An Impressive Line Up


An Impressive Line Up

An Impressive Line Up

the sender of the photo will be disclosed later, might give the game away.

Left to right – who can ID the 4 launches, #4 will be a challenge but if you get the other 3 then the 4th should ‘follow’.
Location is Katherine Bay.

Harold – for you to win you will have to name the dinghy as well 🙂





I know little about this very pretty 9m launch other than she was designed by Bruce Askew & is currently owned by John Duncan & resides on Lake Rototit.
For one of the ‘modern day’ designers Askew has a very good eye for what a classic should look like.

Any one able to shed some more light on her?

The above photo was taken at the 2014 Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Parade

Mercury Bell / Belle


Mercury Bell / Belle


Todays post was sent to me by John Pryor, who was handed the framed photo of Mercury Bell, taken at Sandspit in 1960. John commented that she appears to be a bridgedeckerised tram top of about 32 ft.

It had been hanging in the Kawau Island Yacht Club for a number of years.

On the back of the photo is written – “Owner E Mizen 120 Vivian Engine”. Now there appears to be some confusion here, as Harold Kidd has advised that Mercury Belle was built for E.E. Mizen of Mercury Island by Lidgard Bros in February 1938. She was a substantial 52 footer with a Canadian-built 120hp 6 cylinder Vivian engine at a cost of £4000 pounds, an astronomical sum at the time. Viewing the above photo Harold confirmed that its not the Lidgard boat, so somehow the photo & the script on the rear have been mismatched.

Anyone add anything more about the launch in the photo?

Also John has advised that if anybody knows the current owner, please let them know the picture is available if they want it.





Built by L. Coulthard for a Mr J Griffin of Epsom, her initial ‘home’ was the Manukau. Records show she was launched with a 12-16hp Ailsa-Craig engine.

Other than this ww is very light on her history so hopefully we can expand on it today.

Harold Kidd Update

Les Coulthard built her in October 1930 for Jack Griffin of Onehunga who was the Vice-Commodore of the Manukau Yacht & Motor Boat Club at the time. Her 10/16hp Ailsa Craig had been taken from his former launch KATUI which Coulthard traded in and later sold. LUCINDA stayed on the Manukau until at least 1940 and I have no knowledge of when she came to the Waitemata and was bridgedeckerised but think it was reasonably recently.

Owner (Nathan Herbert) Update

I wish I had never seen this photo, as I was happy with the current configuration and the excellent interior room/ layout it provides until I saw the looks of the original! The engine now is where the bridge is, but there are old engine beds right up into the bow? Other than those, the only original parts are t+g sole in parts of the cockpit, and the chain locker bulkhead with Bakelite switch and light fitting attached.
The engine sump was toast from salt water in the bilge and after 4 weeks a complete replacement has almost been manufactured for me. James at Moon Diesels helped me out with a similar bell housing to replace the toasted one, which I have modified to fit.
We’ll tow her to Milford in the next week or so to be slipped for a few months to be given a full going over. A lot of gear will be biffed…

Excuse the crudely covered bridge window, I put my hand through it while navigating the sole-less cabin area

Dean Barker chatting about sailing on the Waitemata


Dean Barker chatting about sailing on the Waitemata

Watch Dean Barker chat about sailing on the Waitemata

video link ex Classic Boat UK

This short (8min) video features Dean Barker down at the CYA’s Heritage Landing marina at Silo Park talking about his passion for sailing & the Waitemata Harbour. Some great shots of a few of our classic fleet, & yes it is also an ad for Team NZ sponsor Camper, there were just too many shoe shots for it not to be 🙂

click blue link to play

Can Anyone ID This Yacht?


Can Anyone ID This Yacht?

Who Can ID This Yacht

We are over due for a little bit of yachting – now this one will have the crusty old salts scratching their heads. The image is a contact print off a glass plate that was sent to me by Keith Ottaway. The original was taken by his wife’s great grandfather, Richard George Collins.

The location is obviously Devonport & as a starting point, RGC started ‘taking’ photos c.1895

Harold Kidd Update

A most unusual hull-form for Auckland, unlikely to have been built by any of the mainstream builders like Logan or Bailey.  She’s a Devonport boat, hauled up alongside the wharf at the foot of Church Street.
My wild guess is that she’s the 4 tonner WANDERER, built in Devonport by Tom Le Huquet in October 1891, soon after he set up in business there. If so she was built as a cruiser for J.C. Webster but was a total loss when she broke away from her moorings under North Head in a hard NE blow in May 1893. She came up on the rocks at St Mary’s Point and was badly damaged. From the sound of it she was beyond economical repair.
Jack Webster immediately ordered another yacht from Robert Logan, the 38ft cutter NGARU, which also had a sad fate when she was wrecked on the south end of Rangipuke Island at Christmas 1900 when owned by C.B. Stone.
The hull-form of the yacht in the image is almost French smack and quite reminiscent of the oyster and crabbing boats Le Huquet had been building in Jersey,. particularly the treatment of the stern. But there were all sorts of hulls being built at the time and I am likely to be totally wrong.

