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Miss Nylex

Vessel Number: HV000071
Date: 1971
Builder: Len Dobson
Designer: Roy Martin
Previous Owner: MISS NYLEX Syndicate ,
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 7.62 m x 4.27 m, 0.32 tonnes (25 ft x 14 ft, 0.33 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
MISS NYLEX is a composite fibreglass construction racing catamaran built in Victoria in the early 1970s. It was the first C-Class catamaran to defend the International trophy then known as the Little America's Cup using a solid wing sail, and was designed and built completely in Australia. MISS NYLEX represnts the early stages of the successful application of this rig configuration to sailing yachts, and Australia's significant role in its development.
DescriptionMISS NYLEX raced for the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy which began in 1960 and was held every two years. QUEST II of Australia won the series in 1970, defeating a Danish holder of the trophy. The series was always run as a match race between two C-Class catamarans from competing nations, and became known as the Little America's Cup as it shared a similar format to the America's Cup series.

For the 1972 series a syndicate was formed with sponsorship from the Nylex Corporation to design and build a new technology, solid wing-sailed craft. The designer was Roy Martin, and the syndicate included John Buzaglo, Roy Martin, Chris Wilson, Frank Strange and Leon Ward. Sponsored by the Nylex Corporation, it carried the name MISS NYLEX.

The 7.6 m long composite hulls were built in Victoria by Len Dobson, and although MISS NYLEX performed well in trials, it was considered too risky to use as there was no spare wing sail in case of an accident. Instead the cup was defended by the more conventional QUEST III. In 1974, with a back-up wingsail in reserve, MISS NYLEX was chosen to defend the trophy, and defeated the New Zealand challenger. MISS NYLEX was crewed by Bruce Proctor and Graeme Ainslie and the series was sailed off Sorrento on Port Phillip.

Prior to this event it set a new Australian sailing speed record of 24 knots, and also beat the 18-foot skiffs on Sydney Harbour in a 'Cock-o-the-Harbour' speed race.

For 1976 a set of new, stronger hulls were built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation to the same shape as the original hulls made by Dobson. MISS NYLEX won the right to be defender, but in a series characterized by light winds, the Achilles’' heel of the wing sail at that time, the soft-sailed, super light American catamaran AQUARIUS won the series 5 to 4.

The syndicate disbanded after that series, but the pioneering work was carried on by other Australian syndicates and the trophy was regained and defended by Australia in a later series with wing-sailed craft. Meanwhile MISS NYLEX was used only occasionally sailing from the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron before it was dismantled and the parts became separated. In the mid 1980s some parts were rediscovered under a compost heap in a back yard. A search was then mounted which soon located the other items dispersed around Melbourne. Members of the original syndicate got together and along with Bob French restored the boat to its 1976 condition. In 1988 MISS NYLEX was donated by the C-Class Catamaran Association of Australia to the Australian National Maritime Museum to become part of the National Maritime Collection.

It was on display when the Museum opened in 1991, but since 2006 it is in storage until another opportunity comes around to put it back on show as a remarkable example of pioneering Australian design.
Vessel Details
Current status:inside building
Current status:non-operational
Current status:not on display
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:wood/fibreglass
Hull shape:multihull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:dagger boarddrop board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Related materials:interviews
Related materials:news clippings
Related materials:photos
Related materials:plans
Deck layout:other
Deck material and construction:other
Rig type:other
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: KA 29

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