GEE CRAFT HISTORY
As told by TRYG Henrisksen
I became aware of the Gee Craft 19’6” design in early 1950 when I was a member of the Henley Beach Sailing Club. At that time the club was in need of a rescue/service boat. The Largs Bay Sailing Club had purchased a clinker built wooden boat designed and built by Mr Fred Greeves. He had his boat manufacturing yard on Goodwood Road Adelaide. As I had some experience in small boats generally I was involved in approaching Mr Greeves and consequently ordered an inboard version of the Gee Craft. Some years later when I moved back to Tumby Bay, I was involved in establishing the Tumby Bay Yacht Club and was requested to obtain a rescue boat. I went back to Mr Greeves who supplied the new boat the same inboard version as Largs Bay and Henley.
This wooden clinker built hull is one of the best sea going small boats built because of the beautiful flared bow and strong clinker style planking that flattens out to an easily driven hull. Because of the modern proven design being in demand and the advent of fibreglass, Mr Greeves decided to have the hulls built of G.R.P. (Glassed Reinforced Polyester Plastic). All hulls built from that time have been built to Marine survey requirements which relates to their longevity. The majority of the earlier built hulls were of the G.R.P. with hand made wooden decks. Soon Mr. Greeves had deck moulds made to improve manufacture and pricing. There are now two deck moulds available – one a half cabin (Colorado) and the other becoming popular quarter cabin (Sportsman or Professional). Moulds are also available for single or twin outboard wells – three different engine housings – twin bunks – tunnel hull adaption – closed rear – hatch covers etc.
Many hulls have now been produced and the G.R.P. GEE CRAFT are now being used at numerous yacht clubs (Brighton two). Several hundred hulls have been produced as pleasure craft and since I purchased the moulds some thirty years ago I have sold many interstate and the State Government Fisheries have purchased three.
Because of the sea kindly hull shape these boats have proved to be excellent sea boats and the large working deck area and stable, little rolling motion have kept them at the forefront of the modern boats.
The hulls can be produced as shaft drive inboards (Tunnel Hull or Traditional Keel adaptation) – Inboard/Outboard with motors of around 140HP. (One Melbourne buyer had a 230 H.P. V8 fitted!!) – and single or twin outboards 100/150 HP. which give a top speed of up to 45-50 Knots. At cruising speed of 25 Knots, because of the easily driven hull, economy is outstanding.