Bruce and Leone, hailing originally from New Zealand, have always owned boats. Ski boats, jet boats, launches, day boats: that kind of thing. As a fly-in/fly-out sparky, Bruce had spent time working all over Australia and they both decided to ditch the big house and find a boat to live and cruise on between jobs. The trouble was Bruce wanted the consistency and speed of a monohull and Leone wanted the stability of a multihull. It could have been the end of a beautiful dream until, by chance, they found SV Wishbone in Airlie Beach. During a recent yard period at GCCM, they told us the boat’s story.
You would be hard-pressed to find a boat like Wishbone anywhere in the world. She is a one of kind……literally. The result of an Australian Government grant to Chris Mashford to reinvigorate the Australian boat building, she was constructed from Kevlar and foam to be very strong for her weight: 9.9 tonnes. She wasn’t cheap to build – the final build price was AUD$1.2 million – and so the venture never took off and she was the first and last of the design.
And what a design it is. She is a monohull at the bow and a multihull at the stern. Wishbone sails with the stability of a catamaran but has the constant speed of a monohull. It is a very comfortable cruise. The stern is full of room like a catamaran, yet she fits inside a standard berth. Her retractable keel means she can get Bruce and Leone into shallow bays and the canard board means she can sail much closer into the wind than a traditional multihull. It was the perfect compromise.
Eight years later, Bruce and Leone are still loving living onboard with a work | life balance to be envied. They have cruised up to the Cape and up and down the eastern seaboard. When the time came to lift her out for annual maintenance, Bruce returned to GCCM. He has been once before with a friend and was impressed with the lifting team.
And the shipyard team did not disappoint. “Travis, the yard manager, helped us tie up when we arrived and shouted us a free coffee. Then Wishbone was lifted on the 300 tonne machine with Kyle leading the team. He is an unbelievable young man. So good at what he does. Kimberley, in the office, was great helping us with the courtesy cars. I can’t think of a better place to the boat taken out,” explained Bruce.
Four days on the hardstand and Wishbone was looking like new with a fresh coat of antifoul and a polish. She was certainly turning heads. Even a local yacht broker came down to have a look. Bruce and Leone will be staying on the Gold Coast for the time being before deciding whether to head back to New Zealand to see family and friends or head north for cruising.
“Over the 20 years we have been operating, we would have lifted over 500,000 boats. You would think we have seen it all but then a boat like Wishbone comes along just to prove we lift boats of every conceivable shape and size,” said Kevin Altera, General Manager of Business Development and Operations.