Venture – Where Is She

VENTURE – WHERE IS SHE – WW cap Up For Grabs

Todays WW story started last week – I’m standing in the queue to catch the Waiheke Island > Devonport ferry and the lady (Penny Ericson)  behind me asks if I’m from Tasmania, now it was Friday afternoon and I had been to lunch so the brain took a few milli seconds to engage. I was wearing an Aust. Wooden Boat Festival t-shirt and the logo was plastered over the back of the shirt. I explain no I’m not, and then Penny tells me she is off to Tasmania in 7 days time for a holiday, so being the nice person I am I give her my ’Things you must do / see in Hobart’ speech. I then open the photo gallery on my iPhone and back the story up with photos. She comments that there are a lot of boat photos and I explain why and tell the waitematawoodys story. 

Snap – she knows the site and was in fact about to email me concerning her grandfather > fathers launch named Venture.

After that long led in I’ll let Penny tell her story – 

“This is Penny , I met you on the Waiheke ferry the other day and we discussed the fact that I would love to know what happened to my father and grandfathers boat that he used on the lakes in Rotorua as a charter fishing launch . 
I think that it operated out of the fishing camp on the Ohau channel , and the Harvey family lived in a house on Lake Rotorua on the other side of the channel .
As you will see from the above photos the launch was called Venture, and the Log book below begins in 1937 and finishes in 1941. 

No one in the family knows what happened to the boat but I had a feeling someone thought it may have been sold to someone in Auckland .
I was delighted to meet you and you sounded so positive that you may be able to find the boat for me .
In the bottom photo my father John or “Jack” Harvey is on the left . He was distinctive as he had a wooden peg leg having lost a leg on the western front in WW1. All his life despite his disability he was a marvellous fisherman and boatman. I grew up in Torbay so was always in boats as a kid, Dad building many dinghy’s for us .

Thank you Alan , I would greatly appreciate finding the boat and maybe the original logbook needs to be reunited with the boat”

So woodys can we help Penny in her search for the launch Venture and along the way learn more about her and what became of her.

17-03-2023 INPUT ex HAROLD KIDD – VENTURE was bought by K H Wilson of Rotorua in 1947 and fitted with a 52hp Graymarine engine. He kept her until at least 1955.

I’ll reward the woody that is the most helpful with a WW cap.

VENTURE LOG – Might be a familiar name featured



While mooching around the yard at Hobsonville Marina today I spotted the launch – Oranoa out for some TLC. We do not see her out and about much and WW only knows a little from her very early days.

Chris McMullen commented on a previous WW story that during the first few years of this apprenticeship to boat builder Morrie Palmer at 15 Clarence St Devonport, he worked under Morrie and Cal Crooks. As Chris said back then boat building was a competitive cut throat business. At the Devonport yard at least five major builds took place Cara Mia, Lady Ethel, Venture, Oranoa and the Stewart 34 Phoenician. All that, along with repair and insurance work all done, by three people (average) in just over two and a half years. Most owners finished their boat off but Oranoa was the exception and largely complete and later launched from Devonport wharf c.1962/63.

Oranoa was built for the Lineham family and as of 2015, was still owned by the family.
Can you learn a little more at Oranoa eg length, propulsion etc.

Also hauled was a nice selection of other woodys – see below.  Lady Ruby is a very salty looking motorsailer, the double-ender launch I think hails from Bayswater and has grazed WW before but her name alludes me. The sedan / flybridge launch I suspect has a few too many sheets of plywood for my eyes. The classic yacht waiting her turn to be relaunched ? – very pretty.

Saturdays Quiz – ID The Launch – No winners. And we still do not know the boat.

Can We ID This Launch – Venture

Can We ID This Launch – Venture
I spotted the above launch while mooching around Hobsonville marina, no name on display.Chances are she has been on WW b4 but after a while unless they have some distinctive feature, they all merge in my brain 🙂

Dean Wright ‘reminded’ me its Venture – see more here

UPDATE Photo below of Venture alongside the Salthouse wharf at Greenhiite – April 2017 ex Ken Ricketts

If I Slipped And Banged My Head – Maybe This Would Be My Next Boat

Or more likely if Ardern has her way ………….Quartet is a ‘Greenline Hybrid’ – but just what the set up is I do not know. But it is a lot of boat for its size (the berth is 10.5m) and seems to include most things – wide walk around decks, large covered cockpit, drop down stern / duck-board, inbuilt solar panels etc. And I’m sure I’ll cop some flak – but its visually not that offensive, at least to me 🙂

Details here But received alot of negative feedback about the vessel.

