WENNA (Rangitira)

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WENNA (Rangitira)
The 32’ c.1920’s launch Wenna has appeared several times on WW, links to those stories below – lots of details and photos.
Back in 2014 Harold Kidd shared with us that Jack Taylor had given him the good oil on Wenna. Jack used to work alongside Alf Bell of Collings & Bell and Alf told him some facts about Wenna. Also an amusing tale as to how she got her name 🙂
She was launched as Wenna and at some stage renamed Rangitira and then changed back by Pam Cundy at the Whangateau boat yard when they restored her back in 2014. Subsequently ownership changed to Brent (sorry do not know the surname) who undertook an extensive refurbishment – as we view her above. 
1. She was built by Collings & Bell.
2. They took their time over construction so Eric O’Neill, who lived in Ring Terrace a few yards away, kept nagging them, ” When are you going to get my boat finished”, and the name ‘Wenna’ stuck.
3. Eric was known around the waterfront as ‘Peggy’ O’Neill after the song. He was a cheerful bloke and everyone liked him.
4. He knew nothing about boating at the start. He brought Wenna back from Barrier through the bad February 1936 hurricane and complained to Alex Collings that she leaked. 40 boats were lost in Auckland in that blow. 
5. However, he got to be good enough to skipper PAIKEA on occasion during her NAPS service.



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RSVP– you and your boats name + approx. numbers to sueedwards@xtra.co.nz

Vagrant N17



During the week I was contacted by Stuart Windross in regard to the mullet boat Vagrant, built in the early 1920’s by his grandfather Jack Greenhalgh. I’ll let Stuart tell that story below. 
Then out of the blue while I’m on fb & up pops on the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard page the pictorial of Vagrant being salvaged after sinking at her moorings in Okahu Bay 3 weeks ago. Vagrant was raised and barged ashore on Tuesday, then brought up road by Boat Haulage arriving at the WTB yard on Wednesday. 
I understand that Vagrant  was saved from the crusher by Dino Herbisone, who will carry out her repairs at the WTB yard. 
It would be amiss of me to not mention the wonderful contribution to our wooden boating community the Pam Cundy & George Emtage offer up at the WTB yard. I do not think the word NO is in their vocabulary, they so generously offer up the yard to help stop the demise of heritage craft and then pair the boats up to capable tradesman or people that can repair them if need be or indeed use and enjoy them. The yard can be contacted via email at 
“Further to the discussion regarding the builder of the mullet boat Vagrant I have followed up my post confirming it was built by my grandfather Jack Greenhalgh with a delve in the family photos. 
Attached please find photos of Vagrant  N17 under construction and one of her sailing close to the camera in light winds bow on.  These are verified as they have her name inscribed on the back.
The other pics below, are of what I believe to be an 18 footer named Vim that my Pop John (Jack Greenhalgh) also built prior to Vagrant.  From one of the photos it is pretty clear that her number is V34.  I wonder if you have any info about her fate as she seems absent from online records and the literature.
John (Jack) Greenhalgh was born 20 June 1901 at Riverhead and died 13 July 1984 at Waitakere Hospital.  He was the middle child of 11 born to Edward Walls Greenhalgh and Helen Ramsay (nee Paterson).  His grandfather John William Greenhalgh, originally a coalminer from Wigan UK arrived in NZ in 1886 to oversee the establishment of paper mills at both Mataura and Riverhead.  His father Edward Walls Greenhalgh also worked in the paper mills both at Riverhead and Mataura later living in Richmond Road Auckland.   At the time of building Vagrant he would have been 24 and obviously younger when he built Vim.  He kept the scale half models of their hull shapes (shaped from Kauri) throughout his life.  My Auntie may know of their whereabouts. I believe that both of these boats were built in the back yard of his parents home at Richmond Road.  As you will see the set up was fairly basic!   
Albert Greenhalgh (Alby Jack’s brother) was born in 1906 and I understand was a sailing partner.  The two brothers were very close, marrying sisters (Doreen) Vera and (Florence) Rita Lee.   Alby and Rita’s son Keith is still active in the Reactor sailing fraternity and daughter Beverley’s husband Jaape Pos was a boat builder (at Sea Nymph I think).  Another cousin was Roy Parris (the well known launch builder).
Jack and Vera married in November 1926 and soon purchased a new home in Kingsley St.  This transaction probably necessitated the sale of Vagrant. A later craft (a dinghy I believe the kids used for fishing trips and floundering in Coxs Bay) was built in the front room of the marital home much to the displeasure of his new wife.
A mischievous and witty character he was always ready to enthrall us with a prank or yarn.  I recall his stories of searching shoreline pohutakawa for suitable bends for stems or knees and cutting the corners off square balks of timber to fashion his masts.  He was a very patient worker in wood or metal.
I have included a photo of Jack and Vera Greenhalgh(with my Mum) c1938
I am not 100% sure if all the fleet shots are of Vim but the colour scheme suggests so (unless Vagrant’s cabin sides were painted darker at some stage).
Apologies for the picture quality as the originals are very small and showing their age”.
N17 Vagrant under construction c1924 (inscribed)

N17 Vagrant under construction c1924

N17 Vagrant 1920s (inscribed)

