Graeme Broxam’s little Clara, is a stunning historical vessel built in 1892. Clara was built for William Davidson Peacock, a Hobart food processor and pioneer of the direct export to Europe of fruit, and he owned her till his death in 1921.
Clara was lengthened to 28ft on the waterline at Charles Lucas’ Battery Point slip in 1908, to make her more competitive in Hobart’s cruiser class races. After her rig was enlarged sometime later she won many races.
In 1915 Clara was converted to an auxiliary motor launch. A low enclosed cabin over the forward half of the cockpit was soon fitted, but a reduced sailing rig was retained throughout her career. At some stage the centreboard was removed and a heavy false keel added to maintain stability.
WD Peacock died in 1921 and Clara was sold as an auxiliary yacht with a 12 hp motor in 1922. Details of owners for the next 20 years have not been confirmed. At the close of the Second World War Clara was owned by a returned serviceman Mr Clapstick, who sold it to JD ‘Dick’ Lucas in 1948. His son Jim later became owner, and kept Clara in the family until 1979.
Douglas Hornsby then bought Clara and it became part of the Vintage Boat Club of Tasmania. Michael Johnson bought Clara from Hornsby in 2002. The current owner, Graeme Broxam acquired Clara in 2010. She has had a Wolverine and two 28-32 hp Morris Navigator petrol engines installed during its different periods of ownership, but the original engine is unknown.
Early images show that a semi-enclosed wheelhouse was added to the cabin prior to 1938, just clearing the boom from the small mainsail it carried. This curious and perhaps awkward configuration was retained till 2012. In 2010 the current owner commissioned a significant restoration at the Wooden Boat Centre, in Franklin.
Clara has been restored to her c1910 configuration with a new 20 hp 3-cylinder Yanmar diesel. Work included splining the hull, some re-ribbing and new structural members including a blue gum false keel, and substantial refastening. At least 75% of the structure as existed in 1908 has been retained. Clara has a batten seam carvel built hull, with the top plank overlapping in clinker style. Most of the Kauri carvel planking dates from 1892 and 1908, the clinker top plank being replaced with celery top pine and new decks in plywood in the 2012-15 refit. Clara is fitted with a pivoting centreboard and internal ballast, and sailed as a half-decked, semi-open boat with a low forward cabin roof designed to be removable.
Clara can be seen throughout the year in at Prince Of Wales Bay Marina, and during the AWBF 2023 she will be on display in Kings Pier.