Sea Craft Clinker Woody

Sea Craft Clinker Woody

Back in late 2020 woody Barrie Abel contacted me to update me on a new addition to his fleet, Barrie owns the classic launch – Matira, photo below. Barrie had just purchased a 1965, 16’ Sea Craft clinker run-about named Touchwood. We first saw her in the flesh when Barrie piloted us up the Wairoa River to the Clevedon Cruising Club.

Fast forward to 2 weekends ago and Barrie was back on piloting duties, this time the clinker had received some TLC and was looking very smart – refer photos above.The Sea Craft woodys are very much in demand these days as they offer a very affordable classic wooden boating experience, with the advantage of being able to taken home and care for it.


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We haven’t had a small clinker on WW for a while so Andy Hammond’s 14’ Sea Craft gets to shine today. Martha is kept in Cambridge but is a regular attendee at the Lake Rotoiti Classic and Wooden Boat Parade.
She was built c.1950 and is powered by a 6hp Petter diesel from the 1970’s, and sports a forward and reverse gearbox.
Andy is moving onto another woody project and needs the room so Martha is on the market for what I consider is a fair price – $4k, this includes a very smart tilt boom trailer. Break all my rules today – anyone looking for a very cute day boat contact Andy at.

Where and when did we go wrong

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I just love the photos above, back then even smaller boats and boats with outboards still looked like real boats. I’d like to think that if something like these boats were around today they would be popular.
The caption on the top photo reads ’The Latest Development of Outboard Motor-Boating.  A 20ft. V-bottom cabin boat built at Tauranga for use with a large-size outboard motor’
The SeaCraft runabout photo is via Peter Murton and again shows us that even small craft can look very salty.
Next week/weekend at the Auckland Viaduct Boat Show you will see some terrible examples of companies NOT using the skills of a designer or marine architect  – but there will be some cool examples e.g. Dickey Boats from Napier seem to get it right every year 🙂

Interesting day yesterday, WW struggles with the UK market, despite lots of promotional activity we just can not seem to crack it. Yesterday was the biggest number of individual people ever on one day visiting the WW site, with UK visitors 2nd in numbers to NZ for the 1st time ever. Checking out the stats the WW story titled ‘Electro-Chemical Damage Update’ by Chris McMullen was the single biggest viewed page.

I can only assume that somewhere in the UK, maybe a wooden boat building school or a tech university etc told all their pupils to check out Chris’s findings – what ever the reason its great to see the WW site and Chris’s research findings getting exposure around the world 🙂





I was recently contacted by Lionel Sands of ‘Sea Craft’ fame – as most of you will know, Lionel’s late father, Sandy Sands, started Sea Craft Ltd in 1946 building clinker boats. Today they build the Haines Hunter range of fibreglass boats and are still based in Ellerslie. 

Lionel was contacted by one of his dealers in Gore in regard to an old Sea Craft boat that they had come across. Lionel commented that looking at the photos supplied the boat appears to be in very good original condition including the Ford 10 motor that is also original. Lionel contacted WW to see if there was any interest in the boat.
The story goes like this – the Gore dealer, Brad Inder from Inder Marine, was asked to price a re-power on a larger glass boat and the customer is wanting to sell some of his old cars and boats. The vessel that the dealer thought might spark some interest almost the classic wooden boat movement was a 1955 Seacraft powered by a Ford Prefect motor, pictured above.
So Woodys my question today is – any interest in this iconic woody? and what do we think she is worth? A nice winter project for one of the lake boys 😉
Sadly today I have to advise that boat designer / builder Bob Salthouse passed away peacefully yesterday morning. While he had not been in good health for a long time and his passing was not unexpected, the event marks another milestone in the Salthouse boatbuilding dynasty. I read several years ago that Bob had designed over 750 boats – I would doubt if anyone in NZ has come even close to that, ever, and even more impressive – most are still afloat.
A sad day for the expended families given the recent death of brother John.

Sea Craft Run-About


Sea Craft Run-About 

Nelson boat builder / restorer Peter Murton contacted me to say that he had just been given the above 1947 Sea Craft.  She measures 17’ x 4’, with a 7’4” beam, current power is from a small twin cylinder diesel. She is twin skinned cedar with ribs and copper riveted out side horizontal diagonal inside. 

Prior to Peter acquiring her,  she was based on Rotorua.

Peter plans to restore her but is looking for some more photos of this model Sea Craft, mainly the cabins and interior layout. Peter has completed numerous ‘smaller’ craft restoration, a lot of which have featured on WW, enter Peter Murton in the WW search box to view them 🙂

So woodys – anyone able to help Peter out?

Input from Paul Drake – The photo below shows this boat (or a sister) at Taupo – between 1953 and 1963 (our pram dinghy, shown outside our boatshed, was built in 1953, and the boatsheds were removed in 1963).

Other vessels shown are WATER NYMPH and WAIHAHA, now at Rotoiti, LADY PAT, now at Mana Marina, Wellington, MOANA, now at Auckland, and ARCADIA, still at Taupo.



Queen Mary


photos & details ex Alan Craig. edited by Alan H.

Alan owns this Sea Craft 19′ in Rotorua named ‘Queen Mary’. The Queen Mary is a very lucky boat because Alan is a boat builder at Tony Mitchell’s yard in Otaramarae at Lake Rotoiti.
When Alan caught the ‘wooden boat bug’ he started looking for a project and found the Queen Mary on trademe in Rotorua.

Rumour has it that it was built as one of three to take the Queen Mother trout fishing on Lake Taupo for her visit in 1966.  Alan has been told her visit was proposed in 1964 as she fell ill. She came in 1966 but there was no time for fishing apparently.

The build date of the boat is unknown but the below Sea Spray article from April 1964 talks about the 17 footer and smaller ones built, but no mention of the 19′. It may have been the ‘privately owned’ boat mentioned? Alan guessed that there would have been a certain amount of secrecy around them. Alan has dated the engines (1500 Ford Cortina) at 1963 via the serial numbers.

The Queen Mary was a deviation by Sea Craft from the production boats at the time and was right up there with style also. Her hull is beautifully built double skin kauri, being diagonal inside and longitudinal outside (varnished)
It was owned by Internal Affairs and it was only put up for sale in the 1980’s. To who, we don’t know?

Alan is slowly bringing her back to life after having been left outside to rot away for the last few (10?) years. The photos are as found and progress through the rebuilding of side decks to recently painted deck and a bit of varnish inside. The side and aft deck were worst affected and parts of the cabin sides, but the hull remains in very good nick. She sits on the original trailer.

Alan’s not sure about ‘Queen Mary’ being her original name and is very interested to know about the yellow registration sticker for the Port of Tauranga that is in the window?

Someone else must have seen her around somewhere, perhaps Taupo? Of particular interest would be clarification of the royal link.

Included below are photos of two boats, Arohanui (x2 being launched) which was once owned by Nathen Herbet’s father and the one with the three blokes that was sent to Alan by Lionel Sands from when they had one at Waihaha Lake Taupo in the early 1960’s. None of these can be Alan’s as they both have painted hulls.

More photos of Arohanui (ex Nathan Herbert)