Boating NZ : FREE TO READ April 2014
W J Quelch seems to have been a compulsive trader. Shortly after the Norah Cup race, he traded Ethel with dentist W R Ingram for the 24ft linear rater Eulalie. Designed by Walter Bailey and launched by Bailey & Lowe in November 1900, Eulalie had been one of the least successful of the crop of 24 linear raters built in Auckland in 1900: the Bailey & Lowe-built Bona, Eulalie and Miro, and the Chas Bailey Jr-built Speedwell and Matua. Quelch kept Eulalie only briefly, selling her in May 1914 to H English of Stanley Bay. The next yacht in the Quelch family was the handsome Le Huquet-built Alexa which W J bought from Cyril Dunsford in early 1915. Alexa was a fine, 32ft cutter built for Ernie ‘Pirate’ Payne of Thames in 1904. Probably sailed mainly by son Tom, Alexa raced during World War I in the patriotic races and regattas run by the North Shore Yacht Club and the new Bayswater Boating Club. She rode out the February 1917 cyclone on her moorings without damage, while several of Auckland’s major yachts hauled out for the duration of the war on the beach at Torpedo Bay, a mile east around the Devonport foreshore, were seriously damaged. Tom Quelch was at sea on the square-rigger Rothesay Bay so W J sold Alexa in early 1917 to Bonner, Hastie and Chapman of Devonport. Jack Bonner had lost his right arm at the front but still threw himself into all the work needed to get Alexa ready for the water and, with his left hand, painted a splendid watercolour of her. Without Tom around, W J’s next boat was another step sideways. This time he bought the hybrid Gryphon from E S ‘Tecky’ Gittos of Huia Street, Devonport. Gryphon was an example of the contemporary efforts to produce a pleasure craft which combined the virtues of yachts and launches, what we call a motor-sailer today, but well before the concept had been thoroughly worked out. T M Lane & Sons Ltd built the 29ft x 27ft x 9ft x 3ft Gryphon for Gittos in November 1912, described as a mullet boat type with a 5hp Colonial engine. Like Gittos, Quelch used her primarily as a launch and fitted a larger 16hp Peerless engine. However, the Quelches soon moved on again, and Lanes were advertising Gryphon for sale in June 1918. No doubt under pressure from son Tom, just back from sea, W J had bought the Logan Bros keeler Little Jim from the Feltham brothers of Devonport. The 36-footer Little Jim was built in 1901 for fishing and was considered the crack snapper boat of the port when purchased by the Feltham brothers of Devonport in 1911 and refitted as a fast cruiser. They had refused to race so there “Jean had... sold to David Teed who changed her name to Maude T... then to W A Wilkinson who changed her name to Speedwell... then to Sam Leyland who called her Jean...” INSET: Maroro as featured on the cover of the US Rudder magazine. Vida, W J Quelch’s last yacht. 84 Boating New Zealand April 2014 REGULAR_Vintage perspectives_April14.indd 84 18/03/2014 9:03:55 a.m.
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