|The Schooner Te Hongi de Clumpertee|
by Ronald Carter,
Wellington, New Zealand.
Publishers Second Edition
I now propose to discuss three vessels which have been owned over a period of years by Mr. H. F. Lamb, of Wellington. The first, a schooner now know as the Te Hongi has quite an interesting history. She was built by Mr. John Stewart Banner, of Hokianga, in 1934 but was never used by her owner. She measures 42 feet overall, 10 feet beam and 6 feet draught of water. She is built of Kauri pine and is of double-skin construction. About 1935 she was bought in an unfinished state by Mr. Shelley Atkinson, of Auckland, who commissioned Mr. John Wray of Ngatoki fame to sail her down the west coast of Ouehunga, in order that she could be brought over land to Auckland. I think most New Zealand yachtsmen are familiar with that hair-raising passage which Mr. Wray fully described in his book South Sea Vagabonds; of how, after putting to sea with the uncaulked hull they nearly lost her, and the excitement of crossing the notorious Manakau Bar. Suffice to say that after many trials and tribulations, the Lady Edna, as she was then known, was safely jacked up in the yard of Mr. Sam Fort in Ellersilie Auckland, and practically rebuilt.
I watched her being rebuilt and there is
no doubt that Sam made a good job of her. She did not stay long in Auckland,
for she was bought shortly after her launching on the Waitemata by Mr.
H. F. Lamb of Wellington, and was sailed to this port by her owner and
the late Mr. Tony Clark, who went missing while on active service in the
second Word War. Her name was altered to Te Hongi and Mr. Lamb made a number
of coastal passages in her, two of which were sailed to Lyttelton, single
handed. Te Hongiís present owner is a visiting Swiss yachtsman Jack Milkwalder,
who is preparing his vessel for a passage to the United States of America.
Mr. Maikwalder, who has had considerable yachting experience, had the misfortune
to lose his yacht Tronkjeíum, which got caught in the surf on the inhospitable
coast of Pitcairn Island, while he was crossing the Pacific in 1944.
FROM THE CAPTAIN
I have not discovered how the Te Hongi got to the United States. There are several ways: around Cape Horn; through the Panama Canal; through the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope and finally across the Atlantic.
I have been trying to get information from the Canal. But have not found a record of the Te Hongiís transit. It would really be something if it did go around Cape Horn!
There is a film "Underwater" filmed sometime in the 50ís that used the Te Hongi in a sailing sequence. Some of the previous owners friends went through a year of correspondence with RKO studios to get a black and white print of the film as a present. The story takes place somewhere in the Caribbean, so the Te Hongi must have been there as a charter vessel.
The previous owner was Dr. Robert Reed who owned the Te Hongi for over 20 years. I think he bought it in the early 60ís from a gentleman that kept it in the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Reed sailed the Te Hongi to the Bahamas and back in the 60ís. Most of his other sailing, to my knowledge, was in the Chesapeake Bay.
I bought the yacht from Dr. Reedís widow in the late 80ís and have been slowly rebuilding it. In 1994, I got to do some long over-due sailing on her.
I have a phone number of one of Dr. Reedís sailing buddies. I hope he can tell me something about the vessel. When I first found the schooner in the Philadelphia Sea Plane Base the sign read "For Sale the Te Hongi" and something about Errol Flynn.
Who knows what stories this little ship could tell if it could talk. Maybe some of the stories are best left untold.
THE TE HONGI TODAY
The Little Ship today is a combination of the best of the old and the best of the new. She spends most of her time as a testing base for space age electronics and software. At present it is the test platform for a high tech company to test a satellite positioning system for near shore navigation. She carries RADAR, GPS, Several Computers systems, Test systems for renewable energy monitoring, a diesel heating stove, tungsten halogen lights, kerosene lights, and a partially solar driven refrigeration system.
Her purpose is to help in the development of new high tech systems relative to energy conversation, technology, and ocean navigation. She is also a floating class room for teaching sailing, celestial navigation, as well is the new electronic navigation.
In her spare time she is constantly being made better, stronger, and younger. During the summer of 1994 she was graced with a new two inch thick teak deck.
In 1996 she was sailed off shore to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. She performed several charters during the summer of 1998. She was used as a test-bed of a new navigation system that combines GPS information and auto pilot controls in 1999. In the year 2000 she was taken out of the water for some cosmetic work.
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