PS Curlip II was built in Orbost, and is based at Marlo (river mouth) to cruise on Snowy River and Brodribb River. The commissioning, in November 2008, was a major WBA event, with a large fleet gathering for the weekend.
The first survey 'slipping' (2010) was achieved by craning out of the water: expensive. With recent high water, the mouth has been scoured, and the 2012 slipping was at Paynesville. This made PS Curlip II the first Australian paddlesteamer to venture into open sea under steam since PS Weeroona was commandeered for WWII service.
The planned transfer date was 1 June, but the weather was unkind. The boat stayed at Marlo jetty overnight, and had OK conditions next day. It left on the slack of high tide, to have depth over the bar without a ferocious current. At 6 km (10 km/h), it took 6 hours around the coast, and came through the entrance at Lakes Entrance on the slack low tide (this is a dredged entrance, so the depth was OK, and again a ferocious current was avoided).
Over Queens Birthday long weekend, it ran a few short local cruises. There was then a one-way cruise to Paynesville. While at Paynesville, a one-way cruise was made to Bairnsdale on Saturday 1 September for a rowing regatta, with short cruises there, and a one way back on Sunday 2 September. See photos at www.rowingvictoria.asn.au/for-sale/bairnsdale-photos.html.
In the time on the slip, the hull was recaulked. After slipping, three cruises were arranged:
- Saturday, 29 September along Lake Victoria to Sperm Whale Head.
- Sunday 30 September across Lake King and up Nicholson River to Nicholson, for lunch at Retreat Hotel.
- Sunday 7 October one way to Lakes Entrance, lunch at Metung, with a minibus back (bookings 0411 395 903).
The operating committee would have liked to head up Tambo River too, but the boat has commitments back at Marlo.
I went for Sun.30.9, and had plenty of time margin to see why WBA has a Gippsland branch. All I could do was photograph a selection, with boats at several marina berths, and up canals, and several photos of the replica Caravel Notorious, which is also at a berth in Paynesville at present.
The cruise left at 10.45 (late passengers), took an hour over Lake King to the Tambo mouth, then up the channel to the Nicholson mouth, then up the river to dock at 12.30. This is another haven for wooden boats. After a comfortable lunch break, the return left at 14.05, and was back at Paynesville at 15.55.
Curlip's hull is blue gum, with steel & marine ply bulkheads; handrails and fittings are local mahogany.
Length 19.5 m; beam 5.5 m; draft 1 m.
The boiler was purpose built, and can supply steam at the rate of 300 kW. This drives a two-cylinder engine.
For more information about PS Curlip II, see www.paddlesteamercurlip.com.au, also a more-elaborate report at www.paddleducks.co.uk/smf/index.php?topic=2404 and www.paddleducks.co.uk/smf/index.php?topic=3459.