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It's not just about the racing

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 19 Nov 21:00 GMT
44Cup fleet © Nico Martinez / 44Cup

Had occasion to be invited to attend a luncheon. It was with a crew that do not even race together anymore, and the boat has been sold many a year ago, as well. Some of the crew still actively sail today, and others not so much.

Now apart from a fair spread of ages, this tight knit crew were amazing for the unbelievable breadth of types of people, careers, and stages of life. As I sat there, observed and pondered, listened and joined in, it was mesmerising to experience the level of interest people held in what others had to say.

It would be easy to use words like "genuine", but as the lunch continued on, I became more and more present to just one thing. Only sailing can really achieve this level of bond, and the time spent on and off the water allows for people's other passions and projects to also shine.

One of the things that I always find brilliant at these sorts of things is just how many sailors are also into cars. Yes, you can always say I am looking for it, but at this table of seven, three souls were serious petrolheads. Old. New. It did not matter. Cars are cars, and the banter is as active and vibrant as it was when talking about mark roundings, or surviving regatta weeks, and the daily attendance at the bar.

In the end, I just wanted to say thanks to this crew for including me so comprehensively, and providing me with the joy of what sailing brings to your life, from another point of view.

Dedication and passion / Legacy and Custodianship

Well the first two are definitely attributes you always find loitering around yachties. The latter two are what you get from that when you are talking about vessels that stand the test of time. This next subject certainly epitomises the former, and also many others to boot.

Down in Hobart, a boat has come up for sale. No ordinary boat mind you, and with a tale to tell. She is Undine, built in 1948, and part of the local Derwent Class.

I asked Bella Laughton-Clark from the Australian Wooden Boat Festival about this little classic. "We have a strong team of young folk that sail about eight D's down here. Now there are some conditions with the sale. By way of example, Undine must sail with the other D's on occasion, it must stay in Tassie, and it also must attend the next two to three Australian Wooden Boat Festivals."

It has been a six-month project to get her to this stage. Undine will be launched February 10th 2024, as part of the Kettering Wooden Boat Rally events. Laughton-Clark added, "We are about to finish, and are yet to decide on a hull colour... A true debate!"

Expressions of interest have just opened for the fully restored Derwent Class racing yacht, Undine. No expense has been spared, with the masters at the Wooden Boat Centre in Tasmania carrying out the job. "We have never sold a boat before, let alone owned a boat, and we were lucky enough to have been gifted Undine by a local marina. We were then even luckier, to find a philanthropist who offered to fund the restoration.

"Essentially, the sale will be a donation to the AWBF. In return, you get your very own Derwent Class. We have a figure in mind, but are open to any negotiations."

Racing will always be the key component

I recently learned of yet another pocket of Finns. There are some sailing out of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, and I gather the great Rafael Joaquín Trujillo Villar (the Maharajah of Finns) is a part of that. This next group hails from the Davey's Bay Yacht Club on the Southern shores of Melbourne's Port Phillip. Soon it may get to a fleet of 20 Finns, and the sailors range from around 17 years of age to over 60.

The fleet races regularly, and many go down after work, rip the covers off and get in some tack and gybe practice as the long summer days take hold. Vessels from the last 20 years are in demand, as too new carbon sticks to help with the tuneability of these hefty beasts. Any sailor is guaranteed a workout with the Finn, but it seems that camaraderie ashore is almost as addictive as the time on the water.

Of course, you'll never have to go too far to find a Finn sailor in any high-end campaign, but it has been great to see this class kick on after exclusion from the Olympics. If you are part of a pocket of Finns, or any other re-emerging class, then please reach out and let us know about your passion. We'd love to spread the word...

OK. There it is. There is so much more on the group's websites for you. Simply use the search field, or 'edition' pull-down menu up the top on the right of the masthead to find it all. Please enjoy your yachting, stay safe, and thanks for tuning into

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World Australia

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