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Vessel Number: HV000508
Date: 1925
Vessel Dimensions: 9.14 m x 8.99 m x 3.05 m x 1.22 m, 6.61 tonnes (30 ft x 29.5 ft x 10 ft x 4 ft, 6.5 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
HOANA is a cruising and racing yacht built in Sydney, NSW for Sydney Amateur Sailing Club (SASC) member Lex Buckle. It was built in 1925 by James Hayes and Sons. Hayes and Sons were one of the principal builders of yachts, launches and small craft in this period. The centreboard, gaff sloop configuration, with a plumb stem and transom, rounded cabin house front and generous beam represents an auxiliary coach house cruiser, a well-known Sydney Harbour yacht type of the period and a typical craft built by this firm. It also represents the pinnacle of Sydney built yachts that were developed from the Victorian couta boat type, a type introduced to Sydney Harbour by Mark Foy earlier in the late 1880s.

HOANA has had a long history of sailing on Sydney Harbour including a long association with SASC and a remarkable life. Its first owner raced the yacht until it was driven ashore in 1926 and severely damaged. HOANA was then rebuilt by Hayes to the original configuration and kept for his own use as a cruising yacht. In the mid-1940s it began racing again, but this was interrupted in the mid-1960s when HOANA made a three year circumnavigation under the ownership of respected yacht designer Joe Adams, who then lived aboard until the mid-1970s. In 2012, it remains as one of a handful of original Sydney Harbour auxiliary coach house cruiser sailing with a gaff rig, centreboard and unaltered coach house from the 1920s, and is the largest surviving example of this type. It races with Sydney Amateur Sailing Club (SASC), where it’s sailing first began over 90 years ago.
DescriptionHOANA was built to the order of Lex Buckle by James Hayes and Sons (Charlie and Frank) in 1925, to race with the SASC. Hayes' yard was in Careening Cove, North Sydney. The 1920s proved to be a strong period for Hayes and Sons, with a number of important racing and cruising yachts coming from their yard, and HOANA was one the yachts that helped establish their reputation for high quality design and construction. The 9.14 m (30 ft.) long centreboard sloop was built for racing and cruising, planked in New Zealand kauri on spotted gum frames and keel. The plumb stem and stern was a common feature for the period, and Hayes added their trademark low profile, rounded-front cabin house. With a moderate length bowsprit and transom hung rudder, HOANA's hull and rig was a typical configuration that was developed from the Victorian couta boats. Mark Foy introduced the couta boat to Sydney Harbour as a racing yacht with success, and other owners followed his lead into the early 1900s, in particular Fred Lomar and Walter Dendy. The couta boat shape influenced builders such as Hayes, Golding, and CAM Fisher in the subsequent construction of small yachts for the harbour.

This created a simple yacht built for racing and cruising on Sydney Harbour, a type called the auxiliary coach house cruiser. A similar but smaller yacht by Hayes called JUNE BIRD (HV000064) now with a modified keel and BETTY (HV000321) a Balmain skiff variant built by Golding, are two other examples of about five that are known to remain extant in Sydney. HOANA represents one of the largest yachts built along those lines, and it proved to be a success. Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly, February1, 1926 reported HOANA'S launching.

"HOANA, the latest addition to the Sydney Amateur Club's register, is the type of crusier that would make the eyes glisten of any genuine boat lover."

The report continues with a description of its construction and fit out, and notes its third palce in a race on Pittwater, north of Sydney.

In April 1926 HOANA was driven ashore from its mooring in Sirius Cove, Mosman, severely damaged and written off. Australian Motor Boat and yachting Monthly, May 1, 1926 reported the accident:

Mr Lex Buckle's beatutiful Sydney Amatuer cuiser HOANA, ...... broke away from her moorings in Sirius Cove during the heavy weather experienced in April, and finished up almost a total wreck on the rocky shore of the Cove."

It went on to report how Buckle climbed aboard and tried to motor the craft free after it grounded, but the yacht ended up jammed in a cave, and by morning HOANA was severely damaged throughout.

Lex Buckle commissioned a new identical vessel from Hayes as noted in the article, but as part payment Hayes accepted the damaged yacht. Most of one side had to be rebuilt, a substantial task they managed to complete for a relaunch in 1927. At the same time the new yacht built from the same moulds for Lex Buckle was launched. The moulds were respaced so that it was 600 mm longer, and it too was called HOANA. This has led to much confusion, as the new and longer HOANA then raced with SASC and remained on the Harbour until 1947. In the meantime the original HOANA was cruised by Frank Hayes and his family and it is understood HOANA may have been changed to a Bermudan cutter rig during this period. In 1947 John MacLurcan bought the yacht, and it re-joined SASC, just as its longer namesake headed to Queensland, where it is understood it was lost in the 1960s in an accident.

Maclurcan was allocated the number A44, but later in 1947 he sold it to well-known Sydney Harbour sail maker Harry West, who changed it back to a short gaff mainsail and it was given A46 as a number. West won many races in HOANA. Its next owner in 1950 was sail maker Keith Brown, who later carried on the traditional sail making skills of Harry West and kept them alive in the modern era of synthetic cloths. He also carried on HOANA's winning ways with SASC. Over the period from 1947 to 1958 at SASC HOANA secured the Kelly Cup, two Gold medals, the FC Agar trophy and many individual race wins.

In 1958 it left the club under owner HE Cooke, but came back to SASC in 1959 when Joe Adams and his wife Anne bought HOANA for cruising. In 1963 they sailed out of the heads for New Zealand, and returned a year later. In 1964 Joe took the centreboard out after it rattled in the case and kept them awake on the Tasman crossing.

The couple then set off to cruise the Whitsunday Islands, and ended up doing a much more ambitious voyage, circumnavigating the world. They left in 1965, sailing north to the islands, tand from there they decided to sail on to Europe. The cruise continued and eventually they were on the return voyage, crossing the Atlantic, passing through the Panama Canal, then finally sailing across the Pacific Ocean. In the Pacific, north of New Zealand they encountered a major cyclone but HOANA proved to be as capable in the ocean as it always had been on the Harbour. Their three year voyage ended back on Sydney Harbour in 1968, and they remained living board until HOANA while they built a house at Towlers Bay on Pittwater, NSW. Joe ran a telephone cable out to the boat while the house was under construction, and when they went sailing, the telephone was left in the dinghy at the mooring. The phone then rang on occasions to everyone's amusment.

Once Joe had finished the house he then managed to return the yacht to its original gaff rig configuration. This improved its performance and it did well in fleet racing on Pittwater. HOANA was sold to Frank Bird in 1978, and he then sold it in 1979 to Hank Kaufmann another well known yacht designer.

In 1986 HOANA was sold to William Chadwick in 1986, and then to the current owner in 1987. In 2009 he reinstated the centreboard and HOANA won its third Gold medal in the subsequent season. In 2012 HOANA is still used almost exclusively for what it was built for 92 years ago - racing both summer and winter series on Sydney Harbour with SASC and attending traditional yacht events and regattas, where it is appreciated for its original condition and configuration.

Vessel Details
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:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:pivoting centreboardswing board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: A5

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