuel consumption over 9 years for the Leyland was 1.75 gallons/hour versus 4.5 gallons per hour for the Gray marine petrol engine.
Installation of a freezer in the rear right hand seat box in the Bridge deck. It was almost too effective. On the 31/2 hour run to Kawau from Westhaven the freezer would totally freeze beer and lemonade bottles sometimes blowing them apart.
A unique galvanised steel bow (removed by later owners) seamlessly overlaid and attached to the original wooden bow stem to give a forward angle in side profile versus an almost rearward dreadnought look of the original bow stem. You can see it in some of the photos above.
Installation of an ex-war assets auto pilot and Furuno depth finder. The auto pilot worked well but found it a little hard in a following sea to keep up.
Attachment of the rear transom duck board/landing platform and removable step ladder for swimming from the platform that went down into the water.
Removal of a rear auxiliary steering column and engine control in the left side of the cockpit shelf, used for game fishing in the 1950s.
Robert apologised for some of the photo’s lack of sharpness but some them are 60+ years old. He also asked that I commend all subsequent owners for the sympathetic and well thought out, further upgrades over time. She always was a lovely looking boat and looks even better now. Robert has undertaken to send in more photos soon, so fingers crossed 🙂
27-04-2022 NEW INPUT – from Mark McLauglin (as told by Mark)
“The attached Marlborough Express newspaper feature contains a few factual errors in it (i.e Harold Kidd confirmed years ago that Lady K had ID numbers during WWII, as did most launches at the time, but she was never commandeered in the NAPS as incorrectly stated here, and I have never seen any evidence of watertight torpedo-proof bulkheads in her either! I also doubt the teak decks (now sensibly replaced by new owner Murray Shaw) were original. Otherwise the article might be of some interest as it records a significant period in Lady K’s life for the 30 plus years since she left the Auckland/Northland region in the late 1980’s.
Sadly my father passed away last year but he was caretaker and skipper of Lady Karita in Havelock from 2001 until she was sold to current owner, Murray Shaw in 2016. The owner during this period was Dad’s cousin, Carroll Smith, who operated the Pelorus Lodge in Havelock. Guests at the exclusive lodge were treated to a complimentary picnic cruise on Lady Karita, usually to Chance Bay in the Pelorus Sound, but occasionally up the Kenepuru Sound as well. I crewed on her quite often with Dad and took some of the other photos of her featured elsewhere on WW during this time – she is certainly a spectacular classic vessel and a fine example of Sam Ford’s work. A number of prominent overseas guests cruised on Lady Karita during this period, including ex-pat Havelock old boy Sir William Pickering, who was a well-known figure in the space race with NASA in the 1960’s. Sir William enjoyed a great day out on Lady K during his final visit back to NZ.”
Recently I was contacted by Pat Menzies the youngest son of Clive Menzies who bought the launch Menai from Arnold Baldwin. In a previous WW story Harold Kidd refers to Clive as ‘C.B. Menzies’, link to that story below. After reading the numerous WW stories on Menai, Pat decided to share a little more information that he hopes may be of interest to us. It is a good yarn so I’ll hand over to Pat and let him tell the story. https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/09/02/menai-valsan-her-owners/
“First, a little background about Arnold Baldwin “Baldie” to his friends (unsurprisingly). He is referred to as “involerd in the paper and printing industry”. But he was a bit more significant than that. Born in Canada, he emigrated to New Zealand some time pre-war and founded Universal Business Directories Ltd. By the 1950s and continuing through most of the next half-century UBD’s metropolitan provincial editions were the first place to look for detailed information about businesses of all and any sorts and the advertising revenue they engendered had made Baldie quite a rich man. Very rich by the standards of the day. I presume he must have been in the RNZ Volunteer Reseve pre-war and was appointed skipper of the Menai during the war years when it was commandeered the Navy and put to Coastal Patrol duties. (I believe that virtually every harbour which had a fleet of launches had some commandeered by the Navy for this purpose, but the Menai is the only one I know about. After the war I understand Mr Reynolds, the original owner did not want it back and Arnold was able to buy it. By the late 40s he was looking for a bigger boat and bought the Valsan, selling the Menai to my father.
Dad and Arnold were at the time (and for a number of years thereafter) flag officers of the Auckland Motor Yacht Club and were able to organise the various transfers to suit their calendars and cash flow. Dad sold the “Taufale” a 28 footer launch which he had bought in 1944 (I think. May have been 1945.) I was only about 5 at the time so my memory of such details is non-existent.
Dad owned the Menai through to some time in the early 1960s when he sold it to a then well-known local architect – surname Dalton. I did know his first name but have long since forgotten it. He, after quite a short period on-sold it to Alan (I think) Martin who was at the time CEO of TVNZ Auckland and did a lot of work on the boat. It then went through a number of owners before Peter Smith bought it and turned it into the film star beauty she is now.
The reference to Horry Whimp as an owner is quite mysterious. He was, as stated, the manager of the UBD printing works, had worked for Arnold for many years and had the perk of being boat husband, first for the Menai and later for the Valsan. It could very well be that Horry had the use of the Menai over the 48-49 season while Dad and Arnold were trading their paths to each owning only one boat – and that Ken Ricketts (who is/was a couple of years older than me) simply assumed he owned it.
