Got Something to Say?Lady Wakehurst loading the locals. 

Lady Wakehurst voyage to the Solomon Islands

I have not long returned to Sydney from a journey on a Manly Ferry to the Solomon Islands, yes … a Manly Ferry! What a cruise – we departed Port Jackson on 4 June 2011 at 21:20hrs with much fanfare and whistle blowing off the Opera House, our fellow ferry Queenscliff and crew wishing us a safe passage.
Lady Wakehurst (43m and 386 tonnes), cruising at approximately 9-12 knots arrived at Yamba on 6 June for slipping, haircut and shave. After much painting and muscle work we proceeded up river to the Harwood Bridge on the Clarence River and then departed for Bundaberg where we took on fuel and provisions for the crew. While at Bundaberg the sugarcane was being burnt off in the surrounding area making a mess of the marina and the Lady.
We departed 22 June for sea and Honiara, after a short stop in the calm of Melish Reef in the middle of nowhere for a quick change of fuel filters.
With the whales and dolphins all around we were back into 5m swells, beam on, but c’mon this is a Manly Ferry. By 27 June the old girl was awaiting Pilot and Customs off the port of Honiara. We were in the area of Guadalcanal and Iron Bottom Sound.
My first voyage out of Australia – how friendly are the locals? Welcome to my home any day. Barges, ferries, ships and tugs. Little or no OH&S but it all works in 35°C day and night.
On the evening of 9 July Lady Wakehurst departed on her first ferry run to the Western Province Ghizo, Dog Watch at 10 knots. Then Bunikalo, Batuna, Seghe, Mburuku, Noro and Ghizo … all a long way from Manly!
I could not believe the paradise of palm fringed islands with crystal clear turquoise water and white sand, one island is named after former US President JF Kennedy’s PT 109 – during the war he was rescued by two native boys one who is still alive today at 80 years of age.
Ferry service – first trip in the Solomon Islands.Cruising at approximately 12 knots we passed through lagoons and stopped at many Islands to pick up passengers. Big ships loaded with logs and native people under the shade of trees, the kids (piccaninnies) asking me to take their photo (as long as I showed them their reflection). If you travel to the Solomon Islands and Honiara look for the ex-Manly Ferry Lady Wakehurst and friendly owner Craig, native crew and office staff.
Caught the Manly ferry to Honiara … what an experience!

Terry Johnston,
1st Mate, Lady Wakehurst.

Bearing the burden of excessive pricing

Why would we worry about taxes, rents and other costs of having a boat when those who are dependent upon us, rip us off unmercifully?
Recently I needed a replacement bearing for a winch. Being a prudent skipper, I decided to order a few spares. Going back to the Barlow days I expected a price of $30 at the most exorbitant best. This is a simple cage bearing that most winches have on the primary spindle.
To my horror my retailer asked me for $350 each. I was sure the decimal point was in the wrong place so he showed me his invoice, $320 each. You are kidding!
I then got an explanation that these were special. Stupidly after referring to the winch’s Australian representative, who confirmed his supply was from overseas and they were indeed special, not gold plated, just special, I accepted his representations and purchased one.
Still curious I visited a bearing supplier. Off the shelf, an identical bearing in every way, $30 retail.
Now, I have heard of marine tax, but that is over the top!
Not to be outdone, I wanted to paint the topsides. EBay price for the paint, $120 per gallon, plus delivery. Local supplier price $960 per gallon, same product, same tin.
I am going to complain to the Department of Fair Trading, which will at least vent my frustration, but I provide this as warning to all boat owners. We complain about Woollies and Coles, they are nothing when compared to some of the marine suppliers, who would you believe, depend upon us boat owners for their existence.

Name withheld.

