Coronet was lucky to have been built at all! Apple orchardist, Athol Rowe, of Waterloo Bay, deep in the Huon Valley, wrote, in 1959, to yacht designer Arthur Robb in London asking to buy the plans or Robb’s Crown class boat.
Robb’s reply was brief “No, we don’t sell designs to amateur builders” Correspondence ensued. Robb finally relented after meeting Hobart marine chandler, Guy Rex, and sailing with him at the Cowes Regata.
It appears Rex said Rowe was a natural and gifted boat builder, that the boat was to be built of the best for Rowe’s personal use and that, if Robb wanted to see the Crown design become an accepted class with lots of them being built, a Rowe-built specimen was the best advertisement he could get.
Rowe kept meticulous records of materials purchased and prices paid for every item that went into her. Hull: 31ft. Written in thumb-nail dipped in tar hand-writing, the journal provides a fascinating insight to the constructor’s approach to boat-building. Also prices and values at the time; the total price of the Huon, Celery Top, King Billy Pine and Douglas Fir in her hull amounted to 103 pounds and 12 shillings! Rowe splined her topsides during construction.
Coronet’s design length is 31 feet overall; beam 8ft 4in. and draft 5ft 3in. Pre-launch, she weighed-in well under her design weight. It’s possible that this was no accident. Rowe met the problem by adding a 3in lead shoe to her keel. That brought her nicely up to weight and that extra lead, further from her centre of buoyancy, stiffens her appreciably. She is a very quick and slippery hull, indeed!
She was fitted with a Volvo MD7A marine diesel of 13HP in 1980.
Preparation of Coronet for the 2019 Festival, and for preceding events, has been overseen by Kettering boat builder, Chris Moncrieff and his knowledge of classic-boat construction gained by a 5 year apprenticeship at Portsea’s Wooden Boat Shop and 25 years of experience, much of it with wooden boats, is largely responsible for getting her here in all her glory. Written -9 October 2018, Coronet’s birthday and the 57th anniversary of her launch.