A Bit of Class History

From someone who was there and “cut their teeth” on an Australian Sailfish:


I didn’t start sailing till I was 34, much too old, and it was on a Sailfish I built in about 1964 for my eldest son. He was still much too young so I decided to give it a go and sail it myself. I called the boat “SEA PEPPER” (forgotten the sail number) and the name was beautifully sign written by Bruce Scott. An aside – no other club had boats with names painted on their hulls like Elwood, thanks to the Bruce’s skill. I still have the piece of my Sailfish foredeck, with name, hanging on the wall, and framed by the stringers.

I joined Elwood Sailing Club as it was the closest, and found there were some other Sailfish there. I was a member of Elwood for about 25 years from 1964 to 1987, where I sailed the Sailfish, then after about 6 seasons I went into Herons, then NS14’s, and finally crewed on a Compass 750 for 5 or 6 years, out of Royal Melbourne.

A few of the Sailfish names – Jack of course, Jim Fyvie, Lindsay Phillips, Jim Robinson, Chard Iverson, Karl Weiderman & Les Twentyman. These skippers were roughly my age, but they could all sail! I thought there was no way the hull would stand the stresses imposed, so I had strengthened it up around the mast step and the chainplates. Jim Fyvie thought that it was a bit of furniture as it was so heavy. I was thrilled when it was referred to as “Hot Stuff”. They all encouraged me to attend opening days at other Clubs, and to attend the Regatta Circuit – Cairn Curran, Eppalock, Paynesville, Warranga Basin, Lake Boga, and Yarrawonga. It was the Sailfish Association and the camaraderie exhibited within it that planted the bug that still infects me to this day.

The Association Monthly meetings were not to be missed, as they often featured a speaker of prominence and experience. I am still in wonder as to how the Committee were able to get such speakers to come to a group who sailed, and I quote Brian Carroll “this silly little boat”. Just a couple of examples – the speaker who as a 9 or 10 year old was taken to a Dutch Port to be crew on a square rigger, a cabin boy. He related some 50 years experience before the mast. He recalled a major hull design that enabled the crew to sleep dry. Their quarters were moved from the stern to amidships. They were no longer pooped. The other was John Bertrand, they must have told him a Sailfish was going to win the America’s Cup. Two items he spoke about were Line Sag and how to take advantage of it and Fleet Sailing, how to use other boats in the fleet to determine if you are taking a lift or knock.

It was only after qualifying as a Level 1 Coach, that I came to understand the importance of balance and trim, and together with the words that Jack Carroll had said to me years earlier “it’s the hand on the tiller that wins the race” (still remember him working the waves when beating to windward), and not the lightest, slippery hull, or the new HOT sail, which many skippers blame for their performance, (or lack thereof). It took me years to understand this, but when I did, I realized I was learning how to sail.

At my local club Ian Wayth, an Arrow skipper, hails from around the Castlemaine area, and sailed a Sailfish at Cairn Curran. Not only that, but he was at the November Cairn Curran Regatta of the Big Blow in the mid ‘60’s and it was only recently that we discovered we had sailed the same class at the same memorable Regatta. A sudden, very strong change from a northerly to a gale force southerly caught all unawares and saw the likes of Quickcats cartwheeling from the starting line towards the  Club. The Sailfish skippers that hadn’t left shore crouched behind their boats so as not to be peppered by pebbles, which were blowing with the grit and sand across the beach.

I still can’t believe how lucky and fortunate I was to come across the Australian Sailfish Association, and by another stroke of luck, join Elwood Sailing Club, the home base of the Class at the time, and the home of the top skippers.

It was the Australian Sailfish, the Association and it’s members, taking me into the fold and encouraging me to attend Regattas, that are still my fondest memories of sailing, recalling the Association, and the members who made it.




Inverloch Attractions

Many of us are coming to Inverloch in 2019 with our families, some of whom, for inexplicable reasons, will not want to spend all day watching us sailing on the waters of Anderson Inlet. You can now set their minds at ease by letting them know of the many other things there are to do in and around Inverloch.

There are the markets on the Sunday where there is often a band playing in the park.  For those who don’t want to wander too far, the Main Street has a range of shops and cafes to peruse, all within easy walking distance of the sailing club. When they come back to the sailing club there are also shaded elevated walkways or the jetty to spectate from as well.

