The Best of Colin Wild + Herreshoff Steam Launch

The Best of Colin Wild + Herreshoff Steam Launch
The top two photos of the Brooke families 1927 Colin Wild launch – Linda comes to us via Mitchell Hutchings fb ex the Williamson Family Collection. Linda at the time was moored at Herald Island.

The bottom photo I took today of Wirihana tucked up in Chris McMullen’s shed for her winter TLC. Wirihana is another of Wild’s big motorboats, built in 1933.

It was great to see that CMcM’s Herreshoff steam launch (below) is coming along – engine installed 🙂

Woody Waitangi Day Picnic – Photos


Scott Colville


My Girl & Pacific








Ann Michelle






Eileen Patricia


Sybil Frances




Shango (Ani)




Sea Fever




Silvery Main








Very smart new mast on Pacific 🙂


Another great Woody Classics Woody event yesterday, we had 20+ classic woodys anchored  in Wakalabubu Bay, Motutapu Island. Most came ashore for the picnic and while the camera stayed in the bag, I can report that these casual events are a winner, so nice to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Youngest age would have been around 6/7 years and the oldest was 92 !
If I missed getting a photo of your woody, I apologise, but with people coming and going all afternoon I suspect someone missed out.
The breeze picked up later in the day and so most had the old wind against the tide coming home – but it was worth it.
Big thanks to everyone the rocked up – see you all at our next event – details soon 😉
Off to Lake Rotoiti (Nth Island) on Saturday  for the Classic & Wooden Boat Parade – Monday’s WW story should be a goody 🙂
Oops nearly forgot anyone know the launch below, we crossed paths of Rangitoto – terrible photo, grab the phone and unfortunately had it set on some weird setting. Name is something like Tautai ??

Mahurangi Weekend – Biggest On-The -Water Wooden Boating Event Down Under  – 200+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos










Mahurangi Weekend – Biggest On-The -Water Wooden Boating Event Down Under  – 200+ Classic Wooden Boat Photos

I think I should start today by apologizing to all the partners and bosses out there – I can see a very slow start to the week, might take a few hours to digest the above photo gallery – a selection of photos from Friday night thru until my trip home on Monday.
The weather for Auckland’s long weekend was just ace – for everyone, launches and yachts, for the whole 4 days.
As always the turnout for the regatta was incredible, I would predict record numbers afloat. The woody launch parade saw 25 launches register and another 17 (approx.) joined in on the day. One of the photos above shows some of the parade launches snaking across the harbour. Well done woodys.
If the attendance count was based solely on the number of dinghies at Scotts Landing for the Saturday night party, again it would have to be a record.
I apologize for the lack of photos from the Saturday night party at Scotts Landing, I was unable to attend, I was banned . Now I can imagine maybe one person on any committee could be a dog hater, but for the ‘Mahurangi Action’ (formerly  known as ‘Friends of Mahurangi’) committee to agree on a total 48hr dog ban ashore is hard to believe. But then I was told by a very public figure in the area – none of them have ever had to buy contraception in their lives – they use they personalities. So my question – Is it actually their ‘role’ to decide on whether boat owners can bring Fideo ashore?.
Maybe Mahurangi Action should stick to their core reason for being i.e. the Mahurangi Harbour.
I can imagine the relationship between the Mahurangi Cruising Club, the promoters of the actual boating regatta – the reason we all attend and Mahurangi Action, who run the shore based activities at Sullivans Bay and the Saturday night party, must at times be interesting. If I was MCC I would be appointing an event manager and running a solo event, including a function that the revenue from, would help fund the club. The weekend has got too big – I and a lot that I have spoken to would buy a ticket to attend – food for thought MCC ……..
Ps There were numerous dogs ashore, I was just one of the unlucky one that were apprehended coming ashore. What a waste of rate payers money to have professional security there + a dog ranger……….
A special thank you to Roger Mills for the aerial (drone) photos of Scotts Landing and the launch parade. Also Graeme Finch for topping up my photos with some of his own – thanks Graeme.
The photo below, while out of focus due to distance and 2 moving boats – sums up woody boating perfectly. The launch is Linda and the gathering of life jackets on the bow is the Brooke clan 🙂
Monday also saw the CYA running a launch race as part of the Auckland anniversary day regatta – coverage of this later in the week.
P1080064 2
WAITANGI DAY WOODY BEACH PICNIC – FEB 6 – Put A Circle In Your Diary, All Woodys Welcome. RSVP Below
Woody Waitangi Picnic

