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Viator

Vessel Number: HV000561
Date: 1900s
Builder: J R Jones
Previous Owner:
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 7.92 m (26 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
VIATOR is an early example of a Victorian Couta boat, built by JR Jones, who was one the early builders of these craft. It is a rare example of the early development of these working craft that fished under sail for many decades.
DescriptionVIATOR was built by JR Jones in Williamstown, quite early in the 20th century and this has been confirmed by exeprienced Victorian couta boat restorer Tim Phillips. It is carvel planked, decked with an open cockpit, a vertical stem and straight keel, single mast sloop rig, and these are some of the essential characteristics of an early Bass Strait couta boat. JB Jones the son of JR Jones also built couta boats.

Its history is not well documented, and although it spent time on the south west coast of Victoria fishing for couta and other varieties depending on the market, it is not known if it originally fished out of the Apollo Bay and Queenscliff region first. Notes provided by Jack Beazley indicate it was on the Port Fairy register in 1940 owned by G. J. Richards, and then recorded on the Port Fairy register in 1942 - 1945 and owned by Jens “Peter” Petersen. It is also understood that it was owned for part of 1930s by 'Brusher' Richards, and possibly located at Warrnambool.

The vessel is now one of the primary craft in the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum collection of historic vessels, and is gradually undergoing a detailed restoration under their shipwright Jeff McMurrich.

It is one of only a handful of very early examples of a couta boat, and can be compared with other JR and JB Jones couta boats including THISTLE (HV000023) and ARIEL (HV000040). THISTLE ( by JR Jones) is from 1903, and VIATOR more closely resembles this deeper hull than ARIEL from JB Jones from 1927.

Vessel Details
Current status:inside building
Current status:non-operational
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
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:pivoting centreboardswing board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Rig type:lug
Rig type:sloop

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