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.
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-
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
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)