AOMA was built in 1899 in New Zealand for its Australian owner Charles Brockhoff, and was the first of the 30 foot Linear rating class yachts. These yachts provided strong class racing on Sydney Harbour and helped yachting recover after the difficult economic period of the early and mid-1890s. It shows the relatively unique triple diagonal construction method used by the builder, the Logan Bros, and when restored will feature the original hull, cabin and gaff rig arrangement from 1899.
DescriptionAOMA was built by Logan Bros in Auckland New Zealand in 1899 for Charles Brockhoff, a prominent Sydney sailor. It was built as a 30 Foot Liner Rating yacht to the Linear Rating Rule that had recently superseded the Length and Sail area rule as the international handicapping rule for yacht racing. It was similar in size to a 5 rater from the older rule, but featured the wider beam, shallower canoe body and longer overhangs that the new Linear Rule encouraged through the nature of the points measured and their impact on the formula used to calculate the 30 ft rating.
The hull also featured the strong and light diagonal planked frameless construction that was a common feature to all Logan craft. In this case it was triple planked in New Zealand kauri, the inside layers are a diagonal run from keel to sheer, while the outer layer is fore and aft parallel to the sheer. The generous curved sheer, overhanging spoon bow and long counter gave AOMA a very attractive and balanced profile. It was gaff rigged as a cutter, but on a pole mast, the separate topmast of earlier rigs was now improved with a single spar.
In the late 1890s yachting was beginning to undergo a revival after poor economic conditions had restricted development and new craft orders, and fleet numbers had reduced over a number of seasons. The New Zealand yacht METEOR, built by Baileys came across for racing, later followed by the Logan Bros RAINBOW ( HV000201) , both owned by Auckland dentist AT Pittar. They dominated the racing with the Sydney boats, and METEOR’S record prompted the commissioning of AOMA by Brockhoff.
A report in the Brisbane Courier on 4th Sept 1899 notes the following
"Logan Bros of Auckland have very nearly completed a 30-footer to the order of a Sydney yachtsman. The owners name is not disclosed, but the new craft should be very welcome, and should provide some good races with METEOR, BRONZEWING and FAIRLIE. ”
AOMA was shipped across the Tasman after trial sailing in Auckland, and began racing with the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club fleets on Sydney harbour, quickly establishing itself as a very competitive boat.
METEOR a 2 1/2 rater had been sold to a Sydney owner and performed well , while BRONZEWING was from Scotland to a Watson design, and had been a top performer until METEOR arrived.
Soon after AOMA arrived, as reported in the Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald.
“Mr. Brockhoff's 30-footer AOMA arrived on Saturday in Sydney by the steamer Waihora. The craft was built by the Messrs. Logan, of Auckland, N.Z., and is a very shapely little vessel. In appearance she's somewhat like WHITE WINGS Mr. S. Hordern's new yacht, only smaller.
Her principal dimensions are : - L.o.a., 41ft.; w.l.,27ft.; 6ft 9in. beam, the draught being 5ft. 6in. The sails are from Lapthorne's loft. The new arrival will be an acquisition to the yachting fleet, and some good rating races should result between WHITE WINGS, METEOR and AOMA (Maori for white cloud). She will most likely carry a racing flag on Saturday next in the opening race of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's opening event."
AOMA performed well in the season that followed, and RAINBOW came in early 1900. The dominance of both Logan Bros boats prompted further orders for 30 Foot linear rating yachts from Logan Bros, and other designs were built in Sydney, quickly building a strong fleet and rejuvenating racing in Sydney. The other Logan boats were PETREL, HEATHER, SUNBEAM and CULWULLA ( HV000306). Amongst AOMA’s race wins was the prestigious Gascoigne Cup in 1899/1900 and 1900/01 and some years later in 1923
Subsequent owners continued to race AOMA with success, and it was altered to Bermudan rig by Morrison and Sinclair early in the 1930s which was reported in "The Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly", Nov 15th 1932. At an unknown date it moved down to Melbourne and raced on Port Phillip.
The yacht was bought by enthusiast Michael Black in 1994, who wrote the following about his time sailing the yacht:
“I met a chap who owned AOMA. He was leaving town and AOMA was looking for a new owner. I was unaware of her pedigree as she had been refurbished in the 1980's (not restored in the true sense). She was watertight, had a good strong rig and promised lots more fun. Teaming up with a sailing mate, Nick, from Ballarat, we cleaned her up and spent the years improving her, sailing to Geelong for the January Australia Day classic weekend, cruising around Port Phillip and generally having a ball!
Aoma had five berths, a simple metho stove and a fresh water tank. She was basic but sailed like a dream. She had lovely old sails from years before, big bronze winches and leaned over in the breeze like an Etchell. For her 43' of length and 8.5' of beam, she was a long, canoe like dream. She didn't race well against her light, long-finned fibreglass counterparts but her gleaming, varnished mast and classic lines were all the pleasure I needed.
She flew downwind with her kite up and handled gloriously in a strong breeze. Nick and I sailed her back from Geelong once in 4.5 hours, surfing down the 2 metre swells of Hobsons Bay in a 30kt westerly and feeling like we were surfing a Hobie cat. She never gave us a problem, save for a once leaky fuel line.’
In late 2012 he sold AOMA to the current owner, who plans to restore the yacht to its original gaff rigged configuration and once again sail AOMA as a 30 foot Liner Rater.
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:skeg rudder
Hull material and construction:triple-planked
Sail Number: 2