Thetis


THETIS
photos & details from Luke Richardson

Thetis (Greek for Sea Nymph) was launched in Dunedin on the 31st August 1929.  She was built by Mr J McPherson boat builder of Dunedin for Mr Charles Sundstrum.
Thetis was designed by renown naval architect Mr William H Hand Jnr of New Bedford USA.  William ‘Bill’ Hand was the originator of the V-bottom hull type per Thetis.  In addition Hand was an early pioneer of the motor-sailor type. Thetis was designed as a fast day cruiser.
She is 35’1” in length with 8’1” beam, 2’9” draft and a total height of 6’9”. She is a British Registered ship dated 16th August 1929.  The official number is 127819. Her registered tonnage is 4.68 with a Gross Tonnage of 7.57.

Thetis was originally powered by a Chrysler Imperial 6 cylinder petrol engine producing 160hp at 2800rpm.  Later she was re-powered by a Chrysler Royal engine with 140hp.  With a Ford diesel in between she was subsequently re-powered in 2003 with a Mercedes Benz 5 cylinder diesel engine.  That motor is to be replaced now. Documents show Thetis was originally good for 18 knots.  A bigger engine was installed around the war years and its said she has seen 26+ knots.  In current configuration she’s more like 12-13 knots.

Construction is of kauri hull planking and Kowhai frames with teak decks. The cabin was subsequently modified and enclosed by Magnus Smith of Lyttelton, Luke believes the work was done  for Bruce Stewart of Pigeon Bay.

Known Owners
Charles W Sundstrum                         1929-37
Bruce F Stewart (later Sir Bruce)         1937-50
William Carey                                      1950-54
Clarey Beaumont                                1954-57
Des Sinclair                                         1957-67
Laurie Wales                                       1967-1997?
David Martin                                        1997-2006
Brendon Leech                                    2006-2014
Glenn Tod                                            2014-2015
Luke Richardson                                  2015-

Known History
Dunedin to late 1930’s
Pigeon Bay for some 20 years
War Service – she was commandeered by the NZ Navy Naval Auxilliary Patrol Service (NAPS) in WWII and used as a coastal patrol boat.  She commenced service 9th May 1942 and was relieved of duty 23rd February 1944 when the NAPS formally disbanded.  She was assigned the pennant number Z125 and served in the unit based in Lyttelton.  The owner at that time was B.F. Stewart.

Luke purchased her in July 2015 and she is now hauled out of the water for some long overdue TLC.  A period of neglect following the Christchurch earthquakes meant she was long overdue for some maintenance.  Luke would love to know more about any of the owners over the years and any of her history not covered above.

To view more photos & to follow the work, Thetis has a facebook page –  Friends of Thetis

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1608024876125109/

See below an article on Thetis’s launch from the Australasian Motorboat & Yachting Monthly from October 1929. Its a good read 😉

Harold Kidd Input

Charles William Sundstrum was a Dunedin dentist who was a key figure in Dunedin yachting circles for many years. His first launch was the 31ft clinker double-ender VALMAI of 1910 which had a Dunedin-built 5hp Viking engine. He raced her with the Otago Yacht Club including one of their Ocean races to Timaru.
He replaced VALMAI in 1913 with the 40 footer NORANA designed by Joseph Gillanders and built by Miller Bros at Port Chalmers. She had a 16-18hp Jersey Standard marine engine and was a handsome craft. He sold her to Arthur Brett of Auckland in 1927. During WW2 she was taken over by the RNZAF and sent to Fiji for towing work.
THETIS was NORANA’s replacement. Photo of Norana below.

13-05-2017 – Additional Photos ex trademe (Ian McDonald nudge)

 

20 thoughts on “Thetis

  1. deserving yes, but more work than the current owner thinks yes. overpriced? yes possibly, but given the fact it’s got a reconned engine, maybe only a bit.

