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RAAF 011-29

Vessel Number: HV000427
Date: 1943
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 7.92 m x 2.74 m x 0.84 m (26 ft x 9 ft x 2.75 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
RAAF 011-29 is an ex-Royal Australian Air Force open cockpit, tender and launch built in Melbourne to support the flying boat operations from Sydney in World War II. It was then later used in the same role with QANTAS aircraft. It is an example of the many craft built during wartime by Melbourne based small craft builders Botterill and Frazer, who were well known in the region throughout the middle of the 20th century. It is also a typical launch and workboat, a type that went unheralded while they performed vital support work on enclosed waters.
DescriptionRAAF 011-29 is a carvel planked launch about 8 metres long. It has a large cockpit space, with narrow side decks, a foredeck and short aft deck. The original engine is unknown, and it is now fitted with a 30 kW Thornycroft diesel engine.

It was built as part of the massive war effort around the country which saw commercial and pleasure craft builders employed to build small to medium sized workboats and launches as support craft for enclosed water duties all around Australia and further north where action took place. RAAF 011-29 supported the Catalina and Sunderland flying boats that patrolled looking for Japanese submarines off the NSW coastline. They had a large base at Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour. The launch took crew, passengers and any freight between the aircraft and shore, and probably performed other general duties. After the war when the base was eventually closed to military operations, QANTAS Empire Airlines as they were then known operated the civilian Sandringham version of the four engined Short Sunderland for their international services from Rose Bay, and RAAF 011-29 was used as a tender to support these aircraft.

One image shows it towing a single-engine plane, with a background that is not Sydney Harbour, so it is possible it was transferred to another base such as Lake Macquarie during or after the war.

RAAF 011-29 retired from work in 1963, and has been a private recreational launch on Sydney Harbour since that time.
Vessel Details
Current status:operational
Deck layout:open
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:skeg rudder
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Propeller:single
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: RAAF N

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