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Rainbow Class- Rhythm

Vessel Number: HV000706
Date: 1957
Builder: Athol Rowe
Designer: RJ Hill
Vessel Dimensions: 3.66 m × 1.19 m (12 ft × 3.9 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
RHYTHM is a Rainbow class wooden sailing dinghy built by Athol Rowe in 1957 in the Huon Valley in Tasmania. RHYTHM was built in for Barry “Couta” Calvert and he sailed it to an Australian Championship. The Calvert family are well known in Tasmanian yachting with a long history of racing. RHYTHM is almost the only surviving example of a Rainbow Class dinghy and represents the class which was an Australian design.
DescriptionBarry Calvert was an accomplished musician with the ability to pick up any instrument and play tunes by ear which no doubt inspired RYTHYM, his new Rainbow’s name, having previously sailed the Rainbow FIZZ R 26, handed down from older brothers. Both Rainbows were built by well-known and self-taught Tasmanian boat builder Athol Rowe who was Barry’s cousin.

Barry Calvert and his forward hand, Charlie Ivey, sailed RHYTHM to third place in the 1960 Australian Championships, then won the championship held in South Australia In 1961.

During 2012, Andrew Edwards with assistance from Kim Newstead, previous owner of Rainbow KITTEN R23, restored RHYTHM to exhibit at the 2013 and 2015 Australian Wooden Boat Festivals. The restoration mainly involved replacing the deck that had been badly stained, a result of possums taking up residence when John Fowler owned it and stored RHYTHM in a barn at his midlands farm for 45 years. All fittings are the original Ronstan brand from the fifties and include the venturis that were hand made in those times.

When the boat was launched in 1957 it had wooden spars and early synthetic sails, at some time the spars were replaced with aluminium and Dacron sails. The hull is original. It is understood that only two or three Rainbows remain today. It is as sound as the day it was first launched (58 years ago) and was again seen sailing on the Derwent in 2014 giving great pleasure to its older restorers and special memories to many of the Rainbow boys and girls.

The Calvert family were orchardists at Waterloo in the Huon Valley. Charles Calvert who owned the yacht CAPRICE OF HUON had three sons and a daughter. The boys, Don, Hedley (deceased) and Barry (deceased) all learnt to sail in one of the early Rainbows FIZZ, it was passed from brother to brother as they each progressed to larger craft.

Don is known for his many championships in Dragons and today his yacht INTRIGUE continues its winning form on the Derwent River. Don represented Australia in the Admiral’s Cup. Hedley was an innovator who competed in many Sydney Hobarts and one ton championships.

Barry Calvert was an outstanding young sailor so his dad had RHYTHM built for him in 1957 because by this time FIZZ was past its prime. Barry died at a young age but not before winning three national championships in the Rainbow and Dragon classes.

Many other successful Tasmanian yachtsmen started their sailing careers in the Rainbow class yacht, often after graduating from the International Yachting Cadet Class that continues to thrive at the Sandy Bay Sailing Club. At its peak popularity from the early fifties until the seventies over 100 Rainbows regularly competed in club events throughout Tasmania at Burnie Yacht Club, Kingston Beach Sailing Club, Lindisfarne Sailing Club, Leven Yacht Club, Montrose Bay Yacht Club, and Sandy Bay Sailing Club who had the largest fleet of Rainbows.

Perth yachtsman R.J.Hill began the class in 1940 when he designed and built a 12 foot skimmer, developed from the American Moth Class. He called his new craft IONA and surprised everyone by easily defeating the champion twelve footers of Perth. Others then built their own and the class was established and spread widely amongst other states. From 1955 National championships were conducted comprising of a team of six boats from each State during the first week of January. Each team had to contain at least one junior (under 18yrs).

Rainbow class yachts appealed to youngsters because they could build one themselves, they were fast and thrilling to sail, cheap to build, and safe with good buoyancy compartments. In Southern states they outnumbered the popular Sydney VJ’s. Rainbows were controlled in Australia by the National Rainbow Council with affiliated clubs in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania.

The Rainbows built in the early fifties had wooden masts, booms and cotton sails costing all up £75 including a set of plans & two lifebelts. By 1960 over 100 were registered in Tasmania.

“When it is considered that no concerted effort had been made to popularize the class, we can only attribute its popularity to the low cost of construction combined with unexcelled sailing capabilities (speed & safety) of this grand little craft.”

In the early sixties most Rainbow hulls were built for around $60 with Dacron sails costing $120, many young amateurs built their own boat and were sailing an extremely fast, competitive boat, for under $300.

Vessel Details
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:plywood/chineply/chine
Hull material and construction:wood/fibreglass
Hull shape:chines
Hull shape:flat bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:dagger boarddrop board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:cotton
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: R111

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