UTIEKAH II is a yacht built in Melbourne Victoria in 1911 by JJ Savage, founder of an important family of builders from that period through to the 1960s. It was commissioned by Ireton Elliott Giles, an enthusiastic yachtsman and teacher who used the yacht for character building voyages with his students at Melbourne Grammar, an early example of personal development that became a more common practice from the 1950s with organisations such as Outward Bound. Its second owner was Harold Nossiter, noted as the first Australian to circumnavigate the world in a yacht with SIRIUS (HV000178).
DescriptionUTIEKAH II was designed and built by Jack Savage Senior in 1911, and built by Lyons and Savage in Williamstown, prior to Savage setting up business under his name only. It was commissioned by Giles, who was a master at the prestigious private boys Melbourne Grammar School in St Kilda. The name UTIEKAH is thought to have Maori origins, and refer to the sound of rippling water. It is 12.69m long, carvel planked in New Zealand kauri, and launched as a gaff yawl, fitted with a centreboard.
Elliot Giles as he was known was the son of South Australian Clement Giles (1844-1926), pastoralist, merchant and politician, and Elliott’s upbringing on the land appears to have led to an interest in adventure and the outdoors, which he then continued through yachting and sailing. He commissioned UTIEKAH II as a yacht for him to take students from the school on voyages to test and build their character in a more extreme environment away from the relatively normal city life the students experienced at school. He would take the yacht and its youthful crew out into Bass Strait, a potentially dangerous area with its strong currents, tides, many islands and often rough weather, but the heavy displacement craft was designed and built to be suitable for the task. As a form of what now would be known as 'adventure training', it was an early example and possibly one of the first that involved the sea as the training ground that was associated with a private school. Sea Scouts, the world wide Outward Bound organisation and even some of the curious exploits of the legendary English sailor Uffa Fox, which were directed toward youth character building and leadership, are well known from the 1940s onwards, but the vessels SEA SCOUT in Sydney and SEA HAWK in South Australia did similar ventures in the 1920s and 30s.
Giles sold UTIEKAH II in 1924 when he had a new larger yacht UTIEKAH III built to continue what had become a successful venture, and he was still operating in this manner in the 1950s. UTIEKAH II was bought by Harold Nossiter and sailed to Sydney where he had many successful seasons racing with his sons and other crew. In 1927 he converted it to a Bermudan sail plan. The spruce mast made by Carl Halvorsen from material imported from Norway was 70 feet long (21.33 metres). Under this rig it won the Morna Cup, Boomerang Cup and Fairfax Cup. They cruised the yacht as well, and during this time Nossiter formed his plans to circumnavigate the world, but felt UTIEKAH II was too old. He commissioned a purpose designed yacht SIRIUS based on his experience and went on to become famous for the three year voyage in the mid-1930s.
UTIEKAH II was sold by Nossiter and went through a series of owners, whose details are not fully recorded. It is understood it was part of the Griffin Hire boats, probably around the late 1930s early 1940s, and then reputed to have been owned by poet Dorothea Mackellar until 1946 when it was purchased by Gordon Taylor. It underwent changes to hull, rig and fit out with subsequent owners.
In 2012 it has been rebuilt and retains its final profile, cabin house and sail plan, a project that began in 1978. It is in excellent condition, ready for extensive cruising and sailing.
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Sail Number: 33