Home' Afloat : AFLOAT January 2016 Contents 12 AFLOAT.com.au January 2016
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A hard lesson learned
After 21⁄2 years in Europe I had a letter from Des Ashton
letting me know he had a 33ft sloop Lahara being built in Hobart
and, as he intended entering both the Sydney-Hobart and Trans
Tasman races, would I be interested in the navigator’s position.
Having just missed crewing aboard Waltzing Matilda in the
Fastnet race I was on the next available passenger liner for home.
Unfortunately, owing to an error by the measurer, Lahara was
dropped to second place in both races. We returned to Sydney
in February, 1952, and I was not only jobless but also broke. Two
days later I read that a navigator was required for a voyage to
the Solomon Islands.
A phone call had me hurrying out to Long Nose Point where I
found the vessel to be a 112ft ex-Navy Fairmile, the owner being an
Fish Markets wharf still closed
The wharf where we have enjoyed our Christmas and New
Year holiday trips to the Sydney Fish Markets in the past remains
closed. Looks like the boaties of Sydney and their guests will be
looking to find a new venue.
My recent enquiry to the Market received the following reply.
“ We still have received no authority to replace the condemned
pontoon wharf and are unable to give a date when it can be
expected to be replaced.
“Once given, the replacement timetable is four weeks to
demolish and remove all the piles and 20 weeks to construct
and install the new pontoon wharf.”
So that’s it, then! The wheels of bureaucracy grind on.
Our most important crewmember was Ted’s wife, Marg, an
ex-model, who was our jib hand. Her other hand was reserved for
Ted when nature called. Ted always sailed to leeward watching
the genoa, one hand on the lee gunnel the other on the tiller. As
required, Marg would remove Ted’s tackle, place it over a bucket,
then tuck everything back in. Nobody ever blinked an eye.
The end of the tiller was carved as the head of a penis. Many
the social picnic outing where Ted would give the tiller to a lady.
We’d all watch as she grasped ... then opened her eyes wide.
Our main competition was old Vic Toll’s 55ft ketch Ruthean
then skippered by his son Ian. Great memories of Zephyrus under
Ruthean’s bow on a hard fought tack, missing by inches as Toll
It wasn’t easy either. Ted never let the moths out of his wallet.
Cotton sails, galvanised wire halyards, wooden blocks and manila
hemp sheets, etc. Ben Lexcen when he was Bob Miller sailed on
Zephyrus. He once threw a container in the water and remarked
how a flat bottomed boat would be a flyer.
We did a Swansea–Sydney race in ’64 and were disqualified
at the start because we didn’t have a self-draining cockpit. We
raced unofficially after everyone else, passed the fleet by Cape
Three Points, broke the starboard running backstay but still
carried a shy kite through The Heads and finished at the CYCA
in a record 51⁄4 hours.
Since then I’ve done Ballyhoo’s last race to Cabbage Tree with
Jack Rooklyn before she went to England; raced Bill Buckle’s old
Buckle Up on Lake Macquarie when she was Red Back. Oh, and
sailed the barquentine One & All from Sydney to Port Melbourne
in 1997 courtesy of a prize from Afloat!
The Entrance Boathouse.
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