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MURIEL racing


Vessel Number: HV000645
Date: 1917
Classification:Vessels and fittings
MURIEL is a couta boat built by Mitch Lacco at Queenscliff in Victoria in 1917. It was built for owner Gus Johnston with some structural additions that made it relatively unique and a stronger couta boat. It was however used almost exclusively for cray fishing, and from 1919 to 1983 worked under the same owner, Andy Johansen. It was retired from its working life in 1983 and on the 5th of March 2017 it will be 100 years old.
DescriptionMURIEL was completed as a ‘’special build’’ by Mitch Lacco for Gus Johnson at Lacco’s Queenscliff boatshed, which is still in existence in Beach Street. It was named RUBY and has a bigger keel section with larger frames, double decking and full length planking of New Zealand Kauri.

In its first 18 months it made a number of Bass Strait crossings from Queenscliff to north end of King island near Christmas Island where it was used as a fishing boat for Johnson’s cray fishing.
Andy Johansen purchased it in 1919 and changed the name from RUBY to MURIEL. Johansen had seen the hull being built, and had paid a deposit with Mitch Lacco, who handed it on to Gus. Eventually Johnasen borrowed the rest of the money from his sister Muriel and bought it off Johnson.

His first trip was to pick his own cray pots up from Anglesea where he had a fishing camp and used a flattie off the beach. Anglesea is it’s about 32 km from Queenscliff. He left Queenscliff early one morning to collect all his gear but by the afternoon it was a flat calm so he and his mate rowed MURIEL all the way back, meeting the fleet coming out the next morning. It is not well known that the fisherman rowed these boats such great distances when they had to.
The boat was originally built with a small American Halliday engine of about 3HP. Johansen could never get it started and nicknamed it ‘holiday’, and then he fitted another engine. Later on he put in the first of many Rugby car engines, but the engine was never used a lot. It has had about 80 new mainsails, Johansen put on a new one each year. Fishing all winter he was a hard worker, who never went into engines very much and only fitted a pot hauler in the mid 1960’s, he preferred to be picking them up under sail. Johansen was a legend at Flinders Island.

In 1983 Johansen gave MURIEL to his nephew, John Dungar and then two years later it was sold to its current owner. It has been extensively overhauled and remains in excellent condition.

Vessel Details
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
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
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:inboard
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Additional Titles

Primary title: Muriel

Primary title: Ruby

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