Until the Inaugural Cairn Curran Classic Dinghy Classes Invitation Weekend, Saturday and Sunday the 25th and 26th of November.
Get your boat(s) ready, and if you don’t have a Sailfish at the moment just bring along your sailing gear, there is sure to be a chance to have a sail; book your accommodation, pack the car and get ready to head on over.
Cairn Curran is a great venue, a friendly club always ready to greet old and new friends alike. If you have had the pleasure of sailing there before you will know what I mean and be looking forward to the weekend already, if you haven’t sailed at Cairn Curran before then this is the chance to fix that.
For those of us of a certain age, and who cut our sailing teeth at Narrabeen, the name Cordukes is built into our sailing story. Alex and his son Phillip were regulars at State Titles, National Titles and pretty well every weekend of the sailing season at NLSC right through the seventies, always there and always ready to lend a hand.
During October we received an email from Ameli to say that he was the current owner of Chop Chop registered number 1932, and that he had bought it second hand in Leichhardt in 2004 in a bric a brac shop. Chop Chop was owned by Phillip Cordukes, and both this and Alex’s boat, Alvacore, 1496, were built by Alex. Astoundingly for this sort of find, Chop Chop is complete, right down to the cane battens, well, alright, maybe one is missing.
Chris Cleary inspected Chop Chop last Saturday, Nov 4. He reports that her new home port is Milsons Passage, a stunning little collection of cottages and boatsheds on the riverbank 5 km upstream from the Hawkesbury River Bridge, north of Sydney. The place is only accessible by boat. Her new skipper is Ameli Tanchitsa. He is pleased to also report that the boat is in remarkably good condition. Although the hull will ultimately be sanded back and revarnished, it could be sailed as is. It just needs a mainblock, a mainsheet of adequate length, a pair of diamond struts and a new starboard chainplate.
Apart from the many memories of sailing against Phillip, and Alex, at Narrabeen I have one memory that stands out; we stayed at Bundeena one Easter and the Cordukes were nearby with both their boats, so Phillip and I spent a great day sailing on Port Hacking in quite big seas, surfing waves past the ferry at times!
This find is great news for a number of reasons, firstly because it is a boat that many of us know and have fond memories of, and secondly because it does show that there are still boats out there, some like Chop Chop complete, just waiting to be found. So get out there and start looking, this gives us all the opportunity to choose to build or to restore, whichever we prefer.
Chris Cleary, one of the moderators of this website, visited Geelong on Monday 23 October and took the opportunity to inspect the Australian Sailfish on sale at 123 Retro Antiques, 3/287 Melbourne Rd, North Geelong (see blog post 1 Sept 2017 and Classifieds).
An assessment of the boat was limited by the unwillingness of the shop’s manager to lower the hull from the wall. We were told to return on a Saturday when there would be staff to assist. Nevertheless, the hull looks to be in good condition apart from a small but easily repairable puncture hole in the bottom on the starboard side. The bottom panels and sides are painted. The deck is a very attractive varnished ply with a lovely figured grain. The appearance of the deck is spoilt slightly by the non-skid material applied aft of the main track. There were two centreboards with the boat, one of which was for the Sailfish, the other for a larger dinghy.
The price has been reduced to $159.
Apart from the hole in the starboard bottom panel, the boat appears to be sound and well-constructed, with the paint and varnish in good condition. It has the appearance of a serious racer.
For anyone seeking a mount for the forthcoming regatta season, this boat is well worth considering, and is too good to be lost or thrown away, so take a drive down to North Geelong and check it out.
If you are interested, visit on a Saturday (and even then, ring beforehand to confirm that it can be taken off the wall for close inspection).
Steven Floyd leads Chris Cleary at the 2017 Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta, photo by Hayden Ramsdale.
Chris was the class’s most successful National Champion, winning three National Titles in a row in the 1970s and Steven won the last National Title contested (so far?). To have them both there with their respective title winning boats was something special.
Held every Australia Day weekend ICWDR is a major wooden boat event on the calendar, which saw 11 Australian Sailfish front up this year.
Regatta season is almost upon us, so best get ready. Cairn Curran is coming up on the weekend of 25th and 26th of November, then a month off for Christmas and then back to Inverloch over the Australia Day weekend. There are a number of other events in 2018 including Geelong and Paynesville and we will have more on them later, so there is no shortage of choice as to where you want to see or sail your Sailfish.
