My Girl Restoration

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 2.14.11 pm

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 1.57.15 pm


If you are not following Jason Prew’s restoration of his 1925 Dick Lang, classic motor launch, ‘My Girl’ on his weblog (link below) you are missing a great woody project. The man is a very talented craftsman & has a cunning knack of being able to press-gang some of the wooden boating movements best minds & hands into helping at the right time 🙂
The project has really come along over the winter months – the photos above are just a taste of whats on show. Jason posts regularly so you can experience the work vicariously 🙂
A Handy Hint: if you type My Girl in the ww Search Box you will get an overview of all the ww stories on My Girl.

It’s almost 2 years since we ran the story below on the missing My Girl Motor Boat Trophy. In the last 2 years the readership of waitematawoodys has increased by x14, so we have run the story again in the hope that one of the new readers might be able to shed some light on the missing trophy – read below.

LOST – The MY GIRL Motor Boat Trophy (August 2015)

This ones going to test the collective memory base of the all the woodys out there. We are looking for a trophy that was linked 80+years ago to the NZ Power Boat Association, I’m talking here about the old NZPBA, with races that involved real wooden boats – not the lumps of fiberglass with oversized outboards on the back they race today.

The trophy was the ‘My Girl’ trophy & was donated by a Mr. C. (Tui) Waldron to replace the ‘Burt Cup’. There are numerous press clipping that mention events where the cup was contested, won or presented. I have attached copies below for your reference / interest.
Despite all the searching no photo can be found of the cup.

The present-day owner of the launch ‘My Girl’, who the cup was named after, Jason Prew would like to track down the whereabouts of the cup &/or any information on what became of it. While the cup itself may not have survived, someone out there must know something about its past. Launches that have won the trophy include – Taura, Tasman & Crusader. Crusader was owned by the Rev Jasper Calder & was steered to victory by Miss Edna Herick. It appears that in several of the events that the trophy was offered up, one of the conditions of racing was the vessel had to be steered by a woman.
Launches that have raced for the trophy include – Taura, Aumoe, Edwina, Tasman, Nautilus, Ramona, Crusader, Wailani, Lady Margaret & Wanderloo.

So folks anyone able to help out in the hunt??

16-03-2018 Update – the other day Jason sent me the video clip below of the 130hp Volvo that will be sliding into My Girl. Shows the green lump running on a pallet – he would have happy that 1. it started 2. no knocks 🙂 With Mr Volvo at full chat, he will be buying a  set of water skis 🙂


A Woody Cruise








A Woody Cruise

Family commitments & the weather meant that this years Xmas / NY cruise was a tad short this year e.g. 7 days & the location was a lap of Waiheke Island. A lot of classics were in the same boat (pun) with the weather so we tended to be in the same spot at the same time – good for photos 🙂

I’m sure I missed a few so I apologize upfront, I have also saved a few for separate ww posts.
Enjoy the gallery of classics, most I have been able to name (scroll over image) & you can enlarge photos by clicking on them 😉

I can’t wait for the Mahurangi Regatta weekend……………………

Little Tasman



shed photos & info ex Ken Ricketts. Pt Wells photo ex Mark Edmonds. details ex Harold Kidd. edited a lot by Alan H

Back in early March Ken Ricketts dropped in to see artisan boat builder Colin Brown at his Omaha yard. Colin & side kick, Josh, have been restoring the rather pretty 26′ Colin Wild launch Little Tasman.  She was named Tasman when built in 1925 for Albert Spencer & changed her name to Little Tasman in 1927 when the bigger Tasman (photo included below) was launched by the same owner/builder. Its said she that LT was a prototype / test boat – Mr Spencer was not short of a few pennies 😉

It is such good news to see whats happening to Little Tasman as she sat on a front lawn at Pt. Wells for a number of years (photo below) & her future was at risk.

Little Tasman at Pt Wells

In Harold Kidd’s words Little Tasman is ‘pure class’ & whats happening in Colin’s shed is also pure class  – the man is one of the best classic friendly tradies out there.

You will see in the above photos that she now has a brand new 4 cyl Nanni 38 hp diesel in place, which should give her a top speed of around 10 knots, with a cruising speed, with her 2 to 1 reduction gear, of around 7 knots. Will be interesting to see her performance as the Nanni is a lot lighter than the old 6 cyl Ford diesel it is replacing.