Woody Waiheke BBQ





Not sure what these two were up too but the t-shirt gets the WW of approval

Woody Waiheke BBQ

Saturday (30/03/2019) saw a group of hardy, the barometer was not saying summer, CYA members gather in Putiki Bay, Waiheke Island for a post CYA yacht race BBQ. The photos have been enhanced, it wasn’t quite that sunny 🙂

The bay filled up with a good collection of woody yachts and launches. The CYA committee even put on a band – well done guys.
Special thanks to Chris Sadler for the use of his launch – Moeraki as the start boat for the yacht race. Moeraki is a very smart looking woody, I have always admired her – great to see her out on the Waitemata. You can read / see more on her here (lots in the comments section).
Woody launches in the bay included – My Girl, Lucille, Waimea, Puawai, Lucinda, Matuku, Summer Wine, Wirihana and Mahanui – some I suspect were moored there.
Special thanks to Jason Prew and Mark Edmonds for the (phone) photos.
As a special treat for the skipper of Lucille – I have include the youtube video below 😉

Woodys Holidaying In The Bay Of Islands






Woodys Holidaying In The Bay Of Islands

Todays photos are from the camera of woody Dean Wright, taken over the Xmas / NY period, I love the one on Wirihana rolling around, sent it to her skipper Chris McMullen & he commented “We were coming into the bay from Cape Brett. A nasty on the beam sea. Any boat can roll when bit by a wave. Its when they keep rolling after the event…….” Chris commented the Wirihana handled it very well. Even with a roll on, Wirihana still looks beautiful – always does, from any angle.

I have to say Marie J is looking very smart, well done to the new(ish) owners. Also what do we know about the yacht Tuahine?




On November 19th 2016, the Royal New Zealand Navy are holding the 75th Naval Review & have extended an invitation to the owners of any historic vessels that might be interested in taking part in the Review procession.  Interested owners can check out the Op Neptune website & are asked to make contact with Commander John Butcher via Andrew Watts – the email address is, , please include details on your vessel & a photo/s.

The 1932 Colin Wild built classic launch ‘Wirihana’ was one of a number of vessels commandeered by the Royal New Zealand Navy during WWII to run supplies and to patrol the coastal waters around the Hauraki Gulf and up to the Bay of Islands. Her identification was Q01, photos above & below. Wirihana took part in the 50th Naval Review along with a number of the other classics that served as patrol boats and will be participating again this year.

A lot of our classic fleet played a very important defence role during WWII, its not well recorded but the Hauraki Gulf was mined. It is NZ Governments best kept secret. The NZ press often quote the closest NZ has come to war was the Rainbow Warrior bombing! This is BS, they just don’t know. A lot of the records make the patrol work sound like a boys own trip but  Wirihana and the other boats were on patrol for two years summer and winter, it would not have been much fun in these small launches.
The crews made their own navigation sketches so they could recognise headlands by their outline in poor visibility. Similar to those in the NZ Pilot. They had no chart plotters or navigation aids (only a compass) and often ran without Navigation lights.

So woodys if you own or know someone that owns one of the launches – get in touch today with the RNZN


Chris McMullen found the  letter below on board ‘Wirihana’. Chris commented that he would imagine the writer has now passed on. Chris hopes the letter may draw
some history from others with photos and letters hidden away. Photography
was illegal during the war but it certainly did not stop people from
recording their life at the time.
Chris  recalls going to school with a John Rhodes who he thinks lived at Bassett Rd.
Remuera. Maybe the same family?


Below is light hearted list of NAPS boats out of Whangarei. Sent to me by Brian Fulton.


08-1-2016 Input From Chris McMullen
A German Raider mined the outer Hauraki Gulf. An account is recorded in the translated from German, a book listed as “The Black Raider”by Kurt Weyher and Hans Jurgen Ehrlich.
Chris’s copy dated 1955. Below are the relevant pages but there is more. This happened June 13th 1940. As a result the SS Niagara was sunk 19th of June 1940.
The Raider Orion sunk many ships off the New Zealand Coast.




