The Evolution of Pleasure Craft Communication

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THE EVOLUTION OF PLEASURE CRAFT COMMUNICATION

Next time you pick up a mobile phone to chat to another boat or log a trip report via the Coastguard APP, spare a thought for the boats of days gone by that had only one option (other than flags) for communications at sea. As a child I was fascinated by all these strange random words Zulu Mike Bravo Lima etc – my father being an ex-army comms man, morse was his thing. On holidays, myself and brothers were ‘made’ to listen to ships at sea and try to record the message, the winner i.e. most accurate, would win a chocolate.

WW follower Ken Ricketts is of an age that he has seen and experienced the evolution of New Zealand maritime radio communications and recently he wrote a comprehensive chronicle on the subject, which you will find below. It is worth a read to either educate or refresh yourself on the huge advances that have been made in the field. The story is peppered with a few tales directly relating some of our woody fleet (scroll over photos to ID the woodys) so hopefully that will keep those of you with a short attention span –  awake 🙂 Enjoy

Maritime radio-telephony in Auckland pleasure craft, had its first & humble beginnings in 1946, at which time, Ken’s father, Ralph Ricketts, entered the fray, with the second ever such installation, in Auckland, (the original first one was on the REHIA owned by Bill & Phyl Ryan at that time — who told RR about it) RR immediately bought, (as ultimately almost everyone did, once they knew about them ), an ex WW II war assets double side band, (DSB),  ZC1 MK II R.T., for  20 pounds, & fitted it to the Rickett’s launch – JULIANA, after which RR had a visit from a Govt radio inspector, who took diagrams of aerial format & layout, made various notes on his file of the installation, checked RR’s ability to use the set, made a test call himself, to “ZLD Auckland Radio,” sited  at Musik Point at that time, on the entrance to the Tamaki Estuary, & made sure RR had a “Restricted Radio Operators License,” which was required in those days, by all radiotelephone operators, on all pleasure craft, – now long since discontinued, & he allocated JULIANA the call sign of ZMYP.

REHIA 1948

JULIANA & AOMA c1953

Originally, there was only one call frequency, & that was 2012Kh, in 1946, used for all purposes, but not too long after that, 2012  was reallocated exclusively for harbour control use, to the Auckland Harbour Board, & pleasure boaties were allocated 2182, the international distress frequency for initial calling to government shore stations, & 2162 for ship to shore working, & 2456 & 2638 for ship to ship gossiping. 

The 2162 working frequency, was later changed to a duplex frequency, with 2162 for listening to ZLD, & them receiving on 2207. 

The frequency of 2045, was allocated around 1950, for use for transmission between privately owned shore stations & boats, such has Port Charles Radio, (the legendary Jim Smith owner/operator ), Gt. Barrier radio , Awaroa Radio etc. 

These shore stations were used extensively, for many years, from around 1950, by many commercial fishing boats, working throughout the Gulf, many of whom, reported in daily their positions, usually around 6 pm. There were also many pleasure craft which used the service, & RR was one of them. He joined the Port Charles association for most of his boating life with legendary Jim Smith the owner/operator. RR or Ken would call Jim every evening at around 6pm & report in our position at that time. 

You paid a small annual fee usually, to join their non profit associations, to cover their running costs & they kept records of your locations, times of calls, assisted in any way they could, with any problems you may have had, etc., & these associations usually operated, for several set times, of about 15 to 30 minutes, each day. Ken thinks some may still exist on the VHF channels, possibly there is one on Gt. Barrier Island.  

Auckland Coastguard was also allocated the frequency of 2128, (from recall), for ship to Coastguard use. 

By the early 1950s ZLD had introduced a radio telegram service to land based recipients who had a telephone number available, as the address & the telegrams would be sent by ZLD to any entity via that phone number ( & later delivered in hard copy via normal post to the address of the phone number), & if a reply was quested, or anticipated, they would telephone it through immediately, whilst the ship waited on standby, & ZLD would call back with the reply ASAP. 

The cost, was fairly expensive for the era, & on a cost per word basis & the costs were charged to the landline phone number. This service stayed in place as far as Ken knows right through in to the VHF era.

Land based parties, could also send radio telegrams to boaties, with the address, via the P & T telegram phone number, which must include the call sign & was as follows; (as a example) Mr. Smith Vessel ZMYP JULIANA C/- ZLD AUCKLAND RADIO. 

ZLD at the end of its 3 or 4 hourly daily weather forecasts & shipping information, would give a list of all telegraphic traffic held for all vessels including of course, & very importantly, their call signs, & most would listen to these broadcasts, as often as possible, & advise friends on other boats, if they were near at the time, that  ZLD had a message for them.

By about 1983 this communication with the outside world was taken a step further, &  ZLD introduced a VHF radio telephone service, which many mature old time boaties may recall, where a ship could call ZLD, on channels 22 & 23, in the  Auckland region, give them a landline number, which they would dial & then patch your call to ZLD through, to enable you to talk direct, to the subscriber, which whilst it was a good service, it had its shortcomings & limitations, shall we say, as any boatie who by chance or otherwise, dialled into ch. 22 or 23 on his boat, would inevitably be privy to what were sometimes surprising, & very private conversations, also necessarily, only one party at a time in the conversation could speak, & the other had to listen, & one had to say “over,” at the end of each segment of conversation, to enable the other party to know when to respond, 

Calls to boaties from landlines could also be booked with ZLD & ZLD would call them back, when they were able to make contact the vessel, the land based party wished to contact.

There was one other form of radio communication which evolved & inevitably found its way in to the boating world for a period in the 1970s/80s & that was  Citizen Band (CB) radio transmitting communication equipment, for short distance communication, unrestricted in it use, & it could be used by any person, at any place for any lawful purpose, but it was restricted, to a very low aerial output power in all sets, which could be bought & licensed extremely cheaply, much more so, than proper marine  purpose built equipment, & this medium became popular for a period, in the  1970/80s, with some  boaties, mostly in the smaller cheaper craft range, where cost was a really important issue for some, but whilst it was cheap, it had many shortcomings, including its very short transmission range, & as there was no structured organisation of any type, either private or govt., monitoring it, one simply in event of distress, had to rely on someone within the range for your set, hearing your call, & helping as best they could, one way or another. So whist it was so very limited in its rescue value, nevertheless it was better than having no communication at all, if in need of help. 

These sets had a good number of preset channels  & operated on the HF 26.500 Mh band in NZ., which was a different frequency range to many other countries, including Australia, which used 27.500Mh), & call signs were allocated to owners on a regional basis, depending on where you lived.

Ken installed one on his 40′ launch TIARRI, when launched in 1979, in order to have maximum possibility of assisting boats, in times of distress or breakdown. TIARRI’S main call sign was ZM3199, which, along with the radio, Ken took from his first boat, FLYING SCUD, which was issued to F.S. in December 1953, when she was built & launched by Roy Lidgard, just after the advent of the letter number era – only 1100 numbers in to the new system.  

TIARRI

FLYING SCUD 1975

There were the very odd exceptions, to the above early days policy, & call signs, mostly around the 1940s era, almost all of which, were for boats, where they were owned by the owners of private islands, in the Hauraki Gulf & Northland, & perhaps the Sounds, where they had a licensed, private, island based set, on their island, & a special boat call sign allocated to their boats, for keeping in touch with their home bases, usually where these boats were their sole means of access, to the outside world, & these sometimes, were of a number letter combination, with just one or two numbers usually, & had just one specific frequency, to operate with.  

All transmitting in DSB & SSB sets was technically very accurately totally controlled, often by a plug in type internal “Chrystal Control unit,” or similar, for each frequency,& fitted to all sets for all transmitting frequencies. 

There were later several lower end of the High Frequency, (HF) band, frequencies added in the 3, 4, & 6, Mh bands, mostly used by off shore boats, out at sea. 

