Caroma / W1



Caroma / W1

Recently I was contacted by Peter Grant who had just discovered the story of W1 on waitematawoodys and remembered he was involved in a pre-purchase inspection of her in November 2000 for a client. The client did not purchase the vessel as it was deemed not suitable, but Peter dug out the old report which included the photos of her above, as she was then lying alongside the Panmure River.


Below is a photo of the 70′ vessel as she is today, post a wonderful restoration to return her to a style that while not matching her early day war time look, certainly turns a few heads on the Waitemata when she zips past at 22 knots. WW links to the restoration below:
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A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

A Woody Tour of the Tamaki River – 70 photos

Todays story so needed to be done, and woodys, John Bullivant is a legend for grabbing his camera and heading out on our behalf. I’ll let John tell his story 🙂

“Thought it was about time I got a few photos on the Tamaki River boats before they disappear, (and they are going fast by the look of some). There are only a fraction of the numbers of wooden boats that were moored there in the 1960s and 1970s and as I previously mentioned, living on the waterfront at Bucklands Beach for around 25yrs I had seen most of them go by (was like Queen St on Friday nights most summer weekends) I did 2 trips down from Orewa and took pics from Panmure Boat Club and up to and under the new Panmure Bridge, end of Gabadore Pl (off Carbine Rd), the old Panmure Marina, (going with many houses from Panmure to Pakuranga Town centre, to make way for new highway widening), along the Tamaki River walkway for about 4km (Rotary Walk,- starts at the old Panmure Marina and goes all the way to Gills Rd in Howick, for those who like walking), Half Moon Bay and Bucklands Beach.

I also went down to the 1960s site of the private ex RNZAF W1  haul-out ramp below the old Alright property (well covered in bush now and a near vertical climb down a 30ft bank), – lost a bit of blood but well worth it for me, as I last stood on that spot 50yrs ago when we sneaked on board W1 to have a look around while she was up there. Original ramp and haul-out dolly is still there (see pics) although time has taken its toll. I’m amazed, looking at the crude set-up today, how Mr Alright got a 64ft boat weighing many tons, sitting on rubber tyred dollies (which ran in grooved concrete) lined up and hauled out with a winch and by the looks of it, the large tree in line with the ramp, not to mention getting it back out again (I’m assuming he must have winched it back out somehow). Massive effort not only to build the ramp on mud, (all by hand, no concrete pumping trucks) but to be able to use it.

Hope these photos are of interest to people who may be able to identify some of the mystery boats (especially the light blue launch with the chrome ventilators and light, (looks ex RNZAF ?). The yacht hidden near the big boatshed is around 45ft looks very old and has been there for many years, as has poor old Imatra, a once grand yacht which is in a very sad state and in urgent need of care (must have been there 30 yrs odd now). I have included a few other launches and yachts to show the sad state of many good looking (and once expensive) boats on the river crying out for attention, but I guess many people have other priorities and sadly their dreams are just floating slowly into oblivion. It’s pretty hard to get rid of a rusty rotten hulk, so there they will stay till it’s “business time” (flight of the Conchords) for the 20 ton digger.

I may have some of the boats names wrong as I was using a telephoto lens for most of the pics and with enhancing colour, contrast etc was as near as I could get. I’m sure someone will correct any if wrong.”

NOTE: With the photos that John has named, I have tagged the photos with those names. Scroll over the photos to view the names 😉
I could have used the individual images on WW over an extended period, but they need to be together in one spot. Enjoy 🙂

W1 & W1 Junior Meet Up

W1 c.1942





W1 & W1 Junior Meet Up

The restoration of the Hubert Scott-Paine designed ex RNZAF, WWII, craft W1 has been well documented on WW, as has been the building of a junior version by master model maker John Bullivant, enter W1 in the WW search box to read > view their stories.

Earlier this year Ken Ricketts played match-maker & intro’ed Francis Uren, the owner  of W1 & John B. The venue was Bayswater Marina where Francis keeps W1. Details & photos ex Ken.

The story started 49 years ago, when John B, had by chance an opportunity to have a look aboard W1. John & a mate, were out & about on the Tamaki River, exploring & they came across W1 & the boys decided to have a good look inside her. John B was fascinated with what he saw & W1 made such a lasting impression that 44 years later, when he started to build a model of W1, he could recall every detail. The build took 5 years, but as can see in the photos, the attention to detail & build quality is amazing.

