Florida is Go!

In a number of firsts, Richard has launched his new build Australian Sailfish in Florida.

Nearly ready to launch. [By Richard Langlinais, Pensacola Florida, 2 June 2019]
First strip built Australian Sailfish and first Floridian Australian Sailfish, launched on Father’s Day (Northern Hemisphere) which seems like a pretty good day for such an event.

And a side view, still waiting on a few fittings. [By Richard Langlinais, Pensacola Florida, 2 June 2019]
Richard reports he had a few swims, but didn’t we all the first time out on a Sailfish, and that his son enjoyed himself on the new boat as well.

Richard and his son and his new boat, all rigged up and ready to go. [By unknown, Pensacola Florida, 16 June 2019]

There will be more photos shortly and I hope to have a video link as well, so check back to see more on this new launch.


John Angus Carroll (Jack) OAM

It is with great pleasure that this website can announce that Australian Sailfish class co-founder Jack Carroll has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to sailing and in particular his long-term, voluntary teaching of beginners and coaching of juniors.

Medal of the Order of Australia

Through the co-design and energetic promotion of the Australian Sailfish Jack was, and is, a proponent and populariser of low cost, accessible, competitive sailing.

He was co-founder of the Australian Sailfish Class Owners Association and a long-term office bearer fulfilling roles of secretary, plan supervisor, registrar of boats and principal measurer.

Jack has also been a very successful competitor, winning the Victorian Open Sailfish Championship on six occasions, and performing at a high level in other classes (Hartley TS16 and Sabre) up until very recent years.

At all times he has been a model of fairness, friendship, respect and generosity among competitors and their families, a contribution that probably transcends sailing, and even sport.

Jack has also been a valuable source of knowledge in the recent revival of the Australian Sailfish class and the larger scale revival of interest in small wooden boats generally. His generosity in giving his permission for the Australian Sailfish website to offer the Sailfish boat plans as a free download is typical of the man.

He has been a wonderful teacher of hundreds of people new to sailing, and a mentor to experienced sailors.

He has been and remains a committed and active club member, most notably of Bendigo Yacht Club over a long period of time.

To Jack, from all of us who have ever sailed with you, or because of you, congratulations and thank you.


Jack on Debonair at the 2019 ICWD Regatta

Bendigo Advertiser Report on Jack’s OAM


Jack at the Toronto 4OaK Regatta, March 2018.



Current Header Photo

Goolwa – the 2019 South Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

Sunday morning, Chris on 2218 & Greg on 2028 along with our attendant Heron heading upstream towards the Hindmarsh Island bridge and the wharf area to do a bit of display sailing. We were based at the Goolwa Aquatic Club and the sailing space out from there and downstream towards the barrage was fantastic.

Less than two years to go until the next one!

Photo by Jenny Cleary, Goolwa Aquatic Club, 28 April 2019.

What’s Been Happening?

In a word – lots!

The Regatta season is pretty well over for another year, we had Australian Sailfish at the Bendigo Yacht Club Opening Day, the Classic Dinghy Classes Invitation Weekend at Cairn Curran, the 2019 Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta, Jack’s 90th Birthday Bash at Bendigo, the Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival and Ian’s attendance with Apsu at the BYRA Marathon. Plus, I am waiting on reports from the Yarrawonga ANZAC Weekend Regatta and the Bribie Classic to find out if we had Sailfish on the water there as well. In addition to all that, Chris and I spread the word at the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival, this time without our boats.

Meanwhile, Paul Murphy has been cracking on with his restoration of Jaguar and it is a timely hint that the rest of us need to get out the paint and varnish to get ready for another big season coming up real soon!

What we missed – the 2019 Wallagoot Lake Regatta, the 2019 Toronto 4OaK Regatta and the 2019 Lake Boga Easter Regatta. So much sailing, so little time.

What’s to come?

In a word – lots!

Season 2019/20 looks like plenty more chances to get our Sailfish out on the water in lots of interesting venues. We have the Classic Dinghy Classes Invitation Weekend at Cairn Curran and this year it is in conjunction with the traditional Cairn Curran Regatta on November 23 & 24. Our now traditional Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta over the weekend of January 25, 26 & 27, no Indian Sailfish dinner this year, we will be joining in with the mob at the sailing club. Then things really kick off – over the weekend of 29 Feb. & 1 March we have the Paynesville Classic Boat Rally; the following weekend (March 7 & 8) is the Wallagoot Lake Regatta and the weekend after that (March 14 & 15) is the Toronto 4OaK Regatta. Some of us (well, mostly me at this stage) are silly enough to be planning on sailing in all three, but if you can make it to even one of these events it will be well worth while. Great venues and great clubs await, plus we all get to sail on our Sailfish!

