The photos above of the 36’ c.1952/53 possibly Sam Ford built – Lady Ellison were sent in by John Burland and show her at Nelson Marina.
The lady has made two appearances (July 2015 and May 2019) on WW, links below, from the photos above its obvious that she is now a well used, semi commercial vessel. Read the links and comments sections – lots of chat on her past.
Avalon – Sam Ford Launch
MYSTERY LAUNCH 27-08-2019. Maristella
The above launch is seen here in the flotilla of pleasure craft welcoming the SS Gothic into Auckland in 1953.
Yesterday I was sent the above photo of the c.1952 launch – Lady Ellison by Murray (Mudge) White.
Murray commented that in 1953 he owned the classic yacht ‘ Scout’ and wishing to learn coastal and celestial navigation he went to classes held by Captain Warrick Dunsford at the RAYC and he asked Murray if he would help deliver the Lady Ellison to Wellington.
The skipper and old coastal skipper and an engineer and the boy (Murray) those job was mainly using a drum pump to pump petrol from the two 44 gallon drums in the aft cockpit to the main tank. Murray thinks the engine was a Scripps V8 conversion. After a 4 hour stop in Gisborne to refuel and have the radio checked (AZCI) they made Wellington in calm conditions in 77 hours. The previous owner was Bert Hammer but Murray doesn’t know who brought her.
Harold Kidd has previously commented on WW that the hull was built by Sam Ford c.1952-3 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. HDK also said that the treatment of the coamings and Sam Ford trademark windows were 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.
Her specs are LOA 36’, beam 11’4” and draught 2’9”. Currently powered by a Ford 120hp diesel. Home these days is Motueka, where her owner, Steve Simms, lives aboard.
Colour photo below ex Mark Jarvis – 2015
You can see and read more on Lady Ellison at the long below – remember to read the comments section, lots of chat there.
Last Chance to Check Out the Logan A Class Guff Fleet
If you haven’t yet seen the A Class Gaff Classic Yacht Exhibition – make the effort to visit the Viaduct this Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Details below & a sneak peek via one of Roger Mills stunning drone videos.
LADY KARITA – A Rolling Restoration
Lady K has been on the receiving end of what we call a rolling restoration for the last year+. Now based in the upper South Island, her owner Murray Shaw is very close to finishing a stunning re-fit. The photos above are from the camera’s of both Murray & mutal friend, John Burland & give us a peek at the standard of the work.
The last photos show Lady K relocated last week to the western entrance of Mapua Harbour.
You can read / view more on LadyK at the WW link below-
Taranui was built in 1963, so just slips into the classic category, helped by the Strongman design & built with a pitched pine carvel by Sam Ford in Lyttleton.
She measures 32’ 9”, with 11’ beam & 3’6” draft. Power comes from a 80hp Toyota B4 light truck diesel, converted to marine.
Taranui is for sale on trade (thanks Ian McDonald) & currently called Havelock Marina home.
Do we know any more about where Taranui has been for the rest of her life?
Woody Has Lucky Escape in Milford Marina
Woody Murray Deeble, keeps his lovely ‘spirit of tradition’ woody – Waikiore (pictured below at Riverhead Pub) , berth at Milford Marina on Auckland’s North Shore. I have been ribbing Murray that Waikiore is long over-due some TLC (5 years between haul-outs) so out of the blue he hauls her out at the Milford Cruising Club slip. Next day a ‘new New Zealander’ has a wee parking oops & ends up in the water in Waikiore’s berth.
Some would say Murray was very lucky – others would say bad luck i.e. would have been a nice insurance claim 😉
MYSTERY WHANGAREI LAUNCH
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
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 https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/04/19/mako-maile/
Waitematawoodys.com 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 😉
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 😉
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 🙂
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
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!
photo & details ex Russell Ward
As Russell says – no prizes for guessing whose stable this woody came from, pretty obvious its a Sam Ford.
