Waitemata.......the Orange Roughy ! by Roy  Massicks

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Waitemata.......the Orange Roughy ! by 

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’ Waitemata II’ is a Pilot vessel on the Auckland harbour, New Zealand. She was built in 1990 as a replacement for the old wooden 63ft ‘Akarana ’ which I served on as skipper for over 20 years.
My last two years in the pilot service were on the ’Waitemata II’.
She was rather radical for her time, called a Stolkraft, designed in Queensland, Australia and built in Auckland, New Zealand with a Cathedral hull made of Aluminium. This was similar to having a Trimaran hull at the front and a catarmaran hull at the stern, with the twin 408hp diesel engine’s – this rammed air in at the front enabling her to lift up onto the plane, like riding on a cushion of air.
The propulsion units are Arneson surface units which means the screws are on long shafts that extended out beyond the rear of the hull by about 2ft and when on the plane would produce a large rooster tail because the tips of the screws were out of the water.
She could handle over two mtr waves before you had to drop her off the plane and handle her as you would a conventional vessel.
One of the reasons Ports of Auckland decided on this type of vessel was the fact that at speed (32 knots) she produced virtually no wash at all – a wash could be a problem to other vessels inside the harbour.
Because of the rougher ride you could encounter at these speeds, she was fitted with seven air-rest seats, similar to those found in large trucks.
She is still in service today as the second Pilot vessel having been replaced as first by a similar sized semi-rigid ( rubber duck !) vessel.
A few statistics for the ‘Waitemata’ are:
Cost to build $NZ600,000 in 1990.
Length: 12.9 mtrs (40 ft)
Crew 2.
Two 408hp M.A.N. 6 cylinder diesels.
Fuel consumption: Taken from my log book -
20 knots ( 78 ltrs per hour)
28 knots (109 lts per hour)
32 knots (138 lts per hour)
Aren’t you glad your car doesn’t use that amount ?
It was still economical as it did away with the need for the second Pilot boat due to the fact that it could do just about all the jobs required at that speed.
Title ref – Orange Roughy is a type of deep water fish of a bright orange colour like the boat so we nick named it this.


waitemata, pilot boat, auckland, new zealand, orange roughy, stolkraft


  • tom j deters
    tom j detersover 3 years ago

    Roy… I am just a fan! Love everything about it; the boat, the colors, the angle! Bravo my friend :-)

  • Thank you Tom, glad you like it. I will let you know when she comes up for sale and will even sail it out to you at a reasonable cost….! Roy

    – Roy Massicks

  • georgieboy98
    georgieboy98over 3 years ago

    My first thought on seeing this was that it was a hovercraft. Then I read your description and realised that it does, indeed, have many of the hovercraft’s qualities and capabilities. The amazing thing, to me, is that a vessel of this size only has a crew of two – is that the minimum, or usual, crew? In other words will it carry more if the need arises?
    Terrific photo and story Roy – great work

  • Peter, answering your questions: When the fast Pilot boat first came in in Europe they had crews of two ( we class Pilots as passengers) so the crew consisted of skipper and deckhand as opposed to the 60ftr where we had three, skipper, engineer and deck-hand. We agreed to man the ’ Orange Roughy’ with a crew of two if we had input in the safety features while she was being built. We agreed to this. Not long after I retired, one of the Pilots who had fallen off a pilot ladder on a ship in the Hauraki Gulf in the middle of the night, rang me to say how grateful he was that we had insisted on all the safety
    equipment the crews wanted. We had three crews for three twelve hour shifts.
    One on nights, one days and one off.
    Thankd you for your interest Peter and your kind comments. Roy

    – Roy Massicks

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELover 3 years ago

    I have learned something new from your write up Roy, excellent. This is an amazing capture, great work.

  • It was also fun to drive Andrea but not as comfy as the old ’Akarana ’ on twelve hour shifts. Many thank for your kind words.

    – Roy Massicks

  • snapitnc
    snapitncover 3 years ago

    great shot and write up roy,looks a powerfull machine,cheers mike

  • It had its moments Mike ! Many thanks for the comments, appreciate it. We used to come up behind Harbour Board ducks ( seagulls) and follow them when they took off – they used to look over their shoulders and go ’ Bloody hell! ’ and start zig-zagging and we’d just increase the speed. They soon learned to go higher………lol ! ( no seagulls were harmed in the telling of this tale !)

    – Roy Massicks

  • snapdecisions
    snapdecisionsover 3 years ago

    Nice capture and story line Roy!

  • Thank you Trevor – for the comments and favourite – appreciate it. You couldn’t have a mug of tea when mobile with this one, not like the good old boat. Roy

    – Roy Massicks

  • Mike Oxley
    Mike Oxleyover 3 years ago

    Great capture and fascinating read, Roy. What a grand craft. The fuel consumption figures are very interesting!

  • Very expensive too Mike ! Thank you for your kind comments. Incidentally, not long after I retired I was told they had governed the motors down to 28 knots top speed saving 29 ltrs per hour. That’s quite a saving over a period of time. Roy

    – Roy Massicks

  • Colin Metcalf
    Colin Metcalfover 3 years ago

    Superb Roy, must be an exhilarating ride!

  • Yes it was Colin – especially when the new Police boat and the ’ Waitemata ’ raced each other up and down the harbour….lol ! Thanks for your comments and favourite. Roy

    – Roy Massicks

  • TheBaldyMan
    TheBaldyManover 3 years ago

    Great shot and tale Roy

  • Many thanks Alex – I do miss the old boat and the excitement at times, like the odd cyclone etc we used to encounter…..lol !

    – Roy Massicks

  • Shaun Whiteman
    Shaun Whitemanover 3 years ago

    Excellent shot of this wonderful looking vessel, nice write up too!

  • Thank you Shaun – it was a bit like go-karts at the fairground and I was even paid for it !

    – Roy Massicks

  • Judith Hayes
    Judith Hayesover 3 years ago


  • Many thanks Judith – I appreciate the honour. Roy

    – Roy Massicks

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