Fitting Service

It’s not everyday I’m moved to write and compliment something or somebody but today I am.
Frustrated at not being able to find exactly what I wanted in a canopy for my tinnie I set about drawing one up and started to look for all the bits required. Having trolled through various boat supplies catalogues and poked around in their shelves there seemed to be a couple of bits missing or not available. Upon asking one helpful salesman, he suggested I look for an ad in Afloat for Saint Marine products who are situated in Mulgrave.
Did that and lo and behold there were the exact bits needed for the project, so I rang to check the components would do what I wanted.
They certainly would, I was informed by Jonathan St Julian. Along with a few other helpful suggestions, I felt I was on the right track. Did I want to drive to Mulgrave from Drummoyne? NAH! However Jonathan said if I was to order before noon he could deliver that afternoon. Great!
And he did, but wait ... I not only got good advice, fast delivery, he also added a couple of alternative fittings – just in case the ones I ordered didn’t do the job. Did I mention they were at no charge?!!
On top of all that there was no charge for the delivery as the courier was going to a boatyard in my street.
Then, damn it, he goes and gives me a discount as well! What’s the world coming too?
Just as my favourite season of Bah Humbug is looming; my curmudgeonly tendencies have been dealt a severe blow!
Jonathan, thanks for restoring one’s faith in service and the boating industry!

Vivian Wilson,

Lack of traditional shipbuilding skills

I read your editorial ‘Wooden boat building nearly extinct in Sydney’ (Afloat Apr’11) on the Afloat website pointing out the lack of traditional wooden boat and ship building in Sydney.
Is it your perception that there is sustained interest in using such traditional methods and techniques within the Sydney marine community?
It seems to me that few people are interested in learning how to sail square-rigged ships, or there would be more of them around. Most seem to be satisfied with small pleasure boats/craft that don’t require commitment to the team of a ship’s company.
Also, in a faster paced society, are there enough people to learn the slow ways of using hand-tools to craft a ship even the size of a small corvette (400 tons), never mind something larger? Yachts do get built very occasionally, but from wood?
Some years ago Matthew Dunn, a former shipwright with the ANMM, lamented the lack of traditional shipbuilding skills in Australia in a report made available to the Education and Training departments, but I don’t think much changed in this respect, or is expected to change.
This is unfortunate because aside from the obvious benefits for Australian employment and trade, there are also the issues of marine timber needs and the sustainable re-afforestation that would offer strategic environmental benefits given even a ‘small’ ship requires a dozen acres of timber for its construction and ongoing maintenance.
Certainly an increase in sailing activity by Australians would serve to reduce national fuel imports, and improve health outlooks for the many desk-bound Ozzies.

Greg Chalik,
by email.

Sydney Harbour Dreaming

I had just read Graeme Andrews’ Village on the Harbour (Afloat Oct’11) and was in a somewhat reflective mood while motoring down the harbour at a leisurely pace on a sunny spring morning.
Sydney Harbour DreamingI began to recall a younger time when Sydney was a working harbour and bustled with tugs pushing and pulling, steam derricks creating misty mornings over Glebe Island and Pyrmont as they hurried to unload and load cargo, and stately passenger ships pushing their way down the harbour past cargo vessels swinging at their buoys awaiting their turn at the wharves.
Ferries scurrying back and forth, and lighters and barges pushing their way up and down the harbour created a kind of grand washing machine and delivered all sorts of treasures to the Dingle (as we knew it) at the end of Waruda Street on the foreshore of Kirribilli.
This was also the scene of our earliest adventures into building marine craft of all sorts and shapes. Oil drum rafts and sheet iron canoes held together with road tar were the order of the day for young boy’s adventures.
Kirribilli, that working class bastion of those who pursued their maritime and other careers in the 1940s and ’50s was a wonderful place to grow up. Growing up on, in and sometimes under the harbour made us part of that diverse marine landscape.
Shoreside there was plenty to do when we had outlived our welcome on the harbour. The dare to pull out the glass beads in the sea wall near Plunkett Street flats before the caretaker or the tide got you; and you had never lived if you had not rode a billy cart of dubious construction down the hills to the Beulah Street wharf.
Having a father who worked as ships chandler for Kopsens (that’s a whole story in itself) also provided enormous adventure opportunities for a young boy. Many a school holiday was spent with Dad jumping on and off Stannard Brothers launches that Dad used to get to the many ships waiting at buoys for their berths.
Then there was the Saturday mornings sitting in the ladies bar of the less elegant pubs near the wharves drinking lemon squash while he did business with the more colourful elements of the waterfront.
School holidays meant spending time on the ships with Dad. One of my favourites was going up and down those long ship’s ladders, looking over the beautifully preserved timber clad bridges and exploring the brass work of those vessels from many lands was a wonderful experience. There was a certain grace and elegance to even the oldest, dirtiest steamer that must have inspired more than me to go to sea.
Oh well it’s back to reality as a large plastic gin palace roars past setting up a mini tidal wave that spills my coffee. I guess things are better now by many measures but I’m not sure the inspiration to go to sea or the romance that flowed from the diverse traffic will ever be repeated in quite the same way.
If you lived through that period of time on or around the harbour as a boy it was the magic that shaped a life for many I’m sure.

