Steamboat Gypsy

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photos & details ex trademe

Its not often that I do a blatant 4-sale listing on ww but Gypsy is just so adorable that she gets pride of place today on ww.

Gypsy is a 18’4″ beautifully built replica 18 foot steam launch from the 1880’s that has been recently completely restored & is now for sale.
The cold molded 3-skin kauri hull is in perfect condition. It was built by Dave Jackson, now of Warkworth, in 1987.
The machinery is an English Stuart Turner 2 cylinder compound engine built in the 1960s. The boiler was built by Dyer of Penrose in 1987. It burns coal or wood, but prefers coal.
A restored trailer is included that has a new WOF, new tyres, axel & wheel bearings.

A special feature is the copper ‘Windermere Kettle’. This steam kettle heats water in about 10 mins for a hot cup of tea while underway.

Call the owner on 09 4343649 for more information or to view.

The Gypsy Story from previous (1st) owner Russell Ward

Here is her story.

Gypsy was built in late 1987. In those days I had a 12’ clinker dinghy with a 4hp Stuart and longed to make a steamboat. I had bought a Stuart no 6 compound steam engine from the late Les Fitt -a prolific steam modeller. The late Graeme Wilkinson designed a coal burning boiler to suit and it was built in Penrose. Happy daze! All I needed was a suitable hull and that is hard because it has to be burdensome to carry all that weighty machinery. Also it needs to be able to swing a huge prop because a steam engine develops a lot of torque at low speed. Gypsy’s prop was 17 x 23. Most old boats didn’t meet the specs and anyway, I was going to have enough on my hands running the machinery without trying to maintain a rotten old leaky hull. A new hull was the only way.

I had several long talks with Dave Jackson in his gorgeous boatshed  at Sulphur Beach –inland of the then harbour bridge Toll Plaza. Harold will enlighten us about the history of that boatyard. Dave advocated a cold moulded hull so it would be strong and easier to keep clean. A set of lines was the problem. Way back then, there was a dearth of hull lines for steamboats. Nowadays every joe and his dog thinks he can draw one up.

At that time, Pete McCurdy produced a magazine Traditional Small Craft in the ‘80s and it was eagerly read by the small boat people of the day. We are still waiting for the long promised last issue for which I am sure I penned something. In one of the issues was a set of lines and offsets of a dinghy that was kept at Adams Island -one of the Auckland Islands- for any shipwrecked sailors to row to NZ in. Happily she was not needed and was brought to Hobson Wharf for the then fledgling maritime museum. I thought that any boat designed to live in those savage waters probably had what it takes. I discussed the lines with Dave and Gypsy was the result. She lacks the hollow garboards of the original for ease of construction and economy.

I completed the engineering at home and fitted the necessary auxiliary pumps to the engine using original Stuart castings. The choice of the name was a little complicated and a story in itself. There were several sailing Gypsys around but no SL Gypsy. It was a nice dusky sooty sort of name for a steamer.

The Trad Small Craft Society were holding a sail-in at Okahu Bay and i proposed to take Gypsy along to show the gang and also to dip her in the water to pencil in the waterline. All things gang oft aglay as they say and I couldn’t stop myself steaming her up because it was such a bitchy cold day. As I dipped her in the tide, she floated off and I steamed away merrily trying to get used to my new toy. We steamed her around for three hours and I thought she went damn fine. The first picture shows the event: I am the one with a broad smile but no anorak (whatever they are). I never changed a thing from the first launching and she just went well every time as long as the coal was good and the boiler tubes kept clean.

I sold her when we moved house in ’91.  She is a cutey. The box up fwd was put on by the subsequent owner and is a little clumsy to my eye.  I don’t think I’ll have her back: Marie would probably strangle me and the price is way too steep.

04-10-2018 Update ex Russell Ward

Photo below shows Russell’s little steamer Gypsy that David Jackson built in this shed at Sulphur Beach 1987. In the photo we see that the hull planking has just been finished.
What dates the photo is the ‘middle sized’ Ward daughter seen in the photo. Russell commented about the proper tools on show 🙂
finished hull001

4 thoughts on “Steamboat Gypsy

  1. I guess most people are aware of the Pietenpol Air Camper steam-powered plane Mike Tunnicliffe is building in South Auckland? Bloody amazing!


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