5 March 2018 – Well the first entries had mixed success; we gathered a lot of information about Oscar Bullfrog (thanks Peter Stuchberry) although we still don’t now what happened to Oscar or where it is, but we have not heard a squeak about Bounty, so her fate remains a mystery. Remember, this is supposed to be interactive, so if you can add anything at all to what happened to these boats get in touch via the contact page.
This month a slight change of pace, a boat that was a significant contributor to the NSW fleet without ever winning a championship.
1414 – Gus – This boat introduced more people to sailing Australian Sailfish at Narrabeen than any other boat I know of. Plan number 1414 was sold to Ben Castle, then President of the NSW Sailfish Association and Gus was sailed by Ben in the first National Titles at Narrabeen in 1969/70. Gus was pretty flash stuff in it’s day, six batten main, tapered aluminium mast and a varnished cedar hull that looked fantastic.
Gus always seemed to be in use by someone, either the owner or being borrowed, in the fleet somewhere at State Titles and usually around the place at any NSW hosted National Titles, never up the front, but always there.
When I started sailing, Gus was sitting on the racks in the old Green Boat shed and was (just) out of my price range, although I did get to sail her a few times, usually when my own boat was broken. John Dowzard also sailed Gus at one stage and then ownership moved on to Martin Lloyd, then to Norton’s Navy where it was sailed by Darren, Astrid and Warwick in the early to mid eighties. It’s final known owner was Daniel LaForest and after that the trail runs cold.
And here is a bit more about Gus from Warwick Norton:
“In the Lake Mokoan 81’82 Nationals photo on the site you can see the 14 of 1414 on Gus sail. The little kid in the black shirt in the middle of the shot is me standing back with the mainsheet checking out the trim of the sail. On the Pennant for the 81-82 NSW State Title Gus is being campaigned.
Gus provided several of the Norton clan with the opportunity to develop our sailing/racing skills.
Gus started my ‘career’ in sailfishing by providing me with the opportunity to develop my base knowledge and skill set that latter developed on Silent Running and Furyous. Gus may have been getting a bit heavy and showing a few signs of age but even so, with a bit of breeze, Gus could hold it’s own with the other much younger hulls, sails and rigging.”
It would be great to know what happened to her, so if you know anything at all about where she went after the LaForest family, or if you have Gus sitting in your carport, please let us know, this one is a bit of a legend north of the Murray River.
And a further update from Astrid Norton:
“Last we heard about Gus was just after we sold the boat in the early/mid 1980’s.
The people that bought it owned the local Best Western Hotel and never looked after the boat. It was left outside to rot in the weather sadly. We haven’t heard anything since.
Sorry that I can’t be the bearer of better news.”
1 February 2018 – The idea for this new section came about from a discussion with Ray Cross on the beach after the Saturday race at this year’s Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta. There are a number of Australian Sailfish out there that are significant for a variety of reasons, they might have been champion boats, they might have been well known boats, they might have been little known boats that made a difference to the class, whatever.
So I thought, wouldn’t it be something to find some of these boats, or at the very least, find out what had happened to some of these boats. Every month or so, we will list a boat with as much history as we can find out or remember. If you know of the boat and can tell some of it’s story, or you have the boat, or know where it is, get in touch to help us build the class history.
So to begin, two boats, one from Victoria and one from New South Wales . . . .
3360 – Oscar Bullfrog – the plan number for Oscar was sold to Ray Cross in 1977, and Ray enjoyed some success in the 1978 State Titles placing second to Peter Coburn who was sailing Ray’s earlier boat, Stanley Crocodile. Ray then lent Oscar to Chris Drury for the 1979 State Titles at Indented Head, where Chris finished third behind Jamie Robertson and Stuart Wallace. Like Stanley, Oscar was a well known boat in the Victorian fleet at the time, but after Ray committed to building 3370 On Target II, Oscar was sold. Tanelorn, 3430 came after On Target II. The latest information we have is that Oscar’s sail, rudder and centreboard were left at the Ballarat Yacht Club boat storage and the hull and maybe the mast were taken to the new owner’s home in Ballarat. We think that the new owner might have been an old school mate of one of the Flynn boys, and we know that Peter Stutchbery tried to buy Oscar a couple of times, without success.
So, the last known residence of Oscar Bullfrog was the Ballarat area, any leads? Are you the person who bought Oscar?
Does anyone out there know what happened to Oscar? Did you at some time own Oscar, or do you know the name of anyone who did? Have a think, and get in touch if you remember anything at all about Oscar Bullfrog.
1250 – Bounty – Australian Sailfish plan 1250 was sold to Neil Bowles from Narrabeen Lakes Sailing Club in 1967. Neil then went on to build one of the classic boats of the class, and the first built to minimum weight in New South Wales. I remember Neil telling me that he spent an entire afternoon at a timber yard going through piece after piece after piece of timber to find the exact right one to make the mast.
Neil dominated the NSW Sailfish fleet for many seasons and was the acknowledged master of the lake, winning two National Titles there (71/72 & 73/74) and at least one NSW State Title (71/72). The results for the 69/70 & 70/71 NSW State Titles are still lost, so that number might yet be added to.
Neil then passed Bounty to his son, Glenn who also achieved success, winning the 77/78 Junior National Title at Toronto and the 77/78 & 78/79 State Titles as well as placing in others.
Bounty was distinctive in appearance with a black hull, red deck and varnished gunwales, and Jack Carroll recently told me he always hated to see that sail number, as he knew he had a battle on his hands if it was around.
By 1980 Glenn had moved on from Sailfish and Bounty was sold to a family over the back fence from the Bowles house in The Esplanade in Narrabeen. She was then repainted a dove grey colour and we believe renamed Pussyfoot, and at this point we lost track of her.
Are you the person who bought Bounty from the Bowles? Or do you know what happened to her? If you can fill in any of the background please get in touch.
And stay tuned for more Whatever Happened To . . . . .