This cumbersome, & red tape process, of registration, continued for a good number of years, right through the initial era of “ Double side Band “ transmission, & in to the upgrading of that era, to “single side band” (SSB) transmission, circa 1970s

After single side band transmissions became compulsory, around the 1970s this required the purchase of a new set, & the only double side band frequency which was still legally usable, was the international distress frequency of 2182 Kh,  & this could only be used for calls to govt shore stations (ZLD for Auck)  or ZLW for Wellington, as examples),  for emergencies only, & craft which did not wish to outlay for a new SSB set, or alternatively still keep a 2182 set after they bought a VHF set after they were introduced, could modify & keep their old set, & were then reallocated a compulsory special “ZMX” based call sign, starting at ZMX2001.

These days ZLD has left Musik Point, & the government’s ZLD & ZLW (& ZLB in the South Island,) which all later came under the umbrella of Telecom, being the replacement that took over from the old P & T., which in turn, has now become a totally new entity, as “Maritime Radio,” & under the umbrella through various subsidiaries, to “Maritime NZ.,” being another different Govt Dept, with the  transfer becoming effective from midnight, & starting on the 1st October 1993 & the operators of which, are now all based in the Old Radio NZ Avalon building, in Avalon, Lower Hutt, Wellington, with transmission facilities, in Wellington & Taupo, plus a network of repeaters, scattered around the country monitoring the whole country, which is now all controlled from this one location.

In the later 1970s early 80s Very High Frequency, (VHF) maritime radio was introduced, which gave many benefits, with all its ongoing ever increasing refinements, & installation of shore based repeaters, on high ground, throughout the country, which  has now ultimately totally replaced the old Medium Frequency DSB & SSB sets, with many advantages to all users, for all local NZ & inshore boating, along with the discontinuation of licensing of individual operators, & inspections by govt inspectors, of all boats so fitted, with RT equipment. 

Also, Radio Spectrum Management, the govt department which these days controls allocates & administers all radio & TV transmissions, call signs & frequencies, has vested in NZ Coastguard, the authority to issue calls signs on its behalf, of a mixed letter number type, such as, (possible examples only), ZMQ 2947, ZMW4526, ZMR 2937, & so on, as a result of the huge demand for these, these days, & the time consuming process it used to be, for R.S.M.

Originally in 1946, this was all under the umbrella of the Post & Telegraph Department to later become Telecom, & remained so for many years, until 1987, when it all started to change & we have ended up, for a good number of years now, with RSM, as the entity in control.

The pleasure craft call sign evolution, & changes to it, are as follows;

As above, all craft up until c1953, were all 4 letters alone.

As they were beginning to run out of call signs, around 1953, the Govt. wrote to all pleasure craft owners, requesting they approve the replacement of their existing all letter call signs with a letter number combination, starting originally, with the first reissued call sign of ZM2001. 

It is important to note that the Govt., could not insist on this by law, & only request it, & if the owners did not consent to the allocation of a new call sign, the original then remained with the boat, & there are a few of boats that still have their original all letter call signs even today. 

Neither Ken’s father nor the owner/builder of GAY DAWN, Bill Waters, who RR bought the boat off in 1956, surrendered their original all letter call signs, for their respective boats, —  (see image above of GAY DAWN taken c1965, showing clearly, a typical DSB aerial set up as used for many of the DSB, SSB, medium frequency sets of that era), —  RR sold JULIANA in 1956 with ZMYP, (which was somewhere along the way, later either abandoned, or replaced, with letter number combo call sign), & now, as referred to below, is reinstated to her for life. RR bought in 1956 & sold in 1970, GAY DAWN, with ZMIV in place, which however, also later along the way, was replaced by persons unknown, with a letter number combo, at least once, note: ZMIV has now been reallocated to the Rickett’s family and used on the vessel ROSEANNE, which is owned by Ken’s daughter.

