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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 propellors 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 propellors 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)
Two 408hp M.A.N. 6 cylinder diesels.
Fuel consumption: Taken from my log book -
20 knots ( 78 ltrs per hour)
28 knots (109 ltrs per hour)
32 knots (138 ltrs 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.
From a Pentax P30N film SLR and print scanned and digitised.