Her restoration has seen most of her ribs replaced, a full recaulk (no splining), work on the forepeak & bow, a new dodger, very faithfully copied from the original & a full interior refit & partial redesign of the interior layout, for greater space use, & practicality.
Steering will be from the front of the tram top, as it was before, where there will be a large hatch fitted, to the newly replaced, as original, T & G cabin top. Check out the stern photo, classic Colin Wild on show there 🙂

Launch date is fast approaching so we will update on the event.

Read more on her past here

Below is a photo of Tasman that I took a few years ago in Sullivans Bay. She is stunner & on a lot of woodys bucket list.

Tasman @ Sullivans Bay

30-06-2016 – Another great photo update from Ken R of Little Tasman’s restoration at Colin Brown’s yard. Remember click on photos to enlarge 😉

Big Boys Toys




Big Boys Toys

Auckland’s Anniversary Day Regatta attracts a huge fleet of vessels from sailing dinghies to tall ships & is one of the biggest one day sailing regattas in the world. One of the most popular events with the spectators is the Tug (work) Boat race. The race sees 20+ tugboats tearing around the  harbour in very close combat. The skippers are some of the best seaman on the harbour & they need to be with the almost ‘bumper-to-bumper’ racing.
This year was no different 🙂 in the photos above we see two of the Classic Yacht Association launch fleet, Ferro & Sterling almost dwarfed by modern day tugboats.

To view more of the tugboat action & more CYA classic boats competing – click this link

Now in the last photo above I bet the bloke on the helm of the yacht is asking himself – “what the hell am I doing here?” 🙂

Very Cool Video from the Race

Yesterdays Mahurangi Regatta post on WW broke all the records in terms of visitors & viewing numbers, over 14,000 in the first 24 hours. Thanks should go out to all the boat owners that make the effort to attend the event & spend all the time & effort prepping their pride & joy.

The classic of the regatta in my eyes would be Tasman, the 1927 Colin Wild launch. She is one of those boats that no matter what angle you look at her she is just perfect & a credit to owners D O’Callahan & A Tyler.


Woody Trip Report – Inside Passage Cruise


Story & photos by CYA NZ member Denis O’Callahan (owner of MV Tasman)

Today’s post tells the story of Judy & Denis O’Callahan’s adventure cruise – its a great read, so I’ll let Denis tell the story. Enjoy 🙂

 “In April 2000 I was invited by a Canadian friend to help launch a boat which his brother Wayne had built on Thetis Island in the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver. The “Grail Dancer” is 48’ on the deck, ketch rigged and based on the lines of the “Emma C Berry”, a 150 year old traditional fishing boat now preserved at the Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut. Wayne works as a wooden boat builder and restorer who at that time was restoring historic paddle steamers at Fort Dawson and Whitehorse on the Yukon River during the summer. During the winter he worked on the “Grail Dancer” which took him 14 years to complete. This trip was a great experience which gave me an inkling of what a wonderful cruising ground the Inside Passage to Alaska would be. This was further reinforced when I read the great book, “Passage to Juneau” by Johnathan Raban.

Eventually this year my wife Judy and I planned a visit to Vancouver and Alaska, including an adventure cruise of the Inside Passage. Our first stop was Vancouver, from where we took a float plane to Victoria on Vancouver Island to spend a couple of days with friends who live near Nanaimo. On the way north from Victoria we called in at the small fishing port of Cowichan where I was able to see a converted fishing boat, “Morseby III”, which belongs to a guy I know who lives at Mangawhai. We flew back to Vancouver from Nanaimo and had a couple of days there including a visit to the excellent Maritime Museum. Here there is preserved the wooden auxiliary schooner St Roch, built in 1928 in Vancouver and operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1942 St Roch completed the first voyage from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the Northwest Passage, 27 months from Vancouver to Halifax and spending 2 winters in the ice. In Halifax her engine was upgraded from 150hp to 300hp and she made the return journey in 1944 in 86 days.

Next we boarded the Alaska Marine Highway ferry “Columbia” for a 2 night, 1 day voyage from Bellingham to Ketchikan. This was rather like a Cook Strait ferry and while we had a comfortable cabin many hardy souls camped in deck, fixing their tents down with duct tape. We saw a number of other boats during this trip, huge barges laden with containers and trucks, cruise ships, fishing boats, pleasure boats and some of the contestants in the inaugural “Race to Alaska” (R2AK). R2AK is open to any kind of boat without an engine, from kayaks to racing trimarans, 750 miles from Port Townsend to Ketchikan. First prize, $10,000, second prize, a set of steak knives. The ferry passed through many spectacular narrows and channels and at Bella Bella we stopped while the crew lowered the anchors to demonstrate compliance with US Coast Guard requirements.

