Friday, 25 April 2014

Archie Scott

Scott on board Psyche in Sydney, 1926
Nobody has heard of Archibald Charles Scott. It's rather strange really, as a sailor he was been associated with some great vessels and passages (as crewman and navigator on board Waitangi, Restless and Psyche). He was also a successful (and prize winning) designer, with some well-known boats to his name, many of which survive today (Maranui, Ocean Maid). He also designed many a rig conversion for well-known vessels, including Ailsa, Oyster, Ariki, Kotiri and Wylo.

Scott was a plumber by trade, his day job was at the Evans Bay Patent slip. He was also rather deaf.Archie joined the Te Aro sailing club around 1910, racing centreboarders out of Clyde Quay. He became a member of the Port Nicholson Yacht club when the clubs, along with the Te Ruru Yacht Club, merged in 1915.

Ailsa with her bermuda rig
Along with Herbert ("Punch") Jordan, he purchased the Le-Huquet designed Galatea in 1917. Galatea had just had the rake of her rudder adjusted, and became a much easier handled and better pointed to weather as a result. Scott and Jordan had some success with her.

They obviously liked the seaworthiness and power of the Le Huquet designs,and bought the larger Ailsa, in 1919 from the Hamill brothers, recently returned from active service. Like so many who spent years at war, the Hamills don't appear to have taken an interest in sport after their return.

For the 1920 season they converted Ailsa's rig to bermudan. It wasn't a success, and the following season they changed her again, to a high
Ailsa with her high peaked gaff
peaked gaff (no room for a topsail). From that time, she was a very successful racer, competing in both the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club and the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boating  Club.

Their partnership in the boat lasted until 1936.

Ailsa is still owned locally, rigged as a yawl in the Marlborough Sounds.

Scott's voyages

In December 1920 Scott made his first long cruise: as crewman, on board Waitangi on her delivery trip to new owners in Auckland. She had a difficult passage, but made it in quick time. A good account of it may be read here.

In early 1926 he crewed on board the Restless to Dunedin and back. It's reported the skipper, McLean, had an interest in the Sanders cup trials there that year.

Later in 1926, he crewed the yacht Psyche on a delivery voyage to Sydney, for the owner who had recently moved there. It was an epic journey, which almost ended before they were out of Cook Strait. The boat was far from seaworthy, shipping a lot of water, spoiling food and fuel. The boat was tossed by storms the whole way. The full account was serialised in the June, July and August editions of 1926 Australian Motor Boating and Yachting Monthly (click the "More issues" tab to read). Leo Thompson, a regular crewman on the Ailsa, was also on board for the journey, along with Redvere Quinlan (engineer) and F. C. Townsend acting as skipper. This was the first voyage of a private yacht from Wellington to Sydney, and only about the fourth from NZ to Australia.

The images above are of a section of a chart Scott marked with the courses of each voyage, along with annotations; and some of his notes interleaved in a copy of the NZ Pilot Book for the journey of the Restless.

Scott's oldest surviving plan

Scott's designs

Archie appears to have begun designing seriously in the mid 1930s. There is a large collection held at the Wellington Museum of City and Sea, and many can be seen reproduced in Sea Spray magazine in the late 1940s and 50s. He did original designs on spec and for clients, and appears to have designed most of the conversions in Wellington from gaff to bermudan rigs, including Ariki, Kotiri, Wylo, Oyster.

a 1947 design published in Sea Spray
His most successful designs built were the raised decker Maranui (now sailing in Auckland) for Ernie Hargreaves, launched in 1936, and Ocean Maid (currently moored at Porirua) in 1946. The Ocean Maid design was drawn as an entry for a design competition organised by the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club. The parameters were broad, but were to be a good racer with cruising capability and comfort, and it was hoped the successful entry would lead to a class of a robust design suitable for class racing in Wellington . Ocean Maid was the only one built, and is still in good order. The design was published in Sea
Ocean Maid at Clyde Quay April 1951
Spray in 1946. This was the first of many designs - yachts, launches and runabouts -  by Scott to be published by the magazine.