GAY DAWN C.1965

Such was the ever increasing size of the “snowball,” of pleasure craft sets, that it was not all that long, before the original issue of the ZM2001 to ZM9999 were all allocated, & we then saw the issue of  ZMA2001 to ZMA9999, followed by the final issue to the SSB era, which was ZMY2001 to ZMY9999. 

It is important to note, that all call sign issues right from ZM 4 letter, ZM+, ZMA, ZMY, & ZMX, & all Coastguard issued call signs are approved & provide for use of all VHF sets.    

All letter only call signs, which are all just 4 letters alone, must still be issued by R.S.M. direct, & are mostly reserved for all Govt vessels,(eg., all the Police DEODAR launches were & still are, all allocated ZMIH, during their term of service to the Police), also some very large off shore fishing vessels, & some NZ based pleasure boats, that cruise off shore, or are capable of cruising offshore have these call signs allocated as well. 

Other pleasure craft, that have some classic, historical, or other special significance, are also issued these, at the discretion of RSM.    

Ken has enjoyed a close & good relationship with RSM, for many years, & there are some interesting background stories relating to the issue of some of these special allocations of all letter call signs, which Ken has been associated with, & some of these are as follows. There are a tiny number of pleasure craft that were built prior to about 1953, where the owners did not approve replacing their original call sign, which the dept. would have requested, but could not insist upon in c1953. 

Two examples of this are as follows; 

One with its original 1946 issued call sign is RAKANOA, which still has her original call sign ZMTF as issued when new, & the other, is Owen Foster’s WAIRANGI, also with her original call sign of ZMTM.

RAKANOA c1948

WAIRANGI 2020

A fairly recent approval exception, is the issue of ZMPY, to Peter Loughlin’s Colin Wild built LADY MARGARET, which was first issued to her, in 1941, by the Navy, & is recorded as such on her British Ship registration, (see below), & as a classic craft, with this history of her call sign, Ken assisted Peter, to secure this for her for life, when he bought her.

LADY MARGARET

LADY MARGARET Registration certificate P1 (TOP) jpg

Likewise Francis Uren’s “W1”, was issued with ZMWI in 2014, which is another detective story. W1 was originally brought to NZ by the Royal New Zealand Air force in 1941, as their extremely fast, & prize patrol craft, & given in the circumstances, the logical Air force number of “W1”, which has now been reinstated to her, as her name, by present owner Francis, after a long period of being known as CARROMA.  

W1 c.1942

As she is now W1 again, Ken approached RSM, gave them her history, & they in turn, approached their counterparts in the military, to see if they could uncover her original WWII call sign, but unfortunately all those records have been lost, so as an alternative, RSM offered Francis the call sign ZMWI. – They could not offer ZMW1 as international radio spectrum law, prohibits that type of call sign, worldwide, so she now has ZMWI for life, free of charge.  

W1 2014 - 1

El Capitan is another interesting story, as she now has ZMEC. It goes like this; She was built c1961, by a farmer, in a shed on his farm, to a Chris Craft design, in Ohakea, & he carted her around on a big trailer, & used her at Taupo, & the Sounds, until 1976,  after which time, she sat in a shed on his farm, never to move again, until bought by Tony Mitchell, of Lake Rotoiti, off his estate, post 2000. When Tony bought her, she had a Coden 2+ Mh multi channel, medium frequency, marine RT,  which would have been fitted almost certainly, when she was new, which has now been replaced with a VHF, but for which, there had never been a marine call sign issued, as the original owner, was also a radio ham, with a “ZL#### ham radio licence & call sign, which automatically allowed him to use this call sign for his boat. Ken provided on Tony’s behalf, all relevant info to RSM, & requested, & they approved, ZMEC (El Capitan), which she also has for life.

EL CAPITAN 2012

Ralph Rickett’s JULIANA, now renamed MARJORIE ROSA, now also of Lake Rotoiti, has been reallocated for her life, her original call sign ZMYP, as issued to RR in 1946. Ken told RSM of her history, as the second ever pleasure craft in Auck., to have marine RT, in 1946, & they have approved the reissue to her of her original ZMYP, to Fraser Wilson, her present owner, for her life. 

