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BALANDRA under restoration in 2017


Vessel Number: HV000739
Date: 1966
Builder: Jock Muir
Vessel Dimensions: 14.05 m × 10.67 m × 3.66 m × 2.29 m, 14.57 tonnes, 108.13 m² (46.1 ft × 35 ft × 12 ft × 7.5 ft, 14.34 tons, 1164 ft²)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
BALANDRA is a wooden ocean racing yacht built in Tasmania. It was built by Jock Muir in 1966 for (Sir) Robert Crichton Brown, a well-known businessman and yachtsman. BALANDRA was selected to represent Australian in the team for the 1967 Admirals Cup, the principal event for offshore racing at the time. The three-yacht team , BALNADRA< CAPRICE OF HUON and MERCEDES III went on to win this event, the first time it was won by Australia, and BALANDRA was the second highest point scoring yacht in the series.
DescriptionRobert Crichton Brown commissioned BALANDRA as a sister yacht to the same design as QUIVER IV, which had been an outstanding performer in the victorious English team for the 1965 Admirals Cup, in which Australia came second, competing for the first time. BALANDRA is Spanish for sloop, a name used on a number of vessels he owned. It was an English Camper and Nicholson design, and Crichton Brown built the yacht with the aim of gaining selection in the Australian Admiral’s Cup team for the 1967 series in the UK. He chose Tasmanian builder Jock Muir form Battery Point in Hobart, who had a reputation for building excellent yachts to a high standard.

Jock Muir is quoted from the Muir’s website with the following comment on BALANDRA:
“She has a beam of 12ft and draws 7ft, and there were several departures from the norm in her building. She wasn't an easy job really, and we took eight months over her. BALANDRA was built of two skins of Honduran mahogany glued onto pre-beveled frames, which means all the ribs were laminated and pre-beveled before they were put in place, instead of being steamed as we previously did.”
Jock’s son Ross worked with Gary Smedley on one side of her planking, and Jim Grove and Jock worked on the other. This was after Adam Brinton and Jock had prepared the backbone – a long job and an incredible amount of work because of the designer’s requirements.
Jock Muir: “The frame or backbone was also Honduran mahogany, which is, quite simply, the best timber in the world for both construction and interior joinery.”

SEACRAFT magazine gave two pages to BALANDRA in their December 1966 edition, at which time BALANDRA’s position in the team was assured.

“ BALANDRA is an ocean-racing man's dream. She is big, roomy, well laid out, fast and beautiful.
Her speed is emphasised by her berth in Australia's Admiral's Cup team to challenge British supremacy next September in the Fastnet and other races.
Two years ago, her British sister-ship, QUIVER IV blazed the trail for her country's success in the Admiral's Cup and the clash between these two magnificent yachts may be the highlight of the 1967 series.
Built in Hobart by Jock Muir, she will always remain— in the minds of Tasmanians — a Tasmanian boat although owned by Sydney yachtsman Robert Crichton-Brown and registered in that city. To keep faith with her admirers, her crew will be taking her to Hobart this Christmas.
Two layers of Honduras mahogany (inner skin 3/8 in. outer 5/8 in.) give BALANDRA a strong but light hull aided by laminated mahogany frames at 8 in. centres and Tasmanian swamp gum keel and strengthening timbers. Deck beams are laminated English spruce over which two sheets of 1/4 in. Australian marine plywood have been glued.
Spars are alloy by Alspar and feature bolt rope track on mast and boom plus outhaul controls on the mast. Mainsail can be made fuller for running by adjustment to tack and clew — as used on planning dinghies.
Twin spinnaker poles make jibing a snack, one to windward and one to leeward , which saves "end-for-ending" and valuable seconds.”
It was fitted with a Parson’s '4107 Penguin 4-cylinder, 39 hp lightweight diesel and the wardrobe of sails were made in Hood sailcloth from the USA by Joe Pearce whose loft was at Careening Cove. It carried Australian made Barlow winches and the latest navigation and performance electronics.