Archie Scott died about 1967. His eulogy was read by Bill Fisher, long time friend and fellow yachtsman.

A report and full table of Archie Scott's designs at the Wellington Museum of City and Sea may be read here

Saturday, 1 March 2014


Ilex was a large cruiser-racer type yawl designed by the Logan yard. She was Wellington-owned for only about four years - but they were significant ones.

Ilex had many adventures, and was associated with some pretty interesting people. A powerful boat, she saw her fair share of stormy weather and near disaster, before finally succumbing in the Pacific. In 1946, representing Wellington, she was the first NZ yacht to compete in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

She was built by Logan Brothers for R. H. Shakespeare and Capt. W. Spenser Stanhope of Barrier Island, and launched 7th May 1903.

LOA 50'
LWL 35'
Beam 11'
Draft 6'

Ilex' construction was of triple-skin New Zealand kauri, in true Logan fashion her planks ran the full length of the boat. She was intended as a cruising boat, and fitted out as such, with her interior panelling carefully highlighted with blue and grey paint, with gold and oak graining. The upholstery was of Pantasote (an easily maintained hard-wearing imitation leather).

Kawau 1906. Source: Auckland War Memorial Museum
During May 1904 at Kawau Ilex played host to Premier Richard Seddon who was on board for a fishing holiday.

Under several owners, Ilex participated in the cruising races in Auckland

Macky converted her to a cutter in 1911. In March 1913 she was for sale, but she was still owned by Macky when he and his wife, on the way to visit family, were killed when the Lusitania was torpedoed in 1915.

In Clyde Quay before departure for Sydney. Norman right(?), Roydon 3rd right
Ilex was purchased and brought to Wellington via the East Coast by Norman Thomas in 1944 . He constructed a new robust wheelhouse, and converted her to a ketch rig. When WWII ended, he set about covering many miles in her. On top of regular trips to the Marlborough Sounds, his first sizeable passage (December 1945) in Ilex was to New Plymouth, then on to Onehunga.

Satisfied with the cruise, in February 1946, Ilex departed for a circumnavigation of the South Island. She almost came to grief on the West Coast however, when they sailed into a gale. Seeking shelter in Bligh Sound, all anchors dragged, as the cliffs created a terrifying wind tunnel. Manoeuvring bare-poled, she finally fetched up at the last possible moment. Lines were made fast ashore and they waited out the gale. The circumnavigation took 19 days.

Departing for Sydney. RPNYC, EBYMC burgees flying
Mr Thomas was obviously a keen chap, and decided the next thing to do was to take Ilex across the Tasman to enter the first Sydney to Hobart race. They departed November, and arrived after 13 days of gales and headwinds, on 11 December. Ilex, representing Wellington, under the banner of both the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club and the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club, was the first NZ yacht to compete in the race.

It turned out to be something of a damp squib however, and after a couple of days in very large swells but no wind, they withdrew from the race, and motored on to Hobart. The return journey Hobart to Wellington took eight days.

Norman's son Roydon was a crewman on board for the crossing, and at 13 years old, remains the youngest active crewman to compete in the Sydney-Hobart race (there have been younger people participate since, but all have essentially been passengers). With a lower age limit now set, it appears likely this record will stand for some time to come.

In 1948 Thomas sold Ilex to the Free Church of Tonga.

Norman and Roydon Thomas were both among the delivery crew to Tonga, and received a great welcome there. The Free Church of Tonga renamed her Tu'uakitau, with Queen Salote officiating. In 1957 she was purchased by Tofa Ramsay, and renamed Tuiakaepau.

In July 1962, she was wrecked at Minerva Reef. All on board survived the accident, and lived inside the wreckage of a Japanese freighter which had also come to grief on the reef. After several months, four of the 17 had died through exposure. A boat was made from the wreckage, and two men put to sea to find help. The story of this episode makes interesting reading.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Ralph Millman and his boats

Millman in 1937. Source NZ Yachtsman Sept 1937
Ralph Millman was the son of a merchant sea captain. His father had commanded, among other vessels, the barquentines G. M. Tucker, and Mary Ballantyne, which plied the Tasman trade out of Wellington in the latter half of the 19th century.

