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

Friday 30 August 2013

Fading away

NZ Yachtsman 18 January 1916
"Old soldiers never die", goes the ballad, "they just fade away" (or as one WWI wag had it in the trenches: "the young ones wish they would"). It appears to be a fitting epitaph for the Viking, which belonged to Oscar Freyberg, eldest brother of three other soldiers, Paul, Cuthbert, and the famous Sir Bernard DSO KCMG etc., etc.

NZ Yachtsman 11 March 1911

Viking, which started life with the name Moana, was built by Robert Logan Senior in Auckland and launched 22 December 1890. She has been thought to be the first yacht in New Zealand built to the Rating rule, as a 5 rater. Though she looked the part and ended up rating well, racing was still done under the tonnage rule, and she entered the 4-7 tons division at the Auckland Anniversary Regatta in January 1891. She didn't win, but looked promising. The following year she came second to Spray in a good tussle. She was up for sale January the 1893 and made the move to Wellington later that year with her new owner J. P Maxwell, who renamed her Waiwetu, after a river in the Hutt Valley.

She was entered in the 1894 Wellington Anniversary Regatta as a five rater, but lately arrived, was overcanvassed and overpowered, and didn't perform very well. She continued to compete in the Regattas and Club racing through the 1890s, and although she came away with the occasional club trophy, never really stood out. In 1897 her internal ballast was taken out and added to the external. By the end of the year she was up for sale again.

Evening Post 02 November 1899
She was picked up by E. Bucholz and G. G. Schwartz, who continued to race her for a couple of years. She broke her moorings in May 1899 and fetched up on the beach at Ngauranga with her port side stove in. She was immediately put up for sale but there were no takers. J. Henshilwood and Frank McKeever removed the lead in exchange for the bare hull. In November her gear was auctioned off.

Henshilwood and McKeever kept the hull at Paul and Roberts slip at Te Aro and rebuilt her on the hard over the next couple of years.

Source: Wellington Museum of City and Sea
The boat isn't mentioned until 1903, when she is being taken for her "annual cruise in the Marlborough Sounds". She entered Oscar Freyberg's ownership in about 1904. Freyberg was a legal clerk and had owned quite a few yachts in his time (Mapu, Ariel, Haeata, Neva, and later Siren) as well as centreboarders (Taipu, Kura) which he raced with the Port Nicholson Yacht Club and Arawa Sailing Club. He was the eldest of four boys, and known as a wild and adventurous spirit. During the 1890s he and his brothers regularly sailed across Cook Strait in barely seaworthy boats in all kinds of weather conditions. He wrote a yachting column for the engineering and industry magazine "Progress" through 1911 and 1912, and was also Vice Commodore of the Port Nicholson Yacht Club in the years running up to the war. Oscar was killed in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, aged 34.

Viking and Siren start of Ocean Race 1911
Viking was purchased by Elton and Headland in 1907. The Headland family (Charles, then his son Cyril) retained a share in the boat until 1947. It was during their ownership she became best-known.

In 1911 The Port Nicholson Yacht Club held its first Ocean Race. These are now known as Offshore Races, and generally start in Wellington, crossing the Cook Strait and finishing in different parts of the top of the South Island. This new series was at the instigation of Freyberg, and the race took place in difficult conditions, to Port Underwood and back. Many retired early, but the Viking, with Oscar Freyberg acting as master, pushed through and emerged the winner on corrected time after 9hrs 11min (see photo above of her during the return crossing). Read an account here.

Cyril Headland ca 1947. Source Elise Atkinson
The Viking was moored at Evans Bay, and Charles Headland kept a shed there. It was from this shed that the meeting was held to create the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club in 1919. She was from that time always thought of as an "Evans Bay boat". Viking was a regular campaigner in harbour and offshore racing up until WWII. What happened after that is a little murky. She broke her moorings again in 1950 and went aground (Viking was definitely a boat that didn't appreciate being tied down!). She was then converted to what Pat Millar calls a "funny looking launch", and moved to the Marlborough Sounds some time later.