Seacraft continued- “From the fibreglass-covered plywood deckhouse roof to the considerably cambered decks fore and aft and the very high bulwarks for'ard, there is evidence of profound thought given to the crewmen's lot. The bulwarks, for example, protect the for'ard hands and also disguise the hogged sheer. Balandra and her crew hope for success in this month's Hobart race and the big ones in Britain. “
In the five selection races for the team, the three yachts chosen, including BALANDRA , were outstanding with the following places: BALANDRA, 1-4-2-3-3; CAPRICE OF HUON, 5-S-3-2-2; MERCEDES III, 3-1-1-1-1.

SEACRAFT had extensive coverage of the tough Montagu island race which opened the selection trials.

“TWO of Australia's biggest, best and most beautiful ocean racers, 45-foot BALANDRA and the 50-foot BACCHUS D fought every mile of the 360 ocean Montagu Island race and staged a close, exciting finish. "BALANDRA was magnificent," said her mate, Peter Green. "Brilliant on a wind, split 85 percent comfortably in a seaway."
BALANDRA claimed time for going to the assistance of the yacht WIRRAMUNNA. BACCHUS D also claimed time lost. BALANDRA claimed I hour 28 minutes spent going to the assistance of WIRRAMUNNA. She gave BACCHUS D 35 to 36 minutes on handicap.
Commenting on the race, her mate, Peter Green said "We were first out the heads, and set our biggest spinnaker and soon had some 2000 sq ft pulling us along like an express train doing nine knots before an 18 knot northerly. We jibed several limes as the wind veered and the seas were not easy, being confused and choppy.
"We doused the spinnaker off Jervis Bay when the wind went into the west and laid a course to the island, anticipating the forecasted south-westerly. Unfortunately a south-easterly came in and BACCHUS being to seaward, eased her sheets and ran for the island, while we were close hauled and only scraped around by some 50 feet, about 50 yards behind BACCHUS. We set a shy kite and caught BACCHUS. Enid had rounded six miles ahead of us but we soon hauled her back to take the lead by about half a mile from BACCHUS.
"Off Cape Perpendicular we fell into a big hole and were furious to see BACCHUS pass us and take a lead of more than two miles."
"BALANDRA caught BACCHUS again off Wattamolla and the yachts fought all the way up the coast tacking 39 times toward the end of the race."

Competing in England, they drew from the experience of the 1965 team and where it reported shortcomings. The three navigators spent considerable time researching and preparing for the extreme tides they would encounter, and the yachts participated in warm up races before the event began.

Australian with 495 points won convincingly, and not only were they the top team by a considerable margin, but their yachts were the top three individual points scorers over the four races, the only team to ever achieve this feat.

BALANDRA’s crew were: : Bob Chrichton-Brown (skipper), Stan Darling, Peter Green, Tony Chrichton-Brown, Bill Bilds, Colin Burnell, John Maynard, Peter Doran, Peter Hemery.

During the Fastnet race BALANDRA, was sailing toward Fastnet rock under a spinnaker in a gale when a steering cable turning block pulled from the hull fastenings. It took the crew three hours to secure the block back into position. However they had aboard an emergency tiller to keep on course while repairs were made.

Sir Robert Crichton Brown was a senior business figure and member of the Liberal Party, for many years holding the role of party treasurer and wielding considerable influence. During the 2nd World War he served with distinction in the British Army. After 1970 when he sold the yacht, it maintained an association with the army for a period. BALANDRA was sold to a syndicate of yachtsman based at Victoria Barracks, and at one stage is reported as the Eastern Command sailing club's yacht, skippered by Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Barrett.

In later years Russell Piggot from Hobart purchased BALANDRA and it returned to where it was built and it was raced locally. In 1990, Gerd Henneke bought the yacht and continued racing it before it was sold again Hobart to its current owner. In 2017 BALANDRA was undergoing the final stages of an extensive overhaul and restoration project.

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 plywood
Hull material and construction:double plankeddouble-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:aluminium
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: 496

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