Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta Checklist

Here it is, the definitive Australian Sailfish ICWDR checklist, except for the stuff I have left out or forgotten of course:

  • Boat.
  • Associated boat bits.
  • Sailing gear.
  • Sunscreen and hat.
  • Regatta entry form.
  • Accommodation.
  • Phone and/or camera for those fantastic shots to see up on the website.
  • Let know if you are coming to the Friday night Indian meal or not.
  • Booking for Regatta Dinner at the RACV Inverloch Resort on Saturday night.


And on that last topic, this is just in from Jeff at Inverloch on Tuesday afternoon:

Re the Inverloch regatta, if you want to go to the Saturday night dinner at the RACV resort you’d better look sharp. Places are definitely limited and filling fast. Early registration by email or post would have allowed us to increase places as it’s a contract job, unfilled places have to be paid for by the regatta.
Weather forecast is 39c in Melbourne for the weekend, though down there it will be cooler, and there is always the river to jump in. Look forward to seeing you all.

So if you haven’t booked yet for Saturday night you might want to get cracking!


If you’re going to San Francisco . . .

Yeah, I know it was corny, but how could I resist?

In August last year we sent a plan to San Francisco. Kellee has been in touch a couple of times for advice and information and has now started  building. You can follow the progress on her blog here:

San Francisco Australian Sailfish Build

Don’t be scared off by the sight of an Alcort Sailfish in Kellee’s first post, that is where her journey started, so it does belong there. But when you look a bit deeper, there is Brian Carroll on Jack’s Toy.

Really looking forward to seeing the finished product out on the water.

Whatever happened to Zippy?

Zippy is one of the lesser known Pat Carroll boats and is that rarest of beasts, an all fibreglass Australian Sailfish, both hull and deck. Pat is Jack Carroll’s younger brother and won a total of 6 Victorian State Titles (the 73/74 title on Zippy) and two National Titles. During the seventies and eighties a few fibreglass Sailfish were made, usually with a fibreglass hull and a wooden deck, like 3342 Glasshopper, but very few were made all fibreglass.

As far as we can tell, Zippy was built for Pat Carroll and fits in between 3160 New Thing and 3250 Ockerfish. This lends some credibility to it being 3189 as that is the only plan shown being sold to Pat between 3160 and 3250. There were a number of plans (plan numbers really) sold to fibreglass boat manufacturers in the same period though, hence the uncertainty.

DSC_8219 - Sailfish 2
Zippy deck, needing some TLC. [By Hayden Ramsdale, somewhere near Melbourne, 26 December 2017]
Zippy didn’t give Pat the results he was after, so after he had finished with Zippy, whatever the number was, it languished in his back yard until Glenn Thatcher bought the hull and it then passed on to Brett Ramsdale, who has had it ever since. In the early eighties Brett acquired from me, the original Ockerfish sail, as I had just bought a new one, but there things stalled. With the resurgence in interest in the Sailfish Brett has decided the time has come to do some restoration work. It is unclear yet as to how extensive the task is, but Brett is considering removing the deck, doing a repair and refit and then replacing the deck.

DSC_8218 - Sailfish 2.jpg
Zippy’s hull showing the deck join and a few marks and bumps. [By Hayden Ramsdale, somewhere near Melbourne, 26 December 2017]
While an all fibreglass boat won’t make the cut at the Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta, it is a perfect fit for the Classic Dinghy Invitation Weekend, so we hope to see Zippy back on the water at Cairn Curran soon.

Lake Boga Sailfish

Through the eighties Lake Boga Yacht Club became a strong centre for Sailfish in the north west of Victoria, and a lot of this was due to the efforts of Ray Hale, and the involvement of his daughter Julie. With the Association going out of action in the late eighties, these boats and their history were lost.

Just before Christmas I received an email saying that the sender had tracked down a couple of Sailfish, so I waited about thirty seconds, and followed up on the lead. Rod, the sender, is looking for a wooden Cherub to restore and during his search made contact with Phil Robin, the Lake Boga Yacht Club Commodore who mentioned that he had two Australian Sailfish at the club that were looking for a new home.

