Amazing Grace - Huon pine ketch


11th November 2016
Article Publisher

Amazing Grace is owned by Gary and Julie Plumley and is a classic Huon Pine wooden ketch that was built to compete in the first Sydney to Suva Race 1978/79 where she won the cruising division.

Her first owner & skipper was a lady named Wilma Coller (RBYC) who also sailed her with a majority female crew in a total of 14 Melbourne to Hobart Races. She competed in all the early Sydney Suva races, Vanuatu to Port Vila races and the Bi Centenary Tall Ships Race, she has cruised the Pacific many times and circumnavigated Australia twice. 

Amazing Grace was purposely designed and built of Huon Pine by boat builders Pompei Bothers of Mordialloc in design collaboration with Lacco Brothers, as a bulletproof, comfortable, seaworthy vessel for extended cruising and racing.

Wilma’s design brief was for a crew of 8 to be served hot meals and have hot showers each day on board for a minimum 14 day sailing voyage. 

Amazing Grace has recently returned to Melbourne and my ownership in 2009, after many years in North Queensland, following the passing of the original owner. Julie and I are her second owner / custodians.

Her hull is 43 ft long, 15 ft 10 in beam, 6ft draft. her overall length is now 49 ft with new transom board, davits for the 10 ft Joel White, custom Nutshell Pram dinghy and solar panels installation.

Other construction timbers are Mahogany for cabin sides, Celery top pine for cabin tops and bulkheads, Spotted gum for deck beams and an Iron bark keel. 

She has 7 tons of lead in her keel and weighs 26.5 tons empty. She tips the scales at over 30 tons with water and diesel on board.

Her Ketch rigged masts and booms are constructed from Oregon. Her rigging is galvanised apart from the four stainless forestays that now carry external sail furling designed by me, for single or short handed sailing by one or two crew. 

Wilma’s design vision was complete with 2600 litres of water and 2600 litres of diesel to power the original 135 horsepower Mercedes OM352 diesel.

She has a cruising range of more than 2500 nautical miles, that’s if we don’t put up the sails. 

Amazing Grace is currently being refitted with a 300hp John Deere 6086 Turbo Diesel.

I am very lucky indeed to have received the original photo albums, design and construction plans and nearly 30 years of documented receipts for works and maintenance. 

Julie and Gary Plumley have cruised Bass Strait around Tasmania, the East Coast and both Western Port and Port Phillip Bays. She has been our home, as we have lived aboard for nearly 7 years and will be moving Amazing Grace to the Gippsland Lakes at Lakes Entrance, where she now has a permanent berth.


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