When Francis Uren, saw W1 Junior for the first time he was blown away,  the intricate detail in build, propulsion & equipment, which is even complete, with the sound of 2 diesel engines being started, when John fired her up, & with water flowing out the exhaust pipes each side, when the engines, (2 special marine tiny electric motors, see photo below), are running.

The meet up resulted in two very happy woodys, who both had huge mutual respect for the each others work.


John Bullivant – The Big / Small Boat Builder




John Bullivant – The Big / Small Boat Builder

John Bullivant owns an impressive collection of boats, even more impressive is he built / restored them himself – how you may ask? – they are radio controlled models of real boats, taken off detailed plans.

The black & white double image above shows John’s model of MTB49 & the real thing, illustrates the amount of detail John achieves.
John took over the bridge-decker he has named ‘Tamure’ as an unfinished project from the previous owner, as seen in the images & installed the present motor & associated equipment. We see the restored Tamure above.

John’s major build has been the W1 project, which we have seen on ww before as work-in-progess.
W1 is now complete & will feature on ww next week. (photos above ex John B & Ken Ricketts)

John also owns 2 real yachts in the 12′>16′ range,  which he has also rebuilt/restored featured here

W1 Junior




If you are a regular follower of the ww stories you will know that there are a several ‘woody nutters’ out there that have a thing for the ex WWII RNZAF coastal cruiser – W1.
John Bullivant is one of them. John has been building a model of W1 & its very close to completion. The photos above show some of the build process.
John reports that he has purchased some cowl vents from the UK, (made them all rotatable)  fitted new water cooled motors, made rudders, masts, windows, rubbing strips and fitted LED lighting (courtesy of cheap solar garden lights). He has also made a decal pattern for the bow insignia to print out (see bow photo above). John has even bought a miniature water pump so he can have water running from the water outlets when the boat is stopped. This will sit where the centre engine usually sits. He is currently looking for an engine sound module. Thanks to Ken Ricketts for fowarding John’s email to ww.
Details on the ‘real deal’ here


The Classic Yacht Association is holding one of its launch cruises to the Riverhead Hotel on Sunday – we are expecting approx. 20 classics to make the trip. so it should be a cracker of a day. If the sun shines, there will be lots of photos on Monday 🙂

Update below & photos from John Bullivant on his progress  (emailed in by Ken Ricketts)
“I have also re-done the lighting using LEDs from Xmas string lights which are smaller and can be made to fit better. Getting there slowly but it’s almost like building a full sized boat as you can spend hours making the smallest things. The lighting alone took about 3 days, as it’s hard to hide any sort of bulb in a small model and get it shining in a reasonably scale manner, eg trying to get the nav lights shining in the correct arc takes a lot of fiddling and painting but they look the part when they are on so that’s good enough for me. I’m not being too fanatical about the detail as long as it looks ok on the water.
I have a theory about the location of the real W1 in the photo of her with the survivors on board and where she was headed which I am working on with the help of Google Earth and some info I read on the rescue effort. This was regarding the position the survivors were picked up from. I am trying to find the info again but it was in an obscure site (to do with recovering the gold I think) which gave the co-ordinates of the ship and the lifeboats positions before rescue and the crews communications. Just a bit of a fun challenge to see if I can pinpoint the exact spot.”

A Lap of Waiheke





A Lap of Waiheke

Over Labour weekend we did a lap of Waiheke Island in Raindance – bumped into a few classic’s, some will appear on ww in the next few days.
As we approached Oneroa mid afternoon on Saturday the weather was doing exactly as predicated  & the southerly was starting to pick up, coming around the point & it was blowing dogs off chains. Headed over to Little Oneroa & it was almost a mill pond, dropped the pick between James Mobberley (Moon Engines)  & Dan Ranell’s stunning N. Herreshoff designed yacht – Jonquil, pictured above with George Ranell ‘on watch’. Potentially it could have been a disaster i.e. 3 kids under 5 between the 2 boats – but good parenting saved the day. A few late afternoon coldies on Jame’s launch ‘Cartel’ was the perfect lead in to dinner – a wood fired pizza on the beach from the resident pizza caravan. Saturday was a cracker of a day on all fronts. Nice weather, people & boats.

For the first time (that I can remember) we had a peaceful night in Little Oneroa & woke to a stunning day (Sunday), one out of the bag. A quick breakfast ashore at ‘Wai’ & a few provisions from the ‘new’  store on the roundabout, called ‘The Island Grocer’ – its where the old general store (fruit & veg focus was) used to be. Less hairy armpits on display these days & a great hole in the wall coffee operation. Perfect spot to people watch.

