Text by Chris Cleary.
One of the many interesting people associated with the Australian Sailfish contacted me by email a month or so ago. “Call me”, the message requested. Which I did – it was Martin Kortlucke, in Brisbane.
As a consequence of some health issues, Martin needed to part with his Sailfish which had been moored in his garage for many years. “Free to a good home”, he said. This website passed the information onto our Brisbane contacts, and Warwick Norton snapped up the boat within a few days (see blog entry dated July 19, 2018).
I first met Martin at the 1972-73 Sailfish National Championships, held on Cairn Curran Reservoir near Maldon in central Victoria. His boat was ‘Zorba”, boat number 1154. He had sailed the boat on the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay, but the titles were the first time he had ever raced a sailboat! He came 14th.
He was tall and rangy, and very strong. The ’72-73 titles were dominated by heavy winds. In one heat, a shackle on his forestay broke soon after the start and his mast came down. In rough water he was able to fit a spare shackle, haul up the mast and sail again and recommence the race. I clearly remember the race officials shaking their heads in wonderment as they described his efforts at the briefing the following day. He was given a prize at the awards night. This is the entry from the March 1973 Newsletter:
Martin also attended the 1973-74 championships on Narrabeen Lakes the following year. He came 9th.
As a child, Martin had become fascinated by the sea and sailing and the square-riggers. His very first sailing trip was in 1971 on the barque ‘Endeavour II’. This ship sailed to Australia from Canada to take part in the 1970 James Cook Bicentenary celebrations. He signed on as crew for a five week trip to New Zealand, the first leg of its return voyage to North America. In high seas the ship was wrecked on the Parengarenga Bar at the northern tip of the north island of New Zealand. Along with the other 13 crew, he had to swim two miles to safety. An exciting introduction to sailing!
Undaunted by that, he was determined to learn to sail. He was advised to buy a Sailfish. “If you can sail a Sailfish you can sail anything”, he was told. ‘Zorba’ was his first. He subsequently built his second, using what was then the relatively new technique of wood/epoxy sheathing. The boat acquired by Warwick was his third Sailfish.
Martin is a Mechanical Engineer, now retired. He has always been intellectually inquisitive. Over his sailing life he has built seven boats of various types, all of them technically adventurous. One of them was a Phil Bolger 30 ft gaff-rigged ‘folding’ schooner. Martin built it as a bow section and a stern section so they could be carried together on his boat trailer. To go sailing, the two sections were bolted together amidships.
Martin was the 1982 National Champion in the 14 ft Calypso class catamaran, with his wife, Nola, as crew. Over his sailing life he has also had extensive ocean racing and boat delivery experience off the east coast of Australia, almost exclusively in multihulls. He sailed in the Brisbane to Gladstone race on seven occasions, and has raced the Sydney to Brisbane, Gladstone to Cairns and Townsville to Brampton Island races among other events. His boats have taken line honours and set records on a number of occasions. I remember Martin showing me over the ocean racing trimaran he crewed on when I visited Brisbane many years ago. ‘Devils 3’ was a 37 ft lightweight fibreglass flyer. I found it very disconcerting that the sides of the central hull seemed barely opaque. Martin wasn’t troubled at all.
He is well-known in Queensland boating circles, has been a longstanding member of the Wooden Boat Association of Queensland and was editor of the association newsletter for an extended period.
This website thanks Martin for his generosity in passing on his Sailfish, and wishes him all the very best.