Hudspith – Bay of Islands Game Boats

Marie J

Marie J – 1956 – 30′ Master-Craft


Venture – 1964 – 36′ – M.G. Palmer

David Clarke sent in the above photos of the Bay of Islands launches – Marie J (top) and Venture (bottom) that were both owned and operated by the Hudspith family (father Don, and sons Cyril and Norm) of Kaikohe.
Marie J was owned in the early 1960’s and moored in the Waitangi river on the piles. She was used mainly for game fishing in the BOI and Whangaroa areas with many days trolling over the Taheke reef for marlin. In the photo is David’s father, Colin Clarke, a regular crew member sitting on the cabin top left, beside him is Cyril Hudspith and in the cockpit is Tammy Weir another regular crew member.
The Marie J was sold in the mid 1960’s and in and around October 1966, the Hudspith’s family’s new launch Venture was purchased and brought up to the BOI.
She then spent the next 30 years or so mainly game fishing and Norm Hudspith was a prominent member of the BOI Swordfish Club and indeed the IGFA.
The photo of Venture shows her with a new clear flying bridge (added c.1968) and about to be launched at the BOI Yacht Club slip way in Waitangi after her annual haul out.
The Hudspith’s also installed a Perkins wing motor for trolling around 1968.
David commented that it was great to see that both vessels are still in very good condition, a credit to the owners.
Read and see more on Marie J 
Read And see more on Venture 

A Woody Fiordland Cruise 






A Woody Fiordland Cruise 
Todays photos are from Dean Wright who has just spent 2 weeks mooching around the Fiordland aboard Monowai III, owned by Andy and Brenda Bell. The Bell’s are part way thru their fourth circumnavigation of the South Island. I will do a feature on Monowai III, soon.
Dean & partner Deb have tagged along on their adventures twice now, last year two weeks exploring Stewart Island, and this year two weeks in Fiordland.
Above is a collection of mostly work boat woodys that Dean photographed on the trip – below is a photo of a 65’ fibreglass bad boy snuck in there, punching its was around to Preservation Inlet  🙂

Classic Woody  Riverhead Hotel Cruise

















Classic Woody  Riverhead Hotel Cruise

Not wanting to sound like a parrot but the CYA has an amazing track record of aceing the weather for its launch cruises to the waterfront Riverhead Hotel. 

The forecast was average, but it just never eventuated & subsequently the boats that made the trip had a great day.  

So cool to have one of our yachties make the trip, that center-board helped 😉

Highlight of the day for me was seeing John Wright’s recently restored launch – Nana. Nana was designed by C. Bailey Jun. &  built by C. Bailey & Sons in 1934. You can view more on Nana’s amazing journey, from rescue to re-launch at this link 

John has one of the best eyes for how a woody should look, the final details on Nana make her look perfect, in my eyes. John, you should have finished the trip & come up to the hotel, I have a WW tee-shirt for you – email me your postal address –

 Also had a peek at the publican’s – Paula & Stephen Pepperell’s 1967 Jorgensen launch -Volantis, that is nearing the end of an extensive re-fit, Stephan is another woody with a great eye for detail.

Below are a collection of photos from the camera of Simon Smith who was perched on the Greenhithe Bridge – they give us another perspective on some of our classics. Pity Simon wasn’t there for the return trip – Raindance & the motor-sailer Korara, were just passing under the bridge, being good woodys, traveling to starboard of a large plastic yacht (a Hanse) that was approaching the bridge – when all of a sudden the yachts bow shot up out of the water & the yacht shot backwards. The reason – you guessed it – mast hit the bridge (photo of dent to the bridge, below) luckily they were travelling slow, any faster & they might have lost the mast. I suspect there was a change of undies needed for the crew.


