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Vessel Number: HV000699
Date: 1949
Previous Owner: Sheila Cohen ,
Vessel Dimensions: 8.3 m × 6.65 m × 1.93 m × 1.27 m, 1.8 tonnes (27.23 ft × 21.82 ft × 6.33 ft × 4.17 ft, 1.77 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
SVALAN is a racing yacht built in Tuncurry NSW in 1949. It is a Scandinavian Tumlaren class yacht and was built by Alf Jahnsen a well-known builder in that region who built a number of commercial and recreational craft over many decades. The design suited Australian conditions and a small number of Tumlaren were built around Australia. SVALAN was built for yachting writer and journalist Sheila Patrick who was a pioneer of women in sailing in the 1940s through to the 1980s when she retired. Her principal activity was as a correspondent for Seacraft magazine, the main Australian yachting magazine in this period, and she was a prolific writer of articles and race reports. SVALAN was the yacht she sailed for most of that period.
DescriptionSVALAN was built with brown beech Pennatina cunninghamii planking, a white beech Gmelina leichhardtii coach house and spotted gum Corymbia maculata decks. The yacht retains much of its original carvel planked hull, planked deck and superstructure apart from normal repairs to wear and tear over the six decades it has been sailing. The original Oregon timber spar is still in place, and no engine has been fitted, making SVALAN a rare example of its type with a high degree of original fabric and the original layout throughout. SVALAN is Swedish for swallow, reflecting the yacht’s Scandinavian pedigree.

SVALAN has a builder’s plaque on the bulkhead noting the launch date of 1949, the year Sheila became the first female member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which by then had become the premier club for ocean racing in the country. Sheila Patrick began an all-female racing crew with SVALAN. The Tumlaren design was seaworthy and fast for its size and although small at 8.30 metres long, it was light and carried a modest sail plan that was easily handled. The yacht proved ideal for their purpose and was widely raced. The CYCA has recognised her achievements and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race has a memorial trophy named after her for females who have competed in the race at least 10 times.

Sheila Patrick also cruised on SVALAN and at one point took it north to Port Stephens and back. This featured in the August 1956 Seacraft magazine with a detailed article on how she and a girlfriend spent the week away. It was titled "TWO'S COMPANY- Cruising in a Tum might be OK, on the Hawkesbury, but two girls, cruising the open sea, alone-well..." each day seemd to have an adventure within it as they went north in stages, with varying weather. Sheila Patrick was married to another sailor Tony Cohen who owned the 22 square metre class yacht SKERRY OF KURRABA (HV000132), and her children were also keen sailors.

After Sheila Patrick sold SVALAN in the early 1970s, (replacing it with a Stella class vessel) its ownership has not been well documented, however before the current owner purchased the yacht it was then owned by Jim Rist and moored at Balmain in Sydney.

The Tumlaren’s designer Knud Reimers was a Scandinavian designer well respected internationally for his light but sturdy and fast, canoe-stern yachts. The Tumlaren was considered an advanced design for its time, with a high aspect ratio sail plan, light displacement and narrow beam - all features derived from the square metre boat class popular in Scandinavia. The canoe-stern hull with a deep keel was also a common Scandinavian style and the combination of features produced a seaworthy and fast yacht well suited to racing on the harbour and offshore from Sydney. Possibly a dozen of the class were built in Victoria during the 1930s and 1940s. Around eight or so are thought to remain afloat including AVIAN (HV000385). A small number were also built and are still sailing in and around Sydney, NSW.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
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:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: KW516N

Sail Number: 83

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