V 59 Austral Vertue (Lost)



Mike McKeon aboard Austal Vertue in the late 1960’s just before setting off for his voyage up to the south Pacific islands.  These two photos are from the Geelong newspaper report about the trip.


Austral Vertue self-steering with her wind vane setting off  down Port Philip Bay for the Pacific on 22 February 1970.


Austral Vertue hard on the wind in Tarawa lagoon, in the main island of the Kiribati group, with the local teacher Robin Swift at the helm.


  • Laurent Giles design No: 222
  • Builder: Kavanagh, Melbourne
  • Launch Date: 1958
  • Hull Material: Maple on 'stringy bark?'
  • Deck: Teak laid.
  • Engine: Stuart Turner
  • Ballast keel material: Lead
  • Doghouse: Long
  • Cockpit: Short s/d
  • Berths: Three
  • Rig: Masthead bermudan sloop: All Inboard
  • Mast: Alloy
  • Heads'ls: Genoa and stays'ls
  • Backstay arrangement: Twin. Short boom
  • Home Port: Melbourne
  • Current Owner: Mike Mckeon
  • Contact details:
  • Email address:
  • Other comments: Austral Vertue sailed into oblivion, on her own, from Vaitupu in the Gilbert & Ellice islands. She had dragged her anchor during the night on the 6th April 1972 and was never seen again. Vaitupu is in the Tuvalu group, which used to be called the Ellice Islands.