While still an apprentice, Millan built the Luna, a square bilge open boat, 20' on the waterline, which he raced with the Arawa Sailing Club's 18 foot division from 1898, and his first keel yacht, a 24 footer named Te Aroha (this boat has various spellings in the records). He and three friends swiped one of their father's compasses, a telescope and a pistol, and set off for the Marlborough Sounds for three days (without telling anyone). They ended up staying there three weeks. Millman built and did major work on many boats, the most famous being Windward. He was also a dedicated committee member of the Port Nicholson Yacht Club, acting as timekeeper and handicapper. There is at least one trophy presented by the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht CLub which bears his name.

Te Aroha
Auckland Weekly News 12 Jan 1905
Launched in 1898, this was Millman's first build, as an apprentice. Her name has several variations, the most common being Te Aroha and Tearoa. He might have been either trying to name her something like "Breath of life", "Love", or "Cloud". Excited by his new build, immediately she was put in the water he took her to the Marlbourough Sounds for three weeks. Millman owned her for about five years before selling her to a man named Wilson who unfortunately wrecked her on Barrett's reef in 1905 with the loss of three lives. She eventually washed up at Petone beach where she evidently became quite poplular with the local children.

Rawene ca 1909-12. Source: Ward family collection
Millman had a taste for yawls, and Rawene was his first. He built her in 1909, and she was part of the renaissance of keel yacht racing in Wellington from the period 1909-1914, led by second and third class boats. Millman sold her to Smith and Nathan in 1909. She had a very successful racing career, early on having some good tussles with Lizzie and Taipare. She was converted to a cutter rig in 1913.

Rawene was raced and cruised extensively through the 1920s while in (Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club Commodore) David Blair's ownership, and vaious others' through to 1948, when she was wrecked off Cape Terawhiti. No lives were lost on this occasion; all three men on board were rescued by the Matangi, which at the time was in the vicinity on her regular run between Wellington and Nelson.

Windward at Balaena Bay ca 1912-14. Source ATL Library
This boat really deserves an article of her own, but here are the bare essentials.

Millman designed and built her at his home at Lorne St, Mt Victoria. She had an unusual tumblehome bow, and a hard chine which faded out to a fair curve in her forward end.
Windward build at Lorne St. Source: RPNYC Archive
She carried her beam well aft which ended at a tuck stern. At 28' long, 8'6" beam (other sources say 27x7,6), weighing in at 6.5 ton, she was altogether a meaty boat. Again, he built her as a yawl.

Millman owned Windward for some years before selling her, and cruised and raced her regularly - first in the second, then as she got tuned up and they got to know her, in the first division.

Windward. Source: Little Ships, 3rd ed.
Windward thereafter went through several hands before being sold to T. P. Rollings in the late 1920s. In 1930 Rollings announced he was taking her for a return cruise to the Chatham Islands for new year. This caused quite a stir of excitement, as the only other private vessel to have done so was the White Heather, a significantly larger boat, in 1916. All the crew were experienced seamen, and they carried the latest in safety gear (a wireless receiver). Preparations were followed closely in the press, as was progress via telegraph when sighted by passing shipping. On 06 January 1931 they began their trip home, but never made it. Some believe she was sighted on 15th January 30-40 miles south of Cape Palliser by the Enton, but by the end of February all searches were called off.


Muritai (Rogue). Source RPNYC Archive
Muritai was built by Charles Bailey Jr while still apprenticed to his father in Auckland 1892. She was among the first of the 2 1/2 raters. She had been named Rogue, and was renamed by R. C. Renner when he purchased and brought her to Wellington in 1900. Purchased by G. F. Bothamley in 1911, she was painted black and converted to a yawl configuration designed and built by Ted Bailey, Charles Jr's younger brother based in Wellington. During WWI, the lead from her keel was removed for the war effort, and replaced with concrete. She was in a very sorry condition when Millman took ownership about
Rogue in 2006. Source: Sean Burns
1920 and replaced the concrete with iron. He also built a doghouse which defies description - one of the most ugly things you can imagine on a racing yacht.

