Chestnut Brown

This months unfortunate work related diversions from my true calling of assembling a simple plywood box in the shape of a boat took the form of trips both south and north. The south trip was to Wanaka, where there is a special tree of which the locals are very proud.


A cynical person might quietly mention mangroves and consider such enthusiasm over one tree a little much, but New Zealand does not have them and I guess it does photograph well. The other trip was north to New Plymouth. Like nearby Wellington, New Plymouth tends to have a bit of wind as the wind sculpture below shows.


I should have paid closer attention to the weather, as an hour after this photo all flights were cancelled due to extreme wind. My predicament was to stay in town for 24 hours, or drive 5 hours to Wellington and catch the last flight back to Christchurch.  As a man of action I chose the drive, although this should not be thought of as a reflection on the relative charms of New Plymouth!

At some point, I managed to get extra boat work done. This month involved sealing up the (hopefully) watertight bulkheads, painting, installing access hatches and more painting. Fond of a bargain, I located some very cheap paint in a desirable colour, chestnut brown. I could think of other, less marketable names, but it was cheap.

Finally, after giving one boat a whiter, more appealing, and less chestnut brown colour, I oiled pine strips to make a small seat  (the other boat, with fore and after hulls I don’t think needs its own seat). Next time, I hope to have both hulls painted top and bottom, with oar locks fitted. This could mean the first sea trial is imminent….




  1. Hi Damo,

    Those photos are freakin’ awesome! OK, so how has the tree not drowned, and what the heck is it doing in a lake? Mangroves are right around this continent, but is that lake man made? I mean how would the tree even get started under water? And you chuck snow capped mountains in the background just to tease us all over here in this most flat of continents 🙂 At almost 8pm it is still 22’C outside right now, so snow is a far distant memory…

    Where was the diner? It looks like the real deal to me.

    And out of deference to your mates, and I’m not suggesting that there are parallels between the red plane and your boats, but you know…

    The boat is looking good. What are the little round plastic things that looks as if it can be opened?




  2. Hi Chris,

    The tree was part of a old fence line before the lake level rose (it is part of a hydro scheme). The locals are very protective and there was a bit of an uproar a few months back when inebriated youths placed a traffic cone on the tree at night!

    The diner did seem authentic, but is actually in NZ. I can pass a more accurate judgement over the next few days when I see the real thing. Must remember to tip.

    The little hatches serve two purposes, access to remove water in case of minor leakages, and a nice place to store items (perhaps a beverage or three?) when underway. Obviously, one should not consume alcohol when sailing and I would not condone such activity.



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