There is a rumour that she was tied up by a wharf in the Nelson area and converted to a cafe. Is she still around, or has she just faded away completely?

Monday 22 July 2013


Lizzie ca. 1909-12. Image hand coloured by Denise Durkin

Launched in February 1909, Lizzie is the oldest surviving Wellington-built yacht.  She was built at Balaena Bay (then known as Martin's Bay) by Edwin (Ted) Bailey for C. J. Ward. At the time Bailey was in partnership with James Bringins. By September 1909 Bailey had set up on his own account at Clyde Quay. Bailey was the youngest of the Auckland boatbuilding brothers, Charles Jr, and Walter, and set up in Wellington. He had moved to Wellington early in his career, and remained there until his death in June 1943.

On top of his recent success in building racing centreboarders (Zel, Thelma, and Vera - see Thorndon Dinghy Club), Lizzie's immediate success as a racing yacht was probably a factor in Bailey's decision to go it alone at Clyde Quay. Aside from the occasional centreboarder, Bringins showed no interest in building or developing racing vessels.


The Martins Bay workshop (with Bailey's name recently painted over). Source Alexander Turnbull Library

Lizzie. Source: Progress. April 1911

Lizzie's vital statistics:
LOA : 22'
LWL : 19'
Beam : 7', 6"
Draught : 4'

Lizzie's first race was a challenge against the champion 2nd class yacht Taipare, which she won. She was crewed for that race by Ted Bailey (skipper), C. J. Ward, C. Ward Jr., and G. Taylor. In subsequent club racing, it was C. Ward Jr. who skippered her.

Source: Wellington Museum of City and Sea
Lizzie was owned by the Ward family until 1912. During this time, Lizzie was entered in 21 races with the Port Nicholson Yacht Club. As scratch boat she achieved eleven firsts, seven seconds, two thirds and one fourth - quite an outstanding record in a strong fleet. The club still holds three trophies named after her.

C. J. Ward, owner of a shoemaking firm, was Commodore of the Port Nicholson Yacht Club from 1910-1912. He was well respected and liked as a fair businessman who looked after his staff.

Ward family car on an outing to Paremata. Source: Terry Ward
One day the family sailed Lizzie out across the harbour to Day's Bay for a picnic. On board was Ward's wife Elizabeth (for whom the boat was named), who was pregnant. The weather took a turn for the worse. Not wanting to risk Elizabeth in her condition, Lizzie was sailed back to town by the boys, leaving her to hitch-hike her way home in the storm. The first thing she said as she came through the door was: "Sell the boat, we're buying a car".

Linnet. Source: RPNYC archive
Lizzie was sold to Charlie Neal, who was to become a stalwart of the PNYC, and subsequently owned Viola and Wylo. Lizzie was fast, though somewhat difficult to helm - a little too keen to point her nose into the wind, so Neal moved her mast about six inches aft and decreased her sail area. This made her more easily handled, though it diminished her racing potential. It was reported at the same time that Bailey had been contracted to raise the topsides by six inches, though this appears not to have occurred. She was renamed Linnet, and continued to race in Wellington into the 1920s before she was purchased by a Lyttelton owner.

Source: Traditional Boats June 1987
She remained in the Christchurch/Lyttelton area until 1986. In 1937 long-time owner Cliff Heron raised her topsides by 18 inches and lived aboard her for a time. The image at left shows her in this configuration. She passed through many hands until 1977 when she was purchased by Graeme and Annette Robertson, who took her with them when they moved to Auckland in 1986.

She changed hands several more times before sinking at her moorings in unclear circumstances in 2010.

This event inspired the creation of the Wellington Classic Yacht Trust, which was formed to raise money for her salvage and restoration. She was renamed Lizzie, returned to her original configuration and is sailing once more in her home waters. She was named Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club's boat of the year in 2013.

Lizzie sailing in Wellington 2013