New Zealand Scow

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by dskira, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Caro Brooking
    Joined: Apr 2017
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    Location: Auckland

    Caro Brooking Junior Member

    Hi Rayman, Steve W and sltalk, my father owned Revival the scow that you were talking about and yes it was anchored for many years in Coxs Bay outside our place. We purchased it off Jack Lidgard when he lived on board it round the back of Beachaven. Jack had polio and lived aboard Revival for many years before my father Arch Brooking purchased it. Back then it had a mustard lower hull with white around the mid to top hull, white cabin and mustard roof. I remember the day dad first took us around to see it as kids. I was around 7 years old so that would have been around 1978. He owned it until the mid 1990's when he was approached by a chap Tom who lived in Marine Parade who wanted to purchase it. Dad (Arch) couldnt sail, but loved to occasionally motor around the harbour on her. We as kids used her as a swim-to platform in the bay and later in my teenage hood she was my sunbathing deck and fishing pontoon. Dad painted her light blue where all the mustard bits were. Jack had new engines purchased for her which lived in our garage for many many years. They were two massive red 'Honda' or 'Yamaha' engines from memory. The size of something you would put in a truck. Enormous! Brand new and shiny. I remember when we first saw the boat and Jack took us on board. She was lovely inside with a hand drawn centreboard which also had the drop leaf tables hinged off the centre board casing on either side. She had a lovely old pot belly stove and the galley although very tight was well appointed. Both sides of the boat opposite the centreboard were full length benches with hidden hinged storage and huge mustard coloured vinyl squabs on top. She would sleep 10. 4 on rope stretchers in the bow which you entered through two holes which lead to the main cabin. The mustard squabs on each side would sleep 3 (head to tail) and there was lots of room between each persons feet to the other persons head. She was solid kauri throughout. The masts were removed for some remedial work around 1982. We moved her to the creek bridge in Coxs Bay and used a winch system against the metal original railings to lift them in order to do some repairs on them and the roof of Revival. That was quite the show stopper on the day for the locals. Many stopped and watched the massive feat of good ole kiwi ingenuity at work. On the day we lifted each of the masts we found two coins - one under each mast. One dated 1842 or suchlike from memory and the other 1898. The first coin we were told by Jack Lidgard represented the oldest coin they could find at the time of placement of the mast and other was a current coin for the year of her manufacture. The masts were reinstalled a couple of weeks after they were removed and I remember a Ak Star reporter there on the day asking many questions about her. She was a beautiful boat. Floated in knee high water - that would around 30cm when I was a kid. She had a beautiful solid bow sprit which we loved running off and diving into the water from. Many times as a kid we would shimmy up the masts using the forged iron bars to climb our way up to the top then back down. I have some old photos of her from when Jack owned her and she's moored at the end of another Lidgard family members property, one of her under sail in a Auckland Anniversary Day regatta and some of her when she was anchored on the mud flats in Coxs Bay. My father loved her and she was swapped for a property in Te Atatu for Jack who had realised that he needed to be land based as he was starting to struggle living on the boat alone. He had other ailments and his health was deterioating. When we met him he didnt have any legs and we were always amazed at how he was able to swing himself around like Tarzan so quickly, climbing up, down and around Revival at lightening fast speed. Stories of her on the harbour were legendary from not only Jack but some other old mariners who would stop in to see Dad and recite tales of Revival. I recall that she was used as the 'flagship' on year for the Auckland Anniversary Regatta and her mini cannon was used to start the race. Another year she competed in the racing and was clocked at 35 knots racing past the race officials much to their disgust and amazement. She was fast alright. One year a group of doctors that lived in the area asked to take her out sailing on the harbour - probably saddened that she was generally moored at our place rather than being free out there. They took her out and when they returned, I remember one of the men saying to dad that they were a little unnerved at her speed. Dad was so proud of his Revival. We used to visit Jack quite often and he would recite stories of her history, owners and notable moments to Dad on every visit. I have much more I could tell you about her but only if asked. I was just going through some old photos and decided to google Revival Scow and saw this thread come up so thought I should say 'Yes' she was here in Herne Bay. And sadly 'Yes' she did deteriote and was eventually cut up by council after she was deemed to be a marine hazard. In the early 1990's the chap Tom, I mentioned earlier offered to purchase her from dad. My father was in his late 80's by then and agreed to sell her. He asked to keep her anchored outside our place, which Dad happily agreed to. Tom took her out a few times but fell on hard times when he and his then wife started separation/later divorce proceedings. Sadly Revival was neglected and after a couple of bad storms, one in which she broke anchor hit the jetty rocks after Tom decided it was a good idea to build a rock causeway/jetty to have better access at high tide. He didnt have the funds to repair her and I remember going out with dad on that stormy night trying everything we could to get her off the rocks - to little avail. The next morning we saw the damage. Actually it wasnt as bad as we thought, but the result was a large gash in her hull and some large long cracks on the side. We did a quick patch up job on her and I know Dad tried to contact Tom. Dad spoke to his wife, he had moved out, and said she would pass on a message to him. Sadly I dont think she ever did - later I found out it was a bitter divorce, and within a month we had another bad storm and this time Revival had cracked her centreboard casing and sunk. We pumped her out the next day and tried to fix her as best we could but not being her owner we werent allowed to do much. The harbourmaster informed us that unless she was completely submerged or had broken anchor and was adrift or a risk to others, there hands were tied to. My father tried on numerous occasions to find Tom but he had moved to Australia. Dad wasnt allowed to reclaim her as a shipwreck and thus she stayed where she was, slowly sinking between each of our pump outs. There was another cyclone and this was the one that took her out. She had a huge hole on her left side, midway down. I think a rock was the cause that had been dislodged with the huge waves and she had sat on it. Well for a few months she would fill with water each tide and slowly empty out but the sand and silt built up in her and eventually she floated no more. A few months later, the council came with a barge and cut her up. We saved her masts bowsprits, some rigging sails etc but most was lost. I have both her masthead and stern lights (old oil lanterns) and we did have all the other smaller oil lamp navigation lights that were located on both port and starboard 3 each side of the main cabin. There are a few other knic knacks off her too, but sadly some were stolen in 2004. But what I have is a wealth of memories, old yarns from those who owned her and who lived in her era. My father was born in 1908 and knew many ship builders of the day. So when he purchased Revival he did some investigating and researched her well. Oh when purchased she did come with the original navigational maps and other antique treasures. Sadly a terrible end for a beautiful lady of the sea. Regards Caro Brooking
  2. rayman
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: brisbane