She has been through a few permutations since then, having been converted to a bermudan cutter, and a more in-keeping cabin added at some stage. Rogue is at present owned by Pheroze Jagose (since 2007) of Wellington, and under and extensive restoration at Matt Price's workshop. More on Rogue can be read about in Ivor Wilkins' book "Classic".

Arawa. Source RPNYC archive
Probably designed with Archie Scott, Arawa was Millman's final build, and was launched in 1935. She was 24' LOA with a beam of 7'6", and had a rather boxy cabin top - Millman was obvioulsy a man who preferred to stoop rather than crouch.

When Arawa was nearing the end of her build, Millman was approached with an offer to purchase. Keen to get her in the water ready for an Easter cruise, he named a very high (undisclosed) price. He was rather surprised to immediately receive a cheque and found himself obliged to sell her.

Arawa raced and cruised for many years before being taken to Auckland some time after WWII. She has since had her topsides raised, a wheelhouse, breakwater thing added.

Arawa in 2013. Source John Quellin
As has happened to many boats of this size, her keel-hung rudder has been done away with, and she is converted to a balanced rudder arrangement.  Her name was changed to Arcadia II, and is still in good fettle at Whangamata, owned by John Quellin. Arawa is the last surviving of Millman's builds.

Wellington Museum of City and Sea

The unexpected sale of Arawa meant Millman had to cast about for a new boat pretty quickly if he was going to have his Easter trip. He settled upon Oyster, Built by Charles Bailey Jr in Auckland for J. Glasgow of Nelson and launched in 1902. Oyster was a centreboarder, LOA 31',6", Beam 9', yawl- rigged. She was based on a prize-winning design of George Holmes published in the English journal "The Yachtsman" in 1899.

Millman drew up some lines and converted her to a keel yacht. The image here shows Millman's drawing showing both her centreboard and ballast keel configuration. Oyster is another boat which has passed through many careful hands, and plied NZ's central water for many years, in many configurations before being purchased by Mike Roussow in 1999. He operates her under the name of Jack Tar Sailing in Lyttelton.

Oyster at Clyde Quay. Source Alexander Turnbull Library

More photos:

Part of a press release re Windward trip Source Gavin Pascoe

Source RPNYC archive

Source RPNYC archive

Building Arawa Source RPNYC archive

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Ted Bailey

Bailey in 1926.Boating NZ Nov. 2000

NZ Yachtsman 25 December 1915
Edwin "Ted" Bailey was born in Auckland in 1871, the youngest of three brothers born to boatbuilder Charles Bailey. Each son would train and have successful careers in boatbuilding; all but Ted remained in Auckland.

In Wellington, Bailey was at first in partnership with James Bringins at Martins Bay (Balaena Bay). By September 1909 Bailey had set up on his own account at shed 49, Clyde Quay. It is not known exactly when he moved to Wellington. His first recorded activity is building Vera in 1905 and helming her victoriously from February 1906. He is still referred to be “of Auckland” in 1907 when his race in Tuna was reported on. He remained based in Wellington until his death in June 1943.

The firm Bringins and Bailey operated at Martins Bay (Balena Bay) on the Western side of Evans Bay. They operated a large slipping operation which was used by yachts and fishing boats. Aside from building the Iona for the 18 foot class in the Arawa Sailing Club in 1892, and on occasion acting as an official in different clubs' activities, Bringins didn't show much interest in building or developing racing vessels. This is in strong contrast to Ted, who came from a family of builders renowned for building good looking, fast Pacific trading vessels and private racers.