Last week, a newly completed Australian Sailfish was launched into the tropical waters of Keppel Bay at Yeppoon in Queensland. It was the second Sailfish launch in the space of seven days. Given the demise of the Australian Sailfish as an active class in the late 1980’s, this is extraordinary.
The new boat is ‘Woody’, built by Royce Powe. It is the lovely boat featured on this website in the Queensland section of the Gallery.
Congratulations to Royce. Such a beautiful example of the Sailfish class might inspire other builds in the Sunshine State.
It is interesting to note that, in the early 1960’s, Queensland was the first state to which the Australian Sailfish class spread after it originated in Victoria. This blogmeister can feel in his bones the stirrings of a Northern Sailfish Revivalist Tour, a caravan of baby-boomer Victorian and New South Wales disciples travelling north, probably in mid-winter.
Yesterday, Saturday 7 October, in a breezy 10 to 18 knots of gusty wind, Brian Carroll launched his newly built Australian Sailfish on the Gippsland Lakes at Paynesville. In a lovely tribute to his father, the new boat was named ‘Jack’s Toy’.
This boat would have to be the first Sailfish built in Victoria since the 1980’s. The sail was made by Brian, proprietor of Unique Sails, Paynesville.. He reports that it is a light hull, requiring lead correctors to meet minimum weight.
Congratulations Brian! The boat looks great. It will be wonderful to see her at the Classic Dinghy Classes Invitation Weekend at Cairn Curran Sailing Club at the end of next month.
This website has been informed by Tony Bytheway, our Lake Macquarie correspondent, that the annual Zhik Single Handed Regatta is to be held at South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club (SLMASC) on November 4th and 5th, 2017. SLMASC is located at Sunshine, and was the site of heats of several Australian Sailfish NSW Championships in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. It is a wonderful venue for dinghy sailing.
The old boat Janus is sniffing the breeze, particularly after the wonderful time she had after being dragged out of mothballs for the Inverloch regatta last January. Her skipper however is uncertain as to his ability to cope with eight races in two days. Anyone in the NSW branch of our class who may be interested can find details of the event at http://www.slmasc.org/events. Should there be a Sailfish entrant, please let this website know so that we can report on how you go.
A heat start at the 1980/81 National Titles, photo taken by John Milton.
Unknown Victorian skipper on Tony Bytheway’s boat 2165, Jim; Warren Jones on 2159, Silent Running; Chris Drury on 3390, Muffin; Ian Milton on 2171, Deceptive Benz; Scott Hammond on 3399, Pertinacious; others unknown, but if you can recognise any of them let us know.
This Title was eventually won by Graeme Remington on 2164, Licorice Stick, who is tucked in behind 3390 and 2171 in this photo.
Over the last year we have had well over 40 requests for plans of the Australian Sailfish. Just quietly, this blew Chris and I away, you have exceeded our wildest expectations.
If you requested a set of plans and have started, or even completed a build, we would love to hear from you. It doesn’t matter if you are here in Australia, or in Canada, the USA or Europe, if you have a story to tell about your build, or photos to share please get in touch via the Contact page.
Brian here in Victoria and Royce in Queensland have been incredibly generous with information and photos of their builds, and each time we can put up a new blog about a build or add photos to the Gallery it supplies guidance and inspiration for others.
So go on, we would love to hear about how your build is going.
This website is nearly a year old, and to celebrate Chris and I thought we should try our hand at a slight revamp, hopefully not so much as to scare anyone, least of all ourselves.
The response from everyone has been fantastic, both in turning up at events, with or without a boat, and in online support via stories, photos and emails, so thank you all.
Plan requests have exceeded our wildest expectations and the idea that we have boats being built in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, plus San Francisco and a few places in Europe is just astounding.
There are more photos of our latest Queensland boat in the Queensland Gallery, well done Royce, so have a look at that as well. I am sure that if any of us are up around Keppel Bay it would be a blast to have another Sailfish to race against.
Keep the stories and the photos coming, doesn’t matter if they are old photos or new ones, it is all part of the history of the Australian Sailfish.