Austral Vertue

Buy Now


Design No. 0222

Built for: Bernard (Bernie) Kavanagh
Builder: Bernie & Jim Kavanagh, Newport, Victoria, Australia
Date designed: 1936

Class – Hull Number  Vertue Class No. 59

Principal Design Data

L.O.A: 25’ 3½” ( 7.70 m)
Datum: 21’ 6″ ( 6.55 m)
Beam Max: 7’ 2″ ( 2.18 m)
Draft: 4′ 6″  ( 1.37 m)
Displacement tons: 4.2
T.M.:  4.97 tons
Ballast ratio: 47.1%
Sail Area: 384 sq. ft
Rig: Bermudan slutter



Bernie Kavanagh, a coach builder, built Austral Vertue [the first in Australia] and launched her in January 1958 at Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club, Melbourne. After sailing around the bay for a few years Bernie’s poor health meant he had to sell his masterpiece.  The second owner Noel Waters looked after her admirably until he in turn sold her to Michael (Mick/Mike) McKeon in January 1966. Up until this time Austral Vertue had not left Port Philip Bay to the oceans she was designed and built for.

This was to change and in Mike’s hand she was to undertake many cruises and voyages including the first voyage offshore to Tasmania with 2 mates. She is pictured as she departs Hobson’s Bay setting off for Opua, Bay of Islands, NZ across the Tasman Sea after putting into Sydney.
After some winter cruising Mike settled in Whangarei for a while working as an electrician in Whangarei then for a boat builder back in Opua, making many new friends.

Friends, Margaret and Ron Sharp asked him to navigate their 36’ ketch Wayfarer to Noumea, New Caledonia, returning via Norfolk Island. On return Mike set off for Fiji and beyond; Austral Vertue clocked up 140 miles in the first twenty four hours and the cruise encompassed Fiji, and some of the surrounding islands before heading north to the Tuvalu [Ellice Islands] and thereafter further north to the Kiribati [Gilbert Islands] including Nonouti, Tarawa, Abaiang, and Abemama.

Around the 29th of March 1972 Mike left Abemama intending for Funafuti [Tuvalu], Fiji and on to New Zealand, however this voyage ended prematurely when on the night of April 5/6th while Mike was ashore on the island of Vaitupu [Tuvalu] Austral Vertue dragged her anchor and drifted out to sea. Despite his best efforts to spread the word to shipping and flights in the area she was deemed lost. This of course was devastating for Mike who we respectfully thank for providing us with the information from his memoir ‘Austral Vertue and her voyages’.


We are currently updating the online purchase facility. For those of you who would like to buy copies of the original historical drawings, plan for the construction of scale models, stock plan sets for full size construction, study notes or our brochure please contact us stating which design and items you require. We will do our best to help.

If you want to make your purchase by using PayPal account or credit card, please choose 'PayPal' at the 'Check out'.
We can also take payment by Bank transfer, for further information, please contact us.

Contact Us

Additional Information

Individual Drawing Copies

Please download and print the drawings list for Austral Vertue, Individual plan copies cost $85.00 which includes standard airmail. Please contact us using the link for information on how to order.

Download Drawing List

Study Notes

34 page A4 format colour booklet containing many small scale drawings and photographs as well as technical data and an abridged specifications of Andrillot and the various Vertue types. Construction scantlings of the carvel, strip plank, steel and new aluminium versions are outlined as are the variant deck arrangements, accommodation layouts and rigs.
Included are generic drawing lists for each of the alternative designs and information for clients considering building a new Vertue.

Model Plans

G:Laurent Giles Naval Architects (NZ) LtdProjects�950 – 0999 Austral Vertue

Full set of Stock Building Plans

1363 Construction Plan low res

Full construction drawings are available for the Vertue. There are many options available: a new Vertue can be constructed from the original pre 1938 or post 1945 drawings, or if preferred using strip plank construction or for steel construction. In all cases full lofting (with full size templates for the strip plank version), hull and deck works construction, rigging and outfit drawings will be provided.
Just click on contact us on our home page, send a short message with the title ‘Vertue stock plans’ and we will reply to discus which options are required with each version of the famous and extremely highly regarded ocean cruising yacht.

Poster & Art Prints

Austral Vertue Austral Vertue