Headed down the north side to the bottom end, very pleasant trip & a lot of people both fishing & catching fish. Mooched around a few bays & anchored in Man ‘o’ War Bay. The vineyard operation was a zoo with Island day trippers, so held off going ashore until late afternoon for a drink. Quiet night in the bay, except for 2 sets of very young children doing laps of the bay in dinghies with 2hp outboards – I do not lie when I say it went from 6pm to 10pm, if I had had a gun – I would have popped the tubes.

Slow start in the morning, had to wait for the tide, appears I had discovered a wee mud bank, never went a ground but I draw 2’3″ & the depth sounder was showing 0.700m (27.5″) 😦 So it was a leisurely breakfast 🙂 Th day was overcast & forecast to rain later on, so we headed home at lunch time. As we were leaving MoW, W1 was coming in – first time I had seen her ‘live’ on the water – way more narrow than I expected given her length, but still an impressive sight & a credit to the owner, who under took a lengthy restoration in his driveway in Herne Bay.
Saw Deodar (#1) in MoW looking very smart – photos tomorrow on ww.

A fantastic weekend, only takes a few days of good weather & one quickly forgets all the cursing & swearing over winter about bloody old wooden boats.

Below are a couple of photos from Rod Marler of the classic’s –  Arohanui, Trinidad, Lady Crossley & Nereides (looking none the worse for her oops at the Whangateau boat yard) at Kawau over the weekend. I hear the Kawau Boating Club was going off on Saturday night for the All Blacks v Aust rugby test.

Photo below of Wairangi at West Bay, Rakino Island on Sunday, taken by her owner & emailed in by Ken Ricketts.


W1 / Caroma – Goes The Full Circle


photo & details ex Ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H

If you enter W1 in the waitematawoodys search panel you will see Ken Ricketts has been a long admirer of this unique vessel. Now via a chance posting on ww Ken has reconnected again after 28 years.

Ken was invited to inspect W1 by her present owner, who has W1 in the driveway of his home, given she is 70ft overall that in itself is impressive.

Ken reports that her current owner has had her for approx. 8 years having bought her off her Waiheke owner in a very run down state with her 2 x 671 GM Detroit’s belching lots of black smoke & with a view to carrying out a total interior & combings rebuild,which is now almost completed.

W1 has had several rebirths & its pleasing to hear that Ken reports in her latest there will be no flying bridge 🙂

It appears that with her very flowing new layout, complete with traditional varnished teak combings, she will very much look the part on the harbour & with her heritage will certainly be one of the most unique of all our classic boats. Refer the previous ww post for full details on her specs & history. The current refurbishment specifications include – 230 volt power, a full hot & cold commercial type air-conditioning system ducted right through the boat, water maker, clothes dryer, all the other latest & best of everything you would expect on a vessel of her size. Currently the restoration crew includes up to 3 artisan boatbuilders, along with the owner himself, part time, who are crafting her superstructure & fit out as if she is the royal yacht.

The 2 x 671 GMs have become 1 x GM Detroit 8V92TI with a power output of 650 hp. This the owner anticipates will give a very good turn of speed — with a 32 inch propeller, through a 2 to 1 gearbox.

She was only capable of about 13  knots flat out when she came out of the water. She now sports bow & stern thrusters & a new underwater exhaust system with fairly comparatively small, above water side outlets for idling, to avoid backpressure.

The owner has personally just finished making 2 identical state of the art beautifully varnished teak game fishing chairs which will be mounted side by side for gamefishing when needed. He has never embarked on a job of this type before, but Ken reports that there is not a game fishing chair manufacturer in the world, that could have do a more perfect job.

We look forward to seeing her in the water & ww will hopefully be there to record this magnificent (class of one) 70 year old vessel begin the next phase of her life.

Lastly, Ken has a favorite hobby-horse & thats the changing of a vessels name by subsequent owners – Ken is of the belief the name at launch time should remain for the life of the vessel. Well Ken was very happy to learn that W1 will grace her stern again.

A UK sister ship? – Dave Giddens was recently in the UK & spotted the boat below in St Ives, Cornwall.