When Nohomoana was in the ownership of Capt. John Watson (c.1967) who was a great friend of Russell’s father, they cruised together for many seasons in their launch Naiad. Prior to Noho, John had Wanderer the 30 foot old woody. Russell’s Dad had Ngakiwa at that stage.
Russell was told that Nohomoana means “She floats on the water”. Engine was a 6 cylinder Ford Lees Marine conversion.
Russell would like to know where she went and whether the name was changed. He has spoken to Bill Belton about whether his boat Moana was her.
Noho spent a lot of her time filtering the waters of Half Moon Bay through her planking and a lot if time was spent pumping the bilge.
Harold Kidd Update
This one has always puzzled me.
First, the maori name. “E noho ra” is a common way of saying goodbye, by a person leaving, to a person staying behind. The verb “noho” means “remaining”, “being in a place”, so I guess “nohomoana” could mean exactly what Russell says, “floating on the sea”, in a nicely poetical way.
As NOHOMOANA, she first pops up in 1952 owned by W.S. Wagstaff. In 1953/4 to 1962 at least she was owned by J.R. Butcher. Her engine was a Graymarine (unspecified). Again her build date is stated to be “1941” which is implausible.
J.R. Watson owned her in 1973. Webb & Taylor owned her in 1983 when they (allegedly) sold the rights to the name NOHOMOANA to Gary Barnett of VALHALLA and renamed her RASPUTIN.
As to her origins, there were a couple of Sam Ford standard express cruisers being built at the outbreak of war in 1939 which “disappear” and I think she’s one of those, LADY NGAIRE, for example, which he built for Shelley B. Atkinson and the boat being built alongside Atkinson’s launch as a replacement for Vern McGeady’s burnt out LADY PAT.
MOANA was on Lake Taupo in the 50’s. I don’t know how she fits into this conundrum but I’m sure she does.
Someone out there will have the answers.
30-07-2015 – photos of Rasputin at Westpark Marina ex John Wicks
IDA MAE (Playmate)
photos ex Peter Sample (owner for 25 yrs)
Following on from the post on Playmate 2 days ago, above are photos of the launch when she was Ida Mae.
The black and whites photos are from Ted Swales, the original owners son. He thinks they were taken in 1942 just before she was sold to the Air Force.
The later, colour one is at Owhiti Bay Waiheke in 2006.
Harold Kidd Info
She was built by Sam Ford in 1936 for Roy Swales of Epsom. Her original engine was a 2 cylinder National 20hp diesel, later replaced with a Fairbanks Morse while in RNZAF service. Harold suspects she went to Nelson after she was sold off by the RNZAF.
Click link to view photos of her during the war in Fiji https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/09/02/playmate-ida-mae/
Recent photo (Kerikeri) ex Nathan Herbert
Update from Peter Sample (former owner)
I owned Ida Mae from 1982 to 2007. I had known Ted Swales, the original owners son, for a few years beforehand and when he found we had just bought a Sam Ford launch,named Ida Mae he told me about the one his family owned when he was a boy, named Playmate.
He told me that the RNZAF had purchased her in 1942 for service in Fiji and as far as he knew she had never come back.
He showed me photos of her in Whakataka Bay.
A couple of years later when I was burning multiple layers of paint from the hull I came across the old wartime registration number scribed in the timber. Something about that number rang a bell so I got in touch with Ted and asked him what the number was on their Sam Ford launch. He told me number 414. I said to him we have her in my back yard.
He was rather speechless for a while and within a couple of days was at my place sitting inside.
He confirmed evidence in the hull that she had been twin screw.for a while. She had originally been launched with a single Ailsa Craig engine which was far too small. This was shifted over and a second Ailsa Craig fitted. It was plain to see where the shafts had been as the cut ribs still existed where the shafts went through the hull and the replacement pieces of planking of a couple of feet long where the shaft logs had been. I later replaced the ribs along with many others but the twin shaft evidence still exists.Ted said she was fitted with a single Fairbanks Morse when the RNZAF had her but I do not remember if this was done by the Swales or not.
Whenever Ted was on board he always referred to her as Playmate.
