Jomo Craft Clinker Boats

A Clinker rowboat story

Jomo Craft Clinker boats of Fairlie

In the 1950s and 60s, my father bought an ex NZED (New Zealand Electricity Department) clinker workboat, which was used during the construction of the hydro intake and dam in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. 

One night when it was tied up to the side of the dam, with a pontoon work boat rafted to it, a severe Nor'wester blew on the pontoon and damaged the clinker. Some of the ribs were crushed and the planks cracked. 

My father purchased it for £5, when I was 11 years old, and together we stopped it from leaking with tar and caulking. This allowed us to enjoy trout fishing all over Lake Alexandrina, which is just to the west of Lake Tekapo.

In 1963 my father sold the boat, to a fisherman in Fairlie, as he was offered a transfer to Christchurch. After many years of absence from Tekapo, my wife Judith and I returned to live in Tekapo.  Then on returning to fish on Alexandrina, I often  wondered what happened to the old boat. It was during a visit to a friends’ bach at Lake Alexandrina that I recognised the old Clinker upturned on the bank. Upon turning the boat, I immediately recognised the repairs that my father and I  had made all those years ago.

The clinker had been sunk for some time at the north end of Alexandrina, and recovered and restored. Meanwhile, I was also lucky enough to locate and purchase another slightly smaller clinker that had been left on the banks of the south end of L:ake Alexandrina for many years and after hundreds of hours of work, restoring this boat  I finally got it to where I was happy.

Both  my father’s boat and my restored boat were built in Fairlie by Jomo Craft, a subsidiary of Jones Motors. The team of Stan Jones and Stan Guard whom built beautiful wooden boats in the building which is now the Fairlie Museum, including dinghies and 60 footers. My father’s boat was built in 1943, while the restored clinker was built in 1946.

It was wonderful to be able to be back on Alexandrina with both boats, fishing for the elusive trout again. Hence why we named the smaller restored clinker Nostalgia.

Awesome images of clinker boats clicked by the professional photographers
Share by: