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Acrospire II

Vessel Number: HV000148
Date: 1911
Builder: Peel Bros
Vessel Dimensions: 7.62 m x 6.71 m x 1.98 m x 0.3 m (25 ft x 22 ft x 6.5 ft x 1 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
ACROSPIRE II is a very significant early racing yacht design by Charlie Peel.
DescriptionCharlie Peel had developed a reputation for fast centreboard yachts by 1911 when Joe White commissioned the design of ACROSPIRE II for lake racing in Ballarat. Like THERA its bigger sister from the same year, ACROSPIRE II established a freakish reputation of its own as it won most events it raced in, and caused a rift between the inland clubs.

The yacht was built by the newly created firm Peel Bros, owned and run by Charlie and his brother Harold. Their shed was on the Maribyrnong River near Shepherd’s Bridge. ACROSPIRE II was one of the largest racing yachts designed for the inland lakes in Victoria at that time. White's first ACROSPIRE remains elusive, but one newspaper record shows it raced in a mixed fleet including the 7.6m long IDLER (HV000475) suggesting it may have been one of the early square-sterned racing yachts popular on Port Phillip in the early 1900s. His third yacht ACROSPIRE III was a large gaff cutter. The name ACROSPIRE is taken from the term that relates to a stage in the grain used in brewing. When it has grown its first shoot it is the right time to use the grain, and that shoot is called the ‘acropsire’. Joe White owned a malthouse, so the name was very apt.

7.59 metres long on a 5.7 metre waterline with 46. 7 sq metres of sail, ACROSPIRE II rated at about 1.86 under the Victorian Yacht Racing Association's version of the older Waterline and Sail area rule. When rigged it is over 12 metres long from the end of the boom to the end of the 2.5 metre long bowsprit. The long hull overhangs at the bow and stern and very shallow skimming dish hull shape combined with the live ballast crew sitting out on the gunwale to give ACROSPIRE II its outstanding performance. In a good breeze the craft easily pushed into semi-displacement sailing speeds, and there would have been times it was almost planing, quite a feat for craft of that period.

In 1914 ACROSPIRE II is recorded in the Argus as sailing on Albert Park, and during the race on Saturday 26 January, it capsized. A later report from 13 April 1925 shows ACROSPIRE II with a broken mast, which happened during a race for the Temple Cup. The caption indicates the crew jumped overboard and stood up on the shallow lake bottom to retrieve the broken gear.

ACROSPIRE II was purchased by Albert Park Yacht Club in the early 1970s and has been extensively restored by Garry Stewart as a reminder of those early days of Victorian yachting. Carrying a large gaff rig with a long bowsprit and long boom as it was originally configured, ACROSPIRE II teaches a new generation about traditional sailing and boat handling, and has even been back to Ballarat to once again head the fleet home on the race course.
Vessel Details
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Current status:outside
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Hull shape:semi-displacement
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:pivoting centreboardswing board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:skeg rudder
Related materials:news clippings
Related materials:photos
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop

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