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

1 comment:

  1. Hi there
    Love reading all this history. Do you have any info on the Ika built in 1926 in Wellington