Raindance & Nana











Upper Harbour ‘V’s’ Yacht Oops


HDML – Kuparu – P3563 Looking Rather Smart









Another great collection of photos from Dean Wright’s collection of photos he has scanned from old negatives. The ones above show the privately owned game boat – Venture about to weigh in a very impressive marlin at Russell Wharf in the Bay of Islands. Skippered by Norm Hudspith at the time.

Normal questions – what is she & where is she today?

UPDATE – Thanks to HDK’s memory (or ww search skills) we now know all about her. She appeared on ww back in November 2015 (link below), make sure you read the comments section – lots of chat there. Cheers Alan




photos ex AH, Chris Miller & Rod Marler

On the weekend CYA cruise to the Riverhead Hotel we were joined by (to me) a new classic on the CYA scene, Venture. Keen to learn more about her & what lies underneath the ‘addition’.

Neil Lineham has advised Venture was built in 1961 by Morrie Palmer and apprentice Chris McMullen for Stuart and Peter Opperman. The boat built after her (1963) was Neil’s fathers boat Oranoa, built in the old police station at Clarance St Devonport. Oranoa is still owned by the Lineham family.

04-11-2015 Input from owner Jeff Norris (edited by Alan H)

Venture was built by M. G. Palmer at Devonport launched in 1964 the first owner was a Mr Hudsmith he owned her for 30 years . The design for the 36′ Venture was ‘influenced by’ Colin Wilde. She is powered  by 86hp 6cyl Ford Trader she used to have a 30hp Perkins wing motor it was removed by the owner before Jeff. Jeff has owned venture for 15years and is in the process off doing a tidy up and a repaint off the top sides . They are going to glass the hull next year and maybe a re-power as the trader is getting very old but still runs perfectly, Morrie told Jeff , there is a sister to Venture but it is a bridgedecker , Morrie built Venture for himself but had to sell her before she was finished . Venture was a very good game boat in her day but now she is just a cruiser.

02-05-2016 Photos of Venture at the CYA Raft-up at Salthouse Boat yard (Alan H/Ken R)

VENTURE 30.4.16

22-10-2020 UPDATE – WW has been advised that the 36’ Venture suffered some damage in March this year when she was pulled out for antifouling. As a result she was leaking about 10litres a day and has been out off the water for about a month now. Owner Jeff Norris commented that she is a  easy fix to make her dry again, e.g. the hull needs  a really good rub back and coat of paint, some corking and scrape back.

Jeff has decided to sell her as is, and at a price of around $15k, could be a good entry point to classic wooden boating. Move quick – she goes on trademe soon.

And just in, a trip report from CYA chairman Rod Marler, currently in New York. Rod did a circumnavigation of Manhattan on this fine ship yesterday. I would say she is a replica but her heart is in the right place 😉