Marjorie Rosa : Juliana 2019

Marjorie Rosa : Juliana 2018

Story told by Ken Ricketts, edited by Alan H.

The Marine Photographer’s Eye, Benjamin Mendlowitz – OCH Video Featuring Kiwi Classic Wooden Boats

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The Marine Photographer’s Eye, Benjamin Mendlowitz – OCH Video Featuring Kiwi Classic Wooden Boats – The best photos of our fleet you will have ever seen!

Today’s story is rather special as the team at offcenterharbor.com have given waitematawoody readers access to their latest video that features woodys from this years Mahurangi Regatta. The OCH site contains over 500 videos (& 500 articles) that range from boatbuilding, to trimming sails, to a complete course on understanding every aspect of your marine diesel engine. There’s even a 42-part series on how to build a Caledonia Yawl camp cruiser. The collection of videos features mariners and craftspeople at the very top of the boating field, showing exactly how they do things, and which products they use in their work.

One of the OCH founders is Benjamin Mendlowitz who, in my eyes, is the worlds finest photographer of classic wooden boats, this January, Ben and his co-founders escaped the US winter and headed down under. Whilst in NZ their #1 mission was to attended the Mahurangi Regatta and to this end on the Saturday Jason Prew with My Girl & myself with Raindance hosted – Maynard Bray, Benjamin Mendlowitz & Steve Stone for a Regatta photo shoot.

In the 11 minute video, Ben talks us through his day on the water filming woodys. In the opening section when Ben is commenting on our classic fleet he says “I was newly inspired in my photography”. When a photographer with as much experience as Benjamin Mendlowitz says that – that is saying something about our woody fleet. Plus the video is a master class for anyone interested in marine photography.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW AND SIT BACK AND ENJOY + CHECK OUT THE COOL OCH OFFER BELOW

https://www.offcenterharbor.com/videos/marine-photographers-eye-benjamin-mendlowitz-in-new-zealand/ww190523

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The OCH site is 100 percent membership driven, and they do not accept advertising. Not lining their pockets with advertising enables them to provide OCH members with the unvarnished truth, straight from legendary masters of their craft – without worrying whether they piss off an advertiser 🙂

In addition to allowing WW woodys to view the video at no-charge, they have also put together a one-off subscription offer for WW readers.

They are offering 50% off the annual rate – thats an amazing US$24.50 – BUT woodys be quick it will not last for long + there is a Risk Free Guarantee – try it for a few days, if your not happy they will provide you with a 100% refund. I’m a subscriber – I love the site, I have watched one story probably 10 times.

JUST CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO SUBSCRIBE  

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  • FULL ACCESS to everything on the site for 1 full year (including our growing library of over 1,000 videos and articles)
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Wairangi

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WAIRANGI

Wairangi has appeared before on ww (link below) but has recently had a big dose of TLC. The above photos are a mix of some taken by owner Owen Foster (via KRickets) while anchored at Rakino Island & mine that show her over Easter anchored in Man o War Bay, Waiheke Island. The newly varnished cabin/wheelhouse looks stunning & combined with a lot of other work, she looks very special – in fact I would be happy to call her mine 🙂

Also looking very smart in one of the photos is Safari, her owner Neil took the below photo of Raindance during the Sunday afternoon squall that hit the bay mid afternoon – rain, hail, wind = boats dragging their anchor all over the bay – fun & games but no damage.

https://waitematawoodys.com/2016/03/05/wairangi-3/

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11-08-2018 Update – Photos below taken by Owen Foster using a drone, while at anchor at Oneroa, Waiheke Island. emailed in by Ken Ricketts

Update 19-07-2019 ex model maker John Whyte

Back in February I was contacted by John Whyte seeking info on Wairangi, John was doing the drawings of Wairangi for model maker Paul Berntsen (Havelock North). Earlier today John sent me the photos below of Paul’s finished model. John commented that the wharf behind it is a 1.34 scale model of the Opua wharf which measures just over 6 metres in length. John plans to build a lower wharf for the pilot boat with a ladder coming of the higher wharf.
The boat measures around 450mm long and 110mm wide.
Paul is obviously very talented, I struggle maintaining my own boat – building  something like this would be a recipe for disaster for me 🙂
Wairangi 1

A Lap of Waiheke


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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.

