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Ocean Spray

Vessel Number: HV000242
Date: 1937
Designer: George Fest
Previous Owner:
Vessel Dimensions: 10.67 m x 10.67 m x 3.66 m x 0.91 m (35 ft x 35 ft x 12 ft x 3 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
OCEAN SPRAY is an amateur designed and built deep-sea motor launch with strong social connections to Brisbane and Moreton Bay, Queensland from the late 1930s. It represents the resourcefulness of many Australians who confidently took on a detailed project on a limited budget. In 2008 almost all of the original structure and fittings remained intact.
DescriptionThe designer and builder was George Fest, who came to Australia from Finland in 1905 and worked as a salvage diver. He started building the 10.67 m (35 foot) deep-sea fishing boat OCEAN SPRAY in September 1937 on a vacant block of land at Bulimba across the road from Crowleys' boatyard. He designed and built the boat with the help of his children Cecil, Alan, Betty and Daisy, and Daisy's husband, Bill Beatty (a foreman at Crowleys' boatyard). When finished it was moved across the road and down to the shoreline on old railway sleepers for launching. OCEAN SPRAY was moored at the foot of Crescent Road, Hamilton on the Brisbane River.

Built at a cost of one hundred and fifty pounds OCEAN SPRAY was constructed of spotted gum. It had a single chine, veed hull shape, raised deck and a low cabin. George installed an old Buick truck motor which he had converted to run on old sump oil he cadged from local garages.

OCEAN SPRAY was home to George ('Pop'), and his children, until just after WWII. George's marriage had broken down not long after the boat was launched. During the war most large boats were conscripted for the war effort, but because it was home to the Fest family OCEAN SPRAY was spared.

The family used OCEAN SPRAY as a tuna boat in Moreton Bay and for charter taking fishing trips to Amnity Point. The boat was so popular that the captain of the much larger MIRRIMAR used to moan that OCEAN SPRAY always had more people on board than his charter boat.

In 1943 George Fest met a young girl called Shirley Lahey who was 32 years his junior. They became the very best of friends. Shirley went on many fishing trips aboard OCEAN SPRAY. George fitted the launch with a mast (which it still has today) and with Shirley sailed to Townsville and among the many islands scattered along the north coast of Queensland.

George Fest died after a long illness on May 15th 1961 and bequeathed OCEAN SPRAY to his best mate Shirley, after she and her mother nursed him through his final months. By this time the launch was in disrepair and Shirley put the boat in the hands of well known Brisbane builder Dick Tripcony for repairs. It was fitted with a new keel and bottom planking and a Chrysler Royal 94 kw (125 hp) marine petrol motor, then put up for sale. OCEAN SPRAY sold for nine hundred pounds.

IN 2008 OCEAN SPRAY remained in use as a recreational motor launch, the original hull and cabin house still in place, but now with a flying bridge, added above the cabin by a previous owner.

Vessel Details
Current status:operational
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:chines
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:vee-bottomv-bottomv-sectionvee-section
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Rig type:sloop
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: HH903 Q

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