In February 2017 David Jones contacted the website expressing an interest in Sailfish 600 Helen, but that had already been snapped up by Ken Maynard. Emails went back and forth for a while over other possibilities and then in late March when I spotted what might be a suitable boat on Gumtree, I let David know and off he went to investigate.
This is what he found, a basically sound hull in need of some restoration:
Like so many of our recovered boats, 150 had sat in a shed for the last 20 years, only coming on to the market as the property was being sold. It had been purchased by the then current owner in 1962 in Melbourne and taken to North East Victoria, where it was sailed on Lake Buffalo from time to time. We then found out that the sail number of 150 is not the plan number at all, it was in fact the price the previous owner had paid for it, in pounds!
A quick check of the plan sales records indicate that if this boat was completed in 1962, the actual plan number would be lower than that, so this one is a real antique, in Sailfish terms.
The hull was in need of a good sand and some fresh varnish, but wouldn’t we all after all those years in a shed, and although most of the structure looked ok it is always a bit hard to tell until it has been fully checked out. Certainly the gunwales were knocked around a bit and some of the fit out needed updating as well but the big win was that the Prior sail and mast were in a good state.
And so, David and his brother Julian began the restoration. To assist with this they requested a set of plans, to help them with any repairs and remind them of the basic layout of the structure of the boat.
In October we received an update, and progress was going well, with the hull now all stripped back.
And then at the start of February 2018 we received the following from David:
“My brother Julian and I, finally got the Sailfish back in the water over the long weekend up here in Wodonga. You will remember the boat had spent it’s whole sailing life up in the north east, on Lake Buffalo. Rolly, the original owner of 150, had purchased it new in 1962. Thanks to your eagle eyes we are able to snap it up in March.
While we may not have got to the stage of a trip to Inverloch, we had our own celebrations up here on the Saturday, heading out to the Hume Weir to raise the red and white sail of Rolly’s 150 for the first time on water in many a year.
The light breeze seemed ideal for testing out the sailfish for the first time …and to see if our boyhood sailing skills were going to keep us afloat. Both boat and bodies saw out a full day of sailing, which was fantastic, and we even welcomed a pick up in the breeze and boat speed in the late afternoon.
The sailfish has now headed to Melbourne with Julian. Our plan is to sail it on the bay, returning to our original sailing areas off Parkdale and Beaumaris. Hopefully we will also have a nostalgic outing back on Lake Buffalo with the sailfish at some stage.”
Well done to David and Julian, those last photos make me want to go for a sail on the Hume Weir. And remember, if you are down around the bay in the Parkdale or Beaumaris area and you see a red and white striped Sailfish sail, go down and say hello, it will be either David or Julian with their boat from the mountains.
And I hope we will see them at the 2019 Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta where we will have the chance to have a good look at their handywork.