Lady Jess + Woody Workshop

LADY JESS

Another woody spotted at Tutukaka Marina by Dean Wright -anyone able to tell us more about Lady Jess?

Input ex Scott Macindoe –

Lady Jess was commissioned by an Auckland commercial fisherman, Gus Viskovic as a snapper longliner in 1961. She was designed and built by John Gladden at Milford Marina. The kauri came from half of a tree milled in the Coromandel. The hull is carvel planked. The planks are full-length, 32mm. Some demolition kauri from a church in Hamilton was also used in the bulkheads.

Not long after launching, the boat was sold and moved to Whitianga. She was spotted there by Harry Bannister from Whangaroa. Harry bought her and took her north. Since then Lady Jess has been a charter boat based in Northland. Since the 1970’s she has been based out of Tutukaka, owned successively by Doug Schlegel, Trevor Williams, Mike Airey, Peter O’Brynne, and since 1988, Pete Saul.

An open-topped flying bridge was added in the 1970s, with a folding Bimini top and clears. In 1997 Pete added the hard-top bridge. She still has the original dry stack arrangement. Lady Jess was powered by a single six-cylinder Ford for much of her life to date but for the last four years has been powered by a 200hp John Deere with Twin Disc gearbox.

The engine is well forward, in the galley, giving good access to the motor but necessitating a 5.5-metre drive shaft. The forward engine and flared bow make Lady Jess a great head sea boat. Top speed is 9 knots with 8 knots cruising. Fuel consumption for a day’s game fishing averages 8 litres/hour. Diesel capacity is 900 litres, allowing extensive cruising without refuelling. Pete retired from charters in 2019 but kept the boat for family use.


Woody Moon Engines Workshop

Great turn out last Sunday for the Wooden Boat Bureau hosted-woody workshop at Moon Engines, the MC for the day was James Mobberley who ran a master class on diesel engine maintenance and servicing. 33 boat owners turned out and I will not embarrass him by naming him but this email feedback summed up the day perfectly = “Thank you for organising this enjoyable visit – an articulate, experienced and forthright speaker made James an ideal host for subjects one can never be over-informed about.”

Post the workshop – attendee Alan Sexton sent in to WW a list of minimum spares to carry on-board from YNZ’s safety rules for offshore motorboats that almost exactly per James’ advice. See below.

Alan also supplied the links below for the engine ‘junkies’ amongst us – enjoy. Seaboard Marine as recommended by James: https://www.sbmar.com/tonys-tips/ 

Ford history (Lees get plenty of recognition): https://everythingaboutboats.org/ford-2715e/ https://everythingaboutboats.org/ford-2725e/ I

interesting history about Cummins/Iveco co-operation (for a while) https://forums.ybw.com/index.php?threads/iveco-nef-vs-cummins-qsb.306183/

6 thoughts on “Lady Jess + Woody Workshop

  1. Lady Jess was commissioned by an Auckland commercial fisherman, Gus Viskovic as a snapper longliner in 1961. She was designed and built by John Gladden at Milford Marina. The kauri came from half of a tree milled in the Coromandel. The hull is carvel planked. The planks are full-length, 32mm. Some demolition kauri from a church in Hamilton was also used in the bulkheads.

    Not long after launching, the boat was sold and moved to Whitianga. She was spotted there by Harry Bannister from Whangaroa. Harry bought her and took her north. Since then Lady Jess has been a charter boat based in Northland. Since the 1970’s she has been based out of Tutukaka, owned successively by Doug Schlegel, Trevor Williams, Mike Airey, Peter O’Brynne, and since 1988, Pete Saul.

    An open-topped flying bridge was added in the 1970s, with a folding Bimini top and clears. In 1997 Pete added the hard-top bridge. She still has the original dry stack arrangement. Lady Jess was powered by a single six-cylinder Ford for much of her life to date but for the last four years has been powered by a 200hp John Deere with Twin Disc gearbox.

    The engine is well forward, in the galley, giving good access to the motor but necessitating a 5.5-metre drive shaft. The forward engine and flared bow make Lady Jess a great head sea boat. Top speed is 9 knots with 8 knots cruising. Fuel consumption for a day’s game fishing averages 8 litres/hour. Diesel capacity is 900 litres, allowing extensive cruising without refuelling. Pete retired from charters in 2019 but kept the boat for family use.

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  2. Was built for Gus Viscovich as a longliner. Named after his wife. Gus went on to get Gladden to build Sanalpa after selling LJ. Gus V kept LJ lofting patterns for years as he had enough demo kauri to easily build another.
    He never did as the temptation for building numerous steel boats took over.

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  3. Many trips on the Lady Jess taking student divers and club members out to the Knights and local coast some 30+ years ago. There were faster, flasher boats available but none had a Pete Saul as skipper. Great memories! I think a Peter O’Brin owned her before Pete Saul?

    I note the MNZ numbers are missing – perhaps she’s no longer used commercially.

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