A Classic For The Lake Woodys

A Classic For The Lake Woodys
This cute clinker launch popped up on tme (thanks Ian McDonald) and at 18’6” it would be perfect as a family lake boat – even the kids couldn’t get into too much trouble in SS Magoo.She was built c.1950 by Swanson, and current home port is Waikawa marina in the Marlborough Sounds.Powered by a 2.2L BMC Diesel engine , she will comfortably cruise at 5>6 knots, perfect for trolling (I think).

I suspect with a make-shift wooden cradle she would slip into a shipping container, for a relatively low cost re-location.






Back in April 2015, we ran a story on the Swanson designed launch Mystic, refer WW link below. At the time Simon Manning commented that Mystic was owned by Colin and Lorraine Davis of Blenheim. Simon recalls that the Davis’s bought her in Lyttleton, a few years prior.  Colin’s son Carl, who is an Auckland-based teacher and also a quaified boatbuilder, has done some maintenance jobs and also some work around the transom areas during his various school holiday trips south. Simon observed that despite being on a mooring in Waikawa Bay, Marlborough, Mystic gets plenty of use. https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/04/11/mystic/
Owner Colin Davis advised that she was built / launched in Picton in 1965. Her hull is double diagonal kahikatea and power is via a Toyota HD turbo 140hp diesel.
Fast forward to late January 2019 and a comment appears on WW from Kylie Curry, the daughter of the original owner, Graham Wilkinson – I have reprinted it below 
“Mystic was originally my dads (Graham Wilkinson)..he purchased the hull and finished the rest of her in the backyard himself. (We even have pics of her in the backyard).
He then went on to do the same with Shalimar. Dad was also the pilot of 25 + Cook Strait marathon swims and search and rescue for the police.
He often talked about Mystic and we (my dad, mum, four brothers and I) had amazing holidays down the sounds every year (first on Mystic – pre my time) and then on Shalimar.”
Sadly Kylie also advised that Graham died in early January 2019. 
I contacted Kylie and asked if she would share the early days photos of Mystic and these are what you see above. 
Again another example of the reach and power of waitematawoodys  – with one colour photo (below) in 2015, we were able to 3 1/2 years later to flush out more on Mystic.
Special thanks to Kylie for sharing these family photos with us.
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21-08-2019 Input from Graham Taylor –  “Graham Wilkinson had many skills, one of which was an expert prop tuner. He made many a fast prop for us when we were racing speedboats and chasing NZ speed records. One particular propeller did set a new record for its engine class with a two way run over the measured mile. On that occasion the slip factor was just 6.7%, amazing when the “norm” is often around 33% !

We even flew to Australia when he lived there to collect a new prop and carry it home carefully so it would not get dinged when freighted normally.”


Silver Dollar

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Silver Dollar was recently on trademe, she is a Bob Swanson design / build,  her distinctive look is seen in Nov 2017 WW story where we featured a smaller Swanson boat – Link below
Built in 1952, Silver Dollar has a kauri, carvel planked hull and measures 36’. Powering her is a Detroit 271, 60hp diesel.
In a pervious 2014 WW story John Wicks and  Paul Stichbury tell us some of the history of Swanson’s boatbuilding days and provide photos of her launching. What is impressive is she still has the original 2 cylinder ‘Jimmy’ engine (photo below)
Home port is Whangarei, Northland.
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Farewell Bud Nalder, Craftsman Sailmaker & Bagmaker
Farewell event to be held :  
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron –  Quarterdeck Restaurant
Thursday – 22nd August  2019   – 6pm – 8pm
All welcome
To Bud Nalder who passed away on the 31st July 2019
But to every sailor comes a time to drop anchor
Haul up the sails and make lines fast
You deep water dreamer, your journey is over
You’re safe in the harbour at last
You’re safe in the harbour at last
WCW Riverhead2019




I have been contacted by Simon Manning on-behalf of a friend of his who is trying to track down a Marlborough Sounds launch named Wai-iti.

Wai-iti was possibly built c.1950’s by Swanson. Simon’s thinking around Swanson is based on her sheer and the location near Blackwood Bay and Picton. Although Simon commented that the chine forward is a bit unusual for a Swanson.

