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Edna Felice

Vessel Number: HV000482
Date: 1969
Previous Owner: Hartley Klau ,
Vessel Dimensions: 7.2 m x 6.7 m (23.62 ft x 21.98 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
EDNA FELICE was built in 1969 and is the last fishing boat built by well known Port Lincoln, South Australia boatbuilders Axel Stenross and Frank Laakso. It was built for a client in Ceduna who named it after his wife and used it for recreational fishing off the coast. The two builders were the principal boatbuilders in the port for many decades. EDNA FELICE reflects the typical workmanship and robust construction they put into a wooden boat over this period, and shows details that were hallmarks of their methods. It remains with an almost complete original integrity but needs restoration work to bring it back to good condition. In 2011 it is housed back in the workshop where it was made, which is now part of the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum. It is the only known complete example of one of these craft on display.
DescriptionEDNA FELICE was built by Axel Stenross and his boatbuilding partner Frank Laakso at Stenross' yard that was known as Gulf Docking Slip. It was completed in 1969 for Mr. Hartley Klau, a well known baker in his home town Ceduna. He named it after his wife Edna. Stenross and Laakso had both sailed out to Australia as crew on the square-rigged SV OLIVE BANK, and left the ship to settle in South Australia in the late 1930s.

It is understood Stenross had initially declined the order feeling he was now getting too old for boatbuilding, however Hartley Klau persuaded him over a few drinks to accept the commission. Stenross wrote to Klau on the 23 August 1967 with a quote of 1350 pounds for the vessel which was to be 7.2m long overall, and 6.7m on the waterline. The free hand drawn sketch he sent (and asked for its return so he had the plan to build from) also shows a mast about 6.4 m long from the keel, with a boom about 3.65m long. It featured a small cuddy cabin for shelter, and wet well for storing any catch.

The transom-sterned hull is carvel planked, framed up in local hardwoods, and fastened with copper roved nails. The robust construction is exemplified by the large bilge stringers on either side that end at the transom with large knees, doubling up on the centreline knee that on most vessels usually stands alone to join the keel to the transom boards. For a small vessel only about 7.2 metres long this was perhaps an unusually strong feature to use. However, they were building boats that often went offshore from the protected bay they had launched, and were then operating in seas that were part of the Southern Ocean, and they could become very rough with little warning. It was fitted with a Yanmar 2SY diesel inboard with about 9kw power, a reliable workhouse used on many craft at that time.

EDNA FELICE was built for line and net fishing and Klau used it for about 35 years, fishing as his recreational activity from Streaky Bay near Ceduna on the Great Australian Bight. The launch was sold in 2004 by Klau to owners in nearby Smokey Bay, and then they sold it back to a Streaky Bay owner in 2006. The Axel Stenross Maritime Museum bought EDNA FELICE from him in 2008, after it had fallen into some disrepair through lack of use. It is also now missing its rig. The museum has brought the launch back to its original workshop to restore and display as a rare example of the Stenross' workmanship which he maintained throughout his working life.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:non-operational
Deck layout:cabin
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:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:inboard
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel

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