PRE-LOVED: 2010 LUXURY RIVER CRUISER BOAT AUCTION

By: BEN KEYS, Photography by: SUPPLIED

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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No expense was spared building this 2010 Fantail launch charter boat and it shows in every inch of handlaid wood. Now it could be yours at an upcoming boat auction.

It could be argued that there’s nothing sensible about buying a boat. But if that’s the case, building one requires an even greater flight of fancy – the desire to create something beautiful against all levelheaded advice.

 


This vessel goes under the hammer at auction.


 

Luckily, Ruurd de Visser freely admits he is unable to listen to considered counsel. But it was this type of passionate thinking, ruled by his heart rather than his head, which saw the boat-obsessed Dutchman take on a project to complete an unfinished wooden river boat.

 

CHARTER BOAT

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Birrarung is the result – 15m of glossy amoora timber, finished with highlights of teak and mahogany – and custom built to cruise the narrow waterways of Melbourne as a charter vessel.

The build was certainly a labour of love, with shipwright Ferdi Darley supervising more than 14,000 hours of careful construction, but the project almost never got off the ground until de Visser discovered the abandoned hull sitting in a shed at Melbourne’s North Wharf.

The seed of an idea was sewn, but de Visser dragged his friend Malcom Farr down to the shed in the hope someone sensible might be able to talk him out of the plan. "We walked around the bare hull and I said to Malcolm ‘You need to talk me out of it’," de Visser said.

"Instead, he asked me, ‘Well, what are you going to do with it?’ and I said I wasn’t sure, I just loved the hull.

"I hoped he was going to discourage me. But we walked around the hull once more and he said, ‘Let’s do it together’."

The two friends became business partners in the two-year build, employing the services of shipwright Darley to complete a high-end charter vessel that would be used for bespoke functions on Melbourne’s enclosed waterways.

 

CONSTRUCTION

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The finish inside and out has to be seen to be truly appreciated, with slick varnish throughout the mahogany cabin, a full galley for catering, imported European lighting and an innovative hybrid propulsion system.

Rob Holland of Alternative Power Systems oversaw the installation of an 18kW Yanmar diesel that runs in combination with an 11kW GE electric drive, all using locally-sourced components for ease of servicing. This economical system pushes the stately fantail cruiser along at a respectable 6.5kts where her flat hull creates almost zero wake.

And consider also that this hybrid-drive engine consumes a meagre 3lt/h of diesel – not bad for a displacement weight of 13 tonnes. De Visser said when the vessel was launched in 2010 he believed she was the first in Melbourne to feature diesel-electric propulsion.

Other equipment on board includes Pompanette air-conditioning/heating, a high-volume icemaker, commercial-grade fridge and oven and Corian benchtops.

Birrarung’s expansive 4.46m beam means she can comfortably accommodate 34 guests plus crew and although she’s not currently in survey, it would be a simple matter to have her ready for charter again, given the superb condition of the vessel.

 

THE VERDICT

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The roomy fantail launch would suit use by a company for corporate events or add an interesting point of difference to an existing conference centre. The galley is well set up for catering, so dinner cruises for a restaurant near the water are another possibility.

Alternatively, Birrarung would make an enticing charter business prospect for an enterprising sailor keen to earn a living on the water. The reasonable length means shipping interstate is another option. "Whatever your fantasy is, you can do it with that boat," de Visser said.

After four years though, de Visser and Farr are ready to move on to their next venture and are offering the unique chance to purchase this one-of-a-kind river cruiser via auction in Melbourne.

Birrarung will be auctioned at Savages Wharf in Williamstown on Saturday, August 9. So for those seeking a bespoke vessel to pursue their own crazy boating dream, it would certainly pay to be in attendance.

 

2010 FANTAIL RIVER LAUNCH SPECIFICATIONS

FOR SALE At auction, August 9, 2014

MATERIAL Amoora/pine

TYPE Fantail river launch

LENGTH 15.15m

BEAM 4.46m

FUEL 120lt

WATER 400lt

ENGINE Hybrid: Yanmar 4TNV88 18kW diesel with GE 11kW electric drive

CONTACT Phone Ruurd de Visser on 0407 696 202

AUCTION 11am, August 9, Savages Wharf, Nelson Place, Williamstown, Vic

 

 


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