Menai was powered by a flathead Ford V8 with a marine conversion by OSCA, rated at 100hp. Whether that was as a car motor or marine I don’t know. It had a 2 to 1 reduction box and we cruised at 1750rpm on the rev counter. Dad went through about three propellers and numerous re-pitchings and re-cuppings and finally achieved claimed figures of cruising speed of about 6.5 knots and petrol consumption of 1 3/4 gallons per hour. Pushing it up to 7 or 7.5 knots resulted in it squatting at the stern (“digging a big hole in the water” Dad used to say) and consumption soaring to about 4 gallons/hour.
Dad also fitted a Ford 8 auxiliary motor following a rather nasty experience when the motor stalled (a scale of rust in the fuel line, I believe) and left us powerless on a lee shore, either down the Bottom End or over on the Coromandel. I was about 11 or 12 and getting ready to drop the 45lb big pick when the motor fired up again. He also fitted another smaller motor to charge the batteries so we didn’t have to go cruising to have electricity. He also fitted a gas powered freezer box under the starboard seat in the bridgedeck. Larger boats such as the Valsan generally had such facilities but the Menai was well up-to-date for its age and size. One of the perks of being one of Arnold’s friends was that ownership of the Valsan came with one of the boatsheds on Ngapipi Rd – the third from Tamaki Drive. Arnold ran a tight timetable. He had the shed from about Easter to near to Queen’s Birthday and then Dad and several other of his friends each had about 2 weeks or so, during which we worked hard to complete the season’s maintenance. Dad would go to the shed each evening direct from work and I would pitch on at the weekends working from dawn to as late as we needed. I remember varnishing the coamings in half-light of a winter evening was a truly awful task. But better than doing it in the open at Vos Bros or any other shipyard. At least we didn’t have dust to contend with”.
Woody Dave Nicholson was recently in Wellington visiting family and had a pleasant surprise when he pulled back the curtains, an impressive view of the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club hardstand.
Dave was able to ID two of the launches – the little white and blue launch is “Ajax” (obvious as it’s name is seen in the pic). And to the left of the big bridge-decker is the Sam Ford Rehutai. The two mystery launches are the small flush decker in the far row, and of course the rather imposing bridge-decker – can we name these two woodys?
I know I’m tempting fate with the headline, but who can remember when it last rained? Todays gallery of woodys comes to us from the camera of Nathan Herbert (Pacific) as he mooched around the Hauraki Gulf last week. The last 5, are from Peter Loughlin (Lady Margaret -CW) doing the same thing.
We see Tasman, Viveen, Pacific, Arihi, Escape, Chandos, Zoe, Motunau, Waiari, Juanita, Pacific, Lady Margaret (CW), Rehia, Ngaro and a few that I can’t put a name to.
A question – did Colin Wild ever design / build an ugly boat?
It was a pretty wild and woolly weekend in some parts of the north and reviewing the news and photos, Tutukaka took the brunt of it – sad to see the carnage. Angus Rogers sent in the photo below from Russell last night – tagged ‘After the Wind’ showing the Russell ferry and the launch Miss Brett, bottom right closer in.
As promised yesterday, today we get a close look, ex the camera of John Burland, at Lady Karita – the 1934, Sam Ford designed and built 43′ launch.
Lady K has been the lucky recipient of a rolling restoration over the last few years, and reviewing John’s photos, all the hard work and $$ has really paid off. She needs to home to the Waitemata ………………..
Back in February 2020 a friend was cruising the streets on Auckland’s North Shore (he is allowed to – drives a car with a strip of lights on the roof) when he spotted the woody launch – Avalon, resting on a residential properties lawn. Turns out the 80+ year old owner has owned Avalon all her life – you can read and see more at the link below https://waitematawoodys.com/2020/02/17/mystery-sam-ford-launch/
Fast forward nearly two years and it turns out that the launches owner , Marjorie Mumme is Tobias Forsyth’s grandmother. Tobias owns MV Callisto and his Dad, Iain Forsyth has MV Meola. Tobias being a good grandson has stepped up to the mark and taken on the restoration of Avalon. To quote Tobias – no rush, first step = put her in a shed, the fear was she would end up as a garden sleep-out. Avalon was designed and built in 1954 by Sam Ford and is a one owner boat (Lloyd and Marjorie Mumme) , in fact still has the original Morris Navigator petrol engine. When launch she was 24’ but has 2’ added to the stern soon after.These days health & safety would lock you up for transporting a boat like we see on the truck above. The video was filmed by Tobias.
30-11-2021 INPUT FROM Carol Forsyth (nee Mumme) From birth to bikinis and boyfriends, my sisters and I grew up on Avalon. Motuihe, Browns Island, Islington Bay, Waiheke, Coromandel and Kawau was our playground and oh the stories that boat could tell! Dad loved Avalon as much as we did and when he passed on Mum took over Dad’s loving care. Now that Mum has finally handed over Avalon to my son Tobias and his family we look forward to seeing her in the water again.The black and white image of Avalon under sail was taken off Kauri Point and I would assume Dad had the Morris Navigator ticking over, but maybe she was under sail only.
HELP NEEDED – Tobias would like to find out more about the petrol Morris Navigator in Avalon. He is looking for any one that may have spares or have had a lot to do with them in the past but any info or spare parts would be greatly appreciated as he would love to keep the original engine but it must be reliable. Mainly if there are some Morris car guys that know if this engine is just a marinised version of a car engine of some vintage possibly? I can email better copies of the above photos if that would help.
I like the sail set-up – very salty, if I put that on Raindance, I might qualify to be one of the chosen ones to berth at Chad Thompson’s yacht only, new 40 berth Heritage Basin at the Viaduct 🙂