Swiftsure Build – lbt

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Swiftsure Build

Building Swiftsure, 2 was the first project undertaken by the Living Boat Trust Inc, in 1998, before we had a shed to build her in. We had a notion that given that there were a few authentic whaleboats around in Australia , we might organise a “Southern Ocean Challenge, to balance the French /American “Atlantic Challenge idea pioneered by the Apprenticeshop IN Maine USA. Chris Burke was keen on starting with a Tasmanian vessel so we discovered that the only such surviving vessel was Swiftsure, languishing in the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, NZ We contacted the museum, which has detailed records of her history, record catches , and general reputation. They must still have them. She was built  in 1860 by Liardet in Hobart, but went to the Tory channel in 1863. She was retired and donated to the museum in 1915. One of our boatbuilding students, Grant Wilson went over to Christchurch, and did detailed drawings of her thole pins. loggerhead, and special features so we built a pretty accurate replica, starting with some students from Geeveston High school in a temporary shed in what is now the car park of the Wooden Boat Centre. When STEPS bought the school from us they wanted to get rid of the boat, which only had a couple of planks on each side at the time. So we put her on a truck, and managed to find a safe place in the building in Geeveston of what is now the furniture shop opposite Huon FM.

In 2003 we had finished the LBT shed and she came back to Franklin, and we began to continue building where we had left off, under the supervision of a relay of people including Peter Laidlaw, Arnus the Dane from Lune river, Adrian Phillps, another boat school graduate, and I think me, spasmodically, as I was away for a long time in 2003. She was launched at the end of that year.

John Young