N17 Vagrant 1920s

Vera, Jack and daughter Shirley Greenhalgh

Vera, Jack and daughter Shirley Greenhalgh


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Yesterday, I was privileged to join a small group of friends of the extended Dreyer family at Omaha wharf to celebrate the re-launching of Laughing Lady, owned by brothers James & Michael.
 It’s hard to believe it was over 4 years ago that I first talked to James about the purchase of Laughing Lady in the USA & where would be a good home for her during her restoration. Given James overseas work schedule & desire to be hands on with the project, there really was only one option – the Whangateau boat yard, so that was where she went, just under 4 years ago.
With projects of this size & standard – the end result is always a reflection of the number & calibre of people that have ‘rubbed-up-against’ the vessel, in LL’s case there have been a lot – from Pam, George, James & an army of friends & family. As time ticked on & a re-launch date was set, more wooden boat artisans were roped in. Having seen LL in the flesh, the photos above do not do justice to the work that has been done on her, everyone should take a well deserved a bow.
I was very pleased to see that the project has been a restoration, not a rebuild, James & Michael have kept most things as close to ‘as-launched’ as possible – sure there is modern material & technology in play but its tucked away out of view – the GPS / nav unit is a perfect example, when not needed, it drops down out of sight – very James Bond.
Stunning boat, but the big question, where to keep her – anyone got a vacant boat shed for hire?
I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.
The old lady has had a lot of air time on WW – click the clinks below to view the process (top > bottom) – enjoy
This link will show you photos of her being re – floated https://www.facebook.com/287523138699/photos/rpp.287523138699/10155947222558700/?type=3&theater

Laughing Lady Restoration Update

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Laughing Lady Looking Very Shiny

Trolling the web I came across the Seven Oceans Boatworks facebook page, the above photos do not need any copy, if you want to see lots & lots of photos of the work being done on Laughing Lady, check out sevenoceansboatworks on facebook 😉

24-09-2016  Update – getting closer. Love the ‘n0w you see it now you don’t GPS unit” 🙂



Click to view GPS Unit ‘jack-in-the-box’

Around The Yards – Neptune




Over winter, Neptune the 1956, 30′ motor sailer built by Fred Lidgard on Kawau Island, has been hauled out at the Whangateau boat yard for some TLC & some major work to realign her drive shaft. After buying Neptune, owner Greg was my marina neighbour at Bayswater last summer & on numerous occasions relayed that over a certain rpm Neptune was not the the most relaxing classic to be aboard 😉 Now it would be an understatement to say Greg is a perfectionist so at the earliest opportunity he slipped her & set to correcting the problem.  I’m sure Greg will added to this post the exact details of the work – hint hint Greg 🙂
Neptune slid down the ramp 2 weeks ago & is looking magnificent, see photo below on her mooring. Neptune has always been gifted with wonderful, caring owners & its awesome to see that Greg has taken her to a new high. Check out the ww link (blue) below to see more of this woody.

(todays post photos ex owner)


Weather Bomb Hits Whangateau Boat Yard

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Weather Bomb Hits Whangateau Boat Yard

Early Saturday morning, a weather bomb hit the Whangateau boat yard & the 1926 classic launch Nereides, moored there for some seasonal maintenance,  has been damaged. I’ll let the words & photos on the yards facebook page, link below, tell the story.

Update- seems the internet fairies are playing games & the ability to view the facebook link is missing, so sorry folks – no link.

Nereides owner, Mark, is a good bloke & doesn’t deserve this (again) but Nereides is probably in the best spot possible for the repairs, the work that Pam & George are doing at the yard on a collection of our classic’s is 2nd to none.

Mark – if you need a hand, just ask 🙂


Minx - Wattle Bay 1913

Wattle Bay 1913


photos & details ex Rosemary Robinson

Today’s story is on the L.C. Coulthard built launch Minx, the photos were sent to me by his granddaughter, Rosemary Robinson.
The locations of these photos all appear to be on the Manukau Harbour, I wonder if she ever left the mud & made it over to the sparkling waters of the Waitemata?

I know nothing about Minx so woodys can we help record her history on ww?

Harold Kidd Update – Les Coulthard built MINX for himself in 1913. She was 22ft loa. She was on the Waitemata in 1945 and on the Kaipara as recently as 1999 when Mark Thomas told me she had been sold from Helensville to Dargaville. A very pretty launch, reminiscent of Arch Logan’s work on, say, COQUETTE.


Lincoln Wood Dinghy Restoration (Rebuild)
Harold Kidd sent me the two photos below of a very nice little (8’6”) sailing dinghy built by Lincoln Wood which George Emtage at the Whangateau boat yard is rebuilding for him & Pauline.
The yard is a hive of activity at the moment with some of our finest classics lined up in the creek getting some TLC.


Laughing Lady Updates



Laughing Lady June 2016 Update
photos ex James Dreyer

Chatting with James on-line a while ago I nudged him for an update on LL. As ww followers will know the Lady has been tucked up in the shed at Whangateau Boat yard for over two years getting a serious over-haul from Pam & when in country James + hangers on. James & LL’s co-owners re to be commended on they desire to return LL to her former elegance – below is the note James sent me (slightly edited)

“I was hoping to get some varnish on the topsides before departing offshore and subsequently photographing her looking sharp and shiny but it didn’t happen.  We did, as you know get her in her new coat of Flag Blue.  Unfortunately the port side will need a re-shoot due to some sags – the weather was not in our favor the day we had to spray. We will definitely be in better shape to give a good update in August as we should be well on the way with putting her together.

