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Vessel Number: HV000152
Date: 1940
Previous Owner:
Vessel Dimensions: 12.19 m x 9.45 m x 3.2 m x 1.9 m, 16.73 tonnes (40 ft x 31 ft x 10.5 ft x 6.25 ft, 17 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
WAYFARER is a racing and cruising yacht that was built at Gladesville, Sydney in 1940 by Charlie Larson for Peter Luke. Luke was one of the main people responsible for founding the first Sydney to Hobart Race in 1945. Almost 70 years on from that period WAYFARER is one of only three surviving yachts from the first race for this prestigious national and internationally recognised event. It still holds a special place in the history of the race as the holder of the record for the slowest time taken to complete the race. The yacht was owned by Peter Luke until he passed away in 2007.
DescriptionWAYFARER was built by Charlie Larson at his Gladesville shed, and launched in 1940 during wartime. Owner Peter Luke had spent much of his youth sailing small craft around Sydney Harbour and along the coast, but his real dreams lay offshore with a larger yacht.

Peter Luke was inspired by the designs of John Alden. He had seen them in magazines and gained experience aboard a friend's yacht ASGARD which was designed by Alden. He decided to approach Larson who had built MOONBI, another Alden designed yacht. Larson suggested a simple and inexpensive solution whereby he re-spaced the mould stations of MOONBI to make a 40 feet long hull. The hull was planked in Huon pine. Luke wanted a leak proof deck and did not want any cabin or coach house which would create joints. The appearance of the yacht with no cabin and a higher sheerline upset Larson.

Part-way through construction Luke ran short of money, and the hull was launched without a deck or interior fitout. Luke took the hull to Mosman Bay and found a builder who helped him and his wife finish the boat. Many things were scrounged or otherwise acquired because the war situation had made materials scarce. A resourceful approach was required. In the end it had a small coach house to break up the lines and improve the appearance.

Once completed Luke and WAYFARER became part of the wartime Volunteer Coastal Patrol, doing night time patrols around Sydney Harbour and later taking part in exercises along the coast. They managed to sail many miles during this work, and as the war threat moved away from Australia, they were able to cruise along the coast. A small group of yachtsman including Luke met at his father's photographic studio in mid-1944 to form the Cruising Yacht Club, and they had their first event shortly afterwards.

When other CYC members suggested a cruise to Hobart to take place in late 1945 Luke supported the idea, and when Luke invited Captain John Illingworth to join in as well, Illingworth is said to have replied, "Why don't we make it a race?" and the Sydney to Hobart race was born.

WAYFARER was one of nine yachts to start the inaugural event, which proved to be quite an adventure. The race was hit by gales early on, and WAYFARER took shelter on more than one occasion as it headed south along the coast. The log of the voyage notes they called home at two opportunities.

'Dec.28: 4.30pm, Anchored behind Broulee Is....After a good meal went ashore to phone. Tricky surf to land and get off'
'Jan. 5: 3.0pm, Anchored Port Arthur. Made phone calls. Dined and supped ashore. Roast pork and Crayfish'

WAYFARER took over 11 days to reach Hobart, and this is still the slowest time taken by any yacht in this event. It took part in later Sydney to Hobart races as well as other east coast ocean races. Luke also cruised along the coast of Australia for many years with WAYFARER but was never able to do the longer ocean trips he had dreamed of doing.

For many years Luke and his family lived aboard WAYFARER, but eventually he settled ashore on the mid-north coast of NSW, with WAYFARER moored close by. With failing health Peter Luke was generously assisted by local sailors so that he and WAYFARER could still go out for a regular sail. Peter Luke passed away in mid-September 2007 having never been parted from his beloved WAYFARER.

In 2008 new owners took WAYFARER back to Sydney Harbour. It is currently undergoing restoration work on the interior and an overhaul of the hull and rig so that it can be sailing again and part of celebrations for the forthcoming 70th anniversary of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Vessel Details
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Rig type:BermudanBermudianmarconi
Rig type:yawl
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: ST713N

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