To anyone new following along with Souther Coast Charters you may be unaware of the history behind our boat the 'Southern Explorer'.
Today marks 3 years since she was launched in the water from her humble beginnings in a farm shed at Timboon.
The idea for building the boat came after Barry (captain and skipper) decided that his old boat (a catamaran boat that was built for mussel farming) could be improved upon to better cater for the fishing charter business and provide more comfort for the passengers onboard. And from this idea in 2010, the boat grew!
Barry decided that in order to get exactly what he wanted that he would design and build the mono hull boat himself. Countless hours were invested in sitting at the computer and drawings pictures in his CAD program. The final plans were sent off for approval to MSV (Marine Safety Victoria) before any construction could begin. From here, a CNC machine was purchased and the shed cleared out so that the cutting out of the boat could begin. Barry, together with the help of his son William, worked to cut out the various pieces for the boat and bit by bit she was pieced together. William doing most of the welding. The initail construction took place inside the shed with the boat 'upside down' sitting on her deck. Once the main hull and body of the boat was constraucted and welded, the end of the shed was then removed and she was slowly and carefully towed out into the paddock (on a custom built trailer) so that she could be rolled over and sat upright. This was a nervous time but thankfully all went off without a hitch.
From there construction was to another shed, where more welding could take place and the inner structures of the boat built. Once this was done she was moved outside so that the wheelhouse could be built before being lifted off and worked on seperatly. In Autumn of 2014, painting began on the boat. Primer, undercoat and then the final paint color. Afterwards Antifoul was painted on the hull on anything that would be under the water.
Fit out of the main cab was completed and the kitchen and lounge area also fitted out. On August 31st 2014, the task of moving the boat off the farm began with a day long trip down the driveway, trimming trees as they went. From there it was carefully transported to Timboon, before being loaded onto trucks on 1st September. The cab of the boat was transported on a seperate truck to the main hull, and as you can imagine it was quite a process to have it craned and lifted onto the trcusk safely and was a very nervewracking time for all involved.
On the 2nd of Spetember, 2014 the procession to move the boat to Port Fairy began, we drew many onlookers along the way - its not everyday that you see a 60ft boat on the back of a truck. We arrived at the river wharf in Port Fairy around lunchtime where the wheelhouse of the boat was lifted onto the hull and bolted in place, before the entire boat was picked up via crane and placed into the water! And she floated, lol! The 'Southern Explorer' was now at home on the Moyne River in Port Fairy. It was still another 6 months before construction was completed, final fit out took place and sea trials were carried out. The boat was found to be too top heavy so she was taken up the slip in Port Fairy and a heavy keel welded to her underside. Once that was done she passed MSV inspections and we were right to begin operation!
I remember when I would tell people that we were building a boat, no one really quite understood the size of the boat until they saw it! and then they were both shocked by its size and by the achievements of Barry and William.
Our finished 60ft boat is super comfortable with kitchen, lounge/dining area, bunks, shower and toilet. As well as having a gyro stabiliser to help stabilise the boat in the water. A trip on board the 'Southern Explorer' is an expereince not to be missed, and one that can accomodate large groups of people for a days fishing or an overnight charter.