The logs I had showed she was in Napier in 1970 probably in her original state. She had a 90hp 6 cyl BMC sealord in her at this time and was still in when I sold.
She made a few sailings up the coast to Tauranga while based at Napier for Big game fishing at Mayor Island and it made interesting reading in the log of the non stop voyage up the coast stopping at Gisborne for fuel.
Owners I am aware of
Wyness of Auckland who I think had Shipbuilders do the alterations in the early 70’s
Eric Boisen of Auckland up to about 1981
George Mabey of Coromandel
Peter and Liz Sample Westpark 1982 to 2007
Aksel and Susan Jepsen Kerikeri
09/03/2015 – Photo pre WW2 ex Ken Ricketts ex B Worthington
08-01-2016 photo of Playmate in Opito Bay, Kerikeri ex Baden Pascoe
PLAYMATE (Ida Mae)
Details & photos ex Harold Kidd
Playmate was built by Sam Ford in 1936 for Roy Swales of Epsom. Her original engine was a 2 cylinder National 20hp diesel, later replaced with a Fairbanks Morse while in RNZAF service. The photos above show her (#72) at Lauthala Bay, Fiji with Mataroa (#71) & Doris
Harold suspects she went to Nelson after she was sold off by the RNZAF. She is often confused with the 1950 bridgedecker MY PLAYMATE built for M.V. Wilson of Awatea Road, Parnell by the O’Rorke brothers.
Details from previous owner Peter Sample
I owned her for 25 years during which time she was named Ida Mae. She has since been renamed Playmate by the new owner when I sold her in 2007. I had her history back to 1970 when she was at Napier but sadly nothing up to then after the Air Force disposal from service in Fiji after the war. She carried wartime registration 414 which could still be seen scribed into the bow planking after sanding back. Her Air Force number 72 is also visible.
With this old girls travel passport there must be a few stories out there on her ?. I’m yet to check but I assume she is the launch now owned by CYA members Aksel & Susan Jepsen. AH
Heard a rumour in the weekend that was confirmed last night that the stunning 1925 Sam Ford launch ‘Whakari’ has sunk on her moorings in the Weiti River. Do not know anymore at this stage.
Horrible news, our thoughts go out to CYA member Gordon Cashmore & I’m sure all classic wooden boat owners will be hoping Gordon & family bring the old girl back to life – if they need any inspiration they need look no further than the Nereides post below.
This is the 2nd oops she has had according to Papers Past , 69 years ago (Aug/Sept 1945) she broke away from her Hobson Bay mooring & went ashore on the Orakei reclamation embankment.
Update from Gordon Cashmore (via Stephan Harris) 23/07/2014
Whakari is now safe and secure at the old Cashmore mill site in Silverdale. She is being repaired by Philip (blue) Holmes. The cause of the dilemma was a broken mooring line in one of the big blows a few weeks back that caused her to swing from the jetty and bang the keel on the papa bank springing the garboard and sinking. The 6.354 has been flushed and run up while at Gulf Harbour. This will be removed for access to the keel bolts etc so repairs/upgrades can be done.
Gordon wants her fixed for her 100th birthday. Stephen Harris, Gordons neighbour in Still Water.
Info from Harold Kidd & Mark McLaughlin
Maristella was a 40 footer, built by Sam Ford in December 1936 for Mr R.W. Wills of Epsom and fitted with a 50hp Ailsa Craig diesel. During WW2 RNZN patrol service she was fitted with a Gray for spares rationalization purposes.
Maristella was for sale recently and was advertised as having a 4-71 Detroit. She was renamed “Faye Michelle” for a time and has now reverted back to Maristella.
The b/w photo shows her on launch day & minus the flying bridge.
New photos – 12/08/2014
Chasing more detail on Moana & her past. She is a Sam Ford bridge decker. Note the ‘trademark’ waterline (engine room) portholes.
The full colour photo above I took at the CYA launch cruise to the Riverhead Hotel on 02/06/2014.
