When?: Departs on the hour from 10am.
Where?: From the Short Finger Jetty on the town side of the Ferry Terminal.
Roger Frazer: Skipper of the Duke Of Marlborough, Picton New Zealand who lovingly refitted this lovely steam ship.
The Queen Charlotte Steam Ship Company offers Picton Harbour Tours on the beautiful steam powered ship, the Duke of Marlborough giving the Picton visitor a taste of the Marlborough Sounds and the peace of a bygone era.
The 36’ steam vessel, the Duke of Marlborough was built in 1987 by Gordon Clark and Brian Starrock in New Plymouth and shipped to Rotorua for completion by Lloyd Lewis. The design is by Bruce Askew of Wellington and it follows the style of the early 1900 steam boats. The boat is now owned and operated by the Queen Charlotte Steam Ship Company here in Picton, having been lovingly refitted by Roger Frazer of Whatamongo Bay.
For the last year Roger has devoted his time to this labour of love. He has spent his entire working life on board various commercial vessels, including large steam ships.
“I first went to sea in 1961 and during my career I worked for the Union Steam Ship Company. Seeing how the steam ships worked fascinated me and I always dreamt of having my own steam boat,” he said. He has vast knowledge of steam ships and is a qualified marine engineer having completed an apprenticeship early on in his career.
In its previous life the Duke was based in Tarawera running fishing tours and charter cruises under the name James Torrey. The boiler of the boat was built by Langley Engineering in the U.K and is lagged in polished wood, brass bound, with an exquisite polished brass curved top surface. It is a vertical fire-tube type, 34 inches high by 30 inches diameter over lagging, has 3.4 square feet of grate area and has 84 square feet of heating surface.
The engine looks very handsome in medium grey and the cylinders are also lagged in polished wood. It also is of English origin having been designed by A.A. Leake. It is a traditional open compound, 4 1/4” by 7 1/2 by 4” stroke, driving a 28” by 42” propellor. A piston valve is fitted to the high pressure cylinder and a balanced slide valve on the low pressure one. It has cross-head driven twin feed pumps and air pump. Exhaust is through a feed-water heater to a keel condenser. It has been designed to carry fifteen passengers. The entire interior oozes old world charm and makes a great setting for cruising through the Sounds. The boat moves at a speed of six knots and is fueled by coal with the engineering in full view inside.
When asked if he planned to take the boat touring anywhere else, Roger replied, “We have the world’s best scenery right here. Why would we go anywhere else?”
There is nothing similar out on the water in Picton at present. The Duke of Marlborough steam boat will add a unique feature to our waterfront, berthed at jetty three at the ferry terminal.
“I’ve given the Duke a complete overhaul and clean out, so much so, you could eat your dinner out of the bilges!” Roger added.
Vee has had a mixed bag of careers, mostly concerned with animals. Her most recent career is being addicted to her computer.
She might occasionally be seen shoveling coal on the Duke of Marlborough.. but mostly she just likes to stay at home and be company for our 4 little dogs.
Take a steam powered ship tour around Picton Harbour on the beautiful Duke of Marlborough and tell your friends........