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Vessel Number: HV000367
Date: 1897
Vessel Dimensions: 17.56 m x 11.64 m x 3.23 m, 18.29 tonnes (57.6 ft x 38.2 ft x 10.6 ft, 18 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
SAYONARA is a 17.56 metre gaff rigged yacht designed by William Fife III and built in 1897 in Adelaide, South Australia. It played a major part in yacht racing in New South Wales and Victoria for two decades after it was launched. SAYONARA's most significant contribution was the trophy that bears its name, the Sayonara Cup, awarded for the premier series of yacht races in Australia from 1904 until the 1960s. It was also very well known on Sydney Harbour from the 1930s through to the 1970s as a charter yacht in the Griffin fleet.
DescriptionSAYONARA was built for Melbourne businessman George Garrad in 1897, to a design by William Fife III from Scotland, considered the most important naval architect of the period. It was built in Adelaide by A McFarlane & Sons, a family of significant South Australian boatbuilders for many generations. Carvel planked in New Zealand kauri on Australian hardwood frames, the design was clearly one that Fife held in high regard. At almost the same time SAYONARA was being in built in Adelaide, Fife built a sister vessel from the same plans called CERIGO for his own use in Scotland.

George Garrard was Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria (RYCV) and raced SAYONARA with immediate success in the Intercolonial Regatta held on Hobson's Bay, February 1898. It won in a fleet that included the then undefeated South Australian champion ALEXA. SAYONARA was especially good in light weather and won so many events that the Victorian clubs banded together and put a size limit on yachts, effectively barring SAYONARA and ALEXA from many races.

In July 1898, SAYONARA was sold to brothers CD and JA Wallace who decided to keep it at St. Kilda on Port Phillip, Victoria for the following season. They raced in events of both the RYCV and St Kilda Yacht Clubs. Over winter 1899 the rig was altered to a cutter sailplan, increasing its sail area. Shortly afterwards SAYONARA was under the sole ownership of CD Wallace.

Wallace sold SAYONARA to Alfred Gollin in 1903. He was keen to keep the spirit of the Intercolonial (interstate) events going and tried to raise interest in a Victorian challenge to NSW. In early 1904 Gollin's challenge was accepted and arrangements were made for SAYONARA to race the NSW yacht BONA off Sydney Heads. Gollin imported a hollow spar from America to further improve its performance. SAYONARA then sailed to Sydney and the series became a major public event. The series was won by SAYONARA two races to one. Owner Alfred Gollin then donated a cup under the yacht's name as a perpetual trophy for interstate racing, with a deed of gift that was similar to the America's Cup.

The Sayonara Cup was then defended by SAYONARA on Port Phillip, Victoria against NSW challengers. In 1907 racing against RAWHITI (HV000021) SAYONARA won 2-0 and then in 1909 racing against THELMA it won 2-1 in a close series.

Gollin sold the yacht to John Dixon in 1910 who replaced a broken mast so that it could meet the next NSW challenge. Unfortunately SAYONARA lost the series on time allowances to the smaller but much more modern yacht CULWULLA III. The Sayonara Cup events were the premier yacht races of the period and followed closely by the media and public. Although SAYONARA no longer contested the cup the series remained a major yachting event until the 1960s. It was primarily raced between Victorian and NSW yachts until a Tasmanian challenge was accepted in the late 1950s. In 2009 the trophy is still contested but is raced in International Dragon Class yachts.

SAYONARA was sold to Sydney owner Paul Ross in 1912 and raced on Sydney Harbour with continued success until the mid 1920s. It then became a cruising yacht. He sold it late in the 1930s to Percy Lovett. Ownership details from this point remain unclear, but by the 1940s it appears to have begun another career as one of the famous Sydney Harbour based Griffin charter yacht fleet working out of Lavender Bay, North Sydney. During World War II SAYONARA was very popular with visiting American servicemen, keen to show off to the local ladies. Some well known Australian yachtsmen, such as Olympic gold medalist Dick Sargeant, crewed aboard the yacht as paid hands in their youth.

Dick Sargeant recalls starting out as a 15 year old crew member during the 1950s when SAYONARA was one of about 10 craft operated by Griffins. It usually went out with a skipper and one or two crew, sailing under mainsail and staysail. Jack Wiley was often skipper, but Dick recalls that by the time he was 18 or 19 he skippered SAYONARA himself on a couple of occasions.

SAYONARA remained with the Griffin fleet until the 1970s and then became a private yacht, eventually becoming home to Henk Kossen. He bought the yacht in a dilapidated, wrecked state having sunk at its moorings. Had he not bought it, the yacht would probably have been scrapped for the value of its lead keel. Henk was able to rebuild the boat to sailing condition and then cruised the eastern seaboard, often single handed and with no motor installed.

Kossen sold SAYONARA to the current owners in 1996 and they restored the craft to its 1904 gaff cutter racing configuration with an extensive rebuilding project.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
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
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Related materials:drawings
Related materials:news clippings
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: R 27

Sail Number: R 6

Sail Number: 8

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