 Follow up update 05/05/14

If I’m right, and she does have the ancestry I think, then you can see how this form of hull would work well in an environment where the tides average 40ft and all boats dry out on legs. The extended, flat forefoot, the protected and vertical rudder, plus the great deal of sheer to cope with the short steep seas in the very shallow waters around the Normandy/Brittany coast with strong winds and 10+ knot tides on occasion where much passage making is done by sling-shotting the tides.






Mill Bay photo ex Ken Rickett

Waitemata photo ex Harold Kidd

The above launch was recently sited moored in Mill Bay, Mangonui by Ken’s daughter.

Like a lot of Mill Bay boats she appears to be crying out for some TCL.

More info on her would be appreciated if anyone knows anything.

SEE HDK COMMENT BELOW – ME THINKS MR RICKETTS WILL BE OFF TO SPECSAVERS ON MONDAY MORNING 🙂 Spelling corrected in headline & categories for google searches.


That’s TAWHITI not TAWHIRI as you can see clearly from Ken’s own image. Someone needs specs.
Recent owners have given me a bunch of information about her, some of which is clearly rubbish anecdote (as anecdote usually is).
The tale must however contain some truths.
It is roughly as follows;
1. TAWHITI was built by Logan Bros in 1908. Even though the bridgedeckerisation obviously occurred in the 30s at the earliest and her name may well have changed several times in her life, I put this down as a myth.
2. She was built as a passenger launch for the Kaipara. Maybe.
3. Known owners don’t go back very far but are George Twitchett, Bucklands Beach, 1955 to 1965 who sold to Stan Honeybun that year, to John Hunt to Jim Duckworth. I think another owner was Rex Norwood c2000.

Clear facts are that her dimensions are 36’x36’x9’3″x? and she was recently powered with a Ford 60hp 4 cylinder diesel. She is single skin and was a flushdecker originally of the period 1910 to 1918. A pity her name is lost.
My database contains several local TAWHITI entries but I have no way of knowing if there was only one or several TAWHITIS without corroborating evidence. There may have been several people who wanted to use the name TAWHITI which is charged with meaning in the Maori language and, with Hawaiki, equates with the spiritual homeland = TAHITI. But it is also the Maori name for Woolshed Bay at the entrance to Coromandel Harbour. She was never registered with the APYMBA.
My first TAWHITI is a launch on the Manukau in February 1919 with no further mention on that harbour. Conjecture, built by Les Coulthard and shipped across after trials?
The second (or the same) is recorded in A.H. Pickmere’s log as being in Bon Accord on 18/4/27. Then groups of people from TAWHITI visited the new LITTLE JIM on four occasions between December 1934 and February 1936. Unfortunately no owner was identified, but surnames involved were Curnow, Hoban, Keely, Barton, Sturtevant, Oborn, Wooley, Graham, Craig, Grant, Seabrook and Wilson. Some of those are well-known North Shore names of that period.
I guess it’s possible that the name was mispelt in LITTLE JIM’s log 4 times, and was in error for the Col. Wild yacht TAWHIRI, but none of the names concur with TAWHIRI’s owners.
I took some good images (see above) of her off Rocky Bay on 2/1/2002 when she was in good order. Those aboard said they had no real idea of her provenance. They kept her in the Tamaki River, just upstream from the Panmure Yacht Club. But I was interrupting their fishing and sheered off.
I saw her again several times later in the the season and the next doing some serious fishing around Rakino.

My conclusion is that she will be a known boat by a good builder whose origins have, as is so often the case, been obscured by successive alterations and (possibly) a name change.

PS My “built in Onehunga” theory may have some legs as Les Coulthard built a lot of boats for ports on the west coast as it eased transport issues mightily if they could get there on their own bottoms or, if small enough, by coastal steamer from Onehunga. For example Les built the 56ft schooner-rigged trawler HELENA for Westport in 1934 and the New Pllymouth Harbour Board’s pilot launch in 1935. So it’s entirely possible that the “passenger launch on the Kaipara” is the truth……………if a little long on assumptions!