Bringins and Bailey yard, Bailey's name recently painted out. ca. 1910. Source: ATL Library
Lizzie: Progress magazine, April 1911
The Bringins and Bailey partnership primarily built vessels for and maintained fishing, harbour board, defence, ferries, etc. Noble work, but Ted wanted something a bit tastier. He satisfied this by building 10 foot racing dinghys, a couple of centreboard yachts for 3rd class racing, and the 22 foot 2nd class racer Lizzie on the side. Clyde Quay, a facility recently brokered by yacht owners with the Harbour Board, beckoned, and on the back of his successes with centreboarders and Lizzie, Ted set himself up there in September 1909.

At this time, as now, If someone in Wellington wanted a new quality fast racing yacht, they got one from Auckland - either a Logan or something built by his father or brothers Charles or Walter. Ted was really the only person in Wellington with clear ideas and understanding the concepts of making boats purely for speed and had the ability to build them, and he would have hoped to set himself up as the go-to man for new builds.

Wylo prior to her launch. NZ Yachtsman 30 Feb 1911
This didn't really eventuate, The fleet of large yachts had waned, and the strongest keelboat racing was among 20-30 footers in the second and third classes. Lizzie was the only pure racing yacht he built (for C. J. Ward). In 1913 Ward, now commodore of the Port Nicholson Yacht Club, was making noises about having a first class 35 foot racing yacht built, and laid an order in with Ted. Ward left the sport shortly after and nothing came of it. The only larger yachts Ted built were the Wylo (pictured left shortly before her launching outside Bailey's shed at Clyde Quay), designed by Robert Scott, and Reverie, a slightly smaller version of the Wylo concept. Both were good sturdy sea boats with a turn of speed, but no thoroughbreds. Wylo was among the first sailing vessels to have an auxilliary inboard incorporated at the design stage.

Ted also did a fair bit of maintenance and conversion work. For example when Bothamley wanted to convert Muritai (Rogue) to a yawl rig, it was Ted who designed and did the work. 

During this period motor launches were becoming ever more popular, due to a maturing understanding of required hull forms and engines becoming more reliable. Reliable launches are a more practical for getting around in the Marlborough Sounds than sailing yachts. Demand for launches far outstripped that for new yachts in the region. Ted built many through his career, and it created a stable income for him.

Ted Bailey's Centreboarders

NZ Yachtsman 23 April 1910
The Bailey family had a particular talent for centreboard vessels. His father Charles built many,  including Pet and Dove. Pet was brought to Wellington early in her career and was nigh on impossible to beat in the second class fleet for many years. Dove, built from cedar, also won more than her fair share of prizes. His older brothers Charles Jr and Walter built the 40 foot centreboarder Atalanta for Napier clients in 1894. She was brought to Wellington the following year and had a very successful career in second and first class racing up to the 1970s. Both the Pet and Atalanta were later converted to keel yachts to stiffen them up for Wellington's often blustery conditions. Ted's nephew (Charles Jr.'s son) Gladwyn designed the 14 footer published in the NZ Yachtsman in 1916, which became the prototype for what became known as the Rona-Jellicoe, or X Class.

Ted Bailey was a most successful builder of centreboard racing boats, most particularly 10 footers in the Thorndon Dinghy Sailing Club, formed in 1903. His three vessels, Vera (1905), Zel (1906), and Thelma (1907) completely dominated the class which included boats built by his brothers (Rona) and the Logans (Blowfly and Oeo). Ted often helmed the boats himself on behalf of the owners (particularly Thelma). The club and the class had fizzled out by 1910, mostly due the dominance of these boats.

In 1908 Ted built two centreboarders of about 18-20 feet for the third class fleet: Tuna, and the double-ender Queenie. Queenie was taken to compete in the Napier Regatta that year, with Ted on the helm. His crew were owner Aubrey Smith, and the young William Highet (a member of the highly skilled boating family).

