Strolling The Warkworth River Dock

Strolling The Warkworth River Dock

A couple of weeks ago Leane Barry was strolling the river front at Warkworth town when she came upon the collection of woodys above. The Jane Gifford looking as smart as ever and I assume on her home berth. The interesting addition to the docks was the two steam launches – possibly an upcoming event? Not that you would know, those boys keep things very tight 🙂

04-05-2022 Input from John Olsen – Kotare was built by Paul Eaton while he was living near Whenuapai, to a set of plans by Selway Fisher, now available from them as “Golden Bay”. Paul has semi-retired to the Wanaka area, and felt that Kotare was too much boat for one person to handle so has passed her on to the Auckland Steam Boat Association, where Daniel Hicks is taking care of her. . She is I think 26 feet overall, although the plans are available for 23 or 26 feet. Strip planked and glassed. She was built over much the same time period as Dancer with much discussion between myself and Paul over progress and ideas for details. The extra length in Dancer makes it just possible to sleep on board, which is nice. (Neither Dancer nor Kotare is necessarily actually completely finished even now.) Paul is probably right about one person not being able to handle her. Dancer takes two and at times like docking an extra would be nice. Especially when I fell in up the Waihou a couple of weeks back, leaving my wife aboard ready to drift off down river…. Kapanui is an older boat, I am not sure what the origins of the hull were but Alan Brimblecome had her for a long time and may have been the one to put the steam plant in her.

CYA BOAT OWNERS MEETING TONIGHT @ 7pm @ RNZYS – post all the Covid cancellations it will be interesting to hear what the stick and rag brigade are planning for next season. As for the launches – ‘same > same’ – bet it is just change the dates for the next year……….. 🙂

SS Kotare







Today’s photos of the steam boat Kotare come to us from John Wicks. I’ll let John tell the story.

“On my way back from our “walkies”, approaching the launching ramp (Hobsonville-nee-Westpark Marina), the dog’s ears pricked up, then I heard some hissing and farting. As the ramp came into view, I could see steam and smoke rising, and Lo! and behold – the little steam launch Kotare which been launched from her trailer.

By the time I got down onto the pontoon, she was full steam ahead and straining at her mooring ropes, smoke and steam everywhere. Glorious!

Her crew was fairly busy fiddling with valves, levers and suchlike, but I did learn that she was preparing for a steam meet at Greenhithe this Saturday, and a few other details;

  • She’s a woody, quite new, strip planked and glassed.
  • Her owner/skipper (that’s him inboard working on “stuff”) built the whole thing, boat, engine et al.
  • The engine is a 2-cylinder double-expansion one, plus she has an auxiliary electric motor tucked away aft.
  • Just now they’re using diesel to heat the boiler, but they’re turning vegetarian in the near future.

The other bloke in the grey shirt is part of the outfit, though I’m not sure just what part. The couple on the pontoon, I’m in the dark shirt and white cap, her in the orange T-shirt, just turned up purely by chance – in the neighborhood, came down to have a look at the marina. They’re from the West Coast and – would you believe – they have a small steamer on Lake Brunner! Spooky, possums!

Having been warned many years ago that steam is almost instantly addictive, I walked away before harm came to me, and took the broadside shot from behind the safety of a metal fence.”

Russell Ward Input – Famous wooden boat exponent Pete Culler said “Stay away from steam, it’s very addictive -one sniff and you’re hooked.” He was an oars and sail man though and he’s right.
The Auckland Steam Engine Society is meeting at Rame Road reserve Greenhithe Saturday 24 March 2018. High tide 1.30 or so. Fill yer lungs and feast yer ears and eyes.


Regrettably the steam event Saturday 24 March has been cancelled because of the adverse weather. We’ve never had a steamer melt in the rain and our fearless leader Alan will agree that damp days are often the best!

One of the best boating days ever 🙂 Alan

Input from Daniel Hicks – 

The boat was built by Paul Eaton, and is based on a Simpson Strickland launch of around 1900. Selway Fisher in the UK drew the plans, and it is listed in their catalogue as the 23′ Golden Bay design. Paul started by building the engine, a John York designed compound (3 + 5.25 * 3.75) from a castings kit from Elliott Bay Steam Launch Co in the US. Paul then built the hull and had a boiler designed (based on a steam car boiler) and the pressure vessel professionally made. The whole lot has come together over 17 years!

Kotare has a number of interesting features, as mentioned she is both a steam and electric vessel, being able to be propelled by either form of power, or propelled by steam with the electric motor charging the batteries. Another unusual innovation is the fact she is fitted with a Rice type propeller nozzle!

Yes Kotare is complicated, but Paul wanted to try lots of things out, and have lots of back up systems in place. The machinery may appear to take up a lot of the boat, but it always does in a steamboat, and Kotare is better than some, she just appears worse because of the location of the electric drive system directly behind the steam engine.

Wednesday was launch day, and I was there as I’d offered to help and provided the tow vehicle, my only claims to fame on this one. She floated very close to her marks, she steamed well and goes fairly well, despite a number of snagging issues being apparent. A pretty successful first day out, and superb effort from someone who hasn’t built a boat or a steam engine before!

Update 27-03-2018 photo ex Alan Good