History, heart and ideal for charter

The fully-refurbished 82-foot classic timber motor yacht, BALI HAI II, is seeking a new 'Custodian' to cherish this piece of Australian maritime history.

Photography by Leigh-Smith Yachts

24 May 2017


Elegance, the character and charm of yesteryear and unrivalled seagoing ability are the hallmarks of BALI HAI II, the one-of-a-kind 82-foot pilot house motor yacht built in 1964 by the expert boat builders and master craftsmen at Norman R Wright & Sons, Brisbane.

And now, connoisseurs of classic boats have within their reach the chance to own a piece of Australian maritime history, fully-refit and in survey and ready to operate as a charter vessel and earn an income for her new owners.

LEIGH-SMITH YACHTS is proud to be central listing agent for BALI HAI II. Originally built for a discerning client for use as a luxurious, long-range cruising motor yacht, BALI HAI II was a remarkable motor yacht in her era, boasting advanced technical and construction attributes that made her a one-of-a-kind even then.

Bill Wright, third generation at Norman R Wright & Sons was 10 years-old when this custom-built beauty was launched, and says he is proud to see it return over the years under its various owners, or Custodians as is the case of vessels of national significance.


“BALI HAI II is certainly one of the great boats,” he states. “Even in 1964, there was nothing like her. She was fitted with technology never seen before on privately owned cruising motor yachts, such as radar, large radios, depth sounder, autopilot, and higher than usual horsepower engines built by Gardner.”

The interiors were equally lavish. For entertainment at sea, there was a piano. Each of the five cabins and the saloon are characterised by hand-hewn varnished Golden-Oak joinery, with a massive covered aft deck with seating for 12 and sufficient space for 25 people, and a myriad of features evident and many more, unseen.

Her new owner can expect thoroughly documented detail of every facet of additions and upgrades, all in keeping with her original styling, maintaining the atmosphere of this impeccable wooden boat.

“The most recent refit, in 2010, was a complete re-engineering of the boat,” says Bill, emphasising that the refit was significantly more than a mere facelift on the old girl.

“Over 18 months, from hull to flybridge, we applied our skills to completely upgrade her. The engines were rebuilt, the electronics were replaced completely with an integrated Furuno system. She is whisper quiet at anchor and with Naiad stabilisers, she’s a soft-riding boat that doesn’t miss a beat.

“The Flybridge was re-invented, all drains were replaced and the original windows – using a slide-down mechanism which was high tech at the time – have been rebuilt. 55 years on, they are still beautiful, still unique, and work brilliantly. We did a great deal on the bilges and planking areas that you’ll never see.”

Much like owning a vintage Rolls-Royce, there is an allure, an enchantment, an all-consuming passion associated with boats like BALI HAI II, who turns heads at every anchorage.

“She has a character, a personality compared to modern fibreglass boats,” adds Bill. “She speaks to you.”

Classic styling is complemented by all the mod-cons owners demand, such as air-conditioning throughout and refrigeration for bait and beer, far and above a modern boat, for long stints on the water.

“The refit was a labour of love and absolutely no corners were cut,” agrees her skipper, Ken Burgess. “BALI HAI II is extremely well equipped for charter. She’s in survey to AMSA requirement, all safety gear and equipment were replaced and she’s ready to earn an income if her new owners choose to.

Bob Tucker, her current ‘Custodian’ can attest to the seaworthiness of BALI HAI II, a veteran of many sojourns at sea. He said many different groups of people over the years have accumulated “hundreds of happy memories” onboard.

“We covered the length and breadth of the Great Barrier Reef, fishing, diving and cruising. BALI HAI II is an extremely well-designed boat, and tremendously social, with extra-large cockpit, bar, large saloon and wonderful top deck for sunbathing and relaxing with the views to the horizon.”

Moving on to other interests, Bob is adamant BALI HAI II would suit an owner with an eye for beauty and a heart for history, especially one looking to share her unique attributes with the luxury charter market, which is growing exponentially in Australia, driven by international demand.

“She has been restored to modern standards by the experts and now, I am passing her over to the next generation to treasure this special part of Australian boating heritage.”

Dean Leigh-Smith, director at LSYACHTS says they are thrilled to offer this significant opportunity to the market and look forward to seeing her serve the next owners well for many years to come.

On display at the Marine Village Sanctuary Cove, MV Bali Hai II is open for inspection with the Captain and LSYACHTS’ professional sales team. Please contact them to book your reservation to inspect and enjoy all that is exceptional about BALI HAI II.


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