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  2. Dare I say it, but with a bow seat, the big engine, and the masterful hull form by Mr. W. Hand, she’s almost a commuter yacht. Gorgeous, and even as she is today, her profile is pleasing.

    J.

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  3. I have been the principal slanger, and I agree wholeheartedly with Rick. I said much the same to Alan earlier today, WW doesn’t deserve or need this level of angst.
    But neither does it deserve or need partial or total fabrications on the subject so dear to all our hearts to remain unquestioned. I’m not talking about simple slips of memory. We all have those.
    The problem is with just one rogue poster, and I understand Alan has imposed some reasonable restrictions on his contributions for a period so that they can be examined carefully before going up on the site.
    That should enable WW to regain its customary laissez-faire and bonhomie.

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  4. A comment on contributions.

    Recently there has been an increasing level of vitriol and the use of quite unpleasant language when dealing with vague or inaccurate information. A couple of past contributors I know, are now frightened to put forward comment because they can’t guarantee its veracity. This is sad because most of us are amateurs, who may have interesting experiences and observations, but with the ravages of age are unable to be certain factually.

    I know you are a busy man, Alan, but I think you have to step in and be the referee here. If erroneous facts or hearsay are put forward you should be contacted directly, not on this blog.
    You should then correct or remove the offending material. This avoids this wonderful site being blighted by personal slanging matches. This is particularly important in trying to elicit information from the older generation who constructed, raced and sailed in our fleet and will have some wonderful stories to tell, some daresay not completely factual.

    Once again Alan, WW is absolutely brilliant and truly world class. A real credit to you.

    Rick.

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  5. That site you refer to is chock full of nuts (in the pejorative sense). It’s compiled mainly from the British Register of Ships and has a high dosage of assumptions, some of which are downright ludicrous.
    McPherson (usually referred to in Otago newspapers as “M’Pherson” in the old Scottish manner) built a lot of fine yachts and launches including the Tino Rawa Trust’s TUCANA. Other Dunedin builders included H.T. Green, the Knewstubb brothers, Leach & Miller, John M’Lellan, Hugh Davis, Austin Jenkinson etc. In fact, there were more boatbuilding businesses in the city than at Port Chalmers or Carey’s Bay.

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  6. This is soo very pleasant!
    The photos added and face book link have taken her from ‘plain Jane’ to an absolute pleasure for me. I hadn’t seen her potential in the anitial photos placed. I know what I would be doing, returning her to as built.
    Neat post Al.

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  7. A lovely ship -amazing the scale of her with that chap in the captain’s hat standing alongside her -she doesn’t seem to stand very high alongside him. And the present cabin is not too serious an affront to the senses.
    Interesting that James McPherson had his yard in Lower Frederick St at that stage (and that Hughes (in 150 Years of NZ Shipbulding) has Thetis as a steamer). We tend to associate Pt Chalmers and Careys Bay as the centre of Dunedin boatbulding.

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  8. Now here’s as brilliantly researched and accurate piece as I ever seen on WW. No hearsay, no anecdote, no dim memories, just solid fact, backed up with contemporary hard evidence. Truth is just so much better than fiction, always

    Congratulations, Luke, on your high standards. This is the stuff WW needs!

    Charles William Sundstrum was a Dunedin dentist who was a key figure in Dunedin yachting circles for many years. His first launch was the 31ft clinker double-ender VALMAI of 1910 which had a Dunedin-built 5hp Viking engine. He raced her with the Otago Yacht Club including one of their Ocean races to Timaru.
    He replaced VALMAI in 1913 with the 40 footer NORANA designed by Joseph Gillanders and built by Miller Bros at Port Chalmers. She had a 16-18hp Jersey Standard marine engine and was a handsome craft. He sold her to Arthur Brett of Auckland in 1927. During WW2 she was taken over by the RNZAF and sent to Fiji for towing work.
    THETIS was NORANA’s replacement.

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  9. What a great looking hull, the stem profile appears to have changed slightly since building though?

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