Rangi – Sailing Sunday

RANGI -Sailing Sunday

In the top photo we see the B Class yacht – Rangi on the slipway at the W.G Lowe shipyard in Auckland, just prior to the start of the first Trans-Tasman Yacht Race in 1931, I believe there was only 3 yachts entered – Oimara (Australia), Teddy (Norway) and Rangi (NZ) – Teddy won.

In the second photo we see her being towed to the start line, and in the bottom photo, on the left is Alan Leonard, owner of Rangi, alongside Alan, steering the yacht is Master Lowe, the grandson of the builder of Rangi. The occasion is welcoming Rangi back into Auckland after the return voyage from Sydney. 

The race was held again in 1934 with only two boats entered – Te Rapunga (Germany) and the legendary Ngataki, with Johnny Wray at the helm – won by Te Rapunga. 

The photos comes to us from the Auckland Libraries Heritage Collection.

UPDATE: John Newsham has advised that Rangi was originally named ‘Schopolo’ and was built as a ‘schnapper’ boat for the inshore fishing trade – see photos below (ex Little Ships) . She was driven ashore at Cascade Bay, Norfolk Island when the crew was ashore after a wind change (1951)

UPDATE: Photo below, ex John Newsham, of Ngataki and te Raupunga at the state of the 1934 race. Ngataki (photo ex Century of sail) was sailed to Tahiti in the 1930s – John’s father’s cousin – Nip Colebrook was in the crew. John often used to see Wray cruising around Waiheke in his pre-war launch. He would always gave him a big wave  – mid 1960s.  

Kuri – A Peek Down Below

KURI – A Peek Down Below
The 44’ Kuri has made a guest appearance on WW back late December 2015, WW link below. Now thanks to her tme listing (thanks Ian McDonald) we get to have a peek below.https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/12/30/kuri/

Kuri was designed by Herbert Levi and built in 1929 by WG Lowe, she has had an honest life as a workboat and now resides in Picton snd converted to pleasure boating / live-aboard. Powered by a 115hp Gardner 6L3, she is very well fitted out (as are most southern boats). Depending on her condition its a lot of boat for $83k



The above photo of Moata crossing the Grey River bar on Sunday (28-03-2020) was sent in by Dave Stanaways, Dave commented that they were luckily that both Grey and Westport are a lot shorter crossings than the likes of the Manukau or Kaipara bars.
The photo below ex Lew Redwoods fb is dated c.1940-1959 and shows Moata alongside the wharf in Auckland – Moata was built in 1937 by WG Lowe.
Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 6.24.48 AM
For a work boat she has stunning lines 😉
See / read more on Moata at the WW links below

Whitianga Mystery Launch + Akarana Launch Day ‘Home’ Movie

Whitianga 1950

Whitianga Mystery Launch + Akarana Launch Day ‘Home’ Movie
Great photo above dated December 1950 of a lot of pleasure craft at Whitianga – the question is can we ID the white launch in the middle of the photo? Baden Pascoe will chip in, I’m sure 🙂
The Launching of Akarana

I was sent the above 2 minute ‘home’ movie by Ngairene Rogers of the launching of the 1960 Auckland pilot boat Akarana, designed by A.J. Collings & built by W.G. Lowe. Ngairene promised me the a copy of the movie approx. 8 months ago & I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in the post. I’m sure Dick & Colleen Fisher, owners of Akarana, will be rapt to view it. So thank you Ngarene for sharing it with us.
(sorry about the ‘tattoo’s the middle off the screen – the price you pay for free hosting)
Ngairene’s brother Wade worked on Akarana when he was an apprentice in the early 1960s. He also did all the interior and detail work on Deodar (the harbour police launch), Ngairene commented that Wade was such a good boatbuilder that all the wealthy “yachties” used to ask that he be the one to work on their precious yachts, even though he was an apprentice.
The movie is in two parts, one section in black and white and the other in colour. There are also a few of bits of the boatbuilders clowning around (or working?), such as putting a plank of wood into a steamer.
Ngairene occasionally is in contact with one of the apprentices (Ross MacIntosh) featured in the movie, Ross lives in the Auckland suburb of Mt Roskill. In the movie Ross is the one wearing a pale short sleeved shirt and (short) brown shorts with a hammer sticking out of the belt on the left side – he walks away from the camera at one point then looks back over his shoulder and bends his left arm backwards as if waving.
You can view/read more on Dick Fisher’s restoration of Akarana here

Workboat Wednesday – Moata

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 5.34.41 PM


Work Boat Wednesday – Moata

Baden Pascoe sent me the photos above of the 1937 WG Lowe built Moata, owned by Fin Horder, who is doing some nice work on her. Baden commented that its nice to see a classic work boat still doing her stuff and being understood.

