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