Roy Frith, a Launceston new car dealer, visited yacht designer Robert Perry in USA to discuss possible plans and designs for a motor sailer to cruise in comfort and race in coastal events around the Eastern Seaboard of Australia. The passion to construct a wooden boat commenced in 1979 whilst Roy and a mate were fishing the waters of Lake Pedder and noticed the amount of Huon Pine that was being submerged as the lake was filling. On his visit to USA, Roy was given the opportunity to sail in a fibreglass version of the Perry designed Seamaster 46 that convinced him to commission Perry to design Solquest. Research suggests that this is the only timber version of this design. A Launceston boat builder renowned for construction of timber boats, Garry Smedley, was engaged to commence construction of the boat in an apple shed at Kayena on the Tamar River in 1980.
Roy launched Solquest in 1982 and cruised the Eastern Seaboard competing in many events, including a Sydney to Hobart, and winning a prestigious event the Concours de Elegance at Sanctuary Cove. In 2000, after having completed approximately 150,000 nautical miles of cruising, Roy was sidelined with a medical illness and decided to offer Solquest for sale. At this time Solquest was moored in Sydney and was noticed by Hobart businessman Richard Pringle-Jones who quickly negotiated purchase of the vessel and sailed her to Kettering.
Garth and Bev Wigston were considering purchase of a yacht and noticed that Solquest was for sale and after investigating many yachts around Australia decided that this was the boat that they had to have. Solquest became their pride and joy in 2004 and has been a resident of the Kettering Marina since that time. During 2005 her hull was stripped to reveal bare strip planked Huon Pine and meticulous preparation began to repaint her hull and keel and to begin an overall annual repaint and antifoul program for her underwater surfaces each year. This was followed by bare timber preparation of Mahogany coach house and cap rail. The mast was removed, stripped and prepared for repainting in 2011 when all rigging and associated components were also replaced, hydraulics overhauled and the majority of electronics upgraded. An addition of a Webasto heating furnace added much pleasure to comfortable winter cruising during the colder Tassie conditions.
In 2014 Solquest embarked on an interesting circumnavigation of Tasmania with three chefs aboard to produce the SBS Television program, Gourmet Farmer Afloat. Six one hour programs went to air in early 2015, highlighting coastal Tasmania in a 42 day adventure in absolutely ideal conditions with minimal breezes but flat seas and brilliant sunshine. Despite the intent of a sailing adventure around the State, much motoring provided a fascinating look at our wonderfully colourful coastline that was enjoyed by many viewers worldwide. SBS has since repeat screened this epic adventure many times.