CYA Patio Bay BBQ & Xmas Race Weekend 2015

CYA Patio Bay Weekend 2015
photos ex Alan Houghton & Fiona Driver

Just back from another spectacular wooden boat weekend at Patio Bay, Waiheke Island. The weather was good for the yacht racing but a little rolly in the bay. This put a few owners off anchoring but most bit the bullet & dropped the pick & were rewarded with another brilliant evening ashore at Margaret & Burt Woolicott’s waterfront bach. It had all the ingredients of a classic kiwi boating function – sun, sand, wood fired BBQ’s, the odd cold beverage, a barrel of rum, fire works & lots of nice people.

The evening was made special by the presentation to Chris McMullen of the CYA Outstanding Achievement Trophy for services to classic boating. See the previous ww post for more details.

Even yours truly got a mention in dispatches – I was the surprised recipient of the 2015 Patio Bay Trust Book Award – for my work on/with setting up this site & ensuring that future generations will be able to better experience our wooden boating history.

Enjoy the photos. Sorry that its light on yachts but conditions did not suit bobbing around in a wee dinghy & by now I hope most people realize that a ‘drive-by’ past Raindance almost always ensures a photo on ww 🙂

Must also mention the  magnificent sight of having Viking sailing in the fleet.

I have posted on the CYA forum photos from the yacht post race prizing giving  – link here

Yacht race results here

10-12-2015 Sailing Photos below ex Carolyn Anderson (Waimiga)


Wynyards (Lushington’s) Bay + Wirihana 1

Wynyards (Lushington’s) Bay
photo ex Mac Taylor Collection

Now I’m sure to some / most of you the bay in the above photo will be very familiar but not to me. I have a good hunch but I’ll let you all chip in. Remember you can click on the image to enlarge & if you click again on the enlarged photo it will zoom in even more.

Wirihana 1
The 2nd part of today’s post is a great photo, below, I found in Mac Taylor’s album, the launch is the first Wirihana (1) – there is a great story found at the link below concerning Wirihana (1), which most likely became Lady Gay (1) + how Wirihana (2) & Lady Gay (2) fitted into the scene. Great reading & a fine example of the ww blog really working.


Seems everyone is right on the button with ID’ing the location – Harold Kidd sent me a link to the Henry Winkelmann photos (post card) ex the Auckland Museum collection below, taken in 1899. It is ‘Rodmershaw’ the residence of Mr Lushington.

I’m very familiar with the location as early one morning during a Mahurangi Regatta weekend, I had to retrieve my #1 kauri clinker dinghy from the beach after it went walkies in the night & washed up there, undamaged. The gods were smiling on me that weekend 🙂

Update from Harold Kidd
The photo below, ex Auckland Museum collection,  shows Mrs Lushington sitting on the ballast of her husband’s Robert Logan-built yacht MURITAI in 1899 at the property.
The 22ft mullet boat on the beach behind MURITAI is the 22 footer BELLE built by Hewson & Melville in 1883 also owned by Lushington. BELLE was converted to a deadwood keel yacht & later renamed LOTUS.

Pam Cundy Input

Pam sent me the photo below of of her partner, George Emtage, grandfather Captain George Samuel Emtage. They lived in a bay just around the corner from the bay shown above and worked for the Lushingtons and the Chandlers on Motuora. The excerpt from the book Jade River tells the story of how George’s family inherited Motuora island.

A Visit to Chris McMullen’s Boat Shed

One of Chris’s experiments

And of a few photos of one of the prettiest boats on the Waitemata – Wirihana, the 1933 Colin Wild launch.