So I called Phil, we had a bit of a chat, but with Christmas looming we decided to follow it up further in the New Year. Both boats are complete as far as we can tell, both have been stored under cover, which is great news, and Phil expects that both will be available for new homes in 2018. The details are yet to be sorted out, Christmas getting in the way and all, but I do know that the two boats are 3409, Sharkie,

3409 Sharkie. [By Phil Robin, LBYC, December 17 2017]
and 3411, name unknown.

3411. [By Phil Robin, LBYC, December 17 2017]
The 3409 plan number was sold to Barry Middleton and the 3411 plan number was sold to Bruce Truelove, both in August 1981.

If you have any information on either of these boats please get in touch, I would love to be able to give a bit more history to them both, and all going well, keep an eye out on the website Classifieds in January for more.

And if you do happen to know of a wooden Cherub that is looking for a new home, let us know, it would be nice to return favour for Rod.

Current Header Photo

The race start on 27 January at the 2017 Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta.

From far left, Craig Ginnivan on 2164 Licorice Stick, starter boat, Brian Carroll on 3342 Supertoy Fish, Steven Floyd on 3400 Gargle Blaster & Tony Hastings on 0 Flotsam. The race was eventually won by Steven, with Chris Cleary a close second. Photo taken by Tim Wilson.


Fixing up an old centreboard

More and more Australian Sailfish are surfacing as a result of the renewed interest in the class, and while some will require a full restoration, think Helen and Stanley Crocodile as shown in the Gallery, others might just require a bit of repair and maintenance to get back on the water.

A case in point, Mrs Vicious, winner of the very first National Titles held at Elwood in December/January 1968/69. Hull was in good shape even after years of storage, spars were sound, sail was good and needed only a few minor repairs. As a safety precaution, I replaced the stays as there was no way of knowing how sound they were, having been sailed in the ocean and then stored by the sea for well over ten years.

The centreboard on first inspection was a bit knocked about:


Apart from the chips along the trailing edge there were some dents and divots along the chord of the centreboard as well.

The first step is to sand it back so you can really see the condition. Now starts the good news, bad news stuff. Sanding back with a painted centreboard is relatively easy, as long as the base paint is sound as it is here, then there is no real concern about ruining the shape of the centreboard; as long as you are not sanding through the paint and into the wood, you can be sure you are safe, that’s the good news. However, in this case, sanding off the red paint revealed that this board had suffered some major damage and then been filled and faired to repair it.


Notice the amount of filler along the trailing edge at bottom left of the picture. The other side revealed more damage:


Again a lot of filling and fairing along the trailing edge, even more than I had suspected from the other side, also note the fairly deep scratch marks centre right of the photo below the handle.

OK, so here we are, the board is basically sound, even though there has been some damage, the paint is actually in really good shape, this is a win as it means the entire board doesn’t have to be taken back to bare wood (and filler).

The next step is to hand sand and fair the board, doing your best to remove the worst of any imperfections. If you have to take the centreboard back to bare wood, when it comes to painting I would suggest standing the board on its top end and painting or varnishing both sides of the blade at once to ensure there is no chance of distortion of the blade as one side dries while the other is still bare wood.

For this project I decided to use a roller with a short bristle, this was both a training exercise and an experiment for me, I usually use a brush, but if I am to move into the exciting world of epoxy resin I will have to develop my roller skills. As I hadn’t needed to take the board all the way back to bare wood I was able to paint one side of the board and then the other. Basically, apply paint, sand and fair, repeat until happy.

Two factors affected my paint choice. Firstly, availability, so I used the same paint that I had used to repaint Mrs Vicious’ hull, a well known semi gloss house paint. Which brings me to the second factor – if you are building a new boat, high gloss looks brilliant, really highlighting your boat, but that also means that when doing up an older boat it will highlight every bump, mark and imperfection, which is why I choose semi gloss, or even matt, paint or varnish for restoration work.

Here I did a total of four coats of paint, after the first coat I sanded back with 220 wet and dry (wet), repeated that after the second, after the third I sanded back with 400 wet and dry (wet) and then once I was sure I was happy with the fourth and final coat, I sanded back once again with 1200 wet, being sure to add just a drop of liquid detergent to the water to minimise the chances of scratching.

Here is the end result:



Is it perfect? Hell no, it’s a 50 year old centreboard that has had some rough times, but the shape has been cleaned up and the chips out of the back edge have been faired in, the scratches in the sides of the blade are smoothed out or removed and it is a clean, usable centreboard for many more years of use.

We hope that this will become part of an ongoing series on Repairs & Maintenance. If you are doing some fix up work on your Sailfish please send in some details and we can run a blog to help out others.


The Sailfish are coming back to Toronto!

