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Vessel Number: HV000636
Date: 1900
Previous Owner:
Vessel Dimensions: 9.75 m x 6.55 m x 2.59 m x 1.83 m, 8.13 tonnes (32 ft x 21.5 ft x 8.5 ft x 6 ft, 8 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
CAPRICE is a racing yacht built in Tasmania in 1900. It was one of the first attempts by its owner EH Webster to begin a one-design class for racing on the Derwent River, however this design did not become a class. After a short period of racing in Hobart it was shipped to Sydney, and has been a well-known racing yacht on Pittwater and then Sydney Harbour since at least 1908. It has been with one family since 1926.
DescriptionCAPRICE was built by well-known shipwright Charles Lucas at his Battery Point yard in 1900. The design by William Fife was modified by well-known Hobart designer Alf Blore. It is planked in Huon pine, with a grooved seam to hide the caulking, It is 32 feet overall, 21 ft 6 in on the waterline, 8ft 5in beam and 6 feet draft.

Webster raced CAPRICE for a year and then sold it to an unknown buyer; the advertisement noted it was a “Fast and Comfortable Cruiser”. It appears to have been shipped to Sydney on the SS OONAH, and was registered to Alfred Starkey who raced it on Sydney Harbour. In the early 1920s it was known to be moored at Pittwater north of Sydney, where AJ and HJ Stone bought CAPRICE from Messrs’ Hosking and Thorpe. It then raced with Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and in 1926/27 won the SASC Gold Medal in A Class. In 1928 Arthur Stone, now the sole owner, put a Marconi rig into CAPRICE, one of the first of these rigs seen on Sydney Harbour.

In 1929 the yacht was sold to John Cooke but Stone kept the new Marconi rig for another yacht, and Cook had to put up with the original and worn out gaff sails and spars. Cooke had bought the yacht for his grandsons Harry and Jack Pfeiffer who raced it with SASC. In their second season they converted it once again to a Marconi rig, built by George Griffin with sails made by Harry West. As Arthur Stone had found, CAPRICE sailed very well under a Marconi rig, and other yachts soon converted their gaff rigs to Marconi as well.

Over the next seven decades CAPRICE sailed with three generations of Pfeiffer’s, and was very successful for all of them. Harry’s sons Michael and Tony were the second generation to become the skippers, and now Tony’s family are also taking their turn with CAPRICE. Over this period it won four Gold medals with SASC, and many other trophies. In 1967 the rig was further revised with minor alterations, and CAPRICE continued to win races and was always known as one of the fastest yachts of its size in light weather. Being able to set a jib topsail was one of its strengths in these conditions.

In 2014 CAPRICE still sails with Griffin’s 48 foot long solid Oregon spar and Marconi rig, but consideration is being given to returning the yacht to a sail plan very similar to its first gaff rig designed by Alf Blore.

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: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
Motor propulsion:diesel
Rig type:cutter
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

Previous Number: HV000635

Sail Number: A43

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