Lorelei History

From Launching to Present Day...

The dream of building Lorelei started with this man pictured below, Rolfe and his wife Kathy.

Rolfe was born in Germany (Hence the boat’s name Lorelei, taken from the famous “Rocks Of Lorelei” on the Rhine River in Germany) but moved to Australia in his early 20’s. He wanted to build his own boat and having a metal working trade, the obvious choice was for a steel boat.
He eventually settled on the Roberts 531 design.
Living in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney, he found space in a yard at Taren Point and began construction.
Rolfe did most of the work while Kathy drove from one end of town to the other sourcing supplies to get the job done. It was a real team effort.

Unlike many home builders who take the easy way out and build steel multi-chine boats, Rolfe built his own rolling machine and he and Kathy rolled the steel plates themselves to create a fine round bilge hull.

One of the most stressful parts of the build was having a crane flip the hull over so it was right way up.

Rolfe then built a shed to house Lorelei and begin construction on the deck and interior.

Once the plating was all done, Lorelei was then sandblasted primed and painted.

Once the hull was nearly completed the mast and fittings started being delivered.

Once completed, Lorelei was hand winched slowly out of the shed and into the clear so she could be loaded onto the back of a prime-mover.

This sight would have given the people in the cars below something to look at. Normally Lorelei goes under bridges, not over them!

Launch Day at Port Hacking, Sutherland Shire, Southern Sydney 1985.

For over 20 years Rolfe and Kathy sailed Lorelei on Australia’s East Coast between Sydney, NSW and Lizard Island in Far North QLD.
At the time she was very well known in cruising circles around that region.

In March 2006 we purchased Lorelei off Rolfe and Kathy. At the time she was located on the Sunshine Coast in Southern QLD.

This is what Lorelei looked like the day we brought her.

Lorelei in Cairns, North QLD
One week after we purchased her, we sailed her non-stop from Mooloolaba to Cairns right thru the back of Tropical Cyclone Waitai in a blistering time of 6 days. We had never sailed a ketch or a monohull over 45ft before up until that point. Take about being thrown in the deep end….

In Cairns (our home at the time) we set about giving Lorelei a major facelift both inside and out. We employed local semi-retired Stainless Steel legend Digger Allen to completely re-build the aft section with new davits, scuba, fuel and gas bottle racks, new doors, dive platform, etc…

Paul worked week on/week off as the Trip Director on the live-aboard dive boat Spirit of Freedom during this time.
It was great for him to have a whole week off to break out the tools and get stuck into the refit. It took him over 2 years to complete the major work.

We also took Lorelei up to Port Douglas where Paul had 6 weeks off work and we completed the biggest job to date, a complete masts and rig removal, rebuild and replacement. The masts, spreaders and booms were stripped, sandblasted, repainted and re-assembled with mostly new parts and fittings.
All standing & running rigging and electricals were replaced as well as the 2 headsail furlers with Profurls.
All blocks, tracks, cars, jammers, vangs, etc… where replaced with the Swedish Rutgersen brand.
Winches were all replaced with The Australian Arco brand.

After our work stint in Cairns was finished we moved to Brisbane.
On the way south we stopped in at The Whitsunday’s and had new sails made by Doyles.

Our multihull background showing through with our new
high roached Mainsail and below with the new Assym. Kite.

Lorelei in Brisbane
Once in Brisbane, Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron became Lorelei’s home for a few years as we lived on board and worked hard saving money to go cruising and spend more $$$ on Lorelei. On the weekends we explored Moreton Bay (See more in the Moreton Bay section.)

Lorelei as she looked in 2009 in Moreton Bay

In Brisbane we added more things including a larger deep-V RIB with long shaft 30HP Mercury, a Bauer scuba compressor, new canopy, internal fixtures, 140lph desalinator and a full set of new Graphics depicting “Lorelei” a hand drawn picture from our friend Kate in Cairns.

Our First Rivergate Slipping In Brisbane

This just gives you an idea of Lorelei's out-of water size.
Look at the height of the dinghy above Lisa (and she is over 6ft tall)

Our new 4m (13ft) RIB and 30hp Long shaft Mercury Outboard

The new canopy with new technology Polycarbonate Clears.
The photos show the flyscreens aft instead of the Polycarbonate panels.
There is a fly screen, polycarbonate and solid section for every panel and its easy to mix and match depending on the conditions and location.

Lorelei’s Repowering

We left to go full time cruising in October 2011.
After a 7 month shakedown cruise we decided to replace Lorelei’s main engine during Easter in 2012 at Rivergate Marina in Brisbane. It was a big job and we tackled many other small projects at the same time. It was to be a 6 week endurance test!

Our new 4045 John Deere 150Hp Turbo Charged 4 cylinder Diesel.

Out with the old…..

And in with the new….

David (our world-wide email support marine engineer and good friend) with the new 4 blade folding Vari-Prop.

Cruising with Rolfe and Kathy

One of the big highlights of the shakedown cruise was to link up with Rolfe and Kathy in their new boat “Patriot” a fibreglass Catalina 42. It is a beautiful boat, more modern, less upkeep, smaller and more manageable than Lorelei which suited their needs perfectly.
It was just awesome to have Lorelei and Patriot sail side by side as we cruised together for a few weeks between Cairns and Townsville.

The day we left Rolfe and Kathy we went over and quietly placed a
"Tender to Lorelei" sticker on Patriot's transom.
We received a very funny phone call from them a few days later when they discovered it....

The Philippines Refit

In August 2014 we arrived at Oceanview Marina on Samal Island, Davao City, Mindanao, The Philippines.

We Stopped and did and an 8 week refit on Lorelei which included an entire re-varnish inside Lorelei and repainting some walls and ceilings.
We also had all the internal seats re-upholstered and new curtains made.

The painting staff at Oceanview marina

Below are a series of shots during the re-varnish

The Toilet Room also had a complete make-over with new linen cupboards.

The laundry Shower area floor was also strengthened, re-fibreglassed, painted and gripped.

We had new shelves put into our master bedroom and laundry as well.

On the exterior we did a full rust treatment and complete stainless steel polish from bow to stern.

After attempting to slip Lorelei at the Marina, we had to abort due to her larger size so instead we were able to haulout on the large ferry slipway on the other side of Samal Island.
With the cheap labour cost, we were able to have the hull completely sanded back, re-primed and antifouled.

During the time at Oceanview we also did lots of periodic and preventative maintenance and had some new stainless fittings made for the boom universal, boom bales and new cleats.

Doing a rig inspection from up the mast

All in all the 8 week refit was a very positive one and went very smoothly considering it was Lorelei's first ever slipping and interior work outside Australia.

Future work

  Our next stop to do more work will be in April 2016 in Darwin where we will haul out, antifoul and do a rust removal on the deck areas.

Don’t be fooled – On a boat, the work, the maintenance and continual pouring in of $$$$$ just never stops…. the amount depends on the level at which you want to maintain.

Don and Nancy, close cruising friends in Brisbane once told us:
“The key to a successful cruiser is one who has a good maintenance program.”

It always stuck in our heads and they were so right……

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