Time, timber yacht construction consumes great swathes of it. In an age when many alternatives availed, Brian Keelty, a pattern maker by occupation, set about the construction of Lonely in the shed on his Queensland farm. Brian’s trade involved working in thousands of an inch. This attention to detail was applied to Lonely’s cold moulded construction using three layers of diagonally laid Western Red Cedar. She was built from a design by then up and coming naval architect Laurie Davidson of New Zealand. The Keelty family photographed much of the build from the construction of the first jigs, the pouring of the lead for the keel into of course, a purpose built concrete mould through to the day the keel was bolted to the hull and the vessel launched as King Arthur on 27 March 1987. She was soon club champion up Mooloolabar way but required one modification, a discrete steel frame amidships so that the door to the head could release the owner’s daughter in a blow.
King Arthur became Supertramp II after she was purchased by professional yachtsman Alan Webb. Alan had already circumnavigated with his wife and daughter on a steel Adams. He remains something of an enigma and perhaps even less would be known of him had he not contributed to the latest edition of Heavy Weather sailing where he compares sailing the Adams around the Horn in the worst of weather, with facing hurricane conditions alone aboard Supertramp II during a solo circumnavigation. He ran downwind aboard the Adams and hove to aboard Supertramp II. It all sounds so simple.
Your author, no stranger to offshore sailing, purchased Supertramp II in January 2009 and has sailed her from the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club in Sydney Harbor’s Mosman Bay since then. The great minds of the two previous owners and the designer are in constant evidence aboard this immensly strong vessel that displaces little more than 5 tons soaking wet.
Now sailing as Lonely, she is a roomy vessel with 6’2″ headroom from the companionway through to the foward berth with no extraneous boubles. Everything that should open and shut does just that. Lonely is simple to understand, easy to maintain and sails herself at considerable speed with remarkably little assistance upwind and down.
She has a motor, it is painted yellow and seems to work. She has a radar, an aries wind vane and a wind generator, all of which have been installed with elegant simplicity and tested over thousands of ocean miles. Lonely can be sailed singlehanded and is raced sometimes with ten or more and feels quite roomy. Below, she is a welcoming vessel, displaying the timber construction that suprises many.
We all love our yachts and this owner is no less a smitten fool than many others, Lonely is a happy, well proven yacht and a fine example of the art of wooden boat construction.