Pam and I had a bit of a discussion recently and think it is probably worth me commenting on the dark two part LP finish that I have gone with, before the armchair generals and experienced boat builders / owners wade in.  There has been many well qualified comments about the potential for paint failure over the last two years and they have certainly been weighed up and taken onboard.
When LL had her hull rebuild in San Diego, she was taken back to bare wood, re-framed and re-fastened, then impregnated with two coats of epoxy and many seams were splined.  She is tight seamed double planking and the new bottom is double planked and epoxy glued.  The paint system that was applied to her extremely fair hull 10 years ago in San Diego is a two pack epoxy / LP system – Awlgrip above the waterline and International below.  After 10 years sitting in a semi finished state, in the rather extreme conditions of an inland San Diego yard, she had cracked and opened a number of seams, but to be honest, no more than the single pack finishes on the boats around her.  

My concerns were that she would move significantly once parked in the Whangateau shed as she adapted to the cool, moist environment.  Pam repaired various areas that were in need, primarily around the extreme flare and planking twist in the bow, then built a good base of primer.  We let her sit for a year in primer, and surprisingly there was no movement or cracking to speak of.  To strip her back to bare wood was to remove the hundreds of hours of fairing and painting that had been never seen the water even though it was done years before.

On this basis and after much deliberation and discussion, I chose to continue with the two pack system.  The aim from the start was to get her in the water and in use as soon as practicable (as far as restorations go).  

For the first 50 years of her life, she was painted jet black and spent hot summers in the water around Long Island and her winters in a snow covered shed.   After the work in San Diego she was painted Awlgrip royal blue.

We chose Awlcraft Flag blue as the topside color.  Awlcraft has some more give (urethane rather than polyurethane) and can be locally repaired and polished.  My goal was to have her looking as close to original as possible when she launched, and the dark hull is truly striking as I’m sure everyone agrees.

I am well aware that the system will probably show some failures around the seams as she moves.  Its also likely that we will be painting her white in a few years, but to me it makes sense to let her out the door in the current (gorgeous) state and see how she fares.  If need be, we will re-wood her and go single pot, but if not, then a white two part system will continue to be used”

REMEMBER – To enlarge a photo – just click on it 😉

16-07-2016 I received an email from James today with the 2 photos below attached – when LL was launched she was powered by Packard straight 8’s, nowadays is powered by twin Volvo turbo diesels. In his travels overseas James came across the engines below – my response to the email was short – “WALK AWAY & DO NOT LOOK BACK” 🙂


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August 2016 Update (ex James D fb)

It appears with the hull painted its now down to the shiny stuff 🙂



01-09-2016 Update ex James fb

Applying 24k gold leaf to the carved details on Laughing Ladys hull. The first arrow head needs a little tidying up, but with some more practice the unique scroll work detail carved into her bow in 1949 to identify her builder is going to look sweeeet!

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Tainui On The Move

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photos ex Pam Cundy

One of the ww woodys, John Sloane, recently purchased the 1967, 38′ kauri plank carvel launch Tainui from the Great Barrier Island. We do not know a lot about her but she did start life as an Auckland Harbour Board work boat.

John has retained the service of the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard to under take a two year restoration of Tainui. Pam & George had previously travelled to the island to inspect her & yesterday (10-02-2016) the real work began with Pam & George towing Tainui back to Whangateau with the help of Dave Jackson & his wee ship Karros. Pam reports it was a very pleasant trip & Tanui’s now tucked up at T Point and will go up the creek to the boat yard later today.

Tainui is a great looking launch & I’m sure John picked her up for a good price. She is also a very lucky boat because she is now in the care of one of the best classic friendly yards in NZ.
We will follow the work at WTBY with great interest.

Still keen to learn more about Tainui’s past – anyone able to help?

More details on Tainui here https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/12/28/tainui-3/

15-06-2018 Update – photo below ex Whangateau boat year fb  showing Tainui’s rebuilt Gardner being delivered ex Dave Shaw’s workshop. Looking stunning 🙂 well done John. 

Visit the yard fb page to see / follow the restoration


Update 10-09-2019 – Tainui seen here off Cape Brett, in the 1958>1966 period. Her owner John Sloane commented to me that she was probably ‘working’ in her role as an Oyster Inspector boat.

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An Evill Boat

An Evill Boat

I posted a few weeks ago about a 14′ clinker motorboat, built in 1914 by Miller & Tunnage that was heading north, in fact to Waiheke Island, Auckland.
You can read all about the history behind the boat here  https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/06/23/classic-clinker-motorboat/

Today post documents its journey to Waiheke Island.

It all started when Tim Evill called me & told me he had bought the clinker off trademe & he was having the boat & her trailer trucked up to Auckland. A few days later Tim & I have borrowed my wife’s ute, she’s a landscape gardener 😉  & Tim & I are driving around Penrose looking for a freight depot. We hook her up & head off to Bayswater to launch her, the plan being to put her on a berth at the marina for a week to take up (been out of the water for 2>3 yrs). You know what they say about plans – ‘if it can go wrong, it will’ – we backed her down the ramp & straight away the water starts p_ssing in – big time, a bucket & a big manual bilge pump could not keep up. So before she sank we started the single banger motor & did a few circles in her & popped back on the trailer.

Time for a team talk, I suggest to Tim if she was mine I would be taking her up to Pam & George at the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard & letting her sit in the back tidal estuary for a few weeks. So Tim heads back to Waiheke & the boats parked on my front lawn.

Next we borrow the ute again & head off on a road trip to Whangateau. We safely deposited her into Pam & George’s experienced hands, then I had a mission dragging Tim away from the shed & Laughing Lady (the boat not Pam). Over the next few weeks Pam sent us photos & trip reports (laps of the bay).
Tim collected her this week on a totally foul day & caught the car ferry to Waiheke Island. Home is now Sandy Bay so keep an eye out her.

Now I’m sick of calling her ‘the boat’, ‘she’ etc – so how about we suggest a few names for her – with Tim’s surname (Evill) it could be amusing – the best one wins a ww t-shirt.
And b4 you say anything Jason P, I have yours on board Raindance & will give it to you at Patio Bay. Just finalizing the logo & will be printing more – details soon.

Bayswater Launching

Back In Devonport

Dropping Off At Whangateau

On Holiday at WTB

Collection Day

At Home At Last



photo ex Pam Cundy

Realized today that we have not had a ‘mystery launch’ quiz in a while so here we go – she was berthed in the estuary behind the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard.

When looking for a suitable photo to post this one just jumped out as it also features a rather special boat, the steam ship Romany II. I was gifted the tiller one day by her Captain, Russell Ward, on a misty morning on Lake Rotoiti & I was hooked on steam.

So woodys – who can ID the launch?

Update ex Pam Cundy
Strange coincidence Alan, Sarina is going back in the water at the top of the tide today, see photos below. She’s been out for 8 months having a refit – out with the BMC Commodor and a reconditioned Perkins in as the replacement.
The builder does remain a mystery.  Current owner, Kevin Lawton, took over his fathers boat after his passing. Sarina has been in the family for about 25 years.
Kevin seems to recall mention of Jack Telford building her at Milford around 1961-2. Can any one verify this ?


Jennifer II

photo ex Tony Kellian ex Pam Cundy at Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard

The photos of Jennifer II were sent to Pam by Tony & show her hauled out at the Whangateau slip & at sea. Jennifer was used by Tony’s grand father Ross Kellian to commercially fish out of Leigh.
The Kellian family would like to know who built her etc. and if she might be still be around.

So woodys – can anyone help out with info on Jennifer?

Kathleen M

photos & details ex Paul Drake, edited by Alan H

Paul writes so well, I’ll let him tell this tale. Enjoy. AH

“I had an association with this boat in the 1970’s and I’m sure the photos above will be of interest to WW followers.

In 1971, KATHLEEN M was operating as a long-liner out of the Viaduct Basin, in the days when that basin was full of interesting working boats of all types. She was AK444, as is evidenced in one of the above photos. She was purchased that year by the woodwork teacher from Taupo Nui-a-Tia College and taken to Taupo. My brothers and I were involved in getting her from the Viaduct to Westhaven and onto a trailer.

At Taupo the Rugby engine was replaced with a Universal Cruiser Six – a magnificent engine, rather bigger than necessary, but which gave a very satisfactory turn of speed at lowish revs. The addition of a mast and simple but stylish foredeck rails and toe rails made her into a useful and attractive small launch – 22 feet I believe she is.

Some years later she was sold to the Lake Taupo Yacht Club who of course threw out the Universal in favour of a small Buhk diesel. She served the club well for many years, under the name P3.

She was sold into private ownership again and was last noticed offered on trademe as a freebie, probably about 15 years ago. I have a feeling she may have had some rot issues. Her hull had been sheathed in GRP a long time ago – in the 1960’s. Perhaps this had eventually led to problems.

It is interesting to see that she has ‘turned up’ at Pam Cundy’s Whangateau Traditional Boatyard, a good home for her and I will follow with interest to see what happens to her there.”

Pam at Whangateau Tradtional Boatyard Input
“I spotted Kathleen M on trademe whilst we were at Whangaroa on our Christmas cruise & I think it had a buy now on it, so I did. We could only see the bow in the photos and I remember thinking what ever came aft of the bow was going to be sweet and she is. She’s going to be such an easy restoration but I can’t get to her yet. We have the cabin top and the small upper set of windows and other parts of the puzzle to restore her to, we shall go with the lower wheel house though. The fiberglass has not hindered her in any way. It’s a shame it was done but then she may not have been around today…The rot is isolated, well when I last looked her over. One section of a plank has gone, I think it was probably just a bit of sap not heart kauri that’s all. The chop strand is extremely thick and heavy, her hull shall be around forever.”

I thought I had photographed everything that existed at WTB but I can not find a photo of Kathleen M in residence so Pam will have to send one in 😉  AH

Photo # 1 – Haul out time at Westhaven

Photo # 2 – Trial run with fisherman owner doing the splits. Yours truly on the bow fending off.

Photo # 3 – Hauling out at Westhaven – yours truly on the deck, brother Roger at the bow, new owner Laurie in the water.

Photo # 4 – Many hands make light work – scrubbing off at Westhaven. Various members of the Drake family lending a hand, including our mother Marjorie.

