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Vessel Number: HV000291
Date: 1934
Vessel Dimensions: 6 m (19.69 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
RAGAMUFFIN is believed to be the second International 12 Square Metre Sharpie class sailing dinghy built in Australia. Built and launched in 1934 with the name COMET, it won the second national championships event held for the class in 1938. In 2009 it was stored out of the water but in original condition showing the planking, rig and layout for the original design.
DescriptionThe International 12 Square Metre Sharpie class was introduced into Australia around 1934 from Europe where it was very popular on lakes and partially enclosed waters. The first Sharpie imported into Adelaide, South Australia came from Germany in 1934. However in 1933, Port Adelaide Sailing Club member Paul Lotz had brought back plans for the class on his return from Europe. The story told by the club in their history 'A Sailing-boat Club at Port Adelaide' is that O J (Ossie) O'Grady, Mark Mitchell and Colin Haslegrove were the first to launch Sharpies in SA. It is thought that RAGAMUFFIN, then called COMET and owned by O'Grady, was the second Sharpie, launched sometime in 1934. Shortly after, builder George Ross of Woodville, South Australia began constructing hulls in mass production. By 1935 he was advertising them for sale at various stages of completion.

The one design class was very quickly adopted in a number of states after the high speed performance of the first few sharpies became known amongst dinghy sailors. Word spread when COMET raced unofficially with the strong Victorian 14 foot skiff fleet, and beat all of them to the first mark after starting from behind. The first National Sharpie Championships were sailed in Melbourne in 1937 and by then COMET had been sold to Bill Hay from Victoria who renamed it RAGAMUFFIN. Previous owner O'Grady won this event in a new boat, but the following year Hay went to the championships in Hobart with top skipper Mick Brooke and RAGAMUFFIN won.

The boat's story after that is unclear, but it remained structurally unchanged and although not in good condition after years out of the water, RAGAMUFFIN retained all its original material and configuration. It is planned to restore it to sailing condition.

The International 12 Square Metre Sharpie began to edge out local Australian classes such as the 14 foot Skiffs in Adelaide, and the Sharpie has an important place in Australian sailing history. A number of well known sailors sailed Sharpies early in their careers including Sir James Hardy, John Cuneo, Harry Perry Jnr, Ediss Boyes and Rolly Tasker. The dinghy's impressive performance was an influence on Bob Miller when he designed the revolutionary 18 foot skiff TAIPAN in 1959. By the early 1960s Australian innovation had created the 'light-weight sharpie' with a hull of light plywood instead of heavier planking and a Bermudan rig. This boat became the Australian Sharpie, a new class which replaced the older Sharpie. In 2009 the Australian Sharpie was still a popular class.
Vessel Details
Current status:inside building
Deck layout:open
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:batten seam
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:chines
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:planing
Hull shape:vee-bottomv-bottomv-sectionvee-section
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:dagger boarddrop board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Additional Titles

Previous title: Comet

Primary title: Ragamuffin

Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: V1

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