    rayman Senior Member

    Thank you Caro Brooking, a most interesting post and history. I do not remember
    "REVIVAL" but have heard a lot about her. I shall forward this post to other interested parties who are curious as to her fate.
    regards ray
  3. Caro Brooking
    Joined: Apr 2017
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    Location: Auckland

    Caro Brooking Junior Member

    Hi Ray, many thanks for the reply. I also noted that you were talking about Ferro Scows. Dad (Arch Brooking) had one of those here too. I have no idea what her name was but Dad acquired her from someone up behind Herald (Pine) Island or near the Henderson Creek area. The story goes that she struck rocks of Rangitoto on her maiden voyage and sunk. She was salvaged and although had a slow leak was able to be towed. We towed it from up Riverhead way over Meola Reef and into Coxs Bay where it was dragged from the stern onto our old beach. This would have been around 1979 - 1980. She was up on the 'hard' at home until she finally fell apart and we buried her on the property. I dont suppose anyone would know more about the ferro cement scow. We used to have plans for her but I havent been able to locate them. They were similar to these uploaded more than a decade ago on this website. I'll see if I can attache a copy of the plans as reference. The only difference was that from a lateral view she only had two levels of roofline not three as indicated on this plan. Just one long roof that started from behind the bowsprit "H" to about 2/3rd down the deck then a higher section towards the rear. Regards Caro
  4. Caro Brooking
    Joined: Apr 2017
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    Location: Auckland

    Caro Brooking Junior Member

    Ferro Cement Scow/Ketch plan that sunk on maiden voyage hitting rocks off Rangitoto

    Here is a cut and paste of the scow schooner plan that is almost identical apart from the 3 level roofline as the one that sunk off Rangitoto on its maiden voyage around the mid-late 1970's. It would be great to find out more about the old girl. She was yellow, ply with ferro cement on chickenwire. Kauri mast, bowsprit, rudder. Thick ply sides with square windows cut out. Short in length but quite fat. Encased centreboard with hand winch. Wheelhouse was in a raised section at the rear. Inside fully appointed and with a pot belly too. She was salvaged and kept on the tidal flats around the back of Herald (aka Pine) Island where she was purchased by my father Arch Brooking and we floated her back across Meola Reef into Coxs Bay where she was dragged by the stern and put on the hard at home. Any info would be appreciated. Kind regards Caro

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  5. scowlover
    Joined: Jun 2014
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    Location: Paeroa nz

    scowlover New Member

    Hi, can anyone please advise where this scow is located now--I want to talk to owner re possible purchase. Thank-you Ross Ph021-1089345 or email
  6. sltak
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    Location: New Zealand

    sltak Junior Member

    Reply to Caro Brooking: The scow schooner plans in your post of April 11 2017 (two posts back) are of two different designs, both by Brian Donovan.