Thor Lund,
Baulkham Hills.

Endeavour YachtsEndeavour Yachts

I am fairly sure that Mick Doust (Afloat Dec’11) has an Endeavour 23 hull – also known as an Endeavour Viking 23 – and originally a Faborg 7.
It’s a long story about how the Faborg 7 became an Endeavour 23 yacht but if you were to look up a copy of Australian Sea Spray magazine’s Yacht Tests dated 1977 you could read about it on pages 72-75. State or National Libraries used to collect copies of all the magazines.
Reg Gardiner, the owner of Endeavour Yachts back in 1976, took the hull plug for the Endeavour 23 from an imported Scandinavian North Sea fishing boat, and Ken Spithill of Sans Souci designed the deck, cockpit and accommodation moulds.
Reg told me that he didn’t put hull numbers on the Viking 23s they made, so you can’t check that out, and he also said that a few hulls and decks went out of their yards to home builders. I know mine was a home built job. It’s a long story, too long for here.
My guess is that someone acquired an Endeavour Viking 23 hull and deck, either direct from Endeavour Yachts or from an uncompleted home build, and decided to modify it from a centre cockpit yacht into a sturdy fishing boat.
Endeavour 23I don’t know if Endeavour Yachts still exist – they used to be in Halstead Street, Hurstville, and later I think the moulds moved out near Warragamba Dam – but someone must own the Viking 23 moulds. They possibly own the Endeavour 24 and 26 moulds too.
Funnily enough I bought my Endeavour 23 from Woy Woy some 10 or 12 years ago. It is fitted out as a stern cockpit ketch, but that’s another story.

Evan Holt,
Batemans Bay.

Immigrant Ships

My family also arrived in Australia by boat (The ‘boat people’ of the forties and fifties, Afloat Sep’11). We sailed from Hamburg and docked in Melbourne on the first Tuesday in November, 1950. My mother and I (11 months old) were made to sleep in a lifeboat due to my wailing.
When the good ship Fairsea docked my father did not want to disembark as the wharf was deserted and asked to be taken to a more populous city.
The Captain explained that shortly the wharf would be full of people as they were all listening to the Melbourne Cup. Being a punter, when my father realized it was a horse race he was happy to take us ashore.
For the record Comic Court won … as did our future families.

Joe Oltvanyi,
Church Point.


I read with interest Bruce Stannard’s article about Culwalla (Afloat Nov’11).
Walter Marks was my great uncle. The photo, right, comes from an old album that was passed down to me by my father, also a prolific yachtsman around Sydney in his youth and after the war. His most notable yacht was Utiekah, a boat he found in very poor condition after the war and restored to its former glory.
The album also contains beautiful pictures of Aenone (No 14), Isea, Bona (No 19), Iduna, Jess and Sapphire (one picture), White Wings, Defender, Sunbeam (No10), Petrel, Fleetwing (No 8), Magic, Heather (No 9), Cooya, an unnamed boat with sail number 20 and a Herreschoff.
Sadly most of the photos are not in very good condition. I assume the sail numbers are early RPAYC numbers. All the photos seem to be taken in Sydney Harbour. I do remember White Wings moored in Neutral Bay when I was a teenager. What really impresses me is the huge amount of sail some of these boats carried.
Incidentally, Culwalla was named after the property the family owned in Jamberoo. I believe it was sold in the early 1900s. However, the name lives on within the family.

David Marks,
by email.