Nan. Source: Wgtn Museum of City and Sea
 When the Thorndon Dinghy Sailing Club collapsed, Ted moved on to building square-bilge 14 footers with the Te Aro Sailing Club, formed in 1907. The square bilged boats of the club were developed to a sophisticated level by the Highet brothers, who designed, built and sailed their own craft (Harry Highet went on to design the P-class). Ted's first effort was Nan (1910). She was very buoyant, being completely closed in, with only the smallest slot of a recessed footwell for the helmsan to put his feet. The crew sat on deck, braced against low coamings. This appearance led to her getting the nick-name "Moneybox".

Nan had her successes, and remained a top boat for many years, but she didn't dominate in the way Ted had become accustomed.  He went a bit quiet on the centreboarder scene.

NZ Yachtsman. 23 Sept. 1916
In 1916 plans drawn up by his nephew Gladwyn appeared in the NZ Yachtsman, which was running another of its campaigns to get a national development class started. In the coming years the design was tweaked here and there, until 1921 when the first inter-provincial contest for the Sanders Cup took place for the class (between Auckland and Otago). In 1923 the Rona, built by Ted's brother Charles Jr., became the model boat. The same year the competition had grown nation-wide. Steel moulds of her were built to check entrants' compliance.

Lavina at Clyde Quay. Evening Post 03 Feb. 1934
This, NZ's first real national centreboard class, developed by his brother and nephew, obviously got Ted's blood up. From 1923 he built many boats, and by now well into his 50s, skippered the Enyin (1923) and Peggy (1924) in competition. It took him many years, but finally built a National champion - Lavina - in 1931. She won the competition in 1937. Vanguard (1936) is the only known survivor of Ted's X-Class boats, and is held in good condition at the Wellington Museum of City and Sea.

Throughout his career, Ted Bailey was a popular figure in the Wellington boating scene. He was often asked to skipper vessels for the big races, and taken on fishing trips. He was a prodigious drinker -  in 1926 (the time the photo of him above was taken) he was told by his clients to limit himself to one bottle of whiskey per day while building the launch Taranui.

Whenever I take Lizzie out for a sail I pour a votive into her bilge, and encourage others to do the same, in his memory.

Some of Ted's builds:

Ten feet:
Vera (1905)
Zel (1906)
Thelma (1907). Raced By Bailey throughout 1907-09
18 feet:
Tuna (1908). In partnership with Bringins, though probably purely Bailey’s. Bailey helmed her first race. She represented Wellington at the Napier regatta 1908 with Aubrey Smith (owner) and W. Highet as crew.
Queenie (1908) Double ender. May have been a keeler, raced with div 3. In partnership with Bringins. Possibly converted to auxiliary 1913.

14 feet:
Nan (1910)
Takapuna (later known as Z class):
1927: Three built

Cat boats:
Nomad (1914): Based on New England catboat designs, though carried a bowsprit and headsail. Built for racing at Heretaunga. Later converted to a launch, she survives in Nelson as a motor sailer.

14 foot centreboarders built to the Rona / Jellicoe / X-class rule:
Anival (1939)
Clyde (1928)
Hinau (1922)
Suelem (ca. 1932) Renamed Jannet 1934
Lavina (1931). In 1937 she became the first Wellington-built X-Class to win the national Sanders Cup championship.
Nancy (ca. 1930)
Peggy (1921)
Poneke (ca. 1921)
Unknown name (on order 1927)
Kia Ora (1935)
Vanguard (1936)

Keel yachts:
Unknown name (1908): In partnership with Bringins, Double ended fishing boat for Paremata clients (perhaps Queenie, above)
Lizzie (1909): Bailey’s own design for racing; uses concepts of successful centreboarders like hard turn of the bilge and flat run aft.
Wylo (1911): Designed by Robert Scott, an early example of the “short ender” type, was still active in Wellington into the 1950s. Current whereabouts unknown.
?? (1911): received an order for 20’ keeler in anticipation of a new class.
Reverie (1912): Described as a pocket version of Wylo, still active 1938. Current whereabouts unknown.
(1913) Order placed by C. J. Ward for a 35 foot keel yacht. Nothing came of it.

