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Vessel Number: HV000715
Date: 1946
Builder: C Blunt
Vessel Dimensions: 8.23 m × 11.28 m × 7.92 m × 3.05 m × 0.98 m, 6.61 tonnes (27 ft × 37 ft × 26 ft × 10 ft × 3.2 ft, 6.5 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
NYMPHAEA is a timber fishing vessel built in Victoria in 1946. It was built by C Blunt Boatbuilders who are one of Victoria’s oldest established yards, having been established in 1858 at Williamstown. They are still operating under the fifth generation of the family, Greg Blunt. It is an example of a double- ended hull built by the yard, and although modified and repaired over the years, NYMPHAEA still retains the essential structure, original fabric and characteristics of the boat’s original builder’s configuration and his subsequent work for its second owner.
DescriptionCharles Williamson, a Port MacDonnell SA cray fisherman purchased NYMPHAEA in 1948. His son Ken went with his father to pick-up the boat when he was 18 years old. Blunts retained a boat yard at Geelong at this time and this is where they picked it up from. Ken said the vessel was in “brand new” condition and was apparently un-named so his father called it NYMPHAEA the botanical name for all water lilies as his father loved plants.

Prior to taking delivery they had small bulwarks fitted by the yard to hold the cray pots on board and also to handle the heavy seas in the Great Southern Ocean by giving it more freeboard. A small cabin was also fitted to give the crew some protection. The original engine was a Chevrolet 4 cylinder ex-car petrol engine. Later they fitted a Petter 18 hp diesel and finally a Lister 28 hp 4-cylinder air cooled diesel. They used the gaff sails a lot in the early days because of the high cost of petrol following the war.

The Williamson’s had a 65 pot licence in 1969 and prior to that date there was no limit on the number of pots beyond taking as many as the boat would carry. They used the centreboard when pulling pots to steady the boat and stop it rolling from side to side. Pots were originally pulled by hand through a small opening in the bulwarks on the starboard side. The hull had battens on the outside to protect it from damage as the pots were being pulled aboard. The traditional method of working pots was to pull one pot at a time, and set it before hauling the next. This was known as “straight lining” or “picking and shutting”.

Later Ken made a pot winch from part of a truck differential which was driven by belts from the engine. This made cray fishing a lot easier especially on the hands as they didn’t wear gloves. The main bait used at Port MacDonnell was horse meat from the local abattoir. The cray fishermen also used fish, mutton birds, wallabies, dolphins (fishermen called them porpoises); any form of meat they could get. Crayfish were plentiful in the 50’s and 60’s. They were found inshore up and down the coast and when they declined they travelled out to the Continental Shelf. His licence was classed as a South Licence and he could fish between Longitude 141 degree east and longitude 129-degree E. Annual licence fees in 1970 were $4.

The original registration number was L.O.Y. “L” being the number all South Australian commercial fishing boat registration numbers started with. Ken had a skipper certificate (Grade 11) which was granted by South Australian Harbours Board. All the Port MacDonnell fishing fleet were kept on swing moorings next to the pier and pulled out of the water via a small slipway onto a large corner block of land, located at the corner of Sea Parade and Charles Street opposite the Customs House, for annual maintenance at the end of the cray season. The original mast is today at Port MacDonnell Bowling Club, Elizabeth Street, as one of their flag poles.

Ken sold NYMPHAEA in 1973 and bought a newer, faster semi planing hull fibreglass but he regretted it as the old timber boat was a better sea boat, he said. Ken Williamson passed away in April 2016 aged 86.

Soon after NYMPHAEA was acquired by the current owner and kept in the Mordialloc creek for approximately two years before being removed from the water for a keel up restoration. The vessel has been moved three times as the family changed address, but each time it was housed in a purpose built shed. Over the next 40 plus years it was overhauled and rebuilt where needed by the owner who is an experienced marine engineer and has worked to the highest possible standard.

NYMPHAEA is planked in NZ kauri on NZ kauri frames which all remain as original fabric. Renowned boat builder Jack Gutierrez made a new rudder built of African mahogany. All trim, keel and panelling are WA jarrah. All new keel bolts are copper with handmade bronze nuts. All fastenings throughout are either gun metal or copper. All wooden blocks (pulleys) are handmade by the owner with sheaves hand turned. All nonferrous fittings were cast in bronze to the owner’s design and carry the vessels name in the casting and then machined to exacting standards. The interior has been rebuilt and the engine is a Volvo Penta MD17C 35 hp marine diesel which is an older style of diesel engine that was completely rebuilt by the owner. The new spars have been built of full length Oregon and these include mast, gaff, boom, jackyard and bowsprit and all rigging is of 316 stainless steel wire.

NYMPHAEA was re-launched at Martha Cove, Safety Beach on Friday 13th November 2015 and berthed at Hidden Harbour Marina. It is registered with the Couta Boat Association Inc. and its allocated sail number is C1946. NYMPHAEA attended the Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong in March 2016 and was awarded The Lin & Larry Pardey “Talesin” Trophy for Wooden Yachts (Under 30ft) most deserving of recognition.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:pivoting centreboardswing board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Rig type:cutter
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

: C 1946

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