Joshua Peter Clausen, a legend of the South Australian boating industry, meticulously built a boat for himself at his Peterhead shed in 1939 and named it after his eldest granddaughter, Pauline.
This beautiful wedge in our wooden boat history remains very much alive today with Greg and Jannean Weston having bought the boat almost three years ago and formed a treasured frienship with the lady herself – Pauline Clausen.
They say to own a JP Clausen & Sons wooden boat is special, but the Pauline, which for many years was the official vessel for the South Australian Yacht Squadron, is touched with profound sentiment.
Greg and Jannean bought Pauline, a 38ft cruiser, from the Patterson family, who worked at JP Clausen & Sons and have always made Pauline very welcome when visiting from Adelaide.
According to Jannean, it sums up what the wooden boat fraternity is about; fascinating history richly entwined with every craft and the strong friendships that come with them.
Greg and Jannean sold their Apollo Bay home southwestern coast of Victoria almost three years ago and went on what was described to them as a LSD trip for the over-50s – “Look, See & Decide” on a new place to live. They were supposed to tour Australia, but they said they couldn’t get past Goolwa because of the river and the incredibly-rich wooden boat heritage.
Mind you, Greg admitted he hated his father’s Couta boat with its carvel planks and said he would never buy a wooden boat, but when they saw Pauline they fell in love with the boat and the family link, splendor and history that goes with her.
Pauline was launched in Mannum, where Joshua Clausen left it there for years until 1957 when he sold it to members of the Paterson family. They almost sank Pauline taking her out through the Murray Mouth enroute to the SA Yacht Squadron at Port Adelaide.
Greg and Jannean had Pauline trucked back to Goolwa. “We spent almost six months working on her in the work pen and on the slip, painting and basically doing a full restoration,” Greg said. “The interior did not change much, but the exterior has basically had a complete re-fit.”
Jannean said they were extremely careful not to compromise the boat in any way when they added rear outside seating. Pauline did numerous trips to Kangaroo Island, but because she would be mainly used on the Murray River one of the huge fuel tanks was removed and the necessary EPA conversions were made.
The timber work is sensational; Jarrah bottom and sides, Huon pine top sides, Queensland spotted Beech on the decks and Queensland Beech throughout the cabin.
Pauline has a 10 ft beam and 3ft 4 in draft. There are twin 60hp diesel Perkins engines, allowing her to cruise about 6 knots. She has a public address system, a sign from her halcyon days with the squadron.
There was a third engine to run the seemingly excessive refrigeration, and with a wry grin Greg said Pauline was noted for her entertaining. The slide out bar and the google cocktail glasses were a dead giveaway, and occasionally we see traces of a visit by friends who form their Red Rudder Club which visits superb places like the Coorong and Clayton Bay.
Above everything, Greg and Jannean said they have been overwhelmed by the character of Goolwa and its people, and especially the heritage linked with the wooden boats that line the banks and create a cruise through time.
“Perhaps some people who are not involved in wooden boats may just take it for granted what they have down here,” Greg said. “They don’t realise a lot of these boats are getting to the end of their life.
“A lot have needed to become composite craft with fiberglass, and some have replaced the old bottoms of the boats with new materials.”
Jannean said the people who are involved in wooden boats here are extremely passionate. “It is with you forever,” she said.
Pauline won her section for boats over 10 metres at the 2013 South Australian Wooden Boat Festival, and already she is being prepared for the 2015 event in February.