When designed and built by Owen Woolley in 1968 the launch – Acheron started life at 38’ and the build took place in Woolley’s shed on the water’s edge of the Tamaki River, Pakuranga. She was constructed of single skin heart kauri with hardwood ribs. The design was a very popular concept for Woolley and he built several other boats later through a number of years that were more or less sisterships to Acheron.
Post launching Acheron spent 4> 5 years on a pile mooring in the Tamaki River, on the Panmure side of the river, near Ken Rickett’s parents house. Ken supplied the intel for todays story and the photos come to us from her current Wellington owner – Tim Prescott.
Harold Kidd has advised that Acheron was owned in 1973 by E & J Lane of Kohimarana, Auckland so given this date they may well have been the original owners.
Acheron’s past between approx. 1974 and 1991 is mostly unknown, until in 1991 she was relocated to Wellington by a Des Deacon, who had purchased her. Fast forward to 2005 when she was purchased by Tim Prescott. At this stage Acheron measured 44’ in length , with a 12’6” beam and draw 3’6’, the additional 6’ had been added to her stern giving her a bigger cockpit. In a December 2019 WW story on the launch Proteus, Neil Lineham commented he purchased Acheron in 1984 and had the extension done, by John Gladden, and with the additional 6’ she had a new top speed of 19 knots. Linehan owned the boat between 1984 and 1987.
Acheron is powered by two TS3 model 3DB-215 Commer diesels, which have been in her since new. They drive thru two 22″ diameter x 21″ pitch 4 blade propellers. The current photos of the engine bay confirm that they have recently been taken out of the boat & had a major overhaul by a TS 3 expert.
Are we able to fill in more of the blanks in her past in the 1972 > 1991 period?
Not sure Mr Woolley would approve of the radar arch ………………. but tastes change with time 🙂
Update ex Paul Holdsworth – Owen Woolley built Acheron for Eric Lane an executive at NZI Insurance, my farther an engineer worked on Acheron’s Commer diesels that had a distinctive rumble to them. Owen built a smaller launch for Eric before he commissioned Acheron which was very similar to Allen Williams Banshee design. Before having these Woolley designs built Eric owned the Colin Wild Talua with mooring in Okahu Bay which was immaculately kept and regularly haul out onto the handstand at Okahu.
Update ex Ken Ricketts – post a lot of ringing around and emails Ken believes below is an accurate record of the boats owners – Built by Owen Woolley 1968, owned by E & J Lane 1973, bought off a Mr Furness (probably off the Lanes) & sold to Neil Lineham in 1984. Sold by Lineham c.1987. We have a 4 year gap, then Des Deacon bought her in 1991 and trucked her from Auckland to Wellington.
In 2005 Tim Prescott, the current owner purchased her, possibly from the estate of Deacon.
As mentioned above Lineham had John Gladden extend the stern by 6’, this work was done by John Gladden. Lineham was an engineer and has a substantial knowledge of the Commer TS 3 engines, he went to much trouble upgrading the horsepower of Acheron’s engines and making them quieter than is usual, for these engines.
Her radar arch was fitted in Wellington by or for Des Deacon. It was Tim Prescott, who has had the latest refurbishment of her engines done, by Mark Erskine a very talented TS3 engine expert, who Ken believes worked on the engines in – Invader and possibly Royal Falcon. Her top speed is now around 13>14 knots.
19-03-2022 Update ex Alan Sexton – Acheron was described above as being single skin kauri, I doubt this, per the article (refer Sea Spray below) all this series were built with multiskin diagonal planking. One change on boats after Acheron, eg Proteus and Accolade was the addition of the topsides knuckle.
Annual CYA Round Rangitoto Race & Cake Day BBQ
I made a late call to mooch down to Issy Bay to catch the tail end of the annual CYA round Rangitoto Race and Cake Day BBQ. Well thanks to the loyal launch group the day wasn’t a waste of time, as what seems to be the norm these days – not one classic yacht bothered to attend 🙂 Pacific cleaned up the prizes – first in the race (i.e. closest finisher to their handicap time) and first for the best looking cake – well done Nathan, Darren and crew. I’m sure the other results will be on the CYA website. Got to love the judging panel – 3 very well behaved kids – I suspect their focus was on getting first dibs on the cakes 🙂 Special thanks to Jason Prew from the Slipway Milford for organizing the BBQ and prizes ex Manson Anchors and Lawson Dry Hills wines.