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Iconic heritage boat on the move ahead of America’s Cup

Published: 10 December 2018
The William C. Daldy today. Photo credit: Trevor Coppock / Seapixonline.com.

An 83-year-old steam tugboat previously based in the Viaduct Harbour now has a new home on Auckland’s waterfront so construction for the 36th America’s Cup race can begin.

The William C. Daldy has moved from its former berth on the north side of Hobson Wharf – next to the New Zealand Maritime Museum – to the west side of Princes Wharf where it will now be berthed.

Council supports boat’s preservation

Auckland Council’s Chief Operating Officer Dean Kimpton says that the council has been in discussions with The Tug William C. Daldy Preservation Society – the organisation responsible for the restoration, maintenance and operation of the boat – to find a suitable alternative location while construction takes place.

“We know the society is doing everything it can to secure the future of the Daldy, and the Auckland Council Group is committed to supporting them to achieve this goal,” he says.

“In the short term, we will assist with the relocation of the boat and do everything we can to ensure its temporary location is satisfactory for the next few years.

“We’re pleased we found a location that keeps the Daldy close to the Maritime Museum and allows it to continue operating as it does now, so Aucklanders and visitors can continue to experience an important part of the maritime history of our region," Dean says.

“Looking to the future, we have confirmed our commitment to working with the society to find a long-term berth for the boat. Through this process, we will investigate a range of options, and assist with issues that may arise, such as navigation, design, safety issues and consenting.”

Construction starting soon

Dean says that the relocation of the William C. Daldy is a key part of getting Wynyard Quarter ready for the construction that will enable it to become the America’s Cup village.

“We’ve been hard at work undertaking project optimisation and getting the agreement to deliver finalised, and now we can get on with creating the infrastructure needed for the team bases,” he says.

This work is being undertaken by the Wynyard Edge Alliance – an organisation made up of Auckland Council and central government, along with constructors Downer and McConnell Dowell and designers Beca and Tonkin + Taylor – which was formed to develop the required infrastructure.

“Repair works have already started underneath the Wynyard Wharf, another essential part of enabling further work, and the Alliance is now undertaking pre-construction activities and site-wide mobilisation. Fencing has started going up in the Eastern Viaduct area and will soon be established in Wynyard Quarter.”

“Stolthaven has completed its tank demolition, so the first thing we’re going to do is create an access road across the north end of the current ASB car park. This will mean a portion of Brigham Street can be closed off for construction to start while allowing Stolthaven to continue its operations uninterrupted,” he says.

Dean says an early milestone for the project will be the arrival of the first barge in late December.

“This will see things like cranes and drill rigs being set up to start drilling and putting piles in sometime in early January, depending on when all the details are finalised.”

About the William C. Daldy

The William C. Daldy was built in Scotland in 1935 and, upon competition, steamed its way to New Zealand to serve as an Auckland Harbour tug – the largest tug to be built for the country at the time.

It is named after Captain William C. Daldy who, among his many endeavours, was Auckland’s first Harbour Board Chairman, as well as founder of the New Zealand Coastguard, the Bank of New Zealand and New Zealand Insurance. Captain Daldy took the first shipload of export cargo from Auckland to Britain in a schooner in 1845. In 1858 he was elected a member of the second Parliament, becoming a Minister of the Crown that same year. As a member of Auckland City Council he was responsible for the negotiation of the Western Springs water supply (now MOTAT) and for the formation of the Auckland Fire Brigade, of which he was captain.

The William C. Daldy’s career on the harbour spanned over 40 years until it was replaced by its namesake Daldy in 1977. Following its retirement, the boat was sold for one dollar to the Tug William C. Daldy Preservation Society, which has restored and maintained it to commercial marine survey standards ever since.

One notable part of the boat’s history was during the construction of the Harbour Bridge in December 1958. One of the main pre-assembled sections of the bridge was caught in 40-knot winds while being manoeuvred into position, causing it to be in danger of being lost or damaged on Point Chevalier reef. The Daldy was called to hold the section – which was 850 feet long and weighed 1200 tonnes – in position, which it did by maintaining a sustained pull for over 35 hours until the storm finally passed.

Iconic heritage boat on the move ahead of America’s Cup 2
The William C. Daldy rescuing a section of the new harbour bridge in December 1958. Photo credit: The William C. Daldy Preservation Society.

The Daldy is believed to be the only vessel of its type still operating in the world. It is included in the World Ship Trust of London’s International Register of Historic Ships as being the last serving vessel of its type and one of less than 20 steam-powered tugs still in operation worldwide.

Today, the Daldy operates on the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf offering sailings and tours of the vessel. It is available for charter and conducts public sailings and is very popular for Christmas parties over the festive season.

The Daldy will also be running all Auckland Anniversary Weekend as part of the Ports of Auckland SeePort festival. As part of this, the Daldy will be offering low subsidised fares for families and taking part in the Annual Tugboat Race and regatta on the Monday. Bookings can be made on their website and Facebook page.

Visit Daldy.com for tickets, membership and further information about the Daldy.