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Vessel Number: HV000544
Date: 1892
Vessel Dimensions: 8.84 m x 8.53 m x 2.44 m x 0.61 m (29 ft x 28 ft x 8 ft x 2 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
CLARA is a yacht built in Tasmania in 1892. It underwent a conversion to a motor launch in about 1915, and has since remained as a motor launch and motor sailer with a small mast and rig fitted. It is one of the earliest extant yachts in Tasmania and Australia. In 2012 a project is underway to return the vessel to its earlier yacht configuration.
DescriptionCLARA was launched in 1892 by Thomas Williams at the Domain Slipway in Hobart for owner William Davidson Peacock, a Hobart based food processor and pioneer of the direct export to Europe of fruit. Some uncertainty surrounds its building; it may not have been a new boat as there remains a suspicion that Williams may have rebuilt another vessel also called CLARA which is known to have been built in the 1881 and had almost identical dimensions. Its wineglass transom is a style featured in books on early yachts, and different from a longer yacht style overhanging counter of the 1890s. It is however certain that this CLARA was the vessel owned by Peacock from 1892 for over 30 years. It is a batten seam built hull, with the top plank overlapping in clinker style. It was fitted with a centreboard and internal ballast and sailed as a half-decked, open boat.

CLARA was intended to be a cruiser but was raced from time to time as well, and results show it won events in the early 1900s. In 1908 it was lengthened by 1.2 metres, (4 feet), and further results show CLARA winning or gaining a place in a number of weekend races and regatta events.

Around 1915 it is understood CLARA was converted to a motor launch with an enclosed cabin over the forward half of the cockpit, but seemed also to have small rig retained, or else added very soon after the conversion. It competed in a motor boat race in 1916.

WD Peacock died in 1921 and CLARA was sold as an auxiliary yacht with a 12 hp motor in 1922. No ownership details have been found, and CLARA is advertised again in the early 1930s, but it is not certain it was sold then either. At the close of the Second World War it was owned by a returned serviceman called Mr Clapstick, who sold it to JD 'Dick' Lucas in 1948. His son Jim became owner when Dick Lucas died, and kept it in the family until 1979. Douglas Hornsby then bought CLARA and it became part of the Vintage Boat Club of Tasmania. Michael Johnson bought it from Hornsby in 2002. The current owner acquired CLARA in 2010.

It has had a Wolverine and two Morris Navigator petrol engines installed during its different periods of ownership, but the original engine is unknown. From evidence of earlier images, a wheelhouse was added to the cabin prior to 1948, just clearing the boom from the small mainsail it carried. It has been in this curious and perhaps awkward configuration for some decades, but in 2012 the current owner is embarking on a significant restoration. When relaunched, CLARA will be a half decked centreboard sailing yacht again.

Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:batten seam
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:dagger boarddrop board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Rig type:cutter
Rig type:gaff
Sail cloth:synthetic
Alternate Numbers

: HT12148

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