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Erica J

Vessel Number: HV000492
Date: 1949
Builder: Max Creese
Designer: Bjarne Aas
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 14.7 m x 9.35 m x 2.44 m x 1.95 m (48.23 ft x 30.68 ft x 8.01 ft x 6.4 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
ERICA J is an International 8 Metre Class yacht built in Tasmania in 1949, famous for its win in the Sayonara Cup in 1953, Tasmania's first victory in racing for the trophy. The highly prestigious, nationally contested match-racing series for the Sayonara Cup began in 1904 and is still sailed for in 2011. ERICA J was built in Hobart by Max Creese to a design by Bjarne Aas of Norway, one of the principal internationally recognised metre boat designers of the period.
DescriptionERICA J was carvel planked in Huon pine at Creese's Battery Point yard and launched on 4 June 1949 for E T (Ted) Domeney and Dr E Hull. It was named after Domeney’s eldest daughter Erica June. ERICA J made its racing debut on the Derwent River in the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s Opening Day Regatta on 8 October 1949. Over the next few seasons there was often spectacular racing, particularly between the three ‘eights’ racing on the river, SANDRA, ERICA J and NORSKE.

ERICA J ‘s heyday for Tasmania was in the 1950s when it represented the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in six challenge matches for the Sayonara Cup under the ownership of Ted Domeney, winning the Cup in 1953. Until 1950 the series had only been open to races between yachts from Victoria and New South Wales, but this was amended to allow other states after an extended period when no challenge had been issued by NSW to the Victorian holders of the cup.

ERICA J had been chosen to challenge in 1951 and 1952, but was beaten both times by the Victorian defender FRANCES. There was some concern that a third challenge from the same yacht would not produce a competitve series, but in 1953 ERICA J was much improved. 'Seacraft' magazine April 1953 stated that its 'performance was most notable for her greatly improved windward ability and the smart work of her crew'. The victory was comprehensive, taking the trophy quickly with outright wins across the line in the first three races of the five race series and it did not need to use its slight handicap advantage.

ERICA J had moved to Sydney by 1962 under the ownership of Alan Williams and his family, and it raced with the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron for many seasons on the harbour, then cruised to Pittwater on New Year holiday breaks. ERICA J made its first appearance at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in 1971 when the yacht was bought by Warren Evans. It has been a well-known and actively raced vessel on Sydney Harbour where many yachtsmen and women have learnt to sail or experienced racing aboard ERICA J over the years. When Warren Evans passed away a perpetual trophy was commissioned by his friends. This is a framed painting and half model of the boat and they hold a special place on the wall of the Morna Room of the CYCA clubhouse in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney.

ERICA J returned to Hobart in the 1980s and raced with the Huon Yacht Club south of Hobart and then the Port Cygnet Yacht Club. It came back to Sydney in 1993. The current owner bought the yacht in 1994 and it returned to racing at the CYCA soon after. Recent refits and regular maintenance has kept the yacht in good condition and ERICA J continues to race with both CYCA and at classic yacht events on the harbour. In 2009 ERICA J celebrated its 60th birthday at CYCA, with many Sydney sailing identities sharing stories of the boat's exploits over the years.

Vessel Details
Ballast:external
Ballast:lead
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
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
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Propeller:single
Rig type:BermudanBermudianmarconi
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:aluminium
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: 248

Vessel Registration Number: KQ925N

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