The b/w photo was sent in by Paul Drake & was taken c.1950’s & shows her on a mooring in Lake Taupo, near where the Waikato River exits the lake. Paul’s boyhood memories are that she seemed to spend most of her time on her mooring. Her owner enjoyed being aboard her watching the world go by, without feeling the need to go anywhere.
He also remembers seeing her transom being rebuilt, no doubt due to dry rot, whilst afloat.
Can anyone add more ?
Harold Kidd Update
She could be one of the two 38 footers built by Sam Ford just before the outbreak of war in September 1939. One was LADY NGAIRE for Shelley B Atkinson which does not appear as such postwar and the other was for Vern McGeady to replace his 1936 Sam Ford-built 35 footer LADY PAM, completely burnt out off Motuihe in October 1938. Again, no postwar trace.
Photo below ex Graeme Willcox of Moana on Lake Taupo c.1970’s when she was owned by Graeme’s grandfather – Dick Tylee
Juliana @ the 2014 Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Weekend
Juliana was built in 1930 by Sam Ford & now resides on Lake Rotoiti, the pride flag ship of Lake Rotoiti commodore Fraser Wilson. Fraser bought her as a bare neglected hull, with no bulkheads, engine, underwater gear, mast or anything else & undertook a major 3 year restoration /rebuild at the hands of Lake Rotoiti boatbuilder Tony Mitchell. The attention to detail & standard of workmanship is second to none. I was fortunate to go on board & on Friday night & see her up close – stunning.
The are numerous posts on ww about Juliana & her past, so to read & see more, enter Juliana in the search box.
I will post more on the weekend on Monday, but yesterday I had two magic boating experiences that were VERY wow & made the trip even more special 🙂
SUNBEAM (now Sea Breeze)
photo ex classicboatsnz
Other than the name, I know nothing about Sunbeam/Sea Breeze – so any input would be greatly appreciated.
Harold Kidd Update
There are/were many SUNBEAMS and SEABREEZES, all over NZ. I had a look at that website to see if there’s any information on the boat, where the image was taken etc, but couldn’t find my way through it very well. I kept recoiling at some of the stuff in it, though. Thank goodness WW has peer review processes.
The image is very tiny, but if the launch was photographed as-built, she dates from the period 1920-1928, probably early in that period because the dodger is relatively modest in size.
She looks remarkably Bailey & Lowe to me, but could equally be Dick Lang or a dozen other Auckland builders. Sam Ford is a possibility because he inherited Lang’s moulds and plans when he bought Dick’s business and turned out Lang-style boats until he shifted to Ellerslie and went ultra-modern.
Perhaps the most likely candidate is the Taupo hire launch SUNBEAM of the 1920’s onwards about which I know little but the Drakes will.
Oddly enough there was a SEABREEZE built by Jas. Reid in 1909 and a SUNBEAM built by Bailey & Lowe the same year. Both would have had to be heavily modernised to look like this. That SUNBEAM is currently alive and well in Picton.
Nigel Drake Update
This photo was taken by my father or grandfather in the late1930s and is part of the Drake collection. The location is Boat Harbour in the Western Bays on Lake Taupo. She is tied up alongside the old steamer Tongariro which used to run between Taupo and Tokaanu at the southern end of the lake. Tongariro was converted to fisherman’s accommodation on the opening of the road between Taupo and Tokaanu when her services were no longer required.
Sunbeam was built by Sam Ford, date unknown, for Sid Blake and plied for hire on the lake. 36 feet long, 8 foot 6 inch beam and powered by a 4 cylinder Gray Marine petrol engine. She had a galvanized iron lined engine room to be able to ply for hire. Was one of the first boats on the lake to have a two way radio. Sold to Donald Hunt in 1939 and plied for hire out of Tokaanu until 1952. Left the lake possibly in the mid 1950s.
In the 1980s she was moored in Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui, and had been used as a fishing boat. Her name had been changed to Sea Breeze and cabin had been changed markedly. In the 1990s she was rebuilt by Tauranga boat builder Barwich Harding and now resides in the Tauranga Marina.
