Warana


The motor cruiser Warana was designed by Alan Buchanan for Sir Kirby Laing. The client wanted a motor yacht with god sea keeping ability, capable of extended cruising in fairly open water. The accommodation was to consist of a stateroom aft with plenty of hanging space, a lavatory and shower, one single cabin, one double cabin, a large wheelhouse with inside and outside steering positions, a carefully planned and adequate galley, and a two-berth stateroom foreward. Buchanan commented (Yachting World, June 1964),

Of all the motor yachts I have designed in the last few years I must admit that I have really enjoyed producing the design for Warana. She has been built to a first-class specification with an extensive inventory of modern equipment, including radio-telephone and all the other accessories which one comes to expect in a motor yacht these days.

Warana was built in Burnham-on-Crouch by Stebbings and launched from Bradwell-on-Sea in March 1964. She had a LOA of 46 ft, LWL of 40.75 ft, a beam of 12.5 ft, and a draught of 4.25 ft. She had two Parsons Barracuda engines, each producing 86 bhp. She was built with a mizzen and could carry 80 sq.ft. of sail. This could help to dampen the rolling motion of the yacht when at sea, and could also be used, with the boom swung out, as a derrick to recover the tender.

The rather complicated launch was reported in the Burnham and Maldon Standard, March 10, 1964,

BURNHAM-BUILT £20,000 YACHT WARANA IS LAUNCHED – BUT WHAT A PERFORMANCE!

The £20,000 yacht Warana, bound for a launching ceremony at Bradwell, blocked Chapel Road, Burnham, all Friday afternoon. The roof of Messrs. Stebbings’ boat shed, where the vessel had been built, had to be removed so that she could be brought out, and part of two walls were demolished to enable the yacht to be manouvered past a row of cottages along a narrow road.

The Warana, nearly 50 ft. long, was due to go into the water at Bradwell, but the operation of getting her from the building shed at Burnham to the slipway and into the Bradwell Creek, which started on Thursday, did not finish until Monday!

A combination of setbacks forced several changes in the plan to get the giant boat afloat. The Warana is the largest craft ever handled by Messrs. Stebbings (Burnham) yard. Everything went well on Friday morning, when specialists from Kingston moved in and soon had the boat in a cradle. She was then lowered and drawn out of the shed on ‘skates’ and placed on a trolley with swivelling wheels in the yard. It was then that the first change in plan was made. The boat could not be taken up Chapel Road into Western Road and out of Burnham via Crouch Road because measurements showed they would run into trouble with overhead high-tension cables which could not be moved. The alternative route down Chapel Road made the ticklish problem of turning into the road even more difficult.

ONLY INCHES TO SPARE. The operation started at 1.30pm and was only an inch and a half away from success at the first attempt! But in the way were the solid cottages of Burnham Terrace built in 1832. The bow of the giant diesel yacht was only inches away from the bedroom windows as four men of the haulage firm, aided by a dozen from the boat-builders, attempted to ease her through. The great turquoise and white hull of the Warana was broadside across the road for the next 90 minutes as more of the yard wall was demolished and preparations for a push-and-shove operation got under way.

PUSH AND PULL! Two haulage wagons were brought up into the action and with a system of pushing and pulling the castors were eventually shifted into the position so that the boat could be towed into the road clear of the cottages and the wall. The 18-ton load was finally edged into the middle of the road at 4pm and then began the arduous task of jacking the vessel up to a height of of three and half feet. Clicker-jacks were used, working at one end at a time until the boat was raised to required level and the low-loader moved into position underneath the cradle. The jacking operation had taken three hours and it was dark as the lorry moved down Chapel Road, and the Warana was taken along the High Street where she was parked outside Barclays Bank for the night. The Warana was taken to Bradwell via Latchingdon and the two-hour journey went smoothly without a hitch.

LAUNCHING POSTPONED But due to the weather conditions the launching ceremony was postponed and because of the strong wind the Warana was not offloaded until Sunday afternoon. The delay prevented an official launching ceremony and the yacht did not go afloat until Monday at mid-day, after which she sailed back to Burnham. Mr. D. Hackett, of Messrs. Stebbings (Burnham), who built the Warana for Mr. W. Kirby Laing, the contractor, said the operation of getting the yacht to Bradwell went very smoothly and this to a great extent was due to the cooperation the firm had got from a variety of people concerned. Particularly, Mr. Hackett mentioned the Electricity Board, the G.P.O. Telephones, the Police and the people in Chapel Road. Paying tribute to the people living in the cottages near the heaving operations, Mr. Hackett said they had been most understanding about the inconvenience caused to them. One frontager had drawn the curtains and switched on a powerful standard lamp to give more light to the men while hey were working in semi-darkness.

Warana underwent a conversion by A. Koytsoyiannaki Ltd. of Larnaca, Cyprus. The photos show that the mizzen has been removed and the wheelhouse has been extended aft almost all the way to the stern. This extension is also higher than the original line of the coachroof and has a new flying bridge position on top.

After a period of neglect in Larnaca, money changed hands in 2012 and work was begun to bring Warana back into shape. Unfortunately, it appears the question of ownership and settlement of unpaid marina bills led the marina to auction the boat for scrap to settle the debt, and scrapped she was.

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