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De Haviland Topper

Vessel Number: HV000635
Date: 1960
Previous Owner: Ken Sykes ,
Vessel type: Tinnies
Vessel Dimensions: 3.66 m x 1.3 m (12 ft x 4.27 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
The De Havilland Topper was built in 1960 in Sydney. IThis is an early example of the development of the Tinnie- the lightweight aluminium outboard dinghies and runabouts, and a type pioneered in Australia. This craft is one of their 12 foot models, and remains with the original buyer’s family, and is still in its original configuration and paint scheme after over 50 years.
DescriptionThe Topper is 3.65m long, 1.3m wide and 1.0m wide at the transom. It has a combination of welded and riveted joints. The off-white painted hull with a distinctive blue stripe and Topper insignia are worn but still very much in evidence, and compare exactly with the advertisements for the type from early 1960’s magazines.

De Haviland had been one of small number of manufacturers to follow Quantrill and Arnold (later Quintrex) into the tinnie market which that firm had established in the 1950s. Qunatrill's idea for this low maintenance easily handled family dinghy did not take long to gather wide acceptance, and it soon became one of the most popular dinghy types, and remains a strong product into the 21st century. De Haviland were based in Milperra in western Sydney.

The Topper was bought by Ken Sykes as a new boat probably in 1960, and the builder’s plate number suggests it was built in that year. His name, probably written on the boat by the sales assistant, remains penned under the foredeck. The Sykes family used it south of Sydney. They recall an incident in the 1960s when Jim and his young daughter Carol were prawning on the eastern side of the Illawarra Bridge. They simultaneously try to scoop prawns and the boat tipped over. As the advertising for the craft noted the boat didn’t sink and they both recovered and continued prawning after they had dried out.

Their family also recall that Aunt Joyce fished from it as well, and she must have been a good hand with the rod and reel, as they say she reckons 'she has caught more fish from this boat than most people have had hot dinners'.

The craft has now gone to a nephew and shows just a few scratches and the general wear of over five decades of use. However its sound construction and original finish are proof of the marketing line pushed in the early 1960s that it required no maintenance and all you had to do was “Simply hose down after use”.

Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Deck layout:open
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hull material and construction:aluminiumalloy
Hull shape:chines
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:vee-bottomv-bottomv-sectionvee-section
Motor propulsion:outboard
Alternate Numbers

Previous Number: HV000636

Previous Number: HV*

Previous Number: HV000637

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