Looking Aft

An Australian citizen who grew up sailing, racing and generally messing about in boats on the waters of Sydney Harbor, and after graduating from high school started work at a local boatyard to be trained as a boat builder completing  a four year apprenticeship. During my training which was split between two boat yards due to redevelopment of the foreshore, I have considered myself fortunate to be trained in the skills of both sailing and motor boats.

The first two years of my apprenticeship  were spent with Jeff Clist Boatbuilding in Annandale, (Sydney), which mainly specialized in sailing yachts, dinghies and spars, which is where we built the Alan Payne designed 39 ft "Lorita Maria" which for many years was a successful competitor in the Sydney to Hobart classic. She was an Australian ocean racing champion and competed in the Fastnet  and other major ocean races around the world. The Bill Luders designed International 5.5 meter yacht "KA14  Barrenjoey" skippered by Sir William Northam which was built at Clist's won Australia's first sailing Olympic gold medal.

The second two years of my apprenticeship were spend at Lewis Brothers Boatbuilding at Taren Point, just south of Sydney, who specialized in water skiing and high speed circuit racing  boats. Boats built at the boatyard held almost every Australian powerboat racing and restricted motor class speed records. Frank Lewis was the older  brother and the main designer of the hull shape, propellers and really knew how to get the best speed and handling out of the boat. Ritchie Lewis was the better boat builder of the two and boats that were produced by them, along with their own engine and system modifications are still sought after my enthusiasts today.

From the training, skills, experience and the collective  knowledge of the various owners and trades personal I have been fortunate to have as my mentors in both these boatyards  is where I have gotten my lifelong desire to design and build better, faster boats.

Since the completion of my apprenticeship and by no means the end of my learning and quest for knowledge, which of course still continues today and before my relocation to the U.S.A.  I designed and built many more boats. Numerous sailing dinghies’ that have won state and national titles in Australia, and raced on some of Australia’s great ocean racers. I designed and built a series of International 5.5 meter class racing yachts which havewon 4 world championships, “Firestorm” twice, “John B 7” and “Alfredo”, and the “Ballymena” which has won 3 Scandinavian Gold cups. Along with the for mentioned  boats other 5.5 meter designs have won regional regatta trophies all over the world. I built the wooden Doug Peterson 51ft cruiser racer “ Bright Morning Star” designed the 40ft "Golden Sabre" and the 65ft “Van Diemen 3” which won its class at the 2008 Hamilton Island race week.

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