Harold Kidd Update #2
Interesting issues arise here.
SUNBEAM, from the sheer upwards is an almost exact replica of my Bailey & Lowe ROMANCE II (and their 32 footer ROTOMAHANA), same seven clerestory windows, same treatment of the dodger. That’s simply because ROMANCE II was a high-profile fast launch, built to race, and represented the height of style and practicality in 1919. This postwar, post-‘flu epidemic period was a time when few launches had been built since late 1914. People had had a chance to think about what they wanted their post-war launches to look like, to provide in the way of headroom and volume, and how they were to be controlled. The ultra-smart, racy-looking raised-foredeck flushdeckers of 1912-5 were no longer built and most existing ones were easily and speedily modified to get the new look.
The hull of SUNBEAM does appear to have a “knuckle” in the sheer at the bow which is uncharacteristic of Bailey & Lowe. Ken considers it to be a hallmark of Sam Ford. It is certainly strongly reminiscent of his family’s Sam Ford-built JULIANA (formerly WIDGEON, apparently, but of unknown other history). I don’t totally agree with that and make the point again that Ford churned out Dick Lang launches for some years after he took over Lang’s business in 1923 when Dick went to Sydney (mind you he was back soon afterwards, building at St. Mary’s Bay again, alongside Sam).
So is the “knuckle” Sam Ford or Dick Lang???
It was only shortly after this that the US “express cruiser” and “bridgedecker” forms and styles gained attraction and we got LUANA and LADY UNA, for example.
By 1928, say, this 1919-style in ROMANCE II and SUNBEAM, with clerestory or “tramtop”, a minimal dodger and aft-control was becoming very dated, giving way to “sedans” and bridgedeckers of US inspiration.
Harold Kidd Update #3 (13/01/14)
I see that the Taupo boat history site states that “SUNBEAM was built by Sam Ford in 1936 for Sid Blake”. Two things are wrong with that which muddle the situation;
1. SUNBEAM was clearly a product of the early 1920’s not 1936.
2. According to newspaper reports, SUNBEAM was a hire launch on Lake Taupo from at least December 1926.
In fact I have now zeroed in on her as being built by Sam Ford for Blake in early December 1925 and fitted with a 25-35 Model V ohv Gray. I was fooled because the newspaper reports said that Blake (of Taupo) was going to use her for troutfishing on Lake Rotorua. I wonder if she spent a few months at Rotorua?
photo & details ex Harold Kidd
A classic Sam Ford bridge decker of the mid-30s, Meander, seen here about to be craned into the Waitemata on 31st August 1937. She was built by Sam Ford at his Ellerslie property for Syd Guest of Whangarei, 32’ x 9’6” x 3′ and powered by a Graymarine 6-91 de luxe.
She was a stock Ford 32 footer of his “streamlined class” and had been on display at the Auckland Winter Show.
She took part in NAPS out of the Bay of Islands and Whangaroa in 1942-4, skippered by Syd Guest with deputy skipper Murdoch McDonald and crewmen Dick Hutchings, Kelvin Lacy, Jack Cumming, Chris Rogers, Bert Young and Will McNaughton. She had patrol number Z33.
Meander spent most of the intervening years in the North but was bought by Aucklander David Vaasen in 2005.
Photo update (2x colour) from Mark McLaughlin (Mapuna) of Meander underway near Westhaven in 2007.
Ken Rickitts commented that she was an example of Sam Ford at his best, particularly the varnished tuck, very rare in those days, Ford only ever did 1 or 2 that Ken knows of. Fantastic to see her again after over 50 years, a beautful boat – Ken R
Harold Kidd Update
Ken is right about MEANDER, she’s a gem.
Sam Ford is sometimes sneered at for lack of build-quality and poor materials. In fact, you got what you were prepared to pay for and his top-quality boats were top-quality boats. Nobody, however, sneers at his designs which were “state of the art” by their contemporary international standards. Most have lasted, as-built, over the many years since their construction and are still stunning examples of motor-launch design.
