Modification and refit provides a capacity boost to 20 year old Dongara Marine crayboat

Windjana has a long association with Dongara Marine and our Director John Fitzhardinge, an association that reflects our ability to provide whole-of-life service to keep vessels in optimum working condition.

Designed by John, the boat was launched, as a 56 foot crayboat, in 1995.

The hull was built by Geraldton Boat Builders (GBB) before being transported to Port Denison, where Dongara Marine attached the composite superstructure we had fabricated and completed the wiring, fitout and painting.

Further reflecting the Fitzhardinge family’s long involvement with the Western Rock Lobster fishery, Windjana originally fished for the Fitzhardinge family company with John’s son Tim as skipper. The monohull was later sold to another Dongara-based fishing family.

In early 2015 the owners decided to provide the single screw lobster boat with new capability through a major refit and modification program. This included:

  • Repowering the boat with a new Scania main engine;
  • Modifications to the stern gear and skeg;
  • Repainting the wheelhouse; and
  • Refurnishing the interior.

The biggest change, however, was to more than double the boat’s live tank capacity: from 32 baskets to 68 baskets.

To achieve this, Dongara Marine cut the aluminium hull in half just ahead of the forward engine room bulkhead, separated the two halves, and then inserted a new midbody section.

Manufactured to the tight tolerances required to match to the existing structure, this 2.1 metre long module houses a new 48 basket live tank. Southerly Designs provided the engineering design for the modification.

In addition to the lengthening Dongara Marine also updated the vessel’s electrical system, installing a new three-phase generator and rewiring the boat, to enable the operation of the increased live tank pumping capacity required.

Following the extension, which also brings with it the benefits of increased waterline length, the boat is capable of up to 25 knots.

“Jared Groom, who skippers the boat for the family, is delighted with the performance of the extended boat”

- Ausmarine magazine – June 2016


Principal Particulars
Propulsion & Performance
Other Details
Project type
Vessel Refit / Repair
Groom family (Sanwood Nominees)
Vessel Type
Lobster fishing
Hull type
Southerly Designs
Construction materials
Aluminium hull, composite (fibreglass) superstructure
Survey / Class
Length overall
19.2 metres
5.2 metres
1.6 metres
Live lobster: 68 baskets / 2.0 tonnes
3000 litres
Fresh water
300 litres
Main engines
1 x Scania DI16
Main engine rating
1 x 670kW
1 x ZF
1 x fixed pitch propeller
Maximum speed
25.5 knots
Service speed
18.5 knots
Vessel builder
Geraldton Boat Builders / Dongara Marine