AUSTRALIAN SAILFISH ENTHUSIASTS
A large and dedicated group of enthusiasts who restore, build and get together to sail an iconic Australian boat.
The Australian Sailfish is a centreboard dinghy designed in 1956 by Jack Carroll and Bruce Scott to suit the conditions of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Australia. It is a uniquely Australian version of the sailboard boats that emerged in the early post-WW2 period, particularly in the USA.
The Australian Sailfish immediately attracted attention, and it rapidly became popular throughout the eastern states of Australia and in Papua New Guinea. A Class Association was formed in 1961, and National Championships commenced in 1968.
The boat is a scow with a fully-enclosed, fully-decked hull, built, in the vast majority of cases, in wood. It carries a single Bermuda-rigged sail bent to a stayed mast. The design and its construction produce a light but immensely strong and durable boat. It is easy to build and comparatively inexpensive. The boat is easily transported. Most are car-topped, and after a day of sailing they are easily stored in a garage or carport. Importantly, they are unsinkable and safe; the boat is easily righted after a capsize and bailing is obviously not necessary. It is a single-hander but was designed with sufficient buoyancy to carry two adults in safety.
When sailed well, the Australian Sailfish provides exhilarating performance for both non-competitive off-the-beach fun and serious racing. And the strict one-design of the class ensures that racing is close and exciting.
Along with a renewal of interest in Australian classic wooden dinghies generally over the past decade or so, there has been a specific renewal of interest in the Australian Sailfish. The Australian Sailfish website (www.australiansailfish.wordpress.com) has been a part of that revival of interest. The website provides details about the class, coordinates events and, importantly, makes available boat plans and a very detailed building instruction manual by free download. As a consequence, many old boats have been restored and sailed again, and a number of new boats have been built, both in Australia and around the world – testimony to a terrific small boat.
Length of boat: 11′ 6″ (3.51m).
Beam: 2′ 11″ (0.89m).
Draft: 6″ (0.15m) – board up; 2′ 8″ (0.81m) – board down.
Minimum weight: 63 lbs (29kg).
Sail area: 65 sq. feet (6.04m2).
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