New Zealand Maritime Museum with Harbor Heritage Cruise
Tour Participation Requirements
A scow is, technically, a schooner. But while the latter connotes sleek lines and the romance of the open sea, sturdy scows did the hard, unglamorous work of hauling cargo from ships anchored offshore to harbor docks, and then heading back out with new loads.
It's all about the keel: A scow doesn't have one. It's a flat-bottomed girl with a blunt bow, able to navigate shallow harbors and bays that would ground a deep-keeled schooner.
"Scow" doesn't even sound nice; if you're not a longshoreman, the only word you've probably seen it follow is "garbage." It's a synonym for barge that sounds like a nautical insult.
This is not really fair to the Ted Ashby. Despite her blocky proportions, she's kind of pretty. You see the schooner in her, not a barge. And she was certainly built with love; volunteers and museum experts put her together the old-fashioned way, joining North Island blackbutt hardwood and worm-resistant native totara with steel spikes.
You're going to feel that love. On a nice day, with the right breeze, the sails fill and she scoots along at a fair clip. It's fun, and nostalgic – when she launched in 1993, it was a big deal. New Zealand is, after all, a young country, and traditions are treasured. The beauty of this one is that you don't have to be a New Zealander to appreciate it.
The old man and the scow
About 130 cargo scows were built in New Zealand from an American design, and scurried around harbors there until the 1960s. Few survive, which is why Aucklanders are so attached to Ted Ashby. She's named after the man who wrote the book on scows in 1975 – Phantom Fleet: The Scows and Scowmen of Auckland – after 50 years as a proud scowman himself.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.