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Maid Marian

Vessel Number: HV000332
Date: 1947
Previous Owner: Keith Stephenson ,
Vessel Dimensions: 10.36 m x 2.74 m x 1.68 m, 4.43 tonnes (34 ft x 9 ft x 5.5 ft, 4.5 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
MAID MARIAN was built in 1947 for Keith Stephenson based on plans from American designer James De Witt. It was the first yacht built professionally by Arthur Bishop from Perth, Western Australia. Bishop became a respected Perth boatbuilder during the 1950s and retired in the early 1970s. MAID MARIAN became well-known after winning the inaugural Fremantle to Bunbury yacht race in 1949.
DescriptionBishop had been a carpenter before World War II and built his first yacht VOYAGER at this time. MAID MARIAN was commissioned by Stephenson soon after Bishop returned from the war. The De Witt plans Stephenson brought to Bishop were for a design from the Sunset Class. MAID MARIAN was built to a high standard with Jarrah planking below the waterline and Oregon on the topsides. The frames are karri, and the stem and floors are tuart. The deck was Queensland beech. It was such a successful design that Bishop, then based in Claremont near Perth, built another four sister yachts. It was built without an engine but at a later date one was fitted with the propeller offset to one side of the rudder.

MAID MARIAN was sloop-rigged and raced in many events up to the 1960s. In December 1947 it recorded fastet time in the Commodore's Trophy race for Claremont Yacht Club. On 15/02/1949 news of its triple success in the Perth to Bunbury race was reported in the West Australian. Often the name is mispelt as well.

“YACHTING BACK BOAT GAINS TREBLE WIN The 34tt. Bermuda sloop, Maid Marion, scratch boat in the ocean yacht race from -Freemantle to Bunbury and return, about 200 miles, scooped the pool yesterday by winning most of the awards. In addition to winning and gaining fastest time for the trip the Claremont-built sloop also won the race on adjusted tines and gained the trophy for the fastest time on the first leg of the trip to Bunbury on adjusted times. The second boat was Yuna, skippred by 3. B. Fitzhardinge, and the third boat, Voyager, was skippered by A. Bishop, who helped build Maid Marion.
K. Stevenson was skipper of the winner and J. Parkes (first mate), M. Finn (navigator) and R. Tylor (second mate) comprised the crew. Finn said on his arrival at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club yesterday that the crew of Maid Marion had some anxious moments. In addition to seeing The Fan take the lead early in the race on Saturday the craft was becalmed outside Bunbury on Sunday and lost about an hour while watching the other contestants creeping up. Believing in the axiom that the shortest ' distance between two points is a straight line the navigator of Maid Marion set a direct course for Bunbury and showed good judgment as several of the other skippers decided to chase the breeze.
Stevenson decided early to drive hard and flew a spinnaker for most of the journey. His craft responded well and despite a steady roll made good time and gave the crew little trouble. - Maid Marion arrived back in Fremantle about two hours ahead of her nearest rival, Yuna, which narrowly beat Voyager for second over the line.”

Details of its past ownership are not fully documented however the West Australian 2/03/1950 carried a report of its sale:

It is expected that Maid Marion, the State's leading cruiser in long ocean races, will change hands shortly as her owner shipper (Keith Stevenson) has decided to retire temporarily from competitive yachting.
Maid Marion, a Sunset class craft, is valued at about £2,500 and is one of the best equipped. racing craft on the river. Her stainless steel rigging alone cost about £50. She was built in Western Australia by Mr. A. Bishop according to a design received from two American naval officers whom Mr. Stevenson met during the war. At the time he owned a Norwegian designed Tumlare boat and the Americans were interested when they saw her on the river. As a result, a friendship sprung up between them and Mr. Stev-enson, who explained to them what he thought would be the ideal racing craft for W.A. waters. When the Americans returned to San Francisco they made inquiries and decided to forward a design of the Sunset class of craft. Mr. Stevenson said that he and Mr. Bishop had many a debate during the building of the boat and the result was the best craft possible, as racing has proved. In the first race to Bunbury, Maid Marion was the winner. The following year in the first ocean race from Fremantle to Bunbury and return she gained first and fastest time. Last weekend she gained fastest time but was placed second to Fiesta on adjusted times. Mr. Stevenson said yesterday that he had been interested in sailing since he was old enough to paddle a canoe. It was with reluctance that he had decided to retire from racing. Health reasons were a big factor in his decision."

The West Australian 21/01/1954 brings more information on the yacht's subsequent owners:

One farmer who is not worrying greatly at the moment about the number of acres he will plant next season is Neil McKay, of Benjoberring.
His hobby is yachting and his immediate ambition, now that harvesting is over, is to win, or at least gain fastest time, with his Sunset cruiser, Maid Marion, in the Fremantle-to-Bunbury and return ocean race. He recently purchased Maid Marion from J. Parkes, who gained third place with the yacht in the previous long ocean race. For the rest of the summer it is McKay's intention to come to Perth as frequently as possible and sail his yacht in river and ocean races, or take his family on pleasure cruises.
Maid Marion will have a new Genoa jib for the Bunbury race. With this "secret weapon," as McKay calls it, he hopes to gain fastest time with Maid Marion. The cruiser has been credited on several occasions with fastest time in the event. That was when she was owned and sailed by Keith Stephenson. Last Saturday McKay sailed Maid Marion m a race for the first time in the Upward trophy handicap event at Freshwater Bay. On corrected times the race was won by Haze. Maid Marion gained second place and. fastest time."

M eanwhile a previous issue 13/12/1951 had the following report:

Keen Freshwater Bay yachting followers were intrigued last weekend when they noticed the sloop, Maid Marion, being sailed by L. Manning instead of her owner, J. Parkes. This was a sequel to an unfortunate occurrence a few weeks ago when Maid Marion (weight 5 tons) badly damaged Manning's smaller cruiser 'Scud in a. collision. As some compensation, Parkes then made a sporting gesture to Manning, offering him the use of his cruiser until the damage to Scud was repaired. Last Saturday Maid Marion, sailed by Manning, made fastest time in the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club's cruiser event. The design for the Sunset class of cruiser originated on the west coast of America and was introduced to W.A. by K Stevenson, who built Maid Marion at a cost of about £2,000. She has made fastest time in each Perth-Bunbury and return race."

The current owner bought MAID MARIAN in 1984 after it had been damaged in a fire. He replaced the cabin, cockpit and decks to an arrangement of his own design, and installed a new diesel engine to replace the Stuart Turner that was with the yacht at that time.

In 2013 MAID MARIAN sails on the west coast of WA as a cruising yacht.
Vessel Details
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:diesel
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:aluminium
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: W.A.

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