Extra cool to see the problem solved by not nailing ply over her decks.

Moata made a cameo appearance on WW back in April, click the link below to see a great b/w photo of her c.1960 on the Clevedon River.  https://waitematawoodys.com/2018/04/04/moata/

Any One Heard of ‘France Craft’, or better still own one?

The bronze bow fitting / boatbuilder’s plate below, is for sale on trademe – thanks to Peter Thorpy for the listing heads up.

Golden Gate AK33




Today’s post has come together with the help of a bunch very knowledgeable woodys, all members of the Work Boat Study Group – Harold Kidd, Baden Pascoe, Russell Ward, Keith Ingram & Bob McDougall. The fishing photo above is from the Tudor Collins collection at the Auckland Museum, emailed to me by Ken Ricketts. The stern on photo is ex Baden Pascoe from Theo Lowe’s scrap book.

Golden Gate was built by WG Lowe Ltd in mid>late 1930’s. She measured 46′ LOA & was most likely powered by a K3 Kelvin from new, these were the engine of the choice of most of the dally Waitemata fishermen. The Kelvin would push her along at 8 knots. Most of the fleet were eventually re-powered by Gardners fitted by Shorty Sefton, the grandfather of Andrew, Cameron and Matthew Pollard.
The number ‘714’ tells us that this is a wartime photo, as these I/D numbers being allocated from 1940. During this period she was  Auckland-based & owned by a M. Modrich. There’s a good chance that the man in the photo is the owner himself, Mr Modrich.

Golden Gate was later based at Tauranga, and was wrecked on Whale Island on 1 September 1957. At the time she owned by Golden Fisheries Ltd, Tauranga.

Now there was some debate as to what she was up to in the top photo, some suggesting she was aground & about to get a tow. Keith Ingram has however voiced his opinion that she is fishing and doing beach seining, when they were allowed to do it in the Gulf. The bow will be on the puddy and the tide coming in. If you look closely the engine is ticking over ahead. The skippers mate will be on the other end of the net on the beach. You had to haul the ropes by hand.

The cool thing about these ‘old’ work boats was that while they were ‘commercial’ they had style, something that is missing from most of todays ocean harvesters 😦

01-10-2016 Input from Harold Kidd – ex Paperpast, the headline answers the engine questions.


02-10-2016 – Perhaps the mystery is solved. Baden Pascoe sent me the photo below (Tudor Collins again) that shows the Dalmatia about to tow Golden Gate off the sand/mud. Baden commented that a couple of things in the photo lead him to believe that it is a tow job –  the weight of the line, this is too big for seine coil. The other thing is that all the fishing gear is aboard. They could have well got into this situation from doing what Keith says above. Baden advised that Dalmatia is still around.



Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.54.04 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.54.39 PM


Tokatea was built by WG Lowe & Sons in approx 1958 for the Fisheries & based at Coromandel & partially sank there when her skipper (Neil McDonald* possibly) clipped the black rocks in the dark while seeking to chase a trawler sneaking out to do a “burglar shot” as they called them in those days. Proof of the incident was that just forward of the engine room bulkhead, port side, she had 2 or 3 short planks & a couple of tingles where she had been repaired.
Rodger Edwards & Ian McDonald tendered for her when Fisheries bought in the big Steber boats c.1987/88 & took her to Tauranga.

Prior to Tokatea Roger & Ian also owned another ex fisheries boat, Hubert Levy (named after a man who worked for Lowes) & if you look at the step-down from the foredeck on both vessels, you will  definitely see the similarity in both vessels. Ian was told that Hubert had a hand in both designs.
The Hubert Levy (photo below) pre dated Tokatea by about a year and was built with a very shallow draft, with twin bilge keels, as she was based for a while on the Manukau harbour.  Ian & Roger tendered for her successfully when she retired from service in Tauranga. She had a Gardner 4LW in her – last seen by Ian at Great Barrier Island and powered by a 6cyl Ford, the owner couldn’t afford to fix the 2UC Gardner gearbox – a sacrilege Ian reckons.

*Neil McDonald – was nicknamed in Coromandel the ‘Black Mac’,  Ian believes he became the Harbour Master there after he retired from M Fish.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.56.15 PM