W1 CHAPTER #3  18-12-2014
photos & details e Ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H

The photos below show the latest update in the life of W1 – her current owner, Francis Uren, has just completed an extensive ‘rebuild’ of the 70′ W1 (previously known as CORROMA, from the early 1950s) launch. The extent of the rebuild even includes air-conditioning………………..

Ken has been instrumental in securing her original WWII RNZAF identification No. i.e. #W1.

Next step is sea trials & we look forward to a report on the performance of her single 8V-92TI 650 HP GM Detroit diesel.

Sea Trials photo ex Ken Ricketts

At Bayswater 04/01/2015

W1 @ BW 04:01:15

At ‘speed’ 10/01/2015 (low res photo ex Ken R)

W1 AT SPEED - 9.1.15 -4

31-05-2015 – Update ex Ken Ricketts

W1 has just been hauled out at Gulf Harbour hard stand for her first bum clean & for the fitting of here correct prop  — a 32 x 33 LH Bri Ski. – The first one that was made, it was discovered just before she went in the water for the first time, when her refit wad completed, went the wrong way, so she has had  temporary smaller one since launching, until the correct one could be fitted this week.
Post re-launching, with the new prop, at 22 knots her wake was less than 12 inches & absolutely flat out the stern, as can be seen in the photo below. Impressive for a vessel designed & launched in the late 1930s.

05-09-2016 Input from John Bullivant

“Hi guys, what a great find this site is, great job!. I have been wondering where W1 had got to! I am another who has had a lifelong interest in her and other wartime Navy and Airforce boats.I thought this might be of interest to others interested in this vessel.  I spent a few weeks in the Marine Section during my time in the RNZAF around 1973 just as they were about to de-commission the seaplane tenders and close the Marine Section
When I was about 15 yrs old a friend of mine and I sneaked on board W1 while she was on her private slipway on the Tamaki River, (tucked around the corner behind the owners house complete with large winch and railway dollies) She had not been modified at that stage (1968/9) and was still in original airforce colours with names still on the lockers in the forward crew room. The wheelhouse was varnished and the hull was white. The wheelhouse door (rear stbd of ) was varnished and louvred as was the radio shack door immediately to its left. To the right of the instrument panel and large chrome wheel was a companionway leading down to the mess room ? (the stair treads had cast aluminium oval ”British Power Boat” grips attached ) Forward through the bulkhead was a 4 berth bunk room, ahead of this a head and then a large chain locker.
Up on deck and into the radio shack you went down through a hatch via a ladder attached to the forward engine room bulkhead. At the time she was fitted with 2 Greys marine diesels which were under grey painted canvas covers port and stbd with not much else in there. We assumed they had been put in by the Airforce as an economy measure as they looked to be only around 150 – 200hp size and did not look recent. aft of the engine room was another 4 berth bunk room and another head behind that with from memory a washing area. I think there was a hatch from there to the after deck.
The owner appeared later to be experimenting with cabin styles and the first I saw (she was then moored below the new Panmure bridge early 70s) was a long flat ”ferry like” structure extending from the wheelhouse with windows along the sides which did not last long as it appeared to be too heavy and made the boat squat in the stern. Eventually she ended up as ‘Corroma’  (did not appear to have this name when we first saw her) I saw her on the hard in Tauranga many years later then later still in Bayswater marina (I think it must have been just before she was scalped as she still looked in quite good nick) I think the owner on Waiheke used her for diving charters. I did not see her for a long time after that but thanks to this site I know why. What a fantastic job Mr Uren has done, congratulations to him on keeping a classic hull flying. Not only was she one of a kind in NZ she was apparently the only one ever  delivered to the southern hemisphere . There is only one other 64ft HSL still running (HSL 102) and that is in the UK, where it was saved from houseboat status and totally rebuilt to admiralty plans by a chap who owned an engineering business. It is powered by 3x 500hp Cummings diesels with a top speed of 42 knots (now sold to British Maritime museum). He has also restored a 40ft seaplane tender and a 70ft MGB (powered by 3x Mann diesels for around 40 knots)
H1 was according to a Marine section news letter, powered by 3x 500hp Napier Lion marine engines for a speed of 38 knots. She was 64ft and built by the British Powerboat Company Of Hythe UK . Hope this was of some interest and that I have remembered things reasonably accurately, (it’s been a long time but having been lucky enough to have seen her in original condition at a young age has stuck with me all my life) I am also at present building a 36″ scale model of W1 for radio control.
If anyone is looking for info on these HSLs etc I may be able to help if you are having trouble finding anything”.