50 year old Mercury still powering the beautiful Kerrie Ann

You can understand why the Kerrie Ann constantly turns heads and sparks questions when she cruises the waters of Burrill Lake and Ulladulla Harbour on the NSW south coast. 

The lovingly restored 14.5’ four-seat, marine ply speedboat is literally from a time gone by.

Made from South African maple with silver ash trim she was once state-of-the-art, competing in the famous ‘Bridge to Bridge’ ski racing events on the Hawkesbury.

Now, she’s simply a classic.

“I believe the boat and its timber trailer were built in the late 1950s or early 1960s by a company called Norlic at Bankstown in Sydney,” said her enamoured owner, 80-year-old Mick Puglisi.

Amazingly, the Kerrie Ann still has her old engine, a fully-imported Kiekhaefer Corp four cylinder, 50 hp outboard which was probably built in 1963.

(Kiekhaefer Corp was created in 1940 by Carl Kiekhaefer, the outboard icon, and was renamed Mercury Marine in 1969.)

While the engine has of course been reconditioned, with rare parts imported from the U.S, it’s a shining example of what quality engineering really means.

“To this day she’s still got good compression and runs very smoothly with a clean exhaust,” Mick said.

 “She still has the original water pressure speedo and can get Kerrie Ann up to 38 mph (61 k/hr) which is hard to believe for an engine that’s almost 50 years old.”

Michael’s spent more than a year of his retirement and a fair few dollars getting Kerrie Ann back into top shape.

“A family member bought her years ago for her husband but unfortunately he became sick and eventually the Kerrie Ann wound up with me,” he said.

“She was in pretty good shape because she’s obviously been kept under cover for a lot of her life.”

While Kerrie Ann’s hull was sound she needed a new oak transom as well as two new centre frames, and her bottom had to be completely refastened. There’s been a lot of minor work as well, capped by four coats to paint to her bottom and two inboard.

The trailer also needed some work including new rollers, a new tow coupling and new wheel bearings.

“I restored the original bronze and steel hand winch, but I’ve also fitted a new portableelectric winch because I’m not as young as I was,” Mick laughed.

But with a little care and attention, Mick, Kerrie Ann and that amazing 50-year-old outboard will enjoy many more years on the water.