Motor boats/launches:

1907: In partnership with Bringins, 56 foot pleasure launch for Mr. Blechmyden of Nelson.
1907: In partnership with Bringins, 20 foot launch for G Bothamley. 6’ beam, 4 1/2hp Gardiner
1908: In partnership with Bringins.  LOA 40’ , Beam 10’, Draft 3,10’. Launch for the department of defence, named W. 29hp Thorneycroft. Accepted by the department 05 January 1909, offered for sale by them by closed tender 1919.
1909: Scotia. 42'LOA 15hp Gardiner for S. F. Greenshield
1910: Launch for Dudley Holmes. Powered by 10hp Zealandia
1910: Launch for McLean for use in Chatham Is. LOA 30’ Beam 8’. 10hp Gardiner
1911: Auxilliary launch for Putey, Seagar and Cording. Small ketch rig. Powered by 5hp standard. LOA 32’, 3”, Beam 9’, Draft 3’, 3”. Sail area 300 square feet. This build was reported as being on order, and is not confirmed to have been built.
1911: had a 28’ launch for sale
1912: “Small” launch on order for owners of yacht Dauntless. Did they give the launch the same name? Probably – clients were Petley and Co of Seatoun, who are later reported to have a Bailey.
1912: 20 foot launch for Public works department for use at Greymouth. Powered by 10hp Gardiner.
1913: “small” launch for Bert Stirling (Tui?) Might have been Stirling, reported in later years as built by Bailey and Lowe - a possible confusion.
1913: 16’ launch (same as above?)
1913: Matakitaki. 30’ launch for Ninina Heremai. 14hp Anderson. Heremai is reported as a chieftainess of Wairarapa
1914: Resolution. 30’ launch for Messrs Reston, Flynn, Francis and Nixon. Beam 9’. 12hp Capel. Yawl rigged.
1919: 20 foot launch for sale. 6,6 beam.
1919: 40 foot launch for sale
1923: 20 foot launch for Bert Aldred
1923: 21 foot launch for Dr Fell
1923: fishing boat for Chatham Island Fishing co.
1925: 40 foot Launch to be built at Pigeon Bay, Akaroa for Campbell-Hay
1927: Margaret designed by Bailey for J. A. MacDonald, owner and builder. LOA 25, Beam 8,6
1927: 77’ fishing boat
1927: Fishing launch

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

What happened to the Half Raters

NZ Yachtsman 20 May 1916
From time to time people have asked what was the fate of the crack boats of the Arawa Sailing Club written about here. I've found out about a few of them, as well as some additional bits and pieces about them so here is a short run-down with some different photos.

Vixen was renamed Waterbeetle and taken back to Lyttelton by Robert Scott. Beyond that, nothing much, though she had been altered and still going strong in 1916 at Banks Peninsula.

Arawa was mentioned in 1916 as being at Wanganui

NZ Yachtsman 24 June 1916
Ruru was converted to a 7 1/2 hp launch in 1907 by her owners messers Howard and Fear.

The boat Inyoni pictured here I know nothing about. There were a few amateur-built half raters, but they don't get named in the newspapers of the day.

I've found out a little more about the Dauntless and the Miru - details below:


NZ Yachtsman 12 May 1916
Jack Chalmers of Clyde Quay built Dauntless as an 18 footer in 1894, but racing in that class wasn't terribly interesting at the time. There was some excitement about the impending arrival of the half raters Vixen, Miru and Ruru built by Logan in Auckland, so Chalmers rather hurriedly converted her to race against them. The picture at left shows her in 1900, helmed by C. Petley.

He removed the deck, and lowered the topsides by removing several planks she was decreased 12 inches forward and eight inches aft. This decreased her beam. Time was short, so he only had time to build a new shelf and cut slots for the deck beams. He didn't bother to trim the old beams down, and just jammed them in place. Because the boat was now narrower, something had to give - the forcing in of the now too-long deck beams pushed the bilge out and down; the turn of the bilge was four inches lower than the keel - almost like a catamaran. It also buckled the keel, giving her a more pronounced rocker - the banana shape keeping the stem out of the water off the wind.