Ah Toronto – Toronto Amateur Sailing Club (TASC) has a strong historical link with the Australian Sailfish as it was the venue for three Australian Sailfish National Titles as well as numerous heats of State Titles back in the 1970’s and 80’s. It was also, of course, the home club of Sailfish stalwart Tony Bytheway and two-time, back-to-back Australian open title winner Graeme Remington.

Toronto Nationals 1982

We really want to have another get together in NSW in 2018, as we did at Narrabeen last April to mark the 50th anniversary of the forming of the NSW Sailfish Association. On March 17 & 18 TASC is holding their annual regatta and that just seems like a great opportunity to go along for a sail.


Chris Cleary will be there, I will be coming up from Melbourne, with at least two boats, so first in best dressed for whoever wants to borrow a boat, we hope that Ian Milton, Chris Leyland, Tony Bytheway & Graeme Remington will be there as well, plus many others. Of course, many of our old hands now live in the greater Lake Macquarie area now so this is another great opportunity to catch up, have a sail and maybe a race.


If you are interested in travelling to the regatta, and you know you are really, contact the website at for further details regarding location and possible accommodation. A notice of race is expected to be released in early January and will be posted on the website as soon as we get it.


It is forty years since our first Nationals there and we thought they had been left in peace for long enough, so come along, we are really looking forward to seeing you there.

What a Ripper!

In early November the website received an email from Al Martin, letting us know that he had just been given a Sailfish that was in need of restoration. The boat had been stored in a shed in Campbell’s Creek for over 20 years and was Jamie Robinson’s old boat 3333, Ripper. Those of us who were around in Victoria in the early eighties might remember a green hull with a green (!!) Frank Hammond sail. From what we know, 3333 went from Jamie to Scots College where it was used as a trainer and then to the shed in Campbell’s Creek.

Check out the spreaders. [By Al Martin, Drummond North, 15 December 2017]
Al came over to Cairn Curran a few weeks ago and introduced himself, although without his Sailfish, as it does need a bit of restoration work, and then yesterday he emailed me some photos of Ripper rigged up at his place. To quote Al:

“3333 seriously has 20 plus coats of paint on it – lots of red lead and then orange – thus the cracked look -(Its often over 50 celsius in the sheds up here) there is a small amount of edge dammage and a small but quite professional  hull patch underneath”.

This might be a good time to invest in sandpaper stocks, there might be a lot required to take Ripper back to a sound base!

And he even has a keen Sailfish sailor waiting for Ripper to be ready to launch, his niece is dead keen to have a go!


Almost ready to go, just a bit of sanding and a lick of paint needed. [By Al Martin, Drummond North, 15 December 2017]
So we are looking forward to seeing 3333 back on the water with us some time soon.

It’s nearly Inverloch time!

Now less than six weeks to go until the 2018 Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta, and you know you don’t want to miss out -:).

In 2017 this regatta heralded the Australian Sailfish resurgence after a slight hiatus, and we had eleven boats plus Jack came along as well. When we had eleven that said they would be there, I think Chris and I thought it would be amazing if we had eight actually turn up, but you all made the effort. Not only did we have eleven boats turn up, we had a crowd of “old” (not really) Sailfish skippers without a boat at the moment who came down from Melbourne to see what all the fuss was about.

Jack will be coming along again in 2018, he had booked his accommodation before any of us I think, and I hope we can at least match this years turnout.

The 2018 ICWDR Invitation and the Entry Form are at the bottom of this post, but to summarise:

Register by 6 January to go into the early bird draw (an RACV Resort voucher to the value of $300) and to assist the club with their planning, however late entries will be accepted from 0900 on the morning of the 26th of January.

Friday 26th January

There will be a social sail from 1130 (briefing at 1100)

Invitation Race at 2.30 pm (briefing at 2.00)

Saturday 27th January

Beach display from 0930

Cavalcade of Moths (it is their 90th anniversary) at 1030

Regatta Race at 2.30 pm (briefing at 2.00)

Dinner at the RACV Resort Inverloch from 6.00 pm

Sunday 28th January

Beach Display of boats

Foiling Moth Demonstration Race at 1030

Award presentations at 1130

Wooden Dinghy Race at 1.30 pm (briefing at 1.00)


For the Invitation with full details and for the Entry Form follow the links below:

2018 ICWDR Invitation

2018 Entry Form Rev 8

See you at Inverloch!