For the more adventurous the surf beach is nearby and there is even a surf school for those wanting to try board riding. There are also some good walks to enjoy such as the Screw Creek or Townsend Creek walks, or the Eagles Nest and the coast towards Cape Patterson to explore.

If food and drink is an interest there are local wineries and even Prom Country Cheese back towards Korumburra that might make for an great day out.

And if all of that is not enough to keep everyone busy for three days you can also visit for more ideas.

So, there is plenty to do for everyone, young or old, sailor or non sailor, and we are looking forward to seeing you and your mob at Inverloch over the Australia Day weekend.

2019 Inverloch Regatta Entries

Entries for the 2019 Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta are now open, all the appropriate forms can be found on their website here:

2019 ICWDR Entry Details

or via the following links:

2019 ICWDR Entry Form

2019 ICWDR Insurance Waiver

The Insurance Waiver is new, so even if you have come along before check it out.

2019 Notice of Regatta

2019 Race Rules

2019 Judging Guidelines

2019 Regatta Brochure



Unexpected finds can be the most satisfying kind.

This afternoon I received a message from Paul, who had just picked up an Australian Sailfish from a bloke that was about to burn it. Paul reckons it needs a bit of work to bring it back to it’s prime but is so good it could probably be sailed now. The plan is to do a complete restore of Jaguar and whether that is completed or not, bring it along to Inverloch in January!

Check out the photos, and if you know anything about Jaguar’s history please get in touch so we can fill out the story.

[Jaguar, Australian Sailfish 875, Croydon, Victoria, by Paul Murphy, 18 November 2018]

Hustler is back on the water

Terry on the south coast of NSW has been working away at restoring Hustler for the last year and last weekend they hit the water for the first time, here is what Terry had to say:

Hustler and I have had a sail on Wallagoot Lake. It was a nice sunny day, wind 10 knots out of the ENE. The launch from the beach was good, sail across to the start line ok, tacking under the boom fine. Waiting for the race to start saw me go for a swim, then had trouble staying on the deck to balance the sail as the deck was very slippery after the new varnish.
Shifting, gusty wind conditions then encouraged me to retreat to the beach, where Tony commented “oh you should have put on some surf board wax, it would have helped”.
I have attached some pictures of Hustler, which is a nice dry, well balanced boat.
IMG_20181110_123249 (2).jpg
Australian Sailfish 1806, Hustler. [By Terry Kirby, Wallagoot Lake, November 2018]

Australian Sailfish 1806, Hustler. [By Terry Kirby, Wallagoot Lake, November 2018]
A great restoration job with a shiny new sail from Brian Carroll at Unique Sails, well done Terry.

The CDCIW is almost here

That’s right, just two weeks to go!

There will be lots of interesting boats to check out, we have that great venue that so many of us know and love, the Cairn Curran Sailing Club, and with a bit of luck and good weather some excellent sailing to be had as well.

My close personal friend, Accuweather, is telling me that the days should be fine and sunny with temperatures in the mid to high twenties and NO thunderstorms forecast, which will be a relief to those of us that were there last year.

Bring your boat, bring your sailing gear and bring your sunscreen, we will see you at Cairn Curran on Saturday morning the 24th!

November 2018 Header Photo

Toronto Amateur Sailing Club Four of a Kind Regatta, March 2018.

From the left, Ian Urban on 2028, Bruce!, Royce Powe on Q60, Woody, John Dowzard on 2188, Gooney Bird, Brian Carroll on 3461, Jack’s Toy, Ian Milton on 2192, Apsu & Chris Cleary on 1918, Janus. Just after the start of Race 1 on Saturday the 17th of March.


Photo by Warwick Norton, Lake Macquarie, 17 March 2018.

Almost time for the CDCIW

Once again we are gearing up for the Classic Dinghy Classes Invitation Weekend, and it’s almost here.

What’s not to love? Cairn Curran, classic boats of all sorts and materials, and lots of Australian Sailfish. With a bit of luck the weather gods will be kinder this year and we won’t have dogs being blown off their chains and thunderstorms circling the lake to keep us (scared?), no, on our toes.

November 24 & 25, Cairn Curran Sailing Club (, I hope we will see you there with your timber or your fibreglass Sailfish.


[Photos from a range of sources, see the Gallery for accreditation]