Photo # 5 – On the slip at Taupo being worked on shortly after purchase by owner Laurie Tyler.

Photo # 6 – As found in her berth at the Viaduct Basin, surrounded by other beauties of the past.

Photo # 7 – Looking good and in use at Taupo, inside the Waihaha River mouth.

Photo # 8 – AK444 about to leave Auckland for Taupo early one Sunday morning. For various reasons, this trip took 12 hours.

Laughing Lady Catch Up

Laughing Lady  Catch Up

Most of you would be aware from the posts on ww that LL is undergoing a restoration at the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard, if not details here https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/04/09/laughing-lady/

I was chatting (e-mail) with James last week & he has just sent me a batch of photos of LL both in the 1960s while under the ownership of Robert Lion Gardiner & some photos of the work completed by Doug Jones & Fernando Alva of Traditional Boat Works. As an aside these two have also been working over the years on the restoration of ‘Therapy’, James Rhodes 33 yacht in San Diego. details here (scroll down, Mr Uroxsys had a few photo posting issues at the start 🙂 http://classicyacht.org.nz/cyaforum/topic/natica-beater/

James mentioned a spot of good fortune / luck he had recently when he met with the previous owner, Bob Watkins. Bob is a marriage relation of Gardiner, & was kind enough to tell James a lot of her history & give him a collection of parts from his storage unit – including her original game fighting chairs (freshly re-chromed), some interior fittings, old photos, and the boats flag bag which contained the original skull and crossbones house flag of Gardiners Island and her New York Yacht club burgee.

The skull and cross bones refers to the fact that Captain Kidd buried his treasure on the island in 1699 and swore he would kill Lion Gardiner the 9th if it went missing.  Upon Kidds arrest, Gardiner directed the British Admiralty in its direction but the crowns inventory after digging it up by all accounts, was rather short.  Needless to say the Gardiners were always well off!

You can see the House flag flying in the old photos.

Bob recounted purchasing the boat from Gardiners widow, Eunice for a sum of $10,000 sight unseen and without survey in approximately 1998.

On arrival at the well known Driscolls Boat yard in San Deigo, he received a call to explain that his boat was there, unfortunately not in one piece, and every boat enthusiast and broker in the bay was stopping to view her as rumours spread about the unique vessel.

On inspection, the Volvo Pentas, (which replaced a pair of Chrysler inline eights in about 1987), were installed bolted to old frames and planking rather than new engine beds.  This, combined with four full 36 Gallon fuel tanks had resulted in massive structural bottom damage and the engines almost falling through her bottom during the trip from New York to Calfironia.

She was transferred to Clarke Custom Boats (which became Traditional Boatworks) where she was shored up, station molds fitted to return her to her lines, and the bottom essentially cut off.  Laminated frames were fitted, a large new section of stem glued in, and a double planked glued and screwed bottom of Cedar installed.  Up top there was some local splining and a full re-fastening.

The work done in San Diego was a sound basis for continuing the restoration and was was what justified taking the project on & transporting LL across the world to Whangateau :-).

Whangateau Update

Its not often we see the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard like this i.e. a working boat yard, normally the photos show it masquerading as a smoko room for the brilliant open days at the yard 🙂 In the photos we see Laughing Lady’s new hand rails.

07-05-2016 updates


27-05-2016 Update – James words “One month of solid sanding and painting, its time to paint her blue, amped”

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28-05-2016 Update – 3 coats of blue on today, 2 more to go 🙂

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A little bit of a mirror finish happening here – the ‘model’ is Mark Lever, owner of the very smart classic launch Nereides

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The Future of Classic Wooden Boating

I Think I’ve Just Seen Future of Classic Wooden Boating?

A pretty bold headline but what I saw on Saturday at Whangateau was special – have a good look at the photos & you’ll see –

1. A collection of very cool small boats (sail, oar,motor) some restored to concours condition, so just managing to stay afloat.

2. A group of boating enthusiasts of all ages & gender that just wanted to have some fun in classic wooden boats.

3. Everyone helping each other unload & rig up.

4. No macho, bump bump racing, just folks mucking about in boats.

5. Crusty old salts showing grand-kids how to sail.

6. BBQ’ed sausages in white bread.

7. Yachties that had become launchies that were now having to use their iPhone to Google “How to rig a Frostbite”

8. A classic dinghy that had been gifted to the next generation of yachtie that was now sitting on a state-of-the-art carbon-fiber beach trailer.

A lot of people help make the above happen but none of it happens without Pam Cundy & George Emtage, these two are the guardians of today’s venue – The Whangateau Traditional Boat yard.

They might not know it, but they are at the leading edge of the next stage of the classic wooden boating movement.

It was a great day, we need more of these 🙂 in the mean time – enjoy the photos. Remember click on any photo to enlarge it & on forward the link to today’s post to all your friends & tell them to cut that boat down from the garage rafters 🙂

Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard – Small Boat Regatta

Whangateau Small Boat Regatta Invitation – Saturday 28th March

Once again the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard is throwing its doors open & hosting one of their legendary regatta’s.
These events are a great low key opportunity to combine a beach picnic with a fun sail, row or chug around the bay/ harbour.

Bring your own wooden boat or take a turn in one of the boat yards (if you are an experienced skipper). Remember to bring a life jacket.

BBQs and sausages will be available from 12.30pm onwards or bring a picnic lunch.
HIGH TIDE at 3.00 pm  – Sailing starts just as soon as the tide is in far enough, around 1.00pm.
Do stay away from entrance of the harbour.

It takes a lot of time & money to keep the old boats afloat so please pop a few gold coins in the pocket for the BBQ & boat use.

REMEMBER: its a working boat yard so please mind yourself around the yard and out on the water.

If you have not been before click this link to view past visits https://waitematawoodys.com/?s=Whangateau&submit=Search

Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard – A different view

Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard – A different view

photos ex Geoff Steven

At the recent CYA launch group visit / open day my good friend & CYA member Geoff Steven (Awatere) grabbed my camera off me & took a few photos of the yard. Geoff has lots of interesting business interests, most based around the world of film & photography, so it was interesting to see the yard from a pros eyes. Enjoy 🙂

As always, click photos to enlarge 😉

You can have a peek at Geoff’s work here


A Day At One Of My Favorite Boating Spots – Whangateau – Sailing Sunday



And a visit to Whangateau would not be completer without a Laughing Lady work-in-process photo

A Day At One Of My Favorite Boating Spots – Whangateau

Yesterday (Saturday 29/11/2014) saw an informal (is there ever a formal one) gathering of young & old salts at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard. The objective being to launch as many of the classic yachts as possible & hold a race. Unfortunately Hughie had other plans & the wind was just too much for the old bodies & boats. Saying that, the brave did go out & had a blast, our hostess had a wee swim & a tow back……….., relax Pam the photos are safe with me 😉

One of my reasons for rocking up today was to see Harold Kidd’s just restored ‘Retaliation’, fresh from a Pam & George restoration. Retaliation was built by Rex Rix in 1933 to beat the Idle Alongs in Wellingtron, but didn’t. She carrys the same rig. Today she looked stunning & Pauline and Harold Kidd + Hugh Gladwell braved the conditions & had a very quick blast up & down the harbour.

To quote Russell Ward – you know it is blowing when a Zeddie takes a reef in! refer photo of Hugh Gladwell  in Olive (Z9).
Russell took the youngest woody boaters out for a lap of the harbour, things started a little ‘loud’ but the arrival of mum helped & as you’ll see from the photos from in the creek, bliss and happiness was achieved on board.

As always it was a great family day & to a foodie like me , the lunch was a big bonus –  the fresh hot smoked snapper just perfect.

The day had a sad element – we were buzzed by the Westpac Rescue chopper & advised that they were searching for a missing fisherman. It a appears he & a friend were fishing in a small RIB in the entrance to the harbour (actually tied off the channel marker) when an oar was lost overboard & one of the fisherman dived in (fully clothed & sans a life jacket) to attempt to retrieve the oar. The current can be very savage in the area & he disappeared below the surface.
Not long after, I left the boat yard to visit Shane Anderson & the chopper was doing repeat sweeps of the coastline in front of his place. It appears the fisherman has drowned, so lets not let this life be wasted i.e. lets use this incident to remind us to wear our vests, particularly when we are in small boats.

As always a special thank you to Pam & George 🙂



photo & details ex Harold Kidd

A new photo of Wenna has surfaced from Bob Wiley of Boat Haulage, whose father did a lot of cruising on Wenna when she was owned by Willie McWhirter during the 1950s and 1960s.
Willie McWhirter (1902-1983) was a long-term Auckland Harbour Board employee, son of Tom McWhirter, brother of Jack, of the well-known yachting family of St. Mary’s Bay.
He lived at 61 St. Mary’s Road. Dave Jackson knew him well.
When McWhirter owned Wenna he carried a food safe on the dodger which was most unusual and characteristic of the launch during his ownership.
Harold commented this is now a  a missing chunk of Wenna’s history accounted for.

Back then the crack was “Wenna you going to buy me a beer?” 🙂

ps excuse the fly poo on the photo – HDK was worried that cleaning it might have damaged the original print 🙂

To view more photos on Wenna old & current – enter Wenna in the ww search box.

11/11/14 – Harold Kidd Update

Jack Taylor has given me the good oil on WENNA. He used to work alongside Alf Bell of Collings & Bell and Alf told him some facts about WENNA.
1. She WAS built by Collings & Bell.
2. They took their time over construction so Eric O’Neill, who lived in Ring Terrace a few yards away, kept nagging them, ” When are you going to get my boat finished”, and the WENNA stuck.
3. Eric was known around the waterfront as “Peggy” O’Neill after the song. He was a cheerful bloke and everyone liked him.
4. He knew nothing about boating at the start. He brought WENNA back from Barrier through the bad February 1936 hurricane and complained to Alex Collings that she leaked. 40 boats were lost in Auckland in that blow.
5. However, he got to be good enough to skipper PAIKEA on occasion during her NAPS service.


CYA Launch Group Road Trip

CYA Launch Group Road Trip

While the CYA yachties were having their 1st race of the season on Sunday, the launch group hit the road & headed north to Whangateau for a shed visit to check on the progress of ‘Laughing Lady’ at the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard. Good planning ensured we were there at high-tide, so we got to see all the old girls afloat. Regular readers of ww will have seen photos of the yard from my previous posts but today was special to share Pam & George’s magic space with a bunch of serious wooden boat nuts.

James Dreyer gave a brief talk on the the history of LL & how the restoration was coming along. Probably the best question of the day & best answer was – “Are you taking her back to the USA” – “No, she is here to stay, the Waitemata & greater Hauraki Gulf is her new home”.

Post the shed visit we headed up the hill to Carolyn & Shane Anderson’s (MV Waimiga) stunning property for a a tasting of locals wines & their own estate olive oil. A BBQ followed & then a coastal walk.
There are plans to make this trip a regular on the launch calendar.

A big thank you to Pam & George from Whangateau Traditional Boats + Carolyn & Shane. And James Dreyer for letting us all crawl over Laughing Lady 🙂

Enjoy the photos – click any to enlarge – I took so many, this is just a random selection, I’ll post more over time.



With ww I try to plan the posts a few days in advance, well yesterday Harold Kidd turned my schedule upside down when he sent in the above photo of Wenna. Earlier this week,
Harold was the recipient (on loan) of a photo album from Margaret Field of the O’Neill* family. One of the photos was the stunning one of Wenna above.

Wenna was recently purchased as  Rangitira & renovated by Pam  Gundy at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard (launch day photo below)

*Eric O’Neill arrived in NZ with his family just after WW1 and lived in Ring Terrace, just above St. Mary’s Bay & Wenna was built for him around 1925. Given his residence, most likely by a St. Mary’s Bay builder, the options being Collings & Bell, Leon Warne, Dick Lang (or Sam Ford who took over Lang’s yard in 1923 and used Ford’s moulds until 1924 when Lang returned).
Now two days ago I was sent a photo of Marua (below), by Dave Jackson via Adrienne, Dave’s father, (David Jackson Snr) was one of the owners of the Marua c.1955-56. Dave commented that Marua & Wenna were very similar in design, with Marua being built in 1915 for E. McKeown by Peter A. Smith who was an engine supplier and contracted out his hulls to St Mary’s Bay builders. Harold would pick Dick Lang as the builder of Marua’s hull, not Leon Warne who was still with Collings & Bell in 1915. It’s likely that Dick (or Sam Ford possibly) built Wenna too. Marua was a total loss as a result of the fire that destroyed the Baileys yard.

There’s always the possibility that Collings & Bell built both boats but Harold does not think they did much (if any) work for Peter A. Smith as they were more interested in selling their own brands of marine engines where the greater profit margin lay and weren’t short of their own orders.

All of the above aside – both Marua and Wenna are best described as typical St. Mary’s Bay – built launches of the period.

Note – when Pam’s partner George (Emtage) saw Margaret Field’s photo of Wenna, he starting looking for his chainsaw – he liked what Harold described as the slinky look – so do I.

Pam on the other hand is happy with Wennna’s tram-top, which according to Dave Jackson was built by Cyril Freeman of Ponsonby. He was working for Shipbuilders at the time, but this job was a ‘homer’. This was during the late 1940’s maybe even the early 1950’s.


 WENNA (Rangitira) 2014

07/11/14 – photo of Wenna ex Harld Kidd ex Bob Wiley


How did that get there?

Is this the biggest woody to beach at Tram Car Bay?

Pam at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard sent ww this very cool photo. I could be a prat & ask you all to guess how it got there, but not today and I promise no more things with wings for a while 🙂

Seems Claude Greenwood, father of Howard, in 1958 towed the Catalina from the Waitemata Harbour, up the coast and into the Whangateau Harbour and beached it in Tram Car Bay just meters away from Claudes boat shed. Here the wings were removed and then it was taken by road to Wellsford to be parked on Jack Sellar’s, the owner, property. Jack a local garage proprietor paid 250 pounds for the flying boat and intended to convert it to a 20 berth houseboat. This did not proceed and the Catalina sat alongside his house (see photo below) for some years until scraped in the mid 1960’s.

If anyone is able to supply more details or photos of the Catalina being towed from the Waitemata Harbour up the coast email them to waitematawoodys@gmail.com as Pam would like to update her records.

You can read more (+photos) about the Catalina & what became of her at the link below to a great blog.

Wenna (Rangitira)

Wenna (Rangitira)

This 32′ early 1920’s Collings & Bell classic launch would have to be one of the luckiest classics around – a few months ago I gave Rangitira, as she was named then, a big plug on ww as she was for sale on trademe at what was the buy of the year price. Then a few months ago she was ‘adopted’ by Pam Cundy at Whangateau Traditional Boats.

To use Pam’s own words she “pushed through a quick paint job and varnished hatch and mast, now for a new name board to come”. Pam will be reverting to her old name Wenna. She slipped back into the water last week. Looks pretty slick to me & Pam has a great eye for colours.

To read / view photos from her past click this link


Update from Pam Cundy

After several years of watching for a suitable motor boat this felt like an opportune time to purchase. After looking her over with the usual ‘check for …’ And with the usual ‘old boat’ problems the only thing that bothered me was this old girl had seemingly lost her real identity. Fortunately shortly after purchasing her and conducting a search Adrienne and Dave called by with some details and Harold contributed also.