I have been researching Sam intensely for some months and am continually impressed by the man.
JULIANA > MARJORIE
photos & details ex Ken Ricketts. Edited by AH
Juliana was built in 1930 by Sam Ford & owned by Ralph & Wyn Ricketts from 1946 to 1956. She went to Whangarei for a few years when sold & then to the Algie family at Algies Bay from about 1972 to 1995. She was sold to a fisherman in New Plymouth for several years & ended up back at Tamaki River about 2006 as a bare hull absolutely nothing in her.
Bought by present owner Fraser Wilson as a bare neglected hull, with no bulkheads, engine, underwater gear, mast or anything else. Wilson has just undertaken a major 3 year restoration /rebuild on her by boatbuilder Tony Mitchell in his shed at Lake Rotoiti where she will now reside. Ken’s comment was ‘while unrecognizable as Juliana, in my view stunning in her own right’.
1930 (Original) — 4cyl Thornycroft “T” head converted petrol truck engine c1925
1948 — 6 cyl Leyland “Cub” Diesel 90 HP (29.4 B.H.P. RAC rating), installed by owner Ralph Ricketts
1956 — 4 cyl Buda Marine Diesel (ex Arcturas — Built by Mc Geady c1952 for John Warren & replaced by Warren with 6 cyl Ford) installed by owner Ralph Ricketts
c1978 — 6 cyl 100 hp Ford Diesel fitted by owner Brian Algie
2013 (October) 3 cyl brand new Lombardini Diesel approx 60hp installed for Fraser Wilson by Tony Mitchell boat builder
1. The black & white photo of her hauled out was taken in Judges Bay by the Parnell Baths in 1947, by Ken Ricketts.
2. The sepia photo shows Ken Ricketts on board Juliana c.1947
3. The ‘all white’ photo is the bare hulk prior to the current rebuild.
4. Colour photos are from her relaunch as Marjorie Rosa
AH comment – she is very stunning & will be the belle of the lake, but if was me I would have followed Sam Fords original design a little more closely. But beauty is, as they say ‘in the eyes of the beholder’
Menai & Valsan & her Owners.
details & b/w photos from Ken Ricketts. edited by Alan H
In the late 1930s, earlier 1940s, Arnold D. Baldwin, a successful business man involved in the paper & printing industries purchased the 1936 (’37?) Sam Ford launch MENAI & used her regularly until 1948, when he bought VALSAN, off Peter Annan, who had renamed her LADY EDITH, which ADB changed back to VALSAN.
ADB sold MENAI to his factory manager, Horry Whimp who loved her, at least as much as ADB & continued to pour money into MENAI, as ADB had before him. HW owned MENAI well in to the 1950s. During this stage of her life MENAI had a flat head Ford V8.
Ken Ricketts met HW’s son, Barry Whimp, as a 3rd former at Auckland Grammar in 1950, they were in the same year & became good friends, & had many happy moments together whilst away on their parents boats, especially at Kawau, at Christmas.
(b/w photos taken by Ken Ricketts show Menai over Christmas 1948 /1949 just after the Whimps had bought her, & taken at Issy Bay & Kawau. The photo of Valsan in Schoolhouse Bay was taken during Christmas 1948 just after ADB had purchased her)
Menai Specs ex Alan H
Sam Ford, Ellerslie, designed and built Menai for Mr W T Reynolds of Whangarei and she was launched at Panmure Basin on 24th of December 1937.She immediately left Auckland on launching and arrived at Whangareri 25.12.1937.
She has a most interesting history, during WWII as a Navy patrol vessel she towed lifeboats from SS Niagara to safety. She spent many years big game fishing both off Tutukaha and Tauranga and she is fine sea boat. In 1985 new owners did major renovations including the superb varnished interior. In 2007 she was purchased by the late Peter Smith who spent 3 years bringing her back to the wonderful condition she is today.
She is characteristic of the Ford design, a bridgedeck displacement launch, 10.97m (38 ft) length, beam 3.05m and draft 0.97m. Although there have been some substantial upgrades both the exterior lines and interior layout are original.