    The first of the two drawings is a 28' scow schooner which Brian Donovan designed during the time he was living in a caravan on a property my wife and I owned at Riverhead. The prototype was built next door. Brian was quite excited by the concept, which he believed could be built very cheaply, with a minimum of materials. "You can build it out of nothing" he said "with just a hammer, a skillsaw and a broad axe." He was building a little round bilge boat for himself at the time and he confided "I wish I had thought of this idea earlier." I think the materials which his neighbour was putting into the build were inferior (demolition timber for framing, and free "car case" plywood for the hull, sheathed with a thin layer of ferrocement.) It sunk soon after it was launched (the story I heard is that it sunk when it was launched at Riverhead, through sitting on something hard when the tide went out - but I did not see it.)
    I always believed (and still do) that this was the one which ended up on the beach at the back of someone's property at Cox's Bay. I think this is the boat you are referring to, but perhaps there were two of them built. I do not recall if the cabin top profile was true to plan. I think that cabin was probably true to the first of the plans you posted (the one on the left, the 28 footer). One thing would identify it - it had a hand made wheel with turned spokes made from macrocarpa. It was me who made the wheel and I would recognise it, if it survived. I don't think any more were built, although the concept has since been proven. Typically, Brian just did the study plan/ sail plan which is the drawing you have posted - he did not get around to drawing construction details but just supervised and gave his neighbour verbal instructions. The neighbour (and Brian himself at the time) were close to penniless and Brian, perhaps over-optimistically, encouraged him to just go ahead and make do with what he had. Some years later a small company was formed to market some of Brian's designs, and one of the shareholders (Ian Baugh) completed the drawings, construction details etc. Ian did the construction drawings under Brian's supervision. I don't think any plans were sold and I am not aware of any further scows built to this design. However the ferrocement sheathing concept looked promising and has since been proven. Another of Brian's associates (Joe Buckton) ferrocement sheathed an old derelict launch hull, using the same layup as the scow (light gauge skeletal wire and chicken mesh) and if anyone is interested, I ended up owning that hull, and just recently (after it had lain derelict in the mud for a number of years and full of water) I broke open the ferrocement sheathing to inspect its condition. The ferrocement and its wire reinforcing was in the same good condition as it was 50 years ago when it was plastered.
    I think the little scow would probably be still around today if the builder had used better framing and plywood, and heavier scantlings.

    The second of the two drawings is a 33' scow which Brian designed for me. This one also was just the sail plan (drawn on the back of a calendar) and another sheet with some offsets. After discussion with Brian Donovan I decided to build this one heavier as I thought the 28 footer was too light in her scantlings (I started building the 33' scow before the 28' one was launched.) I used newly milled macrocarpa framing, and two skins of 3/4" macrocarpa planking, laid diagonally and fastened with clenched galvanised nails. There is a post which describes it in more details earlier in this forum, about page 5. The steel reinforcing for the ferrocement sheath was a good quality mesh known as Watson mesh, and some #8g rods were laid around higher stressed areas. After I built the hull, plastered the ferrocement sheath and gave it a coat of epoxy and rolled it into the water, I gave up on the project in order to go commercial fishing. It was taken over by Brian Giles, who built the topsides, installed the engine and completed the interior and the rigging pretty much as you see in the plan you have posted. It was pretty true to the drawing you have posted (the one on the right) except that there was no break in the cabin top, this one was built with the cabin top all on one level. It looked pretty good, with its schooner rig, fidded topmasts and all, and spent a number of years in Whangaroa Harbour under the name "Endurance". It went through another owner, then I re-purchased it and sailed it back to Auckland and lived in it for a number of years. (It sailed pretty well, too.) It is currently in West Auckland sitting on a mudbank about 20 metres away from where it was built. The macrocarpa hull and ferrocement sheathing looks pretty good from the outside, but no destructive examination has been done. The plywood cabin top has rotted in the damp conditions we have here, and she has narrowly escaped becoming a hulk. However she has recently been taken over by a new owner who has the enthusiasm and skill to rebuild the topsides, and very soon she will be sailed back to Whangarei to have a new lease of life - and a new rig. She is going to be converted into a Chinese junk rig, and I believe she will be renamed "Havoc" after one of the earlier commercial scows.

    Just to ensure there is no confusion, there is a third ferrocement-sheathed scow which was even more lightly constructed from plywood, which was built in Thames by the late Ian White. It had no centreboard (instead shallow bilge keels) and in scantings it was downright flimsy. I can say that, because Ian was a friend of mine and I helped him plaster it and I told him at the time I thought it was pretty light. I don 't know what happened to that one, but it was about the same size and superficially similar to look at to the 28' Donovan scow which Caro is referring to. I think I saw it (unrigged) one day when I drove past Little Shoal Bay but never saw it again, and Ian White had since gone to Australia. I have no doubt it would not have lasted very long. I mention this in case there is any confusion with the one Caro is referring to. To the best of my knowledge those are the only three ferrocement sheathed scows which were ever built - except that I am currently in the process of building another one right now.
    Last edited: May 18, 2019

  7. tom kane
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Hamilton.New Zealand.

    tom kane Senior Member

    Not in the Scow class, I often wonder about this wreck taken up at Coromandel and think about it`s fate and Name. Taken in 1960`s.

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