April 2020 will see the Lake Boga Easter Regatta and of course the Yarrawonga ANZAC Regatta, and May will see the 2020 BYRA Marathon, so there are plenty of opportunities to get out and have a splash, I hope to see you at some, if not all of these. There will be plenty more reminders of each of these and more as they get closer.

2019 BYRA Peter Loft Marathon

Every year BYRA (Bayview Yacht Racing Association) in Sydney holds the Peter Loft Marathon to commemorate the untimely death of one of its most promising young sailors and to raise funds (via entry fees) for the Peter Loft Foundation which is established to assist junior members of BYRA to participate in National and International sailing events. The event usually consists of a race around Lion Island for Division 1, and inside Pittwater for the other Divisions, then back to the clubhouse at BYRA. This year weather conditions meant all divisions sailed within Pittwater. The start is “Le Mans style” with the participants running to their boats in the water and then sailing north.

For some years now, Ian Milton has been attending on one of his Australian Sailfish, either 2188 Gooney Bird or 2192 Apsu. The following is his ‘stream of consciousness’ of what sounds like a pretty wild day out on the water. This is a fairly long post, but well worth the read.


Leg 1 – BYRA to the observation pylon off Palm Beach.

Sunshine out, blue sky all around, except the little blotch down in the southern corner. Wind blowing a good 12 knots with a dead run. Whoosh, a Flying Ant has just passed by spinnaker flying doing tacks downwind with crew on the wire. My old adversary Spiral 888 has sat beside me, we are matching pace until off the north of Scotland Island where the wind drops to 10 knots, enough for me to bash about on the chop and loose speed; Spiral 888 now 20 boat lengths ahead. Gusts coming from behind, wind about 18 knots and me hanging on to a slippery deck still running dead square; Spiral gybes ahead heads west and gybes again, big gust gets him, he’s over, Sailfish passes by at high speed.

The rest of the Spirals are over towards the east shore, I take the middle aiming for a gybe near Stokes Point. A green Contender is bearing down on port, I am on starboard, I get the impression he wants me to gybe, but not on my Stokes Point plan and risky. Collision course and closing fast so I bear away to lessen any impact, then he bears away, say’s sorry, gybes and capsizes. I cannot understand why he didn’t go behind much earlier. Wind drops to about 10 knots, Spiral coming back again, thud, thud, thud, boat is shuddering, oh lookie, there are hundreds of big jelly fish, hmmm, boat does not like this, play dodgems instead. Side by side with Spiral 888 again, but he needs to gybe to round, wind picks up again, I am all good, he swings wide, wide, wide, but makes the gybe; meanwhile I open out a 20 boat length lead over him, gotta love mark roundings! Down the leg I have probably dropped 10 mins to the lead Spiral, the Flying Ant while going fast had been running such shallow angles I am only 40 boat lengths back.

Cloud has now come across from the coast but no rain.


Leg 2 – Observation Point to Mackeral Beach.

It started as a shy reach, full planing at high speed, ahead of the Flying Ant now, they couldn’t fly the spinnaker. Closing on a NS14 sailed solo. Looking down south and something’s coming … wind tight on the nose into the mark about 18 knots.


Leg 3 – Mackerel Beach to Morning Bay

Bullets of 20 knots now shooting out of the Basin then 4 knot knocks from ahead.  Spiral 888 beside me is now pulling ahead as I thump about in a short chop with the wind steadying in strength to around 4 – 5 knots. Getting knocked more and more but I need to be over the Stokes Point side so I stick it out for as long as I can, then tack, I hit another patch of jelly fish and with the chop and light wind I am no longer making headway. Over to the east a rain blanket is moving down Pittwater and hits with about 25 knots of breeze, similar in strength to Toronto in March 2018. I tack again, by now the Spiral is way ahead and I am still not making much headway with the chop, Flying Ant speeds through with crew on trap wire. The rain and wind drops to a comfortable 12 knots and I am gaining ground once more; starboard, did someone call starboard? It’s a whopping great big Hansa or similar, but way off, looking at the closing speed and trees behind say I have a good clearance so I concentrate on boat speed and with their rig towering up with the hills above I clear with about a 15 boat length gap, phew, don’t want to misjudge that sort of thing. Flying 11 is behind and I manage to keep the lead into the Morning Bay mark.