Ketchikan is a busy port town with floating docks and other marine facilities. However during the summer it is dominated by up to 4 giant cruise ships visiting each day. A large marina (“floats” in the local lingo) accommodates a variety of fishing and pleasure craft. The salmon fishing boats are divided into 3 types, purse seiners which go for large volume, low value fish, gill netters which aim for better quality and trollers which target the top quality product. Long-liners target halibut, a kind of gigantic deep water flounder which can grow up to 200kg.

We took a 10 day adventure cruise on the “Alaska Dream”, a 104’ catamaran, rather like a Waiheke ferry with cabins for 40 passengers and a crew of 17. We strongly recommend this as a way to see the Inside Passage. Activities included walks ashore, railway excursions, kayaking and even swimming. We saw amazing wild life, indigenous culture, glaciers and fishing ports, including Sitka, Skagway, Haines, Juneau, Petersburg, Wrangell, Thorne Bay, Matlakatia and Ketchican. In every port there were numerous classic wooden fishing vessels in varying states of preservation. I would estimate that 90% of the working fishing boats around the Inside Passage are of wooden construction. The plentiful supply of rot resistant old growth Yellow Cedar and Western Red Cedar no doubt accounts for the durability of these vessels”

Little Tasman

details from Russell Ward

Russell was the bearer of some great news last week – the Colin Wild built Little Tasman, has found a new owner. Over the last few years numerious woodys have sent me photos of Little Tasman hauled out at Point Wells. I’m told a while ago a 4sale sign appeared, now I wish I had know – there are a few woodys out there that would have snapped up a Colin Wild built launch with the provenance that LT has. Wild built her for Albert Spencer & she was called Tasman & was a trial for his next (larger) boat also called Tasman so #1 then became Little Tasman. In the sepia photo above she looks to have a good turn of speed – I don’t imagine Albert Spencer would not have been chugging around the harbour at 7 knots 🙂

I’ll let Russell time his tale about Little Tasman.

“My memories of her go back to the mid ‘60s when all was Radio Hauraki, psychedelia, Beach Boys, Strolling Bones and Beatles. Oh and sheilas. Boats were somewhere in there and Bon Accord harbour was the stage. Mansion House was still privately run and the authorities didn’t know about the “Snake Pit”. There were usually several mullet boats nosed into the beach and crews in varying stages of recovery/rehydration. You couldn’t get your anchor to hold reliably in the bay because of all the bottles on the bottom!

The Kawau Yacht Club was pretty moribund, although the AMYC were making preliminaries to taking it on (my old man was on the committee of AMYC) so we had great hopes.
Mrs Lidgard was in residence, Skip Lawler had the Fairmile Ngaroma alongside the wharf for a while, and the Comettis had a fantastic garden. My potted history of the Christmas holidays.

The Ward family (no relation) had Little Tasman at that time and it was party time. If I said that one of the mullet  boats that had rafted alongside one memorable noisy night, was pushing off at just before sunrise because “they didn’t want to get us mulletties a bad name”, you get the picture.

But enough of that (it was just to get the old salts of Cobweb Corner reminiscing about their misspent youths). I have always been keen on machinery and when Harold Kidd mentioned that Little Tasman had a Stearns, I wondered what sort of engine they made. No pictures in my books. It was pretty obvious that there must have been classy because they were going into classy boats. American of course. And Stearns Knight made sleeve valve engines for their cars, the assumption that there was a connection was there. But no, no relation.

I contacted an old colleague in the US to see what he could find. And Richard Durgee sent me a raft of pics and adverts (refer below). They are 1924 and 26 so just right timing. I am fascinated that they have an amazingly modern head. Prod rod of course and the combustion chamber apparently in the piston.  You remember –what the Chrysler invented in the ‘70s for the Chrysler Hemi! Nuthin’ new out there, son. ’S all been dun before apart from nukes. Most marine engines were side valve –slower flame propagation and plenty of low down torque”.

Remember click image to enlarge