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Wairangi

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WAIRANGI

I was sent the above photos of the 35′ launch Wairangi by Annette Evans, Wairangi belonged to her late father & Annette is about to undertake a restoration project. Before commencing work Annette is keen to see if ww can shed any light on the boat. They are keen to find out more on her original design, so any help identifying her original design or past owners would be greatly appreciated.

The boat now resides in Marlborough but it originally came from Dunedin and was known to the area as a pleasure launch in the Otago Harbour area before and immediately after World War II.
It’s believed that she was originally built in Auckland in 1932. It was owned in the mid > late 1950’s by a Mr W McCulloch (potentially well known in Otago), then it was transported by rail to Blenheim in aprox 1961, it belonged to a Mr R Foster of Dunedin.

The photos show her being prepped for her 1961 rail journey from Dunedin to Blenheim.

The 2016 Classic Yacht & Launch Exhibition wrapped up yesterday with the legendary beers & bangers 🙂


Over the weekend I read Harold Kidd & Robin Elliott’s booklet – ‘The Mullet Boat -A NZ Yachting Icon’, produced for the exhibition, it really is special. Grab a copy from Boat Books in Westhaven.

Wairangi – heads north

WAIRANGI- THE JOURNEY NORTH - PICTON TO AUCKLAND- PT  1- A CLEAN BUM FIRST

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WAIRANGI – Heads North
photos ex Owen Foster via Ken Ricketts

As previous noted on ww Wairangi has been sold & is relocating to Auckland, Waiheke  Island I believe. Owen supplied this collection of photos from the passage from Picton to Auckland. Wairangi was designed by Wren Carey & built by Andy Miller of Miller & Tunnage fame. For a 1934 vessel of her design she is unusual in that she was launched as a pleasure vessel, which goes against her looks that scream ‘work boat’ converted to pleasure use. Wairangi was the opposite as she became a Lyttelton pilot boat c1948.

To view / read more details of her past click here https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/05/28/wairangi/

05-03-2016 Arrives safely at Waiheke Island

07-04-2016 – Wairangi getting a little love at Pier 21. Photo ex Rod Marler

Wairangi at Pier 21

11-04-2016 Update & photos below from CYA member Neil Williamson (owner of MV Safari & the mullet boat Arawa)

Currently doing some work on Wairangi at the moment and thought I would share some pics now the hull has been stripped back showing the planks in fantastic condition
She’s so well made and still in great nick. Great to work on ones like this.

26-10-2016 – photo below of Wairangi in Smokehouse Bay, Great Barrier Island 28/03/2016. ex owner via Ken Ricketts.

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1934 Miller & Tunnage

1934 Miller  & Tunnage

This 1934 work-boat conversion appeals to me. She is a big old girl 55’8” x 13’5” x 5’ 10” – built in heart kauri & powered by a Gardner 6L3 115hp diesel.

For sale on trademe she recently had an extensive refit. The owner is reluctantly retiring from the sea. would make a nice live aboard.

Anyone able to ID her? Currently in Picton so maybe one of the southern woodys?

More details here https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/05/28/wairangi/

Info ex Paul Drake
Below is the ad for WAIRANGI when she was put up for tender by the Lyttelton Port Company (in the 1980’s?).

