Leaving ‘Freighter’s Bay’ (Opunga Cove) Dad with his Dad. Photo by Doug Gallagher from ‘Milady’
Stella at Anchor, Otehei Bay perhaps
Early days, platform added but still has mast
Stella – On the hard at BOIYC

Approx. 4 weeks ago on WW we ran a story on  Iorana > Stella, she is now sitting on a paddock in Northland – crying out for restoration. As tends to happen on WW that story and photos (link ) flushed out a previous owner / family connection. I was contacted by Dave and Pat Cochran who supplied the above photos and the story below – I’ll let Dave tell you about the family link to Stella.

“My father Max Cochran (John Maxwell Cochran,) bought her together with Eric Berry when I was about 15, so about 1961.   I believe she was sitting in the Tamaki River then, pretty scruffy but caught dad’s eye.    We lived in Northland, dad was Head Teacher of the Ohaeawai Maori School and Eric owned the Northern News in Kaikohe.  So the boat came up to Waitangi in the Bay of Islands and we set about cleaning her up.   River stones covered in diesel and oil as ballast under the floor, so she stank of that for a long time, even after the stones were all dumped into the Waitangi river !  She was moored above the bridge at Waitangi, initially on a mooring then onto the piles when they came.   She had a 4cyl Fordson in her, a mast and steadying headsail, and a long deep keelson running all the way to the bow.  Made her hard to turn in tight manoeuvres, but supposedly was to assist a previous life long-lining.     I was aware she had had a Maori name but could not have told you what it was.We took the mast away after a year or two of in and out under the Waitangi bridge and we cut away the deep forefoot to the keel line you now see.   Originally the belting along the side was lower, as you can see in the other photos, but the subsequent owner, Peter Sharp, modified it to give more width to that lower side-deck.   Unfortunately, to my eye at least, it really spoilt her lines.Dad and Mum retired to Paihia, and bought Eric out of the boat after a few years.    He subsequently owned her for I believe 26 years.   I did a hell of a lot of work on her from all the usual grinding off thick old paint and antifouling to quite a lot of wood work in later years.   Replaced/doubled up damaged ribs, quite a bit of planking, a new starboard belting, etc.She was a boat that became well known in the Bay, dad was a stalwart of the Bay of Islands Yacht Club from it’s beginnings, and she was hauled out every year at the club slipway.He sold her to Peter Sharp about 1986?  Peter was the Acting Harbour Master at Opua, and put her in the powder sheds there for about a year to give her another ‘birthday’.  She was in need of new garboard planks, they were tired and couldn’t be properly caulked, plus things like moving the beltings, as I mentioned.I noticed in the recent WW photo’s of her in the paddock, the port side-deck hatch-way has been taken out of the aft dodger, I’m not sure if Peter did that when he added the beltings to the lower side-decks or whether it was later. It was quite a neat, and relatively unique feature.”

Below I have included a reproduction of the original ‘For Sale’ listing that Dave’s father wrote for Stella when he was selling her. Dave commented that at that time Peter had left Paihia and moved to Whangarei and the maintenance was looming a bit large for his father. She really needed some refastening in the bottom by then, and Dave thinks Peter Sharp had that done when he put her into the shed when he first bought her, about 1986. 


I wonder if anyone in the last 4 weeks has grown some gonads and will front the elephant in the room e.g. clarification of the 40 berth Heritage Basin sub-committees intent i.e. will the classic vessels berthed there be a true representation of the CYA’s Classic Yacht Policy, as per the constitution – “New Zealand or foreign designed yachts, launches, dinghies, boats, vessels of all sizes, description, ages, whether powered by wind, steam, combustion or otherwise’. OR woodys – a parking lot for what I understand the sub-committee openly refers to as ’The Heritage Sailing Fleet’. Read more by clicking the Tui banner above.

The original conceptual sketch*, below, of the CYA’s current marina (Heritage Landing) certainty portrayed a fair mix of craft 🙂 *david barker

Iorana > Stella – SOS

Back in January 2015 Harold Kidd sent in a wee bit of a mystery quiz, a photo of a bridge deck launch (b/w photo below) and told us she was built in 1922 and measured 38’. Plus, that when launched she had a 6 cylinder Alpha engine.

There was lots of speculation but we uncovered that she was designed and built by Leon Warne and named – Iorana  (Tahitian for “Gidday”). HDK told us that Leon Warne got a lot of work out of Whangarei because he took the launch – Rosemary north every Christmas and raced her at Onerahi and Russell. Warne built Iorana for Selwyn Blake of Whangarei who had just sold Wild Thyme. Iorana was originally painted glossy black but was repainted white in her second season. Blake came to live in St. Mary’s Bay in 1924 and brought Iorana with him. He sold her to C.D. Sellars who sold her to W. Joll of Ponsonby and then she went to Whangamata and, around 1950, to George Manktelow of Paeroa, where he kept her moored in the willows on the Ohinemuri River near the Puki Bridge alongside the launch – Gleniffer. The b/w photo below was taken there.