Venture – Sailing Sunday

Bucklands Beach – c.1968

VENTURE – Sailing Sunday photos & detail ex Don Ross ex Merv Stockley. With lots of input from Harold Kidd The history of Venture (E38) goes something like this – she started life as a carvel lifeboat built on the Northern Wairoa by Barbour then was converted to a keel yacht by Bob Shakespear. Alan Coates (later a Magistrate) owned her about 1931 and sold her to Dick Bakewell in 1936. Harold imagines Dick sold her on when he bought JEANETTE from Ted Le Huquet in 1948. Don Ross purchased her from Dick Bakewell about 1939-40 (dates a bit out, but you get that), Don thinks she was built of island kauri and thought she had been built in the islands and sailed to NZ, this contradicts Harold’s records but Don’s version is only ‘dock chat’. She was only 18ft and a carvel double-ender. Don later swapped Venture’ for the launch Ngaroma from Snow Harris who Don believes was a well known yachtie in Mullety circles from Auckland. At the time Snow lived at Hansen’s Island (after Charlie Hansen had passed on) and wanted a yacht instead of a launch. Don lived for most of his younger years in Auckland and sailed all round the Gulf. One of his favourite trips was to sail up to Hansen’s Island for the weekend. He has a number of letters from Charlie Hansen. In 1949 Don,his wife and daughter Lyn headed off to Whitianga in Ngaroma where he used her for game fishing until 1962. Merv Stockley believes they saw Venture up on Bucklands Beach in Auckland around 1968 and took the above photos. Some of her original keel had been removed then. Merv has commented that of all Don’s boats Venture was closest to his heart as he & his late wife, Joan,  did a lot of sailing in Venture & he would love to know if she is still around. Harold Kidd Input Merv is undoubtedly right that Don bought her from Dick Bakewell c1939. My date of 1948 was the most recent limit date, logically. The first mention of her I can find (amongst a scrum of other VENTUREs) is in 1933 when she took part in an Otahuhu Sailing Club race to Bucklands Beach, so she was obviously up the Tamaki at that time. Dick Bakewell told me she was built by Barbour as a lifeboat for ARATAPU which he built in 1878, a sister-ship to HUIA. ARATAPU was sold overseas in 1932, so that kind of works. Did I say Alan Coates owned her in 1931? All I know about his ownership is that he sold her to Dick Bakewell in 1936. Alan was a keen yachtsman in his earlier days and was associated with the Richmond, Otahuhu and Manukau clubs.Lovely bloke. It’s possible that he bought her when ARATAPU was sold, and had Bob Shakespear convert her to a deadwood keeler, but that’s conjecture. She was registered as E38 when it became necessary to wear sail numbers during WW2. Update from Russell Ward – 12-05-2015 1987 photo below of Venture moored at Okahu Bay, off the slipway over towards Pooh Pt. Russell had just launched SL Gypsy and admired Venture’s style. In typical Mr Ward style he warns us to not get sidetracked by the elegant steamer centre frame 🙂

Memories of Supreme Craft

My Memories of Supreme Craft by Ben Hipkins
Story & photo sent to ww by Karen Moren/Lyn McGeady ex Ben Hipkins

(Disclaimer: Story as from memory)

This is a great read & compliments all the recent McGeady/Supreme posts on ww – read on & enjoy Ben’s story. Alan H

Mac McGeady – (A good Boatbuilder and Designer)

“I first met ‘Mac’ in 1955 at his boat factory in 1A Summer Street, Ponsonby. I was 16 years old and I now know he would have been 55.

‘Mac’ was a very intimidating looking man to me and I had a daunting job to convince him that I was the right boy for him to apprentice.

When I started work (at £2-16-0 a week!), the staff comprised of five men. Mac, Barney Glasgow, Peter Williams, Bluey Jacobsen, Graeme Kitchen and me.

Graeme Kitchen had been in the same class as me at Takapuna Grammar School and had started with Mac McGeady as an apprentice a couple of months before me. He had suggested that ‘Supreme Craft’ was a good yard to work in and to ask Mr. McGeady if I could work for him. It took some time to wear Mac down but eventually he took me on.

The first boat I saw in the boat yard was AQUARIUS, a game fisher for a Bay of Islands client. She was 38ft with twin gray marine engines and capable of 16 knots on trials.

The second boat was AUSTRALIS 42ft twin screw launch for Jack Plowman.

The third boat was ASTRA 30ft launch for Mr. Percy Ward.

The fourth boat was AMARYLLIS 40ft twin screw for Mr. H.T. Morton.

The fifth boat was a 38ft launch for Mr. Stan Suter. I can’t remember the name of this boat.

Graeme Kitchen had left by this time and did not complete his indentures. Bluey Jacobsen and Peter Williams had also left.

Mac had sold his twin screw launch AQUILA to Mr. Chub Sibun.

At this time 1959, Mr Norman Fairly came into our lives. He owned a 26ft plywood boat named REEL EM IN built by Don Norton and used to game fish from Tauranga and up to the Poor Knights area. He convinced Mac McGeady to skipper this boat to Mercury Islands and Mercury Bay area. Fairley and Bert Jones were car dealers and visited our boat factory quite often.

Mac had decided to build a boat for himself and designed a forty foot launch for this purpose.
At this time, only Barney Glasgow remained in the work force and myself. We took on a new apprentice, Gary Wheeler, a good keen boy.

When this boat was planked and ready for superstructure and decks to be constructed, Mac and Mr. Fairley agreed for Fairley to purchase the boat and for it to be finished to Fairleys’ requirements. This boat was named CHALLENGER. At this time it was noted that neither Lila or I knew of this ‘deal’. Mac seemed confused about this whole episode.

