Curl Curl II

Curl Curl

Type :
Launched  :
Builder :
Cantiere Navaltechnica S.P.A.
Messina, Italy
Gross weight :
129 tons
Dimensions :
26.70 x 5.85 (metres)
Passenger capacity :
Speed :
32 knots

Curl Curl was one of five broadly similar hydrofoils, being of type RHS140.

Curl Curl was the fourth hydrofoil to enter service commencing operation in 1973. With this hydrofoil & the earlier Dee Why and Fairlight in service , the Port Jackson company was able to retire the smaller Manly to use as a spare boat. Curl Curl was the last vessel ordered by the Port Jackson company prior to being sold to Brambles in 1974. Brambles did not want the hydrofoils and they sold them to another company (FNCB-Finance Ltd) and leased the boats back. When the state government took over the Manly service they had to buy out the leases. At the time of the government buy-out it was expected that the three hydrofoils would give another fifteen years service.

The hydrofoils were always expensive to run and prone to breakdown. At one stage both Fairlight and Curl Curl had parts cannabalised from them to keep the more expensive Long Reef in service. During their time on the harbour they were subject to long periods out of service due to breakdowns & strike action.

Curl Curl killed a man in unusual circumstances on the 2nd of October 1981. Three men were on a hired pleasure cruiser for a bucks party. One of them, Timothy Charles Graham Wearne, had decided to dive overboard near Fort Denison at around 5pm. He'd decided to go for a swim. Considering that this is not only in the main shipping lane for the harbour and that the area is shark infested one has to wonder why you'd want to go for a swim in this particular area. Wearne's brothers shouted a warning to him when they saw the Curl Curl approaching and although he dived to get out of the way he unfortunately surfaced too soon and was cut to pieces by the Curl Curl's propellors. The captain of the Curl Curl (who had one year earlier been in charge of the Lady Wakehurst when it had been involved in a fatal accident) was unaware that he had struck the man and only found out when police later questioned him. No blame was attached to the captain and the coroner brought down a finding of death by misadventure. Blame for the accident was laid soley on the unfortunate victim.

By 1991 the hydrofoils were withdrawn from service and replaced with the more reliable and cheaper to operate Jet Cats (Sir David Martin, Sea Eagle & Blue Fin). The following year Curl Curl II, Manly IV, Sydney and Long Reef  were sold back to their builder.

Eventually renamed Spargi, Curl Curl  was placed into service by Ustica lines in 1995 before being offered up for sale in 2000 for $500,000. In April 2004 the company sold Spargi (the oldest hydrofoil in their fleet) to a shipping company operating the route between Reggio Calabria Airport and Messina, Italy.

Spargi underwent an extensive refit in 2005 and is currently laid up, perhaps awaiting scrapping.