Aquarius Is Back


The 1955, 38’ Supreme Craft built, ex game fishing classic launch Aquarius first appeared on WW back in Sept 2018, at the time she was hauled out on Waiheke Island and in a very sad state and we were reaching out to find a passionate woody that would take her under their wing – see that story here In April 2019 we reported that someone had stepped up to the mark and Aquarius was being transported back to the mainland and hopefully restored – see that story here Then in June 2020 we got to have a gander at the scope of the project, lots of photos here

Now thanks to a tme listing we get a peek at the almost finished job, the listing tells us the interior need finishing and a final coat of paint to the exterior. I understand a lot of work has gone into the project – could be an easy entry into woody boating for someone prepared to roll their sleeves up.Her forward motion is via twin Ford 85hp diesel engines.  Below is a peek at her journey 🙂

UPDATE 22-12-21 – photos below from the past sent in by Shamus

RESULTS OF YESTERDAYS CYA HERITAGE BASIN POLL – 85% BACKING FOR OPEN TO ALL CYA VESSELS – Over 1000 votes cast. Very high number of individual people visiting the site yesterday, 2nd only to a Mahurangi Regatta weekend story. Thanks also to all the emails and calls – I understand peoples hesitancy to comment ‘publicly’ on the site 😉

I had an email from a long term CYA launch owner “Greetings Alan, In my anger I voted thumb down when I wanted to vote for all wooden boats in the marina. Anyway to change it?”

El Alamein > Ranui On Lake Taupo

NOEL EAST at the helm

El ALAMEIN > RANUI – On Lake Taupo
The 32’ launch El Alamein, later renamed Ranui, that was built and launched by Supreme Craft in 1945 and has made several appearances on WW (links below to those stories).

Recently I was contacted by Paul London, in regard to Noel East, a previous owner of the launch. Paul has many fond memories of times on the launch at Lake Taupo. Paul was motivated to contact WW to re-connect with a Terry Arnold, a ‘distant’ cousin of his and grandson of Noel East.
Terry Arnold made contact with WW and shared the photos above El Alamein during Noel and Grace East ownership period. In the first photo the lad with the red cap holding a trout is Terry, as Terry commented the trout in those days were both plentiful and stout. 

In the photo below we see the Lake Taupo marina, where El Alamein / Ranui was berthed when owned by Noel & Grace East. There are some grey area’s as to when the name changed from El Alamein to Ranui but the boats know places of residence are summarised below:

• 1945 – Lake Rotoiti • 1949 – Lake Taupo. Possibly when the name change occurred 

• 2020 – Hokianga Harbour. Presently a inner-harbour charter boat.

The clinker dinghy photo sees the grandchildren Terry, Clfiton and Raewyn Arnold out on Lake Taupo in the launches tender.


August 2015
October 2016
December 2020





Today’s woody comes to us from Bryce Strong’s photo collection – another CV-19 clean out bonus.
Above we have the launch Waikere, an unknown to me, so keen to uncover her past and whether she is still around today.
The top photo is dated Easter 1988. The bottom photo lists the location as Ponui Island, and is dated March 1989.  This photo comes with an added bonus – the woodys in the photo are (L>R) Lady Margaret (1940 Dick Lang), Altair and Waikere – the bonus is that I have never seen a colour photo of Altair with varnished coamings and pre the ‘block of flats’ she now carries (current photo below).
Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 5.03.59 PM
Input from Jeff Norris – Waikere belonged to my brother Dave Norris back then he used to keep it up the Clevedon river on a private marina along side Altair and a another boat called Apacha. He told me she was 32’ and built by Shipbuilders with a carvel hull and powered by a 100hp Ford



Antares (2)

Recently I received from Bryce Strong an envelope of ‘old’ boating photos – the result of a CV-19 lock-down cull of the family photo collection. Its a flash back of woody boating on and around the Waitemata.
The above photos show the 34’ Antares, built in the 1950’s by Supreme Craft in Auckland. I suspect that at the time, Antares was owned by Bryce’s brother-in-law, Ron Philips.
Antares has appeared on WW several times  and you can see / read more of her past at the link below, be sure to check out the additional links in the story to experience more.

Who Can Help ID This Yacht
The vessel below was snapped by Cameron Pollard at the entrance to the Tamaki River – Cameron estimate her length around 55′.
Input & photo below from John Mellars – owner built, spotted Whangaparapara 15 March 2019.
Not very woody though.
WCW Riverhead June2020