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Vessel Number: HV000390
Date: 1927
Vessel Dimensions: 11.12 m x 3.2 m x 1.37 m, 12.2 tonnes (36.5 ft x 10.5 ft x 4.5 ft, 12 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
FRANCESCA is a motor launch from 1927 built by AG Williams in Sydney, New South Wales. It retains many of the features that distinguish it as a typical Williams’s cruiser design. It has associations with both Sydney and Hobart in Tasmania. It was taken over for service during World War II and for a period was also adapted as a workboat in Hobart. On the night of the 1975 Tasman Bridge collapse, FRANCESCA was one of the boats called out to help search for survivors.
DescriptionFRANCESCA was built at the Williams yard in Drummoyne, NSW on the Parramatta River and launched under the name ALKOOLIE for Mr. Charles Jacobs. It is planked in New Zealand Kauri, one of the timbers used on many Williams' hulls. It was built with the typical Williams raised deck and stepped cabin top profile, with a wheelhouse forward, lower saloon cabin midships, and a raised cabin top over the cockpit aft.

As ALKOOLIE, it featured in a three page article called 'Breaking the Ice' in Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly for November 1927. The article described an intended cruise from Sydney to Port Stephens north of Newcastle, NSW. Four vessels from the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Rose Bay, Sydney set out in rough conditions but put into Broken Bay. The intended sea passage turned into a Hawkesbury River cruise to Wisemans Ferry. Clearly the vessel was capable of completing a short passage in difficult sea conditions, and was also a fine launch for river cruising.

Jacobs owned the boat until 1939 when it was requisitioned for war service during World War II. Numbered OB40, it is understood to have carried out survey work, towed barges, and may have operated in Papua New Guinea. In 1946 it was sold to Geoff Miller. Ownership then changed a number of times and in 1948 it was renamed FRANCESCA. Amongst the owners was Athol Townley, Minister of Defence in the 1960s and ex RAN World War II serviceman. In 1950 it was located in Tasmania where EA Jack's yard converted it to a twin screw arrangement. At one point it was part of the Hobart Tug and Lighterage fleet, and was one of many craft called out on the night of the Tasman Bridge accident early in 1975 when the cargo ship ILLAWARA sank after hitting a pylon and bringing down a span of the bridge.

After 1975 FRANCESCA went back to private ownership and in 2010 it remained in use as a motor launch. During its lifetime the hull has retained the distinctive lower gunwale strip and twin port lights under the raised deck. However the gunwale has been partially removed near the stem and an additional port added near the break in deck levels. The cabin profile has also been changed slightly, with a new cover over the cockpit aft and open boarding on the saloon top added, giving an unbroken line to the profile from wheelhouse aft.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Motor propulsion:petrol
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ships:Byzantine ships:ships:ship:wheelhouse
Additional Titles

Primary title: Francesca

Previous title: Alkooelie

Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: HT213

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