Wenna ( Rangitira) – according to Dave Jackson
Dave identified her as being Wenna – 1940’s to1970’s he knew her to be Wenna.
His friends would say “when are you going to shout?”.
1967-68 Dave purchased her to tow his mullet boat down to the Ponsonby yacht club from Birkenhead.
She had a Morris Commodore petrol engine in her then.
1940’s owner was Mr O’Neil of Ring Terrace Ponsonby. He installed the raised cabin. When Mr O’Neil passed away he left the boat to William ( Bill ) McWhirter.
Bill sold it to Mr Wylie (Jacks father – Boat haulage).

Harold on Wenna
Eric Cathbart Fergus O’Neil of Ponsonby (b.1886,d.1957), engineer, owned Wenna from at least 1925.
“Unfortunately” Harold said, ” I can’t connect her back to Collings and Bell but if Dave J says Collings and Bell, that was good enough for me”.
O’Neil did a lot of game fishing with her in the mid 1920s and 1930s.
In March1930 she was attacked by a big mako off the Great Barrier, splintering some planks and then got free.

Wenna – ” maiden” or “white seas”

Thanks also to Tim Jackson, previous owner
See you at the Mahurangi Regatta!!!
An awesome blog Alan and Harold- Look what it turned up for me : )

The Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard

An insight into the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard

There has been a lot of great photos posted this week from last Sundays regatta & reviewing them I wondered how many of the ww readers knew the background to Pam & George & the yard. So I asked Pam to tell us a little about themselves & the yard.  So read Pam’s reply below. Alan H

First I have to say thank you to everyone for the wonderful support we had on Sunday welcoming the Dreyer family, the new owners of MV Laughing Lady, our newest arrival at the yard. We attribute this support to a mix of Alan’s awesome website and Jane High’s enthusiasm for bringing everyone together. Special big thanks also to all those that brought boats along, to all the sailors, to the helpers who lent a hand with the rigging and the young pirate that made it such a fun time.
Way back
When George was a little boy he would build small Woollacott type model boats in the back shed. Then under his older brother Jim’s watchful eye he built a Cherub design and then a Zepher. He didn’t sail them on the tranquil Tamaki River but preferred to race them with other keen sailors out and about with the Kawau Yacht Club. Then he built thirty and forty foot trimarans and sailed away to the Solomon Islands… and beyond.
When I was a youngster Mum and Dad would bundle up my two older brothers and oldest sister (youngest sister was still just a twinkle) along with our short legged, black and white dog, Boy, and we would – with great excitement and anticipation, be taken night-time fishing. Under the cloak of darkness and the drone of the seagull outboard, we would motor the short distance from our bay in Chelsea, into the reflection of the city’s lights and towards the Auckland Harbour bridge.
Dad would anchor our little Mullety, Terina, between two of the huge concrete columns, under the far side of the harbour bridge. Under the light from the Tilly lamp hung in the rigging, the big kids were allowed to sit on the front deck, we would take up our make shift wooden fishing poles with string line and a small piece of torn white rag, sometimes with a ball of dough attached and dangle it into the water until one of the frenzied yellow tail below took a hold.
Then the four fishing poles would be flung simultaneously into the air. Boy dog barking, four kids squealing in delight, flashings of silver and yellow, fish catapulted through the air. Some would fall on the decks, some flung too far – falling back into the water on the other side of the boat.
There was much scrambling to untangle lines and re-launch them once again. All under the long dark shadows and echoes of the large concrete structure of the harbour bridge above. Slimy and stinky and into the bucket they went, where they could be retrieved later. Some fish were lucky and flipped back into the sea. This went on ’til we had exhausted ourselves, and Mum and Dad, or we splashed the vulnerable Tilly lamp breaking the lens. Plunged into semi-darkness we would have to go home.
I don’t remember walking up the track from the beach to home. I think Dad had probably carried me since I was the youngest at that time.
The here & now
As time ticks by, George and I are fast approaching ten years at the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard. We have been quietly and diligently taking our turn at caring for the yard and maintaining it to its original state.  

Many of the photos featured by Alan are familiar to some already, but for the “newbies”, George and I, just the two of us, restore small wooden craft, up to thirty plus feet. Well that is between maintaining the slipway for the local fishing fleet and other recreational boats. I also take on paid boat building work. The money made from this is quickly dissolved back into the boat yard and the project boats we maintain and restore on site.
Many folk driving past the boatyard on the nearby road, see the wooden spars in the creek, they appear at our door in pure delight at what they have found. It is a “living maritime museum” some say or it takes them back to the smells of their grandfather’s sheds. The smells of linseed, oil based paints and freshly cut timber, linger in the old building.
For a long time I felt a need to protect the little yard, as most know it was at threat of being demolished. However the yard, boathouse, workshop and the wooden craft that have refuge here, have found their own way out there and all who stumble upon it endears the yard.
George’s wonderful fleet of restored planked Z’dys is indeed special and the other restored wooden craft are a hit with ever-popular Regattas. Many thanks go to Bud Nalder for donating a sewing machine and the materials and time for schooling and personally making sails for the small craft we have restored.
Russell Ward, the skipper of the steamboat SV Romany still has a berth here for Romany and sometimes the boat yard is graced by steam.
Visitors are welcome to the yard. We do ask that you mind your footing as you move about both in the shed and surrounds, as this is still a functioning, traditional boat yard.
I’m sorry there are not a lot of Laughing Lady photos but its a tight fit in the shed 🙂 but as work progresses I’ll send more to Alan.
Keep checking in here at waitematawoodys as we will be posting more news from the around the yard soon.”