1919 Navy Liberty Launch 27 ft hardtop





Designer / Builder / Model: 

Navy built -





Current Location: 

Bethel Island, CA.



A traditional wood boat built at the Navy Yard in Bremerton, WA. cir.1919.

Carvel planked 3/4 inch Port Orford Cedar planks on Oak frames. The Navy Museum in WA. D.C. tells me that this is a 1st generation gasoline launch, a transition boat from steam power to internal combustion. After 3-4 years with gasoline engines, a 4 cylinder diesel engine became the standard power, because of the lower volatility, diesel was deemed a safer fuel than gasoline.

This launch was designed as a Liberty boat, motor launch, personnel carrier, to be carried on deck of the largest capital ships, and lowered to the water by crane. The actual ship served by this launch is unknown, but the Director of the Navy Museum tells me that the only surviving capital ship that this launch would properly be assigned to serve is The Battleship Texas.

The Hicks is a San Francisco built engine cir. 1912, with robust design and engineering. It is reliable and simple to operate. It has powered this launch without fail for over 60 years, a very friendly low-speed, low-noise, chug-chug-chug motor, built the same year as Titanic.

The cabin w/hardtop was installed in the 50's with a pleasing sheer line matching the deck/hull. Visibility is excellent from the helm chair, and three of the nine wheel-house windows open for excellent ventilation. There is room for bunks fore and aft, making for easy overnight adventures. The ignition, navigation lights and searchlight are all 12 volt. A solar cell keeps the battery topped off. Fuel supply is by gravity, there is no fuel pump or alternator. There is very little to ever need service or to get out of order. There is no starter motor - the engine is readily started by foot, slowly rolling over the flywheel. There is a compression release that makes this an easy process. It is curious and amazing to onlookers watching the flywheel slowly turn. The flywheel speed simply increases and the engine comes to life with a chug, ...chug, ...chug.

Every journey is an adventure, as Mojo is always well received with interest and curiosity wherever she lands. Mojo is in very good, ready-to-go condition. She is used and maintained year-round, and lives in a covered berth out of the weather, on Bethel Island. The last haul-out and bottom paint was Feb. this year, 2 months ago at Diablo Boat Works on Taylor Rd. No issues were reported.

  • 1919 Navy Liberty Motor Launch, 26 ft.,
  • Navy rated for 25 sailors and crew
  • 1912 Hicks 8-12 hp @ 250 rpm, gasoline engine, 248 cu. in. 4 liter , 6.5 x 9 inch bore x stroke
  • Fuel 18 gal. gasoline tank on cabin top
  • Speed -- 7 mph
  • Mileage -- 10-20 mpg depending upon speed = 1/4 to 1/2 gallon per hour -- [about like a larger lawn mower]


$18,000 OBO
Email for info

Boat Images (Click to view in colorbox)

Ad Expiration date 11/05/2015
Author John Woodson