Goat Island

I absolutely agree with Graeme Andrews regarding the story about Goat Island in the great magazine Afloat, October and November.
I work and lived on Goat Island with my wife Noeline and our two daughters Leanne and Kylie. We lived in cottage No 3, Goat Island, between 1983-1989 until we were all “asked” to leave by the Greiner Government. Shame, shame.
We lived on the Island with four other families and 15 kids. The parents and families were all around the same age group. The kids went to different schools around the Balmain and Sydney area.
I worked in the shipyard on the maintenance of MSB vessels and floating plants. The others were seamen working around the eastside of Goat Island, driving pilot vessels, tugs, launches, towing dredges, and most of all the safety of Sydney Harbour with the fire tugs on patrol.
The residents also gave Goat Island 24 hours of unpaid security. There were no robberies, no intruders, government property was well protected.

Robert Peter Millson,
28 years service to MSB, Waterways & Maritime.

The nanny (goat) state

The two recent Afloat articles on Goat Island by Graeme Andrews, brought back some pleasant memories of the late ’50s and ’60s for me. My late father Aub (Blossom) Nash, was a shipwright working in the shipyard on Goat Island during that period.
He was part of the team of shipwrights, etc like Ron Robinson (Ampol 18-footers), Ray Settree, Jack Hubbard, Bobby Barrett, with apprentices like Alan Smith and Howard Peachey among many others whose names echo in my mind even today 50 years later, having built the last of the timber Pilot Boats and Police boats during that era. He also worked on the refit of the old Lady Hopetoun.
I have memories of many a Saturday morning, catching the bus across to Woolwich pier to connect with the ferry, which would drop myself and younger brother off on Goat Island. There we would have the run of the place to play almost anywhere on the island, even around the shipyard (no OH&S restrictions in those days), while Dad would spend the day working overtime (it seemed that there weren’t too many bosses around to supervise).
Our favourite pastime was to chase the sheep that were used to “mow the lawns” on the island, especially the old ram Basil, a formidable old fellow who would soon get sick of being chased, and then turn and chase us. Ah, memories of youthful freedom!
It is such a shame to realise the restrictions that have crept into our lives on the use of public lands and property, by not only the NPWS, but government bureaucracy in general, over the past 50 years. Let’s hope that some common sense prevails and public access to our icons of Sydney Harbour can be restored.

Bob Nash,
by email.

Navigation markers on Parramatta River

I was going up the Parramatta River the other day and noticed a couple of can shaped navigation marks (special marks) bobbing around either side and very close to the Gladesville Wharf (Huntleys Point).
Now I always thought that a navigation mark floating or fixed and shaped like a can should be left to port when going up stream … or am I a goose? Surely these two should be cone-shaped yellow marks. Reference Dick Gandy’s book page 139 ‘Special Marks’.
In addition, the Police Emergency mooring at Wrights Point, Drummoyne, is a cone shape when surely it should be a can shape? The colour is not easily seen at night (it’s dark blue ) and is not lit. Anyone who is not familiar with the river may well leave this to starboard thinking it was a navigation marker and so steam or sail straight into the moorings.
Finally, who at NSW Transport and Maritime placed a Police Emergency mooring in the channel right outside Woolwich Marina when only a few metres away is an enormous pond of clear water near Pulpit Point which is; a) out of the main channel and b) can hold a large vessel in any sort with wind/tidal stream direction without it affecting river traffic.
The one placed at the Woolwich Marina entrance, with a boat hanging off it and a wind pushing it, would stick well out into the channel, beam on to all upstream traffic … unlit!
There are times when one wonders if the office wallahs at Maritime ever go out and look at these things or do they sit on a chair and Google Earth?

J. J. Edwards,

Tom Thumb II

I refer to Bruce Shying’s letter enquiring about the whereabouts of Tom Thumb II (Afloat Dec’11).
Tom Thumb II is still very much a part of our unique collection of small boats but, due to space restrictions, it is not currently our intention to put her on public display, at least not in the foreseeable future.
Records held here in our Maritime Records & Research Centre show that Mr Shying may be mistaken as to her provenance.
She was built by Ken Garvans (sometimes appearing in our records as ‘Kevin’, ‘Gervin’, ‘Garvins’ and ‘Garvens’) at his Kurnell Yard. She was built of native Australian timbers and described as 14ft deep-keeled yawl, fitted with a mast and lugsail and a pair of oars mounted on thole pins and steered with a sweep oar.
The re-enactment of Bass and Flinders voyage of exploration started on Thursday 24th March 1988 at Farm Cove. Her course took her to Bellambi, Wollongong, Port Kembla and Lake Illawarra. On the homeward voyage Tom Thumb II visited Wattamolla and Port Hacking and ended at Port Jackson on the evening of April 1 that year.
Members of the public are invited to utilise our extensive records library and visits can be arranged by calling 02 9298 3888.

