Friday August 14th 2020
We organised a visit to the Tuckton River for a Ferry trip and BBQ.
The “Headland” boats, were built in1934 in Elkins Boat yard, which still exists in Christchurch. They were designed specifically for Christchurch Harbour conditions.
The water in the harbour can be very shallow at low tide therefore a very shallow draft was necessary. These boats only draw 18 inches fully laden. In order to avoid a propeller protruding beneath the boat, a tunnel system was devised whereby the propeller is located within the tunnel, drawing the water up, through the tunnel inside the boat and pushing it out at the stern.
These ferries have maintained this service across Christchurch Harbour every year since their construction, except during the war, when they were commandeered by the Navy. There are many stories about their exploits. After the war they were returned to service in Christchurch, although only one retained the original varnished hull.
These boats have been carefully maintained in as original condition as possible given the need to conform to regulations covering passenger vessels.
The weather held out - not too hot, and avoiding the recent downpours. The hour-long river trip was fascinating, with much to see and enjoy, and a tasty and rewarding barbeque followed, much appreciated by all.
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