Boat of the Month - Millcraft 70 Odyssey

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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Originally commissioned by Australian entrepreneur Keith Williams, <I>ODYSSEY</I> is an exceptional example of wooden boatbuilding from Brisbane’s iconic Millcraft yard…

Boat of the Month -  Millcraft 70 Odyssey
Boat of the Month - Millcraft 70 <I>Odyssey</I>

Odyssey is one of the best-known motoryachts on the east coast of Australia. A 70-foot timber Millcraft, she was designed and commissioned by Keith Williams, the developer and former owner of Sea World marine theme park on the Gold Coast.

Williams’ knowledge of boat design and performance is legendary. He crafted many of the speedboats used to tow waterskiers at Sea World as well as other pleasureboats that ranged up to veritable superyachts.

To this day, Williams believes the Rolls-Royce powered Odyssey is the best-looking boat he ever designed. He went on to design and build the 84-foot Ulysses, converted a navy Corvette that became the 110-foot Achilles I, and then the 120ft Achilles II, a Hargraves design.

Odyssey was built by Millcraft in Brisbane under supervision from Williams during 1971. She has a clipper bow, transom stern, round bilge and full keel. Current owner Nick Girdis was at the original launch.

As well as being used as a promotional vessel by Sea World she was also used as a research vessel when the theme park was in its infancy.

Williams had a gantry built on its bow to enable injured dolphins to be rescued and safely transported to Sea World to recover in the aquarium and possibly be trained to become performers.

He visited the Great Barrier Reef onboard Odyssey many times, both for pleasure and research for Sea World. His knowledge of the Reef and many trips on Odyssey helped to crystallise William’s vision to develop the Hamilton Island Resort.

Girdis, a friend of Williams since 1948, was onboard Odyssey during one of these exploratory cruises, anchored west of the mud flat, where the present marina exists. Williams overcame huge difficulties to achieve the successful development of Hamilton Island providing the backbone to the iconic resort as it exists today.

He sold Odyssey in 1978 to Jack Joel, who took the boat to Melbourne where he made some minor internal modifications. The boat was subsequently sold to the Maguire family of Southport when it returned to the Gold Coast.

In 1985, Girdis and Joel bought Odyssey from the receivers while the boat was undergoing a refit at Millcraft in Brisbane, which including the construction of a new deck.

Girdis became the sole owner in 1986 and has owned Odyssey ever since. During that time the boat has been used extensively between Brisbane and the Gold Coast as well as offshore through the South Passage Bar and the Gold Coast Seaway.

Odyssey is a magnificent timber-hull motoryacht capable of handling offshore conditions without faltering as well as being a superb flat-water entertainer.

On Australia Day 1988, Odyssey was on Sydney Harbour along with several thousand other yachts to enjoy the bicentenary celebrations with 25 guests onboard. She subsequently spent some time cruising Sydney Harbour and Pittwater before returning to Brisbane.

A commodore of The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Girdis has enjoyed many hours with family, friends and business associates aboard Odyssey cruising Moreton Bay. Odyssey provides an equally exceptional platform for family fun and adventure as she does for sophisticated and ambient entertainment of international guests.
This is a great opportunity to own a very special Millcraft.

Keith Williams and Nick Girdis might be blinded by love, but it really is hard to disagree that Odyssey has among the best design lines of any timber boat afloat in Australia today. No major hull modifications have been carried out and there’s been only a minor interior modification prior to 1986. The hull is Oregon pine timber, diagonal plank, and epoxy glued. Teak timber is used for the cabin sides, with ply/glass sheathed tops, teak-planked deck over ply base, and an Oregon timber structure. The use of fine timbers extends indoors, complementing the furnishings, where eight guests are accommodated in four staterooms. Back on deck are walkaround decks and a spacious cockpit facing the wheelhouse that’s perfect for social occasions. The skipper has the choice of two helms, in the wheelhouse or up top in the open flybidge with bimini. Add-ons include Raymarine electronics, rigid-bottom inflatable dinghy, hydraulic davit, hydraulic anchor winch, blackwater tank and air-conditioning. Some areas internally, such as the well-equipped galley, are ripe for renovation, but externally it’s hard to fault the fine and gracious lines that Odyssey cuts out on the water.


FOR SALE: $795,000
TYPE: Fully custom, handcrafted, monohull motorcruiser
MATERIAL: Oregon timber hull, teak sides and deck
BEAM: 6m
WEIGHT: 63.29 tonnes
ENGINE: 2 x Rolls-Royce C6TFLM
TYPE: Six-cylinder, freshwater-cooled turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 320 (each)
GEARBOX: Twin disc HG509 hydraulic
DETAILS: For enquiries, contact Brian Hillier, phone (07) 3831 6555; 0447 616 010 or email:


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