S.L. Witch of Endor

Owned by Peter Cowie of Sydney


26 feet long with a 7 foot beam. The hull was designed by the owner in conjunction with David Payne. Lines taken from a half model  were translated into building plans by David. Construction of the hull commenced in October 2004 by Phil Heaney of Toronto, New South Wales. Construction is strip plank composite in Surian with Kauri laminated frames.  Teak margin boards, king planks, White Beech deck. Australian cedar interior

She was launched on 10th December 2005. She is berthed at Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River and is used throughout the year.


Elliot Bay Steam Launch Co. Triple expansion engine 2 3/4 +4 3/8 + 6 1/2 x 4" built by the owner


The boiler is a John Davis keyhole design built by John with a horizontal drum lagged in Australian cedar with brass bands. The boiler is 50 kW and approximately two square meters of heated surface area. Fired by wood or coal. Operating pressure 185psi.
Propeller 20 x 36" Bronze RH from Elliot Bay Steam Launch Co.


Inboard surface condenser. 2 x 6" lengths of 1 1/2" copper tube inside 2" copper tube
Steam Siren Click here to hear the Witch's steam Siren (You will need QuickTime to hear the sound file)
At the RMYC Timber Boat Festival 2013 Click here to see the 'Witch featured on the promotional video
Heading Upstream Click here to hear the see a video of the 'Witch heading up the Hawkesbury River
Heading into Sydney Harbour 12th March 2016 Click here to hear the see a video of the 'Witch entering Sydney Harbour on March 12 2016 after steaming outside down the coast from Brooklyn

Click on these thumbnails for a larger view

The half model from which the lines were taken

The completed engine

The engine under steam for the first time in November 2003

The building plans

The hull frames take shape in the Phil Heany's Alkira Boatshed and hour's drive north of Sydney

Oscar stands inside the laminated stern frame

The finished boiler lagged in Australian Cedar

The frames set up on the building frame. The keel is being fitted prior to lamination. 20th Jan 2005

The frames have been faired and planking has commenced

Turning the hull 12/4/05 (you can't see the other 4 blokes helping!)

The hull at 21/4/05

The aft deck beams

Fore Deck beams

Hull showing mock-up engine and boiler

The engine on the Dynamometer 28/4/05. 7.2BHP @ 300rpm, 160psi, 21" Vacuum, 54psi IP, 11psi LP

Mockups of the engine and boiler

The canopy set up temporarily to measure headroom, the deck is progressing 14 June 2005

The deck is ready for caulking 22 july 2005

The engine has been lifted in. A drip tray is being manufactured then the ngine will be permanently secured 28 July 2005

The sole is being fitted 6 August 2005

The condensers beneath the floor: a plumbing nightmare!

The canopy erected on temporary posts ready for the brass staunchions to be fitted

A view forward of the main steering station. Another wheel will be fitted on the coaming forward on the port side

The accomodation

Foredeck and fittings

The gauge board is placed so that it is visible from the driving position

Looking aft shows plenty of seating

The gauge board and detail of the Australian Cedar seating trim

Launch day 10th December 2005

Returning after her second trip out on Lake Macquarie

Manouevering the engine

On the way to Berowra Waters

On the way up Mooney Creek

And from the stern

Returning down Mooney Creek in the Rain as the sun sets