[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Sitting snugly in a corner berth at the Prince of Wales Bay Marina, the little motor launch TUNA looks like she belongs in the River Derwent. As well she might – she’s been part of the local scenery for 100 years. Said to be built by the legendary shipwright Percy Coverdale, the 22′ motor launch has been a regular fixture at regattas, races and maritime events for a century, most recently at the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Andrew Nichols has looked after her for the last 30 years, tinkering with everything from her cabin to her steering, installing a new engine and generally keeping the boat in top running order.
TUNA is noted in the record books as a new arrival for the Kettering Regatta in November 1915, coming a respectable fourth in the motor boat racing, completing the course in 3 hours 9 minutes. The Hobart Mercury reports that the boat took first place in the New Norfolk Race in the following year, with a handicapped time of 4 hours 44 minutes. Fitted with a new Singer engine for the Woodbridge Regatta in 1933, TUNA narrowly bested WANDERER in the power boat race, crossing the line with two minutes to spare. WJ Mangan was the first owner and she passed through a succession of owners who fitted her successively with more modern engines. Present owner Andrew Nichols fitted her with a fine Nanni Kubota diesel than powers her along handsomely at 6-8 knots and will, Andrew tells us, do a little more than that if pressed.
‘I don’t know why so many boats want to fly about from one place to another at high speed. The river is best when you have time to look around you and enjoy it’ he said.
Percy Coverdale was a noted sailor and professional shipwright who competed in the sailing races if his day. There is a delightful picture of him in the 1946 Australian Women’s Weekly, being kissed by his wife on arrival after a difficult race from Sydney to Hobart with a broken arm in a sling. The picture is part of a fine history of the little boat compiled by Andrew’s sister.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”950″ img_size=”large” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”949″ img_size=”large” add_caption=”yes”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Andrew reports that health issues are forcing him to reconsider looking after this wonderful piece of Tasmanian maritime heritage and he is looking for someone take up the challenge of seeing TUNA into her second century. We’re hoping that this beautiful boat does not disappear from local waters and that she finds a new custodian. Anyone who is seriously interested in the challenge can reach Andrew on 0417 324 476.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”952″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”951″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row]