LIONHEART was sailed by teenager Jesse Martin from Melbourne, Victoria when he became the youngest person to sail a solo and unassisted circumnavigation in 1998/99. He followed a route that satisfied the definition of a crcumnavigation from the controlling body, the World Speed Sailing Record Council. The yacht was an Australian-built production craft based on an American design which was modified with additional equipment and safety features for the dangerous voyage. This approach is shared by other solo sailors of the period such as Kay Cottee in her yacht BLACKMORES FIRST LADY (HV000084). By 2011 Martin's achievement had not been repeated. The yacht is well known in Melbourne and widely recognised. It represents the years around the 1988 Bicentenary, when the challenge of solo sailing and circumnavigations attracted many Australian sailors.
DescriptionLIONHEART is an S&S 34 class production yacht built in 1980 by Harley Swarbrick’s company Swarbrick Yachts in Perth, Western Australia. The S&S 34 (34 feet or 10.36 m long) was a popular and durable class designed in the late 1960s by Sparkman and Stephens, the important international firm of American naval architects. It has a typical elegant shape for that period, yet twenty years later the design was still respected as an able sea-going yacht. The moulds for the hull were licensed around the world. A sister-ship from England, Sir Edward Heath's MORNING CLOUD, won the 1969 Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Jesse Martin began planning his voyage when he was just 13 years old, inspired by the growth in solo and adventure sailing of that time. For example, Australian Kay Cottee had become the first woman to successfully circumnavigate, solo and unassisted in 1988.
Strongly supported by family and friends, 17 year-old Martin left in December 1998 well prepared for the long voyage ahead. Like other solo adventure sailors of the period, often restricted by their resources, he chose to modify an existing stock designed production yacht. The S&S 34's solid fibreglass construction was very sturdy, and the yacht was an ideal size for him to handle alone. It was well set up with additional safety features, spare equipment and items required for the extended period he would be away.
Martin had the rig modified to a sloop/cutter rig and carried an additional inner forestay, baby stay and running backstays. This gave it much greater support and allowed him to carry a variety of headsails, and they were easier to set and stow in difficult conditions.
Down below Martin stripped the mattresses and other fitout from the forepeak, and installed a water tight collision bulkhead with foam buoyancy material toward the stem, then used the remaining space for the large quantity of food needed. Under the starboard saloon berth he fitted a large stainless steel tank for methylated spirits to fuel the stove, and he carried an extensive range of navigation and communication electronics and computers. For many items he carried spares as back-up for emergency or equipment failure. As well as electronic self-steering aids he had a mechanical wind-vane self steering system mounted on the transom. Also on deck across the stern was a stainless-steel framework to support solar panels.
Just 300 well wishers saw LIONHEART leave from Port Phillip on 7 December 1998, but 11 months later a crowd of 25,000 lined the shores at Sandringham to welcome him back. Behind Martin were 27,000 nautical miles of sailing, some of it in wild and extreme conditions. He stepped off LIONHEART a very satisfied 18 year old adventurer. Throughout the voyage he had captured the hearts of his many supporters with email contact, weekly newspaper columns and live broadcasts, so that the public could share his experiences live. He wrote a book about the adventure 'LIONHEART - A journey of the human spirit' which was published in 2000.
In 2012 his achievement as the youngest person to complete an unassisted solo circumnavigation remains intact. The World Speed Sailing Record Council is the recognised authority, and Martin is listed as the 'Youngest non stop, singlehanded circumnavigation'. Other voyages have been made made, but they have not fulfilled the correct definition of a circumnavigation, which includes sailing along a route or point-to-point track that is the full distance of a true circumnavigation around the globe.
Martin sold LIONHEART in 2002 and acquired a larger yacht for new adventures. The new owner has refitted LIONHEART's forepeak and removed some of the additions made by Martin to suit his solo voyage including the running backstays, inner forestay, steering vane, solar panel framework and methylated spirits tank. LIONHEART is used for racing and cruising in Victoria where it remains well recognised by those who followed the voyage.
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:fibreglass
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:fibreglass
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:fibreglassFRPGRP
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:fin keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:skeg rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Primary title: Lionheart
Previous title: Petrel
Sail Number: SM 2000
Vessel Registration Number: 855381