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Eighteen Twenty

Vessel Number: HV000487
Date: 1933
Builder: Peel Bros
Previous Owner: JA Douglas , Gordon Duncan ,
Vessel Dimensions: 7.62 m x 6.4 m (25 ft x 21 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
EIGHTEEN TWENTY is a 21 Foot Restricted Class yacht built in Melbourne Victoria in 1933. It was designed and built by Charlie Peel, whose yachts had been the foundation for the class when it began in 1913, and he continued to be one of the principal designers and builders throughout the class history. The 21 Foot Restricted Class became a national class in 1921 with the aim of re-energising yachting after World War I, and The Forster Cup for interstate competition was fiercly contested up until the early 1950s. EIGHTEEN TWENTY was successful in selection trials and chosen to represent Victoria in The Forster Cup on at least two occasions, and featured in one of the closest finishes recorded in the Cup’s history. Most of the original hull material remains intact however the craft needs sighnificant restoration work for it to be sailed again.
DescriptionEIGHTEEN TWENTY was built in 1933 at the Peel Bros North Fitzroy, Melbourne yard for Mr JA Douglas, a well-known Victorian yachtsman. The carvel planked hull was built with great attention to detail, which included using Huon pine for the bottom planking, and Queensland cedar for the topside, an unusual combination for the class. It is very representative of Peel's designs for the class, and featured an elegant curved sheer, slight tumblehome aft of midships in the topsides, along with the typical elongated bow profile seen on all of the later Peel designs.

The name EIGHTEEN TWENTY is an early form of commercial connections in yachting. The owner was the managing director of Johnnie Walker in Australia and took the name frorm the slogan "Born 1820 -still going strong" that is forever attached to the famous whisky.

EIGHTEEN TWENTY was launched by crane into the Yarra River on 3 June and taken across the bay to the Royal Brighton Yacht Club. It was laid up there over winter, and then commissioned for racing early in Spring. Early in January 1934 it left with MILSONIA (HV000184) from the Royal St Kilda Yacht Club on the SS MANUNDA to represent Victoria in the Sydney series for the Forster Cup. They were not successful and once again TASSIE TOO (HV000234) was the champion, but EIGHTEEN TWENTY managed a second placing in one heat, and third overall.

Early in 1934 EIGHTEEN TWENTY won the Gullett Cup on Port Phillip, and then in March, the Argus reports that the skipper JA Douglas ‘collapsed at the helm’ during a club race, but fortunately recovered later onshore. At the end of the year it dominated the trials for the Victorian Forster Cup team, winning three of the four races and joined with MILSONIA and ROYALIST for the interstate series on Port Phillip early in 1935. At this time it was under a new owner, Gordon Duncan, who had previoulsy had success with ROYALIST and purchased EIGHTEEN TWENTY for the new season..

EIGHTEEN TWENTY finished third overall behind the winner GWYLAN from Queensland, but the final race became an epic in drifting conditions. Sailed on a Monday afternoon, the race alternated between light winds from different directions and periods of flat calm. EIGHTEEN TWENTY crossed the start line two minutes after the gun had fired, it had been late leaving Brighton for the race and then stopped to pick up three crewmembers who were aboard the six metre JUDITH PHIL (HV000181). The race took over six hours; sailing three rounds of a windward/leeward course, and went on into the early evening. Places changed dramatically as the breeze faded, went calm then filled from another direction, then repeated the pattern again and again. Heading into the final leg EIGHTEEN TWENTY had gone from last at the start to be leading, just ahead of GWYLAN. By now a sizable crowd had assembled on shore, having finished work and heard that the race was still in progress. EIGHTEEN TWENTY held the lead until the final 100 metres when clever tactics put GWYLAN in front and the Queensland yacht crossed the line ahead, but only by the length of its bowsprit.

This became EIGHTEEN TWENTY’s Cup swansong, a year later it was selected again for the series, but did not make the trip to Brisbane. It remained as one of the state’s best 21s, in 1936 it is listed as one of the favourites for A1 Class handicap and then later raced for the Hornby Cup at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.

Post World War II the 21s began to go into decline around the country as other more modern international classes became popular, eventually holding their final series for the Cup in 1953. By 1947, although a small number of 21s were still racing as a class in Victoria, EIGHTEEN TWENTY is listed as an ‘ex-21’ and sailing in the B and C combined class handicap event, as noted in an Argus report on weekend racing on Port Phillip.

Its subsequent history is not well recorded, but the hull has survived in fair condition, and plans are being made for EIGHTEEN TWENTY's restoration back to its 21 Foot Restricted class configuration.

Vessel Details
Current status:inside building
Current status:not on display
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:dagger boarddrop board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop
Spar material:timber

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