Construction: Single kauri skin (full length planking) over bolted and riveted frames and floors. The original upper works were built of kauri. In a 1985 major upgrade they were overlaid with 5/8 in teak and varnished.
Power: Lees-Marine 60hp Fordson diesel with 2:1 Lees-Marine hydraulic gearbox. Cruising speed is 7 – 7.5 knots.
Harold Kidd Update
A few minor things about the above. MENAI was originally fitted with an 8 cylinder Lycoming engine which was changed to an Osco Ford V8 marine conversion, possibly during her NAPS service. Arnold Baldwin bought MENAI in 1942 when he was skippering her with NAPS and registered her as a British Registered Ship in 1948. According to those records and to the contemporary APYMBA records, Whimp did not own her at all, but that may well have been because he didn’t want to carry on the BR. Certainly, however, the BR records and the RNZYS records show that MENAI was 100% owned by C.B. Menzies from 1950 onwards. How Whimp and Menzies fit together, I have no idea.
story & photo ex Russell Ward
Rehutai (this one) was (according to Harold) built in 1926 by Sam Ford at St. Mary’s Bay for C.C. Ross of Wellington and had a 50/75 Stearns engine.
Ross owned her at least until 1933. In 1957 she was owned by R.N. Barton of Featherston.
I would have sworn she was a Lanes boat. Just shows you.
Harold Kidd Update:
ALL ROADS LEAD TO LANES! Actually Garth Lane personally built every launch constructed in Auckland from 1905 onwards and licensed/franchised boatbuilders to put their nameplates on them. But seriously, you can tell an Auckland-built launch at a mile; there was an Auckland “look”. Compare images of contemporary Dunedin/Australian/ US/British/French/Italian/wherever launches and there are strong family resemblances within Auckland launches. It’s not hard to figure out; it’s a cultural and fashion thing. So, when Logan Bros went out of business in 1911, lots of builders started building Logan-style double-enders of class. They all built what their owners wanted them to build. I defy anyone to get the provenance of an Auckland launch right just by looking at an image of it, particularly when, like this Sam Ford REHUTAI it has been changed time and time again over the years.
PS Recently I did a count of the “Oliver & Gilpin” launches then currently on TradeMe. There were 9 of which only 4 were built by Oliver & Gilpin, the rest were knock-offs. With the other 5, that distinctive O&G style had been copied so well that their owners were convinced and had no hesitation in claiming O&G provenance (with potentially dire commercial consequences for misrepresentation).
Not sure of builder, originally had 1 engine of unknown make replaced with 2 x Ford V8 flat head petrol engines in about 1948 at Westhaven & Ken Ricketts remembers viewing the work in progress. Owned c.1947 by a very quiet reserved couple named Lennox-King.
Harold Kidd Update
MAKA MAILE (correct spelling) was built by Sam Ford at Ellerslie in 1937 for R.E. Farrell of Titirangi and named after his father Percy’s one rater centreboarder built by James Clare in 1898 with which Farrell had dominated racing on the Manukau. She originally had a Chrysler Crown plus an Adams but they were replaced by twin Scripps Ford V8s. Later gain she had a BMC Commodore and a Ford. She is now back in the Farrell family.
When I was recently out at the NZ Traditional Boat Building School I spied this old (ish) photo on the wall of Menai, the 1936 Sam Ford designed launch, taken prior to the wonderful restoration by the late Peter Smith. While she looks very smart in this photo she was very sick down below. Another one thats on my bucket list.
A typical example of Sam Fords work built c.1938. In the1940s & 50s she had 2 x 4 cyl Ford diesels with a single side exhaust on the starboard side with both engines going in to a single outlet. Photo taken c.1954 in Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island by Ken Ricketts. Photo quality poor as taken from a 8mm movie but had to include her as she is a lovely looking launch.
Another one that seems to have disappeared off the radar so if anyone can bring us up to date that would be great.
Menai – designed by Sam Ford 1936