Enjoy dreaming about your next wooden boat? Of course you do, we all do. Even if you have just sold your pocket-draining, time-consuming endlessly demanding boat at long last, there’s always another one on the horizon. Well, if you have a lazy USD $110,000, here’s a chance to own a real piece of Tasmanian history.
Here’s how the broker describes it:
Utiekah III is a unique sailing yacht (with) a history that goes back to the time she was first built, in 1923 (completed 1925) in Tasmania, Australia. Built of a rare Tasmanian timber called `Huon Pine’. This vintage yacht is for one who is passionate about the sea and the pure love of sailing. She is capable, big and powerful and if taken care of will reward you.’
But of course, there’s more to the story than a broker’s listing. This was brought to our attention by Phil Short, Commodore of the Southport Yacht Club in sunny Queensland. Phil writes:
‘I sailed (in Utiekah III) in all the channel regattas as a Sea Scout with the group back in the late 50s. ‘Skipper’ Giles we called him, a retired school head master (taught us to sail). The Utiekah III has a lot of history from Tasmania and would be a shame to see her lost forever. I am now 73 so a venture to restore her for me is a big task and out on range. My family, the Shorts, lived at Franklin opposite what is now the Wooden Boat Centre since the 1850s.’
‘Skipper‘ Giles was also known as ‘Spuddo’, or more properly as Ireton Elliot Giles, a WW1 British artillery officer who taught at Melbourne Grammar up until 1946. He eventually retired to Tasmania, where he took up teaching sailing to the boys of the Hutchins School. Ireton’s remarkable life story afloat is told in Geoff Herriot’s book In the South:Tales of Sail and Yearning and in the recent issue no. 43 of Tasmania: 40° South. Giles died in 1969, after commanding his last boat, the Nancy (now restored and gifted to the Living Boat Trust in Franklin).
Utiekah III is a 56’ topsail ketch designed by Jack Savage and built at Cygnet by Walter Wilson in 1925. It has had a long and interesting life, including a 2012 restoration by long-distance sailors Johnny and Shelley Mahoney, who have kept the boat in South East Asia since 2006. The boat lies in Malaysia, the broker tells us, waiting for a new lease on (Tasmanian?) life.