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Vessel Number: HV000260
Date: 1949
Designer: Alan Payne
Vessel Dimensions: 10.67 m x 8.99 m x 2.29 m x 1.75 m, 3.84 tonnes (35 ft x 29.5 ft x 7.5 ft x 5.75 ft, 3.9 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
SERENADE is one of two innovative sister-ship yachts designed in the late 1940s by renowned Sydney naval architect Alan Payne. It featured a spade rudder separated from the keel, an innovation for offshore racing yachts. It gave better control yet was not widely adopted until more than a decade later, in the 1960s.
DescriptionSERENADE was built by CF Haddock in Sydney in 1949 for Les Wilsford, an experienced sailor, who had been a crew member aboard WAYFARER in the first Sydney to Hobart race in 1945.

Wilsford wanted a craft to race on Sydney Harbour with the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club which had a maximum length of 35 ft (10.66 m). Payne developed ideas for a craft based on the much longer, Scandinavian, 30 Square Metre class boats.

This class had a small fleet in Australia and regularly featured in international yachting magazines. The light-weight class had exceptional performance on a short waterline.

Payne created a short 30 Square Metre type hull to fit the SASC length limit by snubbing the long overhanging ends typical to the class. He also gave the hull a raised deck for better accommodation and took the interesting step of separating the rudder from the keel to move it further aft for better control. This feature was common on models and dinghies, but not seen on cruising and racing yachts at that time. SERENADE was carvel-planked and sloop-rigged.

Geoff Ruggles, another of WAYFARER's 1945 crew, visited Payne at his kitchen-table office when the plans were being drawn, and in a discussion about the rudder, Geoff recalls Alan saying that it worked on skiffs and yachts, and had been done before, so it should work well on the design for SERENADE. Attention to steering, rudder size and position was a detail that was given close attention on many of Payne's designs.

Owner Wilsford's colleague, Bob Bull, another Hobart race veteran and winner in 1946, saw the design and he, too, recognised its possible virtues for ocean racing under the RORC rule. Bull then commissioned Haddock to build another hull which became the ocean racer NOCTURNE, the best known of the two sister-ships. It is believed SERENADE and NOCTURNE were launched within a short period of each other.

A third near-sister-ship, called TERRA NOVA, was built in Tasmania for Ken Gourlay during the 1950s, but he requested a conventional arrangement with the rudder on the back of the keel. The yachts were lightly built for the period with cedar planking and became known for their good speed downwind and ability to surf on ocean waves.

SERENADE raced with sail number A26 at SASC for many years, and competed in the 1956 Sydney to Hobart Race. A deeper spade rudder than the original design was added in a modification approved by the designer. In the mid 1980s it was owned by Jim Dalrylmple, then operator of Pattons Slipway, an 'institution' in Careening Cove.

SERENADE remained on Sydney Harbour until the early 1990s when it was bought and taken north to Port Stephens. In 2008 it remained in good condition still sailing at Port Stephens under a sloop rig, and reunited with its original wooden mast.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Current status:outside
Deck layout:cabin
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:plumb transomvertical transom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:fin keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:spade rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Propeller:variable pitchadjustable pitch
Rig type:BermudanBermudianmarconi
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: A26

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