photos & details ex Peter Murtons. edited by Alan Houghton
This old 1895 fantail oil launch was built by the Knewstubb Brothers in Port Chalmers as a tender for one of the many gold dredges they built for the Shotover and other Rivers. She has been a motor boat with 3-4 different motors having been in her going by the amount of exhaust holes that were found in her. The original bronze stern tube was still in her but had been cut off flush with the hull inside and out then plugged. She may have had another plank on the topside when first built as there is no deck fastenings in the original stern and the top has unfinished adze marks still very visible on it. When Peter striped her down, all the ribs were finished at the green plank line (under side of deck as she is now) all the ribs were rebated to take the shear clamp and the transom had a rebate for the deck. Sometime in the 1950-60s she was converted to a keeler, with another 300mm + a lump of railway iron added to her keel and another plank added to the topsides and cabins were added (refer photo above). This was all held on with galv. nails skewed down into the shear clamp and transom and bits of copper sheet wrapped around the stem.
In the early 1980s she sank in the Frankton arm of Lake Wakatipu. She was then taken to Cromwell for 15 years then to Alexandra for 10 years as a garden ornament.
She is 16ft Kauri hull, the ribs and sawn frames in the counter are Broad leaf and Kowhai all the yellow topsides and cabins were put on 1950-60s when she was converted to sail. At some stage two planks were replaced and she was then glassed over with polyester. This caused her to sink as the garboard plank on the starboard side buckled and cracked due to uneven moisture levels on the garboard planks.
Peter has re ribbed her with oak, new oak sawn frames, both garbed planks are new and 1st and 2nd planks port side were replaced due to a very rough repair job done on her some time a go. A new Kauri stern was also fitted. The new decks are Kauri. While cleaning out the old strong post notch in stem Peter found an English penny dated 1895, this is not original as it was well worn, if one was put in her at all when she was built, it would have been a new sixpence or shilling. She is all copper fastened and all the old iron keel bolts have been replaced with copper. The new decks have a sub layer of 6mm ply to strengthen her for trailering her. All the fastenings were removed so they could clean out between the planks then a flexible sealer was applied between the laps prior to re-riveting the planks back together, this allows the planks to move shrink and expand without leaking every time we want to use her.
Blue Duck is now powered by a Hasbrouck twin steam engine, fed via a black staff water tube boiler Peter built for her. She can swing her 17×30 prop easily.
More info & photos can be found at http://www.murtons.co.nz