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.