Photos & details ex Peter Findlay
Today’s post on the 1954 McGeady built launch Awatere is a cracker & only came about as the result of a friend of Peter Findlay’s casually mentioning the waitematawoodys weblog to him. I have only lightly edited the story Peter sent me, it was just too good to muck around with – I’ll pass over to Peter …..
“I recently heard of your waitematawoodys from a good friend (Geoff Preston) who has seen Awatere over the years and was a salesman in my motor business in Henderson (Peter Findlay Motors) and helped with work I did on Awatere on moorings off the Akarana Yacht Club in Okahu Bay.
The above photo of her when in our family owner ship, shows me at the helm as her skipper, taken c.1965 near Rangitoto. The photo does not do justice to the varnished finish on her topsides. We always used Epivar 2 post varnish (which was new on the market then). Was a much longer lasting finish and fair superior to the white painted finish I understand she has had at times.
Awatere was a Lloyds registered vessel & I still have a copy of the green embossed leather ‘Register of Yachts 1963, First Supplement’. Her number was – Ship No 611, 199080, which was carved in her beam aft cabin.
Awatere was in my eyes a class ship that I loved and improved and maintained her meticulously on her moorings at Okahu Bay, just below where we resided.
I also have her logbook that records me doing the detailing work as well as adding things to improve her including removing the English Parsons 4 cylinder diesel and installing the new Ford 6 cylinder 100hp diesel supplied through Auckland Ford dealer – John W. Andrew.
We bought Awatere on the 10th February 1962 off a Mr. Rex McCracken, who had her built by McGeady, Supreme Craft in Auckland in1954 . Apart from the new motor installation which we did, all the other major work was done by tradesmen at Shipbuilders, Freemans Bay, always to a high standard. They put in the aft stern boarding platform, which eased ship boarding, and I think the rear dinghy davits, which were great in a following sea. I think they were there on purchase but not operational.
Lots of interesting things we came across as well, e.g. when we fitted the new motor we were advised to replace the 5 blade prop 21X21 with 3 blade 22×20. Unfortunately when going off the cradle down into Okahu Bay, I selected reverse on the new hydraulic gearbox gate and we climbed up the cradle having been sold the wrong prop rotation. Not very happy, so up again and re entered a few days later with the correct prop. The 5 blade had been smoother but not very good astern. However the main reason was to improve the over heating problem over 1800rpm which became endemic despite my efforts to improve. Changes were made to the heat exchangers etc, water pumps, thermostats changed rating, different types, even thermostat out.
Take her up very slowly to 2000rpm and we got about 12 knots whereas cruising at 1800rpm was 10 knots. Still an improvement on the old Parsons of 8 knots. John W. Andrew were very helpful in all this period but I would like to know if it was finally solved or just endemic for that motor.”
Peter has promised to have a hunt thru the family files & see if he can uncover anymore photos from the past, he would also like to pass his kind regards to subsequent owners. He commented that she was a fine ship and he and the family had lots of lovely times aboard but the pressure of the motor business, Rotary, and the Henderson Borough Council + young children meant he did not spend as much time on-board as he would have liked.
When I first received Peters email I was scratching my head trying to place Awatere, it was familiar but I old mind was drawing a blank, even the trusty ww search box was not playing ball. So I banged a quick txt off tp Nathan Herbert & he pointed me in the right direction. Back in March we uncovered a raft of photos on her but other than Harold’s input mostly uncover little . So Peter Findlay’s email has rounded out what we know about Awatere & posed a few question for the woodys.
Below is a collection of photos over the years, including some of her in her current berth at Milford Creek or Wairau Cove as Murray Deeble likes to call it 🙂
You can read more about her & the photos of her at this link, make sure you scroll down to the comments section https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/03/03/awatere-3/
Before Awatere the family owned a Scripps V8 powered 32’ launch called Doraleen which they renamed Yasawa after his folks love of a beach over on Waiheke Island which took their fancy. A Mr. Bill Bright owned Doraleen before their ownership.
Yasawa is a nice little 32’ bridge deck launch,10’ 3” beam, sleeps 6 and very quiet but petrol 😦
Yasawa is pictured below & more photos and details can be viewed on this link.
Interesting In Input From Keith Ottaway
Have just read the above article by Peter Findlay .
What caught my attention is the comment that they replaced the 4 cylinder Parsons.
I know this sounds kinda unusual – but we acquired one of those engines (they are a bit rare – particularly those early 1950′ versions) by a convoluted process – that supposedly came from a re power of a launch about that time.cIf so this engine was a well loved and respected member of the family for many years.
It sat in storage till 1977 – then was in service till we sold the boat in 2009 – was finally replaced last year from the most recent information.
It did amazing service throughout that period – yes it had a few repairs – a bit of abuse beyond what should be expected . But was a very good unit.
One trip home from the Barrier in particularly nasty weather – I was ready the kiss that thing by the time we coupled up to the piles in the Panmure River . It had managed to get me and my family home safe and sound. The boat was a mess – my wife and children were sick – and I was hugging the engine trying to extract some heat out of it to warm me up. Can remember huddling over it and thanking it for what it had done. Was not a good day for boating.
So Peter may be able to either confirm or deny if it is the same engine.
So not sure if engines count on the woodies site – but this one deserved a good funeral – it had earned it.