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Caprice of Huon

Vessel Number: HV000740
Date: 1951
Vessel Dimensions: 13.82 m × 9.87 m × 3.06 m × 2.05 m, 11.76 tonnes (45.34 ft × 32.38 ft × 10.04 ft × 6.73 ft, 11.57 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
CAPRICE OF HUON is a racing and cruising yacht built in Tasmania. It was built in 1951 by Viv Innes at Cygnet in the south east of the state for orchardist Charles Calvert and his family. CAPRICE OF HUON raced successfully in Hobart, but its most famous sailing history came later with owners in NSW, and especially when it raced in 1965 and 1967 as part of Australia’s first two teams in the Admiral’s Cup. CAPRICE OF HUON and its team mates won the Admirals Cup in 1967, and CAPRICE OF HUON was top scoring individual yacht in 1965, then the third best yacht overall behind the other two Australian yachts in 1967 . It remains in excellent condition and in 2000 the UK’s widely respected Classic Boat magazine included the yacht as one of the world’s top 150 boats.
DescriptionCAPRICE OF HUON was launched in October 1951 from Port Cygnet on the Huon River. The builder Vivian Innes was once an apprentice at the famous Wilson Bros yard before setting up his own yard in the same region. He is understood to have built craft from 1923 until 1951. Innes was in his late 70s when he built CAPRICE OF HUON. For CAPRICE OF HUON Innes worked from plans supplied by UK designer Robert Clark who was one of the principle yacht designers in the UK at that time. It was designed to the RORC rule (Royal Ocean Racing Club) then widely in use. The original rig was a 7/8 cutter.

CAPRICE OF HUON was raced by Charles Calvert and his family including sons Hedley, Barry and Don who all became champion yachtsmen. They had a number of local wins and the yacht was one of the principal craft on the Derwent. In late 1957 it was sold to Bill Northam, in Sydney. Bill had been a motor car racer before turning his sporting attention to sailing in his mid-40s, He bought GYMEA (HV00314) and learnt about ocean racing, and in the process became an accomplished skipper, despite his late entry into the sport. In July 1962 he sold CAPRICE OF HUON to Gordon Ingate who had helped teach Northam how to sail when he owned GYMEA.

Ingate revamped the yacht with an aluminium masthead sloop spar that he fabricated himself, and cleaned up inconsistencies around the rudder, propeller and aperture. He campaigned the yacht fiercely in all the eastern seaboard ocean racing events. Under its various owners it has been a 7 time winner of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadrons’ Gascoigne Cup , a short offshore race keenly contested each year.

CAPRICE OF HUON was part of Australia’s Admirals Cup teams in 1965 and 1967 when Australia made an impressive entry into the international ocean racing arena. In 1965, sailing with team yachts CAMILLE OF SEAFORTH (HV000079) and FREYA (HV000624) CAPRICE OF HUON was the highest placed yacht winning 3 of the 4 races in the series, and the team came second on debut. CAPRICE OF HUON returned to Cowes in 1967, under charter to Gordon Reynolds because owner Gordon Ingate was skippering GRETEL (HV000471) in the trial racing for the 1967 Americas Cup. Teamed with MERCEDES III and BALANDRA, the Australian team won convincingly and the three yachts were the top individual yachts in the series, a feat never repeated again.

CAPRICE OF HUON had a cruising side as well as this was the origins of the design, it was never optimised for the RORC Rule. The Calverts took it cruising from Hobart , and once in Sydney it was often seen at the usual locations around the harbour on weekends or up at Broken Bay in the holiday periods. After Ingate sold the yacht to concentrate on other sailing activities, it changed ownership a couple of times, but remained active. It was extensively restored in 1999, including new engine and mast, and has since undertaken cruising, club racing and classic yacht events. It has cruised from Sydney to the Whitsundays, Lord Howe Island and Tasmania. In the 2006/2007 CYCA Short Haul Series CAPRICE OF HUON won both the IRC and PHS point scores and again won the overall IRC from 2009 to 2011 .

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
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
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:aluminium
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: 13

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