Whist we learnt a lot about Iorana, we were not able to discover if she was still around – then SNAP early this week – WW comes good again – I get an email from Cole Gordon – see below 

“Hi there I was wandering if anyone had any information or history on my late fathers launch “Stella” , 36ft Lanes bridge decker 80 horse Ford, paragon gearbox. Possibly once named “Wendy Frances” we have had it since the late 1990’s purchased from Peter Sharp of Opua. I am unable to find any photos of her former glory days, but I have endless memories of long summer days spent on her as a child in the Bay of Islands. She was pulled out of the water around 2012 because the fastenings on her bow lost their grip. We never got the time or resources to fix her and now she’s far to gone for me to have a chance at fixing her. She has to be broken up as my family are moving off the land. I will save the bronze brass and kauri. I am interested in knowing more about her past.”

Very quickly I did two things – #1 asked Cole to grab the handbrake on the demolition #2 sent photos of to Nathan Herbert, Nathan’s reply below:

“F_ _k, I think you’ve uncovered the Leon Warne ‘Iorana’. Search WW”

So I did and it appears that Nathan is right, so woodys we have a gold nugget here that needs saving. The boat is currently sitting on a farm in the B.O.I.’s and I imagine could be acquired for a modest sum.Even if you aren’t ready for a project – can we not find a suitable home for her until the right person comes along. You would struggle to find a more original classic of her era.

Also keen to learn more about her past, there are a few big gap in time that need filling 🙂

Jan 2015 WW Story

12-10-2021 Update – Cameron Pollard sent in the photo below of Iorana hauled on Waitangi slipway. The photo was posted on fb by Guy Ross Thorburn who said she was owned by his grandfather under the Stella name. Update unknown, possibly late 1970’s? This photo would have to be a good incentive for someone considering taking on the restoration. She is certainly a looker.

25-01-2022 Update ex Neil Hammond (potential next owner) who has advised that Stella was unfortunately blown off her props in that storm that hit northland a week ago. Hylton Edmonds kindly had a look at her for Neil to check on the damage. His assessment was that she is now too far gone to be able to realistically save. I very sad end to an old girl on her 100th birthday.




Today’s launch photo was sent to me by Scott Taylor & is ex the Takapuna Library & appeared on the facebook web site Takapuna / Devonport / Bayswater & Beyond Past & Present.
The heading stated the launch was ‘Stella’ at Hall’s Beach, Northcote. You can see the  Baileys yard in the background.

Any of the woodys able to confirm the boat, a date  & add any more ?

Harold Kidd Input

STELLA was built as ROVER in April 1911 by James Reid for G. Fraser of Northcote on the lines of his 32 footer SEABREEZE, a smaller version of SEABIRD. She was built on the moulds of WOLSELEY, another SEABREEZE clone.  The name ROVER lasted only briefly.
She had a flat-twin Beilfuss 10/12 hp marine engine built in the US. She was moored in Little Shoal Bay.
I lose track of her in 1922 when she had changed hands and was hauled out on the VCC slip at Freemans Bay. No doubt she had a name change which I haven’t figured out. Possibly too she is the STELLA that turns up in Wellington later in the 1920s. WOLSELEY had been there since 1913, later renamed DAPHNE.
Visible on the shore at Hall’s Beach in this great pic is the boat shed of Bailey & Tyer, still in existence.




details & photos ex Judith Wallath

Stella was built by Lanes of Totara North in the mid 1950s.  Benjamin (Ben) Le Clerc, farmer of Otara, Helena Bay, bought her from Lanes.  Stella was 32 ft, built of kauri, with a petrol motor and set up as a game boat.  Later, while moored at Helena Bay, a petrol explosion occurred which blew out the forward hatch.  She sat on the beach for three months while having a 40 h,p, diesel motor installed.
Disaster struck again on the 21st April 1963 when Ben was returning from a fishing trip with eight men on board, and a catch of 13 hapuka.  The boat hit a rock off the Wide Berth (Limerick, Rimiriki) Islands.  A mayday signal was sent which was picked up at Russell and Port Charles.  In the meantime the boat broke up and the men clambered onto a rock.  The first to answer the mayday call were Jack Foote of Footes Bay and Mr J.D Prestney, manager of Mimiwhangata.  A runabout was sent out, which laboured to the mainland with 11 people on board.  Mr Prestney was off-loaded at Mimiwhangata.  He raced to his Landrover and flashed his headlights to attract the attention of the Kitty Vane which was approaching from Tutukaka.
Meanwhile the other ten proceeded towards Helena Bay where disaster struck again. The runabout struck a submerged reef and began to sink.  All had to abandon ship once again and cling to a small dinghy which was being towed.  It was 3 a.m. before they reached the mainland again.  21 year old Glenys Foote was the heroine of the event.  She rowed the dinghy that transferred the men from the rocks to the runabout, and then later rowed the 8 men to shore while Ben swam.

So woodys can anyone add to the history of Stella. Was she salvaged or slipped away to Davey Jones locker? There is some confusion as to her length some say 32′ others 38′, can anyone confirm?

Harold Kidd Input

STELLA apparently WAS a total loss when she went aground on the Limericks, Wide Berth Island, on 21/4/1963, that is according to Madge Malcolm’s book “Where it all began”, but the wreck doesn’t appear in “Shipwrecks of NZ”. She was then owned by B.C. Le Clerc of Helena Bay and was a 38ft bridgedecker. I think she was probably supplied by Lanes at Totara North but was undoubtedly built by Lanes at Auckland, despite the Sam Ford-type waist windows.