Classic Clinker Motorboat

Classic Clinker Motorboat

Now this little classic appeared briefly on trademe ($5,000) & then the listing was pulled, so hopefully the owner changed their mind or a buyer was found off-line.

This clinker built tender / lifeboat was built by Miller & Tunnage of Port Chalmers, Dunedin.

She started life as one of two lifeboat / tenders on the back of the tug ’Dunedin’ which was launched on Jan 6th 1914.

Built by Miller & Tunnage of Port Chalmers she is 14’ with a 6’ beam & powered by single cylinder diesel motor. The current Yanmar diesel was installed by Miller & Tunnage in 1961 & propels the craft at 6 knots. She has had only 2 owners in the last 40 years & as the photos show has amazing attention to detail & has been well loved.

If anyone was interested in her, a call to the seller agent might be a good idea – Shauna Brady 06 356 1084.

24-06-2015 Input from Russell Ward

Aha! Rivet counters of the NZ coast unite!
Below is a deck plan of the good tug Dunedin as built 1914 showing a transom-sterned motor dinghy mounted to starboard on the boat deck. Measuring off the scale on the plan, she might be 15’ -similar to our little darling under discussion.
A conventional dublenda BOT lifeboat is seen to port.

Now, sorry fellers, but the natural response of a sorta kinda apprentice historian to claims made in adverts for boats as well as cars is “No it ain’t!” because more often than not, vendors embellish the provenance a tad from time to time to stimulate the market. So be it with our little incumbent.

Lets face the facts, Dunedin would have been supplied ex builders (Stevenson and Cook Port Chalmers) with ships boats and equipment as per specifications a part of which I have scanned. This plan shows a smaller motorboat to stb and it was likely built along with the other in the Port by Millers or Tunnages. M & T used to bead the edges of the stringers –Iona is the same. However, the photographs I have attached show some real heavy boats on board.

I hate to rain on the party, but that boat doesn’t look all that robust and a workboat doing pulleyhauly stuff on a tug in Dunedin would be a very strong heavy boat and would have a plum stem so that the inevitable collisions would be better dealt with. The raked stem as our little darling has wouldn’t take a collision so well. Also a motorboat of that era would have a big thumpy single banger engine or maybe a two stroke made in the US that would shake a light boat to pieces right quick. The two strokes didn’t usually have a reverse box so might be a handful in tight corners.

Maybe it is a later addition –the Dunedin may have had a progression of boats on board as the old ones were dropped, smashed or squashed in their duties. William the Conqueror’s axe and all that.

She’s a lovely boat, however,  and I am tickled by the nicely polished rotary bllge pump which she doubtless needs. BTW I have a nice little Stuart Turner P5 single with reduction gear that would fit in real nicely…… Fitted with the usual Critical Need factor –if you need it urgently, it ain’t gonna start so there. Any other time starts easily with a flick of the flywheel One titled owner, only used on weekends.

11 thoughts on “Classic Clinker Motorboat

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  3. It is a neat photo of the tug.
    I don’t mean to be on a downer on the guys as the classic clinker looks a treat but the life boats, in the photo above, aboard Tug Boat Dunedin, appear to be double enders. I guess the clinker would have been a tender for the tug though?


  4. I’m not sure you are right there, Paul. “Miller & Tunnage” were mentioned as being in business at Carey’s Bay in the Otago Daily Times of 10th November 1913 and were certainly in business before 1922 when the business was incorporated as Miller & Tunnage Ltd..


  5. this is not a Miller and Tunnage clinker as the firm was only founded in 1922 ! It was more likely built by one of the Miller brothers who both operated separate businesses at the time !


  6. Lovely little ship. The Picton boys do great work -a group like that jolly each other on to achieve good things! I love the posting of the steam tug Dunedin! A much more homely sort of ship in -3 deg celsius! Viva Steam!


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