Photos ex Frank Stoks of Wairangi taken today (01/10/2014)

Wairangi

 
WAIRANGI
 
Story by Ken Ricketts
 
Designed by Wren Carey of Christchurch, as a pleasure craft for himself and his family. She was to be 17 meters long x 4.1 meters beam x 1.9 meter draft with 10 berths in 3 cabins. Her weight is estimated at 35 tons and she is perhaps a little different from other classic launches of that era in that she has a cruiser stern which, in a following sea  is very, very comfortable.
 
Well known boat builder, Andy Millar, of Millar & Tunnage, in Dunedin, was selected by Carey to build her, – which they did, from heart kauri, and completed her in 1934.  It is believed Wren Carey based her in Lyttelton, and mainly cruised Banks Peninsula, but there are photos, which show her in Picton, so Carey and his friends used her in the Marlborough Sounds, probably over the summer holidays. In those pre-war days.
 
Photos below show she sported 2 masts, the main mast, just in front of the wheelhouse, and the mizzen mast about over what is now the owners cabin, which is fairly well aft.
 
In those days the super structure stopped at the funnel, so access to the lower areas aft, would have been via an external hatchway, just aft of the funnel casing.
 
Her engine was Thornycroft, which must have been used as an auxiliary, with sail being used, when possible.
 
At the outbreak of WW2 she wascommandeered for use by the Lyttelton Harbour Board  as an inspection vessel..
 
At the end of hostilities, she became surplus to requirements, and was handed back to Carey, who then sold her in 1948, to the Lyttelton Harbour Board, (LHB) (refer Russell Ward’s comment below), as their pilot boat, and small tug. The LHB removed the old petrol motor, and installed a brand new Gardner 6L3 marine diesel, which is still operating perfectly today. They had an engineer in the engine room, who manually shifted the gearbox into forward, neutral & astern, on instruction from the skipper on the helm, but today a Morse system is used at the helm, which goes from mechanical, to electrical, to hydraulic, via an ingenious conversion system. She cruises at about 7.5 knots and uses about 6 – 8 litres of diesel an hour. There are very few 115hp marine engines today, with this low consumption figure, and the 4 new fuel tanks installed recently, will hold around 3,500 litres of diesel, which makes her ideal for expedition work or long passages.
 
LHB also removed her sails and the mizzen mast, and installed a radar above the wheelhouse, where the mainsail on its boom would have swung.
 
So began her transformation from a motor sailer, to 100% launch.
 
It can safely be assumed that Wairangi, during time with the LHB, has rubbed up against virtually every passenger and cargo ship visiting Lyttelton, from 1948, to the late 1980’s, when she was sold to Lionel Jeffries, an Auckland businessman, who used her as a pleasure craft. He also extended the superstructure aft, from the funnel casing, to what is  there today, using teak planking, to match the original wheelhouse upper works.
 
He sold her to Lew Ritchie, who used her as a dive and charter boat, out of Tutukaka, in Northland, for a few years, before putting her on the market, and finally selling it to Andrew Jackson, – a retired Auckland businessman, now living in Picton, who immediately started a large scale refit, and refurbishment of the vessel. Sadly, through years of neglect, it proved not possible to keep the exterior teak planks varnished, as many had split and needed filling, so they were painted over. To replace them would have been very costly..
 
Jackson was looking for an old, NZ built, classic launch, to undertake a couple of adventures abroad. At one stage, it looked like funding might appear, for an expedition, to search for the answer to what happened to Amelia Earhart, when she went missing in her epic 1937 round the world flight. A second plan, one which used her in Europe, in a 13 part television series,  looked like it may eventuate, but the worldwide economic downturn, saw both projects shelved.
 
With her low fuel consumption and huge range she is ideal for expedition work, and long range cruising.
 
The vessel has been fully refurbished, to the point, where the Jacksons now live aboard her, in the new Picton marina.
 
She still has her original call sign of ZMTM.
 
She is now for sale,  contact – Andrew Jackson on 021347988.
WAIRANGI 2013 --  BUILT 1934WAIRANGI - PILOT LAUNCH-  CIRCA 1948