I hear a nearby windsurfer screaming yahoo, as a wall of water approaches at high speed from Scotland Island, sails on boats upwind shredding, boats wiping out left and right and tops lifting of the waves – batten down the hatches! It hits and the Flying 11 is instantly over and upside down. I concentrated with depowered control, whipping the mainsheet in and out at great speed to keep upright. Rock shelf of shoreline closing fast … I must tack in this … lots of prep and here I go …. partial irons as I struggle to push the nose around, grab all 3 strands of mainsheet, big pull, and nose is around, dump sheet quick as boat takes off at extreme speed.


Leg 4 – Morning Bay to BYRA.

Cannot see more than a few feet ahead with spray and wall of rain, wind swings west and I have some terrific high speed planning, dropping back to a more manageable 25 knots. Then it happens …. wind comes from direct opposite direction and I am instantly capsized to windward, bugger. Got through all the rest unscathed to capsize in the easier wind. Back going and I see a Spiral, closing fast, not 888 though but another. We have a tacking battle for a while then the skipper heads to enter the B.Y.R.A. mooring from the east, I choose the west, the sun comes out the wind dies to 1-2kn, the east has the fading wind and the Spiral gets through to the club and rings the bell. Meanwhile somewhere between the morass of stagnant boats on mooring lines a lone Sailfish bobs about going nowhere. I have my knees tucked under my chin when a puff from the leeward pushes me over to windward, ahhh another capsize, and with no wind. Get boat up and slooowly drift into beach. Make a run, dash, walk … o.k., more like a slow stagger, across to ring the bell. All done and dusted.


Ian also mentioned there were a lots of retirements and broken gear, and that the Flying 11 skipper said they referred to Gooney Bird, as ‘That Plank Thing’. Hope it is a quieter sail next year!

Florida Update

Richard has the deck on and the centreboard finished, rudder not far behind. He tells me that his next big decision is whether to stain the hull or go for a natural finish.

Deck on, centreboard done and rudder not far behind. [By Richard Langlinais, Pensacola Florida, 4 May 2019]
Waiting to see the bow detail now, what a great building frame. [By Richard Langlinais, Pensacola Florida, 4 May 2019]
A bit of centreboard and strip planking detail. [By Richard Langlinais, Pensacola Florida, 4 May 2019]

Goolwa Was Great!

A long drive, true, but a fantastic sailing venue and plenty to see and do on and off the water. This is one of those classic events that many of us think “I must go to that one year”, and it is well worth the time and effort. This year there were not enough dinghies for the Festival to run small boat races but we aim to fix that in 2021 when a horde of Australian Sailfish will descend on them 🙂

There will be a complete report and photos posted later in the week, so check out the Events and Gallery tabs around Friday for a more detailed report.

And in the meantime, start planning, it is less than two years until the next one!

May 2019 Header Photo


Heat of the National Titles held on Lake Wendouree, Ballarat in December/January 1979/80, eventually won by Chris Drury on Muffin 3390.

From left to right, Dean Clementson on 3354 Hot Stuff, Ian Milton on 2114 Make Tracks, unknown on 3363 Reed Rat (so probably a Ballarat local then), Warren Jones on 2159 Silent Running, Ray Cross on 3370 On Target II, Peter Coburn on 3366 Mud Shoveler, Danny Flynn on 3170 Ugg Boot & Craig Ginnivan on 3335 Snuffed It II.

If you can confirm or correct any of the names let me know.

Photo by unknown, Lake Wendouree, 1979/80.

3 May – Update from Peter Coburn confirming it is Danny Flynn on 3170, Ugg Boot.

Things on the move in Florida

Here is our latest update from Richard in Pensacola Florida, right on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, and things are moving along at a great pace. Again, these shots all benefit from being viewed on a tablet, so you can zoom in on the detail.

Hull turned over, deck stringers in and centreboard case in place. [By Richard Langlinais, Pensacola Florida, 22 April 2019]
First of the deck strip planking going on and the stiffening piece fitted under the mast step. [By Richard Langlinais, Pensacola Florida, 22 April 2019]
A view from the stern, strip planked keel just visible. [By Richard Langlinais, Pensacola Florida, 22 April 2019]
The thing that I am most aware of, having never been involved in any way with a strip built boat, is the speed with which it all comes together. Not long to go now until fitting out and that first sail!