Hugh Lander, Acting General Manager,
Sydney Heritage Fleet, Pyrmont.


I bought a new Deltacraft Mark II back in 1983 and have had it ever since. I have been extremely happy with the boat and have never seen any reason to change it.
Recently I was heading down Middle Harbour from near Roseville Bridge towards Bantry Bay when I saw a boat that looked somewhat similar to mine in some ways, but then different in other respects.
I went for a closer look and Steve Leonard, who sold me my boat and who I had not seen for 28 years, was on board. The boat was the prototype of the new Deltacraft and I must say it was very impressive.

Allan Bridekirk,
Killarney Heights.

Wauchope’s boiler visible off Sorrento from the car ferry.


Graeme Andrews’ story Bass Strait’s little known Emerald Isle (Afloat Dec’11) featured a postcard of the Wauchope, a regular caller to King Island.
The remains of the Wauchope are on a sandbank just off Sorrento in Port Phillip Bay.
In August 1919 Wauchope was at anchor off Portsea waiting for good weather when some of her cargo of benzine and acetylene for light beacons on KI, along with regular supplies of machinery and food stuffs, caught fire.
All efforts to extinguish the inferno were unsuccessful. She was ultimately abandoned and drifted up with the flood tide some two miles, blazing away till aground on the sandbank, eventually burning herself out and leaving behind her steam boiler, which can to this day be spotted by passengers on the car ferry service from Sorrento to Queenscliff.
Her crew and 19 passengers were saved from the 260 ton wooden steam ship.

Andrew Mackinnon,

Jetty owners overcharged

The Waterfront Action Group (WAG), with the assistance of property valuation experts, including a Professor of Property Economics, has developed a new formula to calculate a fair market rent on the mud & water under jetties and other waterfront facilities in NSW.
In Sydney the wetland rents need to be reduced by between 27% and 93%, to bring them back to a fair market rent.
Those jetty owners in the Balmain to Drummoyne area have been overcharged the most (1500%), because the current rent formula discriminates against precincts comprised of mainly small properties, a flaw first raised by the Valuer General in 2006 and conveyed to the Government at the time.
IPART is currently reviewing the WAG submission (and others) and is due to report to the Government in late December.

George Citer, Chairman, WAG (tel: 02 9948 5228)

Japanese topsiders

How exciting to have your yacht pictured on the cover of Afloat! However, the December cover displays a racing yacht where a crew member is wearing a pair of thongs. Less embarrassing to be caught trawling with one’s spinnaker.

Neville Olliffe, (yacht Jenny Wren)


Please ensure letters to the RSVP section include your contact details (e.g. Name, phone number, email address and suburb).


Earlier this year I visited the historic property of Martindale in S.A. This property was owned by the Mortlock family and now has heritage listing and is open to the public. Of the many photos on the wall, I recognised one as that of a boat that had been moored in the Drummoyne area for many years and had been constructed in the 1930s.
Enquiries revealed that the boat had been known as Martindale and was now moored in Abbotsford Cove where I was able to take the attached picture. Unfortunately I could only photograph the starboard side and could not verify if it was still named Martindale.
As I understand it, the vessel has a rich history. Does anyone know the boat?

Des Sherlock,
0428 465 083;
Berowra Heights.

Sea TangSea Tang

I bought this boat last year and came across this salt-stained photo.
The name Sea Tang is on the rego form and the boat once had a fire and was rebuilt. She still has the lines in the photo. I am trying to find who designed and built this boat.
I was told she was built in the late 1950s. She is 37ft overall, timber construction, huon pine.

Steve Kellaway,,

Strange yacht in Middle HarbourStrange yacht in Middle Harbour

I saw this odd, double-boomed sloop at The Spit in Middle Harbour. Can anyone shed light on its design and performance?

Tony Eastley,
02 83332214: