Shemara + Laughing Lady in the spotlight



The photo above shows the ketch Shemara being launched in Wellington 0n the 9th August 1958, it looks a very miserable day – the wee girl I’m sure would rather be elsewhere. Photo ex Lew Redwood > fb.

Do we know what became of Shemara?

Input below from Gavin Pascoe

I own Sherama. She’s moored at Clyde Quay Wellington. 23′ LOA but feels more like 26 or 28′. She was Roydon Thomas’s first design. Built by Frank Ballinger. That’s him with his two sons Peter and Trevor, who are both still active boating in Wellington. She’s an awesome boat, Australian hardwood to the waterline, Alaskan cedar above. There’s footage of her being hauled up to Grafton Road prior to her launching (plus other cool footage) here: Many, many stories go with both the boat and Roydon Thomas. Stories of Roydon Thomas’ exploits are legion. Some clean ones may be read here:

Shemara was never ketch rigged. People would call her a sloop as she carries one main and one jib at a time. However her mast is stepped quite well aft in comparison with most sloops, and therefore strictly speaking is more accurately described as a cutter. Though I’m no expert in the finer points of these matters: and

And speaking of miserable days – the November 1963 photo below of the Oriental Bay boat harbour in Wellington, is proof of why they build such sturdy vessels so down there 🙂


Not often a classic woody graces the cover of a NZ boating mag

When you are out & about, pick up a copy of the May issue of Boating NZ, they feature Laughing Lady, post launching at the Mahurangi Regatta. Great story & photos. You can see / read about her restoration > launching at the link below (lots of links to stories). There is also a feature on my boat builder friend, Geoff Bagnall, another great reason to grab a copy 😉

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