McGeady had been a good boss and a fair person but now seemed to be confused and unable to work effectively.
The after work drink session would become an ordeal as Mac would not leave until all the alcohol was gone. The business was failing and many of the suppliers were concerned.

Another boat was built (by me and Gary). This boat was 38ft designed by me. She was called WAIMARU and owned by Mr. A.C Gray.

On the shakedown cruise of this boat, Mac acted very strangely, staying at the helm exclusively, not sharing the controls at all. At the conclusion of the trip, we entered the boat harbour of Okahu Bay in the dark when Mac opened the throttle to full speed. The speed limit in this harbour was 4 knots – no wash.
Fortunately we, crew removed Mac from the wheel and no damage was done. All on board were most concerned with Mac’s behaviour and all agreed he needed medical help.

We received an order from Mr. Wal Brebner for a 30ft launch which Gary Wheeler and I built.

Our accountant Athol Nigro laid down the law regarding SUPREME CRAFT. He stated that I must make Mac work, must stop him drinking and smoking or have him retire and buy SUPREME CRAFT myself. What choice!!! I couldn’t make him work, I couldn’t make him stop drinking and smoking. I could leave……….. so I did.

I worked for Alan Williams yard at Milford. This was a good change for me and I was well respected.

After a year or so it was 1961, I received an offer from Mac to return to SUPREME CRAFT and receive a 50% shareholding and ran the factory; this I accepted.

We received an order for a 43ft motor launch from Mr. Stan Horner. This was a twin screw bridge deck boat with a fly bridge. The name of this boat was ALTAIR and was launched in November 1961.

Mac’s condition deteriorated and he was very confused and at this time we received an order from Gordon Collie for a 48ft bridge deck motor launch.
Mac still had the ability to design the hull. This boat was too big to build in the factory in Summer Street, so we built the backbone and frames in the factory and built the boat in a shed supplied by Mr Collie on a poultry farm at Pakuranga.

Gary Wheeler and I built the hull up to deck level and Gordon and his cousin Ralph laid the decks and built the superstructure and furniture, a truly excellent job. The name of this boat was RANGIORA.

By this time, Mac could not drive and was incapable of getting about. Lila was his carer.

At the Accountants insistence, I bought the remaining shares and Mac retired. He and Lila went to Snells Beach to live.

Mac’s career with SUPREME CRAFT began in 1936 and ended in 1962. He was a skilled man and good designer.
There are many mysteries regarding his early years and his birth in Pilliga NSW, his time in Fiji, his time in the motor business and the formation of SUPREME CRAFT in 1936.

The future of SUPREME CRAFT is a story that needs to be told.

After RANGIORA was completed, Gary and I returned to the factory in Summer Street to begin work on a 36ft launch which had been ordered by Mr. Len Buckby of Fodenway Motors at Penrose. This boat was powered by a Foden engine.

As construction proceeded the owners were most interested in the progress and quality of materials being used. This boat was called WHITE CLOUD.
Mr Buckley and his accountant called on me and announced that he would like to become owner of SUPREME CRAFT with Fodenway Motors supplying engines and me building the boats.

I thought this would provide stability and security for the future and agreed to the proposal. Almost as soon as this was done, the factory building in Summer Street was sold and we had to move!. We rented a factory in Archers Road, off Wairau Road, Takapuna.

We built a 36ft motor launch for Mr. Stuart Dalton in this factory. This boat was called, SCEPTRE. We also built a 36ft sister ship for Mr. Fred Bales called VENTURE.

Our relationship with Fodenway Motors grew and as they were situated at Penrose, they were keen to relocate SUPREME CRAFT closer to their business of truck assembly so we were moved again and rented a shed at the Lane Motorboat site at Panmure.
There we built a 34ft Express Cruiser for Mr John Furley. This boat was called, NIKASIA. Fodenway Motors had orders for a 43ft passenger launch and a 36ft cruiser.

Decimal currency was coming to New Zealand and disaster struck with a financial downturn. Fodenway Motors two orders were lost and they decided to liquidate SUPREME CRAFT.

I then took up a position in a ship yard in Suva, Fiji and after this, moved to Australia where we still live”.