Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fleetwing - a bit more floating history

My family owned Fleetwing for a time. She was initally brought down to the Sounds by my great uncle Charlie Scott, then passed to my Grandfather - Seymour Scott - who used her as a commuter boat between Picton and my grandparents farm at Wharehunga on Arapawa Island for many years (approx 1950's - 1960's) . She is quite possibly the launch in the following advert for Collings and Bell on page four of the fine book "Vintage New Zealand Launches".

Later she passed to my great uncle, Rex Tosswill, who, I believe, had the dodger added by Poppa Jorgensen at Jorgensens Boatyard in Waikawa Bay.

I have never seen a photo of her in her original state but I believe she is the boat that was a NZ water speed record holder for a time. I also believe she held the Masport Cup.

Also: "Fleetwing was Collings' pet name and he used it on many boats from outboard racers to cruising launches. This one was built in September 1920 and had a 45hp (rating) Van Blerck, which had a Packard block I think. When Collings sold her in June 1925 to H Empson of Point Chevalier he obviously kept the hot Van Blerck because Empson replaced it with a 6 cylinder Studebaker car engine. Collings seems to have put the Van Blerck into his next Fleetwing" (with thanks to Harold Kidd for this information).

Later (1980's onwards) she was used as a support boat in the Marlborough Sounds Aquaculture industry. There is a photo of her in Carol Dawber's fine book "Lines in the Water".

Now she looks like she's waiting patiently for a new custodian, or at least some TLC.

I am looking for some original photos which are hard to find...