Back in her day, Wai-iti was based at Mistletoe Farm, in Onahau Bay (Queen Charlotte Sound) and was owned by Jim and Jo Vogel.  They apparently had 2 boats; ‘Aqua Lady’ which was a speed machine used for waterskiing and “Wai-iti” which was used for picking up guests and supplies in Picton and for fishing trips – which were legendary. Wai-iti was white and quite elegant but unassuming.  Simon’s mother and others he has spoken to, do remember the boat but don’t know what happened to her, or where she is now.

The people trying to locate Wai-iti have a genuine and special reason for doing so and will be visiting NZ, so woodys – it will be a very cool thing to be able to find out what became of her.

11-06-2018 Update from Simon Manning –

08-06-2018 Update – photos below of Wai iti / Sea Shanty that Chris’s brother, Chris, took during last weekend at Mana Marina.





Swanson Sedan Launch

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Swanson Sedan Launch

This rather cute 26.24’ sedan launch was designed / built? by Swanson in 1969. She has a 9’10” beam & draws 3’3”, so a rather fat bottomed old girl. Her trademe listing says she has an inboard diesel engine but that’s about all in terms of specs. It does tell us that she comes with a fenders, boat hook & clock 🙂

Picton is her home, any Southern woodys able to shed some light on her?



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The 38′ classic launch Yvonne was built in 1954 by Swanson in the Marlborough Sounds. She is a very distinctive design & with a 160hp Isuzu diesel she must left her skirt & really get up & go. Based in the Sounds & after 22 years of ownership, Yvonne is now ready for a new owner. Thx to Ian McDonald for the trademe heads up 🙂

Anyone able to supply more details on her?

Input from John Wicks
“Very “avante garde” styling for the time – and still looking good!!!
Bob Swanson built her at Blackwood Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound, for Jack Thompson, a farmer out Ward way, who kept her for many years – could be she’s only had 2 owners? Jack named after his wife, Yvonne, a very gracious lady.
Can’t remember what her original engine was, but I do recall Jack talking about the possibility of putting in a small gas turbine. At the time there were experiments overseas with these, but I don’t know how serious he was.
Jack was a friend of my father’s (Sorry Alan) and when the first Picton marina was built they moved into adjacent berths. IIRC this involved a certain amount of the testing of water purifying fluids.”

05-05-2017 – A Peek Down Below
Thanks to the photos below ex Jo Utting (owners family) via Ken Ricketts we get a glimpse of what must be her original  interior.

Bay of Islands Eye Candy





Bay of Islands Eye Candy

Today’s post is again from the camera of Dean Wright & will put a smile on the face of the Work Boat boys. The first two photos show ‘Mason Bay’ making her way in from Piercy Island past Bird Rock. And the second two show ‘Swanson’ heading out the the Bay towards Piercy.

Now imagine putting the head on the pillow in Deep Water Cove for the night & being woken in the morning to the dulcet tones of ‘Vibrant Curiosity’s’ helicopter taking off 😦  The super ‘yacht’ (below) snuck into Deep Water Cove under the cover of darkness. I’d be looking for the 12gauge 😉

I received the message below yesterday for a potential woody owner. Please read & if you know of anyone that could help – contact Hamish at hamish@artandobject.co.nz

“I am hoping you might be able to assist me with a recommend. I am looking at acquiring a wooden boat – located in Masterton. I am struggling to get down and inspect prior to purchase. Would any of the ww members or persons down in the Wairarapa be able to inspect and report back to me?. I am happy to pay for this service. Regards Hamish”



photo & details from owners Lorraine & Colin Davis

Mystic was built by Swanson’s in Picton & launched in 1965. Currently moored in Waikawa Bay, Marlborough for the past 3 years.
Her hull is double diagonal kahikatea glassed over to the chines, decks and cabin tops  are all glassed.
She is powered by a Toyota HD turbo diesel 140hp, giving her 7.5 knots at 2000 revs, burning 10 litres an hour  .
Recent improvements have included cutting in a stern door, an unusual feature from new is her a tandem roof which slides back and  opens up for use on sunny days.

Anyone able to throw some light on her past?