Chalmers also removed the bulb fin keel and inserted two dagger boards; one in the mid-section and one forward.

With no time to complete the job before the half rater season began, Dauntless was initially raced with no deck at all. The lack of deck meant she worked her hull quite badly, and water would come in  through the hull as well as into it from breaking seas. During her second race she was constantly swamped. Unable to keep up with the water coming in, the crew ran her aground on the beach near Petone.

Dauntless was the most successful of the half raters of the club.

The Dauntless was still racing up to 1915 among third class boats with the Port Nicholson Yacht Club, and may be the same boat of the same name used during the 1920s at a lighthouse in Nelson. After that it's a blank.

Miru ca 1937

In about 1912 Miru was converted to a keeler, with topsides raised, a cabin added and converted to a sliding gunther rig. She raced in the second and third class fleets of the Port Nicholson Yacht Club for a few years. She was renamed Essex for a brief time during WWI. During the early 1930s she was purchased by a young RPNYC member and raced with some success in the years running up to WWII. The photos here were purchased from a second hand shop in Waikanae a few months ago and show her during the 1930s when she had a bit of success.

Miru was still knocking around in Clyde Quay about 15 years ago I'm told. However, for most of the chaps about the waterfront these days, anything "15 years ago" just means more than ten, and anywhere up to thirty.

She was inspiration of a recent build in the UK:

Miru in Clyde Quay ca 1937

Miru at Clyde Quay for a scrub ca 1937

Miru outside Clyde Quay ca 1967

Friday, 13 September 2013

If at first you don't succeed

In 1931 J. W. Stallard and two sons Basil and Martin of Levin had the pleasure of launching a staunch little home-built 23 footer named Maputu.

Maputu is described in the Evans Bay Yachtsman of October 1936 as being 23' LOA, beam 7'6", broad transomed boat. With her centreboard down she drew 6'. She was fitted with a 14hp inboard which weighed  half a ton - it must have taken up most of the cabin space! The reason for the big engine was for crossing the river bar at Foxton.

Evening Post 07 Nov. 1931
They went to launch her in the river, but found the one access point barred by a pontoon which had been left high and dry after a storm. They spent two days digging a slipway, got her in, and had to wait another few days until some bad weather blew through before crossing the bar and setting sail for Wellington.

The motor ran in well, she sailed well enough, though was a bit slow to answer the wheel helm they had fitted in lieu of a tiller. A gale force Northerly followed them all the way down the coast, and they couldn't make the Wellington heads. They decided to heave to near Turakirae, have a cup of tea and wait things out.

The anchor dragged, a sea lifted them up and dumped them on a rock. The boat sank in a few minutes, and the three crew barely escaped in the dinghy. A few weeks later members of the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club Went to see what could be done, but aside from a little salvage she was otherwise a total loss.

Evans Bay Yachtsman August 1936
The Stallard family returned to Levin and built another boat: a schooner rigged 32 footer with a monstrous 10' beam. She had inch thick carvel NZ kauri on NZ Hickory frames (whatever that is!) on 9" centres. All of the seams were backed on the inside with heart rimu, creating a very strong structure. She was carefully fitted out with water and fuel tanks, separate cabins, and beautifully finished. She was launched in 1936 from Foxton River once more and made the trip to Wellington, via a holiday in the Marlborough Sounds.

This time they made it as far as Seatoun before hitting the bricks.

Luckily, they were seen from shore, and informed the harbour board, who sent out the tug Arahina, which pulled them off withough too much damage (see image below). Within a couple of weeks she was back in the water.

Maputu II remained in Wellington and proved a good sea boat. Skippered by Martin she competed in the Lyttelton -Wellington race in 1940 represented Evans Bay. What happened to her after that?
Evening Post 05 Jan 1938: Arahina dragging Maputu II off rocks at Seatoun