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On-board the Ted Ashby Sailing Scow on Auckland Harbour, New Zealand

Updated on November 18, 2015
RhondaAlbom profile image

Rhonda is an award-winning travel writer/photographer at AlbomAdventures. Based in New Zealand she has visited 54 countries on 6 continents.

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Finally, my chance to sail on the Ted Ashby Sailing Scow

There is no better way to see Auckland New Zealand than from the sea. We recently headed to the city and took an afternoon cruise on the Ted Ashby Sailing Scow. Launched in 1993, the Ted Ashby is a flat bottomed boat built to replicate the scows operating in the late 1800s to early 1900s in northern New Zealand waters. Ted Ashby is ketch-rigged, which means it has two masts both in front of the rudder.

Talking to some of the other passengers and even within my own family, I discovered many of us were there for different reasons: history of sailing scows or tall ships, Auckland sightseeing, family fun, or just any excuse to get out on the water. Despite the differences, we all seemed to enjoy our cruise on the Ted Ashby

Ted Ashby Sailing in the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland New Zealand

I have seen the Ted Ashby sail by so many times, it was fun to finally be on-board.
I have seen the Ted Ashby sail by so many times, it was fun to finally be on-board. | Source

What is a New Zealand Scow?

Scows are flat-bottomed, centerboard boats, making them versatile and easy to maneuver through estuaries and shallow harbours. In New Zealand, they generally carried cargo of logs, firewood, sand and shingle, machinery and stock. The cargo was usually carried on deck (as opposed to below deck). Some of the bigger scows transported timber to Australia and America.

The typical New Zealand Scows of the late 1800s and early 1900s were between 45 to 130 foot and most were two-masted, ketch or schooner rigged, although the larger scows had three-masts. About 130 scows were built in northern New Zealand between 1873 and 1925. Some even continued to operate until the 1960s. Fewer than a dozen originals are still in existence.

A Photo Tour of our Adventure on the Ted Ashby Sailing Scow

Our Cruise

We board from the dock at the Voyager, Maritime Museum. The Ted Ashby heads out in the direction of the Auckland Harbour bridge (this could be weather and wind dependent, I never asked). Once away from the dock, the crew manually raises the sails, and then shuts down the engines. The moment of silence as the engine stops and the wind fills the sails is always my favorite moment at sea.

Older style ships require a lot of crew

I hear the words, "coming about" and I know that the crew is going to turn the boat so the bow (front) passes through the wind and the sails move to the other side.
I hear the words, "coming about" and I know that the crew is going to turn the boat so the bow (front) passes through the wind and the sails move to the other side. | Source

All smiles as we head towards the Auckland Harbour Bridge

Hubby and our girls seem to be enjoying the cruise as the Auckland Harbour Bridge looms in the background.
Hubby and our girls seem to be enjoying the cruise as the Auckland Harbour Bridge looms in the background. | Source

Only in New Zealand - Bungy Jumping off a city bridge!

When I saw this sign, I giggled. At first I thought it was a joke. After all, commercial bungy jumping was started in New Zealand.
When I saw this sign, I giggled. At first I thought it was a joke. After all, commercial bungy jumping was started in New Zealand. | Source

Looking up while sailing under the Auckland Harbour Bridge

As we passed under the bridge, the first mate pointed out the bungy jumping platform.  Don't worry, they always know when there is a jumper afoot.
As we passed under the bridge, the first mate pointed out the bungy jumping platform. Don't worry, they always know when there is a jumper afoot. | Source

My daughter shares the helm with Captain Ray

As you can see, Captain Ray never fully let go of the wheel when he allowed my daughter to try her hand at the helm.  Safety first.
As you can see, Captain Ray never fully let go of the wheel when he allowed my daughter to try her hand at the helm. Safety first. | Source

A Few Technical Details Of The Ted Ashby

  • Made out of Australian hardwood blackbutt

  • Fastened with galvanized steel bolts and spikes

  • Hull framed with fore-and-aft bulkheads

  • Bottom is cross-planked

Fascinated by Tall Ships?

Tall Ships Today: Their remarkable story
Tall Ships Today: Their remarkable story

This five star Amazon recommended book seems the perfect option for those romanced by the mystic of tall ships. Available for Kindle or in Hardcopy.

 

Ted Ashby's centerboard is massive!

It was so big, at first I had trouble figuring out what it was, but without a keel (like the modern sailing boats I am used to) it would need a large centerboard or an outrigger to stay upright.
It was so big, at first I had trouble figuring out what it was, but without a keel (like the modern sailing boats I am used to) it would need a large centerboard or an outrigger to stay upright. | Source

Check out the chain directed rudder

Check out the chain directed rudder
Check out the chain directed rudder | Source

And the 1800's original style wooden rigging

It sure was a lot more work with this old wooden rigging than in modern boats. (However, all modern safety requirements have been added.)
It sure was a lot more work with this old wooden rigging than in modern boats. (However, all modern safety requirements have been added.) | Source

Enjoying the sail from the bow with the Auckland skyline in the background

Wind in our faces, I love spending a bit of time  with my girls at the bow (front) of the ship.
Wind in our faces, I love spending a bit of time with my girls at the bow (front) of the ship.

A closer look at the Auckland Skyline from the Ted Ashby Sailing Scow

The Auckland SkyTower, the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, dominates the city skylline
The Auckland SkyTower, the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, dominates the city skylline | Source

Our one hour cruise on the Ted Ashby is almost over

As it's time to head back to the museum dock, the crew bring down the main sail.
As it's time to head back to the museum dock, the crew bring down the main sail. | Source

End of the Day, The Ted Ashby is Docked for the Night

Docked for the night alongside the Breeze, with the Maritime Museum in the background.
Docked for the night alongside the Breeze, with the Maritime Museum in the background.

Find the Ted Ashby at the Maritime Museum in Auckland

A markerVoyager, Maritime Museum, Auckland, New Zealand -
New Zealand Maritime Museum Corner Quay Street and Hobson Street, Auckland, Auckland 1010
get directions

The Ted Ashby is docked at the Voyager Maritime Museum in Auckland

Don't forget a guide book:

Lonely Planet New Zealand (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet New Zealand (Travel Guide)

If you are visiting New Zealand, you are sure to want to see more of the country than just Auckland, our largest city. I am a big fan of the Lonely Planet guides and use them almost exclusively when we travel, be it in New Zealand or around the world.

 

© 2010 Rhonda Albom

Old, tall ships or modern vessels, which do you prefer?

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    • RhondaAlbom profile image
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      Rhonda Albom 2 years ago from New Zealand

      You should come here. It's a fantastic place to visit. Plan on staying a while. Don't let the small size fool you.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Albom 2 years ago from New Zealand

      I thought so too. I love the layout of the Hubs with the big photos.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      A fantastic hub! Great photos -I've always wanted to go to New Zealand - sigh!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This looks terrific here over at Hubpages, love the photos!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 3 years ago

      Very interesting and educational. Looks like a blast too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      That must have been a great experience. My brother used to sail around the Auckland waters regularly but hasn't had the chance in recent years. Great photographs!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      The color of the sea in these photographs is enticing. nice story

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Brilliant lens, sounds like a great trip. Three years ago my cousin and her husband (in their 60's) helped crew Steinlager II (one of the Round The World yachts from the late 1980s) from Auckland up to the Bay Of Islands. They had a great time. This brought back memories of when I was in Auckland in 1987/88. Blessed by an angel.

    • aidenw profile image

      aidenw 7 years ago from USA

      Looks like great fun. Wish I could be there.

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