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KAHUNA is a big motor sailer built by Larson.

Charles Larson

The Sydney boat builder Charlie Larson is best known for the yacht KATHLEEN GILLETT, which was sailed around the world from 1947 to 1948 by marine artist Jack Earl. Larson's shed was located at Wharf Road in Gladesville on the northern side the Parramatta River NSW. He built a number of craft including yachts, trawlers and small to medium sized military vessels for the services during World War II. The most well known vessels are some of his yachts.

LARSON was Swedish and he built KATHLEEN GILLETT based on a set of lines by the Norwegian designer Colin Archer for one of his seaworthy double-ended vessels. Larson used these lines to create a cruising yacht. The craft has features of the distinctive Archer hull shape, but has a shallower wood keel with less fixed ballast, and Larson's own scantlings for the structure. KATHLEEN GILLETT became the Earls' family home, an ocean racing yacht, circumnavigating ocean-cruiser, crocodile hunter and cyclone survivor in a very long life, before being restored to go on display at the ANMM.

This is not the only Larson yacht to have a famous and long career, Peter Luke's WAYFARER stands out as well. Once again Larson modeled a boat on an existing set of lines, in this case modifying MOONBI, an American design by John Alden to suit Luke's requirements. WAYFARER sailed in the first Hobart race along with KATHLEEN GILLETT, then cruised the Pacific and in 2007 was still owned by Luke.

MOONBI later won the 1955 Sydney to Hobart yacht race. There are other yachts such as YARRAWONGA, (an AC Barber design similar to RANI), GYMEA (another AC Barber design), KAHANA, FRAM, SOBROAN, JOLLY ROGER and NGALOA. All were well built and a number are still sailing many years later.

Larson died in July 1956. Seacraft magazine noted in its October issue that he was "a shipwright of the old school, even perfection scarcely being good enough in the finished article"

Larson's name is often noted in its original Scandinavian 'Larsen' spelling, but it appears to have been Anglicized at some point. In one example from 1939 he appears in an Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly report about YARRAWONGA with the spelling Larson. This is repeated later in a 1955 Lloyds entry for KATHLEEN GILLETT, while an advertisment in 1935 also uses the Larson spelling.