David Lewis’ yacht “Ice Bird”

Made 1962

In this small 32 foot (9.7 m) Sydney Harbour yacht called “Ice Bird”, adventurer Dr David Lewis (1917-2002) made the first single-handed voyage to Antarctica in 1972 and continued his voyage in 1974. What makes this yacht significant is that it was not designed for the Antarctic, having been purchased second-hand in Sydney and modified for the purpose. It survived mountainous seas, terrible gales, snow storms and freezing temperatures. It capsized three times and was dismasted twice, thousands o...


Yacht and parts, full size, sloop "Ice Bird", steel / plastic / timber, designed by Dick Taylor, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1962, sailed by Dr David Lewis to Antarctica 1972-1974

The yacht is of welded steel construction, using 1/8th inch (0.3 cm) plate throughout and is stiffened with longitudinal steel angle bars. "Ice Bird" has a 6 ft deep (1.8 m) fin keel ballasted with 2½ tons of lead. The internal fittings are generally of timber. The yacht was modified from a Sydney Harbour sloop by fixing steel plates over the windows, a roof dome of clear plastic and fitting self-steering gear. "Ice Bird" has an inboard petrol motor. She was rigged as a sloop (mainsail and single hoodsail), with synthetic (Terylene) sails.

Beam: 9ft 6 ins (3 m)
Length: 32 ft (9.7 m)
Draft: 6 ft (1.9 m)
Engine: 12 hp Dolphin petrol
Ballast: 2.5 tons lead


9800 mm


The yacht was constructed as a Sydney Harbour sloop, designed by the local boat builder, Dick Taylor in 1962.


Gift of David Lewis, 1982
5 July, 1982

Cite this Object

David Lewis' yacht "Ice Bird" 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 15 December 2017, <https://ma.as/212223>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/212223 |title=David Lewis' yacht "Ice Bird" |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=15 December 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Store 3 at the Museums Discovery Centre.
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