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On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 12:38 AM, Norman Souter-Smith wrote:

G’day Mori, It was a very hard decision but yes, Beryl and I have found a home for Oimara. A father and son shipwright team have taken her over with another who owns a slipway in Townsville. She is to be fully restored as she needs a lot of work. The ribs being steam bent were falling apart and the deck also required new deck beams. My greatest fear was that I would find her rotting in the mangroves a couple of years after selling her. (truth is I would have preferred to break her up rather than risk that happening. Anyway the new owners are competent and excited about the restoration, especially the wife of the father of the team and that has got to be a good sign.


Norm Souter-Smith recently contacted the Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats to find a good home for his very historic yacht Oimara.

Norm wrote:

"It is with a lot of sadness that my wife Beryl and I have come to the decision that Oimara should be passed to a younger person or organization with the enthusiasm and enterprise to restore her to her former glory".

Oimara needs a new home

Australian Shipping Registration.          153931         Sail No.    S9

OIMARA is on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels

 OIMARA.   Built 1903 by E. A. (Ned) Jack, Launceston, TASMANIA
A gaff-rigged ketch, Oimara was prominent in Australian waters as an ocean racing yacht from the 1920’s to the 40’s.   Raced by the Bennell family she re-introduced the Bass Strait races (winning in1929, ’34, and 37) and founded the trans-Tasman races (1931).   The Bennell’s, prominent Melbourne dentists, mounted a dentist’s chair in the main cabin just aft of the main mast and sailed around Bass Strait during the ‘30’s pulling teeth.   In this way they were able to keep their yacht during those difficult times.   Each Xmas, the yachts in the Portsea to Devonport race still compete for the “Bennell Cup”.

Oimara is now 107 years old and has reached the stage where she requires a certain amount of work to return her to her former glory.   Outside she looks great but some of her ribs and deck beams require replacing.

This is an historic vessel worthy of restoration and maintaining due to the wonderful part it played in developing ocean racing in Australia and New Zealand.   A list of some books detailing her exploits follows.

Published 1936 by J Walch & Sons Pty Ltd HOBART TASMANIA

THE VOYAGE OF THE TEDDY       Erling Tambs

BEFORE THE WIND     A new Zealand Yachting Anthology.   ISBN 0 589 0110605
            Published 1979

YACHTING AUSTRALIA    Lou d’Alpuget    ISBN 0 09 137360 3 Published 1980

THE LONG HARD BEAT           A history of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron
            Published 1990      ISBN 0646 01210 X

            Published 1985     ISBN 0 688 05822 1

BASS STRAIT KETCHES   Harold Salter   ISBN 0 7246 2560 7 Published 1991

Contact owner.            Norm Souter-Smith
                                    P. O. Box 1123
                                    TOWNSVILLE               QLD.    4810
                                    Ph.  07    4721 3545           Mob.  0412 023 750


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