From workshop to wharf: Klokan Fishing’s new longliner ready for fit out

Klokan Fishing’s new 24-metre tuna longliner has been moved from the workshop in Newcastle to the wharf in Port Stephens for fit out and officially named the Mira Š as it draws ever closer to completion.

The Mira Š was towed on Thursday 8 October to its new home at Nelson Bay marina. “I was pretty elated to see the boat in the water,” said Klokan Fishing owner John Skoljarev, noting it had been 19 months since construction started in April 2019.

“Moving the Mira Š was a hectic day—it took five hours to set up the cranes and then just 20 minutes to put it in the water,” said John.

In the months leading up to the getting the boat in the water, and since the previous update in June 2020, John said the work was focused on “putting the last of the boat bits together,” such as adding the windows and watertight doors.

Towed by a ‘local legend’

The Mira Š was towed up the Hunter River by 88-year-old Bill Johnson, which was his last voyage before retiring.

“It was a completely coincidental arrangement, but it made the day even more special to have a local legend tow our boat,” said John.

Bill received a water salute in recognition of his 70-plus-year career on the water, attracting local media coverage and making the day even more special for John.

It took eight hours to complete the 48-kilomtere (36-nautical miles) journey to Nelson Bay marina.

“Pushing a big boat into the marina can be a bit tight but Bill is an expert and he did it easily,” said John.

A namesake for his daughter

The boat is named after John’s 15-year old daughter Mira.

“The Carole Š and Vanessa Š were named after my mum and my wife. Mira was the next ‘lady in line’ to have a boat named after her,” he said.

“The Š stands for Skoljarev and includes the downward v on top as it’s Croatian, reflecting our family’s heritage.”

John said his daughter is “really proud” to have a boat named after her—not something the average teenager can attest to.

“She’s come down after school and showed the boat to all her friends. She really likes it.”

On the day of the boat’s move, Mira had the honour of smashing a bottle of champagne on her namesake before it was lowered into the water.

“We watched a YouTube video beforehand,” laughed John, “to learn the correct technique so that the bottle would actually smash and not just bounce off. The key was having a firm swing.”

‘Still a lot of work’

Now, with the Mira Š docked at the marina, completing the fit out is the next and final job on John’s to-do list.

“There’s still a lot of work to do—the interior, installing the electrical switchboards, the hydraulics and pipe runs, and the refrigeration. That’s in addition to hundreds of other little jobs.”

John expects the fit out to take four months or more, after which he hopes to officially bless the boat in February 2021.

“I want to get the boat out fishing as soon as possible, so I’ll be putting in 10–12 hours days to get it done,” he said.

Despite the busy months ahead, John remains excited about finishing his “dream build.”

It’s the best-looking fishing boat I’ve ever seen.

“It really is,” he laughs.

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