Kestrel

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KESTREL

The 39’ launch Kestrel was built in Nelson in 1957 by Wally Steer. Original kauri carvel construction but later (1990’s) she received a skin of ply and was fibre-glassed 1990s 😦 Powered by a Ford 120hp diesel, that gets her along at 8 knots.

Mid last year she was 4sale on tme, in Nelson. Do we know anymore about Kestrel and her builder?

Input from Steve Thomas – Kestrel was originally named SUSAN MARGARET, built by Wally Steer around 1957 and first launched from Monaco, Nelson, not far from Wally’s home at Songer Street, Stoke, where the boat was built. I have a photos of her moored in Nelson Harbour, will dig it out and send a copy. She was powered by 2 flat-head V8 petrols we think. The March Construction family in Kaiapoi owned the boat for many years. In the 1980’s the March boys Father died and they trucked the boat from Picton and started a major rebuild at their Kaiapoi base. Myself and my Dad, Don Thomas, found her around 1995 and fell in love. The original 1’1/4 kauri carvel planking was skinned over with diagonal ply and glassed and the new topsides built but not fitted out. The March boys ran out steam on the home straight and let us take over. We then trucked the boat up to Glenhope, near Murchison, where a boat builder friend, Kevin Strong, completed the interior fit-out over a couple of years. We then moved the boat to Nelson, and finished the exterior repaint, electrical and engineering work. The Ford 2725E was a brand new engine. We relaunched the boat in Nelson around 2000 and she looked the same as she is now. Sadly, my father Don passed away in 2013. Nelson boaties Mike and Denise Ballard then purchased her around that time and lived on her for a few years. Kestrel has just been sold to an American couple who intend to keep her in Picton and cruise the Sounds. She’s a fantastic sea boat with heaps of flare in the bow. Will be a great ship for many years to come.

2 thoughts on “Kestrel

  1. Hi All.
    Kestrel was originally named SUSAN MARGARET, built by Wally Steer around 1957 and first launched from Monaco, Nelson, not far from Wally’s home at Songer Street, Stoke, where the boat was built. I have a photos of her moored in Nelson harbour, will dig it out and send a copy. She was powered by 2 flathead V8 petrols we think. The March Construction family in Kaiapoi owned the boat for many years. In the 1980’s the March boys Father died and they trucked the boat from Picton and started a major rebuild at their Kaiapoi base. Myself and my Dad, Don Thomas, found her around 1995 and fell in love. The original 1’1/4 kauri carvel planking was skinned over with diagonal ply and glassed and the new topsides built but not fitted out. The March boys ran out steam on the home straight and let us take over. We then trucked the boat up to Glenhope, near Murchison, where a boatbuilder friend, Kevin Strong, completed the interior fit-out over a couple of years. We then moved the boat to Nelson, and finished the exterior repaint, electrical and engineering work. The Ford 2725E was a brand new engine. We relaunched the boat in Nelson around 2000 and she looked the same as she is now. Sadly, my Father Don passed away 2013. Nelson boaties Mike and Denise Ballard then purchased her around that time and lived on her for a few years. Kestrel has just been sold to an American couple who intend to keep her in Picton and cruise the Sounds. She’s a fantastic sea boat with heaps of flare in the bow. Will be a great ship for many years to come.

    Kind Regards
    Steve Thomas, Nelson

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  2. Hi Alan

    I believe Kestrel may be a John G Alden design, for two reasons. She has a North American look about her and, immediately after she was launched, Wally Steer and his brother started building a 46 foot motor sailer based upon Alden’s “Sunquest” design. http://aldendesigns.com/motorsailers-ketch/index.html. in a shed at Monaco near the airport in Nelson.

    Sunquest was completed and launched in 1959 and, when we bought her ten years ago, her hull was the same blue as Kestrel and her name board was identical – made I believe by Wally’s wife; as was the ropework around Sunquest’s transom.

    Wally Steer had a road contracting business in Nelson. He went on to build a larger (60 foot plus) motor sailer in the late seventies named Sunquest II; I believe this was an Orams design. This boat was for sale on the West Coast of the USA a few years ago.. Later in his life he had a 40 foot centre cockpit yacht built. I’m told by his nephews that out of all these boats Sunquest was his favourite.

    After ten very enjoyable years with Sunquest we now have her on the market; see classicyacht.org.nz/classifieds/ and plan to downsize to an smaller classic launch.

    Keep up the great work. WW is the first email I open every morning.

    Kind regards

    John Mansell

    On Mon, May 4, 2020 at 12:22 AM waitematawoodys.com #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news – updated daily wrote:

    > Alan Houghton – waitematawoodys.com founder posted: ” KESTREL The 39’ > launch Kestrel was built in Nelson in 1957 by Wally Steer. Original kauri > carvel construction but later (1990’s) she received a skin of ply and was > fibre-glassed 1990s 😦 Powered by a Ford 120hp diesel, that gets her along > at 8″ >

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