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Vessel Number: HV000713
Date: 1898
Builder: EA Jack
Vessel Dimensions: 8.38 m × 5.49 m × 1.98 m × 1.45 m, 2.44 tonnes (27.5 ft × 18 ft × 6.5 ft × 4.75 ft, 2.4 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
SAO is a timber racing yacht built in Tasmania in 1898. It was built by EA “Ned” Jack in Launceston to a design by Thomas Archer, a prominent member of the Launceston community and also a relative of the famous Norwegian naval architect Colin Archer. SAO raced successfully in the 21ft waterline class and later moved to Hobart where it has now been sailing for over a century. It is an early surviving example of Ned Jack’s skilled workmanship.
DescriptionSAO was launched from Ned Jack’s Launceston yard into the Tamar River in October 1898. Ned Jack was already building small racing craft of this type, while designer and owner Tom Archer was a well-known community member with a large estate called Woolmers in the adjacent country. He was also commodore of the Tamar Yacht Club and a keen supporter of yachting in the region. The carvel planked hull had a centreboard and bulb, a large mainsail and small headsail set off the stem for racing, and for cruising it sailed with just a small mainsail. The yacht was 27 feet long, and 6ft 6inch beam. Archer sailed SAO successfully including a win in the 1903 Tamar Regatta. An article on Archer in the Examiner 28 August 1902 notes:

“In October 1898 SAO built by Jack to Mr Archer’s own designs was launched., and in her the success of BOUNCER has been repeated, while she has eclipsed her sister sailboats in retaining the owner’s affection, for a very reasonable offer that would have made her a southern champion was refused but a few weeks ago.“

In 1904 it was sold to Percy Bone in Hobart. SAO had mixed success on the Derwent River where conditions were often rougher than the more sheltered Tamar estuary. It raced in the Second Class until around 1907/08 when a new larger class was introduced and the smaller yachts became the Third Class. SAO also cruised the region including a plucky sail for a small yacht, making a voyage around the east coast. In 1910 it was fitted with a 2 & ½ hp petrol motor and a small generator running off the flywheel to power its electric light. It was the first yacht in Tasmania with an electric light.

Percy Bone died in 1925 and the yacht was sold to Richard Whittington and Norman Pearce. Tragically Whiitington fell from SAO during a squall that year and drowned. Whittington was very well respected and the accident was reported in the Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly:

“They were making their way down river for a weekend cruise when the gale found them. Running hard by the lee it was found necessary to stay the little craft and it was in this manoeuvre that Mr Whittington was swept into the water, most probably by the swinging boom.”

His colleague Pearce then took the dinghy and found Whittington in the water, but then the dinghy was swamped and both were stranded. Whittington was unconscious and slipped away from Pearce’s hold after 20 minutes.
SAO remained sailing on the Derwent through a succession of owners. In the early 1980s it underwent and extensive refit during which it changed owners, but by the end of the decade was once again sailing and racing on the river.

The current owner has undertaken another overhaul and SAO is now once again in excellent condition. ‘ Woolmers’, the home of Thomas Archer, remains in the Archer family and is a landmark building and site in the Launceston region.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Related materials:references
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers

: 49946

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