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Derwent Hunter

After 30 years ownership of the vessel, the current owners have decided it's time for her to retire from her current role working commercially in the Whitsundays running eco tours to the Great Barrier Reef. Derwent Hunter the legend is looking for someone to steer her into new adventures. After such an interesting history so far, she still has so much more to offer her future owners. It would be the ideal time in her life to refit her as a world cruising yacht at the Wooden Boat Shop. Imagine sailing around the world in this magnificent boat! Derwent Hunter is not just a boat; she has a story to tell. 

Derwent Hunter's blue water credentials are second to none, built as a fast fishing ketch by Walter Wilson, a second generation shipwright from the famous Wilson Brothers Shipwrights of Port Cygnet, south of Tasmania and was his last vessel. She was built of Blue Gum, Tasmanian Oak, Celery Top Pine and Huon Pine which grew within sight of the Wilsons slip yard, by the waters edge at Gardner Bay. These timbers are regarded as some of the best ship building timbers in the world, and were cut and dragged by bullock train to the slipway. She was the pride of the Hobart waterfront, re rigged for ocean going work by the CSIRO as a pole masted topsail schooner which served her better as a deep water working rig. Her design and construction have stood the test of time, in some of the harshest oceans on the planet, as many a tale has testified through her 12 years work as a Fishing Research Vessel, which was a small part of her ongoing career which stretched from subarctic waters to the tropics. She has even starred in a television series!

We are currently taking expressions of interest for this beautiful vessel.


Length over all:   90 ft
Length on deck:   74 ft
Beam:   19 ft
Draft:   9 ft
Rig:   Gaff Rigged Topsail Schooner
Working sail:   2,400 square feet



The Derwent Hunter is currently owned by the Ladd family and is working commercially in the Whitsundays running eco tours to the Great Barrier Reef. After 30 years of ownership, it is time for her to retire from her current work and for the Derwent Hunter to have her next adventure.

Warren Ladd has enjoyed his time with Derwent Hunter, "One look at the Derwent Hunter and she promised adventure, add a lust for life and 30 years later, shes delivered in full" - Warren Ladd

Warren hopes to see the Derwent Hunter start an exciting new chapter in her intersting life. "Throughout her 74 years she has delivered whatever is asked of her from sailing sub arctic waters to cruising the tropics. A life in film, marine research, tourism & fishing, shes done it all. The Derwent Hunter has endeared herself to those that have owned and served aboard her to keep the dream alive" - Warren Ladd

Derwent Hunter was hand crafted in 1946 out of Tasmanian Oak and Huon Pine by one of Tasmania’s most well-respected shipwrights and is spaciously appointed and breathtaking to behold. The “Hunter” is a true performer, leaving many modern vessels in her wake. Feel the thrill of sailing at speed with all sails aloft towards your next island paradise.

Derwent Hunter spent an exciting chapter working as a research vessel for the CSIRO from 1950 until 1962. During this time, Derwent Hunter carried out research in the Southern Ocean, Bass Strait, and Tasman Sea. Whilst working for the CSIRO, she lost her rudder twice at sea and successfully piloted safely in to port unaided under sail, showing her seaworthiness.

In 1969, she was chosen to star in television series, "The Rovers", as "Pacific Lady". 39 episodes of the series were made.

To read more about the history of Derwent Hunter, visit

Contact: Wooden Boat Shop

Phone: (03) 5984 4333