A Visit to Chris McMullen’s Boat Shed

Yesterday was a biggie on the wooden boating front – Barbara Cooke & myself organized for the Classic Yacht Association a visit to Chris McMullen’s workshop & boat shed. I have posted photos of the shed & its contents on ww before & ww has published several of Chris’s posts on the topic of electrochemical damage to wooden boats – but it was special for the members to meet the man himself & hear him speak on his past, his current passions / projects & future plans. The reproduction 1898 Herreshoff steam launch project just has to be one of the best kiwi ‘can-do’ tales around. The day she hits the water will be a very special occasion, I just hope I’m around to see it 😉

Today two things stood out for me:
1. The turn-out of two wooden boating icons – John Salthouse & Max Carter
2. The healthy number of sub 35 year old guys with a new found passion for classic wooden boats in attendance

If your a CYA member & you didn’t make the effort to come to the event – more fool you – as one of your most respected members said to me “today was a privilege, Chris is a one of a kind, his practical knowledge on boat building and engineering is unique”.

In my time as CYA launch captain one of my personal goals was to help deliver up events & access to people & ‘cool stuff’ that people would not normally have access to without being CYA members – from the comments & the smiles as people where departing today, Barb & I got it right today 🙂

To read / view more on Chris, his boats & the topic of electrochemical damage to wooden boats just enter – Chis McMullen – in the ww search box 😉

Wirihana Who ‘Built’ Her?


Todays post is in two parts – first an attempt to ID some of the Colin Wild crew that built Wirihana. Chris McMullen, the caretaker of Wirihana had been looking through a box old of Wilson and Gould family photos & uncovered todays photos. Chris’s guess on a date for the above photos is 1933. Even thou its over 80 years ago one of the ww followers may recognize a relation. So folks – dig out those old family albums & lets see if we can put some names to the faces.
Col Wild and Mr Martyn Wilson are on the right. The man with the black hair holding the dog may be young Jack Gould who was (Chris believes) Mr Wilson’s step son. That needs to be verified. The Gould Family still own Wirihana to this day.

The 2nd part is to try & confirm what became of the earlier Wirihana, as pictured in the photo below. The ‘smaller’ Wirihana was also owned by the Wilson family. There is a family photo album recording a cruise on her. The album is dedicated to ‘The Crew of the Wirihana 1930-1’.
Chris wonders if the original broke her mooring. Interestingly there are some photos (not in the subject album) showing the wreckage of a wooden vessel but regretfully no details. Could it be that the current Wirihana was a replacement?

Looking forward to some interesting feedback. If you know anyone that had family or a relation that worked at Colin Wild’s yard in the early 1930’s can forward this ww posting on to them & ask for their help with ID’ing the people.

And lasting I could not do a Wirihana post without a photo showing how magnificent she is today 🙂

Update from Nathan Herbert

The below press clippings from the NZ Herald (2nd August 1933) make interesting reading. Wirihana (1) was relaunched on 01/08/1933 after an extensive overhaul at Lanes yard, the work included a new keel – so the questions are

1. Was the work done following an oops ?

2. Was W1 renamed, as W2 (Colin Wild) was being launched around this time?

Harold – where are you?, put down that legal brief & join in 🙂

Harold Kidd Input

My reconstruction of this tangled web is as follows (and some of it is conjecture).
1. Lane Motor Boat Co built WIRIHANA (1) for Joe Wilson in 1929. There is an image of LADY GAY (1) on Lanes’ slip at Mechanics Bay and she’s indistinguishable from WIRIHANA (1). photo below added by AH

2. She flew a “Wirihana” flag because “Wirihana” is maori-ised “Wilson” (and is nicely euphonic).
3. Colin Wild built WIRIHANA (2) in October 1933.
4. The quote above concerning WIRIHANA’s overhaul in 1933 is from the NZ Herald (owned by Wilson) but there’s an almost identical quote in the Herald of 17th November 1933 but referring to the boat as “J. M. Wilson’s LADY GAY”.
5. Clearly, WIRIHANA (1) was renamed LADY GAY while getting her big overhaul at Lanes in 1933 and after WIRIHANA (2) was launched. Her cabintop was altered drastically to provide full headroom so that her earlier semi-bridgedeck style disappears.
5. Wilson kept LADY GAY/WIRIHANA until July 1935, shortly before LADY GAY (2) was launched.
6. He then sold her to H. Walker and I lose sight of her, obviously with an agreed name change.
7. Sooner or later we’ll find out what Walker called her and say “Of course!”.