Betty

Betty
Name: Betty
Boat Owner: Peter Eblen
Designer: John Hacker
Builder: Hackercraft Boat Company
Description:

The Betty, a Hacker designed cruising hydroplane, 23 feet 6 inches in length, was imported from Detroit in 1927 by Napier Kiffin Birks, director of Adelaide Motors and heir to Charles Birks department stores. It is understood that Betty, with a speed of 32 miles an hour and the only one of its type in the state, was kept at his Goolwa residence, part of which is known as Birks Marina. She was quoted as being loaned to the Victor Harbor Nursing Association as a fundraiser at the 1928 Goolwa speedboat regatta. I understand that Betty’s next owner was Lou Leahy (The Leahy Hotel Group Murray Bridge and Adelaide). Betty was subsequently purchased from the widow (Mrs) F Leahy by Mr Ian Ramsay Manning of Glenelg North on 8th Sept 1960 for 200 pounds. Mr Manning is a dear mate of my late father George Eblen. In 1999 Ian gifted Betty to me. Whilst inspired, it took another three years of research, planning and shed building before I extracted Betty from her resting place. She was mostly buried under 40 years of junk and was damaged and partly fibre-glassed. During this time I did a TAFE course on wooden boat building where the teacher Mr Alan Marsh agreed to mentor me through the process of restoration. A year later the process began, dismantling individual sections, the port hull and frame repair or replacement where necessary. I replaced the broken stringers then the hull with three layers, two diagonal and one length ways with 4mm ply, followed by glassing, filling and fairing. The sides were a matter of removing and repairing the original timbers, thicknessing back to 5-7 mm then laying them over a primary layer of 4mm ply which lay over the original seam battens. The interior was mostly pre painted. Almost the entire brightwork came with the boat; the original motor, a Scripps F-6 100hp Gold cup was not suitable to reuse. The seating, steering wheel and windscreen needed replacing as well. Following a visit to Lake Tahoe Concours D’Elegance in 2009, some new contacts advised me on repowering and furnishing including photographs from which the missing items could be replicated. Mark Mason of New England Boat and Motor, New Hampshire is the master of Mahogany boats, in restoration, building, from engineering to the finished product and although a very busy man still provided essential advice, photographs, historical reference and technical assistance. Because of the desire to reuse as much original timber as possible to maintain authenticity, achieving a perfect stain was a most difficult process. The stain was sprayed then I applied numerous layers by hand using International Paints Awlwood, final coats sprayed. I am thrilled at the end result. Source “Nine Months Abroad” The Register (Adelaide) Page 10, 18th February 1928

LOD feet: 32
Hull Timber: Honduras Mahogany
Type of Boat: Classic Runabout
State: South Australia
Built: 1927
Location: PMF
Category: