As we approach this century’s ‘20s’, Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard (GCCM) has been delighted to host a motor yacht of last century’s ‘20s’. M/V Blue Goose, launched in 1927, has recently been relaunched after eight months cocooned in one of the facility’s refit sheds. In that time, she completed a much-needed restoration. The motor yacht is now 50 feet and three inches of boat building history rebirthed and worthy of a place in a museum.
Blue Goose started life on the west coast of the United States when Fellows & Stewart launched her from their facility at Pier 206, Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. She was commissioned by E.T. Wall, the then President of the Blue Goose Company of Orange County. The yacht was designed with a narrow beam, light weight for a fast and sleek corporate vessel. Her interior was finished with now-extinct Cuban mahogany and 24 karat gold fittings. She was, by all reports, her designer’s favourite and Fellows kept a model of her on his desk as does the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in their collection.
Subsequently, Blue Goose had three more owners in North America including the American government who utilised her as a coastal patrol vessel during the second World War. She has spent time as a river commuter vessel before falling into disrepair in Canada whereupon the Sydney-based family, the O’Neils, took possession and brought her to Australia. She needed some love which she received initially in Sydney however over time the mahogany superstructure started to degrade in the humid Sydney environment. Eventually the owners decided on a complete rethink embarking on the journey to remove the timber superstructure and convert her into an open day boat perfect for Sydney Harbour.
Having had a long association, Ned O’Neil contacted ‘Black’ Joe Akacich, owner of BlackPond Marine Consultants and GCCM tenant. BlueGoose made her way to the Gold Coast at the beginning of 2018 where Joe amassed a team of marine experts to restore this iconic motor yacht. A team of electricians, engineers, trimmers, shipwrights, cabinet makers and painters completed a staggering 6400 man hours under the project management of BlackPond Marine Consultants.
She emerged from GCCM’s enclosed refit shed in November renewed, refitted and restored. The team had respected her heritage and kept her classic lines whilst producing a thoroughly usable and enjoyable day boat. Great efforts were made to retain the original components but where they needed to be replaced, materials were selected which matched the aesthetic whilst offering the Owners modern reliability.
Sections of her superstructure had to be removed and so were replaced with open decks with ample seating and day beds. As her original timber, Cuban mahogany, is now extinct, teak was used as a replacement timber. Blue Goosewas completely rewired and her onboard systems were replaced with modern materials in simple configurations – not too dissimilar from what would have been found onboard originally.
Aside from the work below decks, the trimming, wood work and exterior fittings were carefully considered. The result is a yacht which is unmistakably 91 years old yet with a new lease on life which will see her become a centenarian and continue to age with grace and beauty. All that was left was for the GCCM shipyard team to carefully and expertly cradle her wooden hull and return her to the water.
“It is a privilege to own a vessel like Blue Goose after finding her rotting in a field in Canada over 10 years ago. Her latest refit was a chance to reinvent the way a boat like Blue Goose can be used. The final product is a boat which is steeped in history but is now the perfect day boat. The entire project team, led by Black Joe, has done an amazing job. I would especially like to thank Glance Phipps from AME for not only his hours of work but the pride and passion he poured into this project.
What started out as the headache nobody wanted to take on has become the darling of GCCM. Joe saw our vision and the group of people he collected that came together are the best in the business. It’s only at GCCM you can even dream of undertaking such a project and the result is the proof in the pudding. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved and we look forward to working with you again on future projects,” stated Owner, Ned O’Neil.
‘Black’ Joe Akacich assures us Blue Goose whispers from her frames and scantlings to him that she is happier now that she has lost a little weight and will have a much slower, restful life.
“It was breathtaking when she was revealed. Blue Goose looks impeccable and credit should be given to her Owners for investing in her restoration and future. We are so proud of our tenants who worked on her and they should be publicly acknowledged as they are professionals as much as they are artists. On behalf of GCCM, well done to AME, BlackPond Marine Consultants, Pacific Trim, South Pacific Marine Group, Timber by Design and Wicked Fabrication for a job very well done!” said GCCM’s CEO, Trenton Gay.
Blue Goose in her new form will ensure this historical vessel will have a long life and be enjoyed by all who see and board her. Now back in Sydney, she is a living museum piece for her Owners and wooden boat enthusiasts to enjoy.