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Jack and Doreen Gutierrez  in the early 1990s

Jack Gutierrez

Jack Gutierrez spent a lifetime working with boats. Born in February 1900 at Windsor in Victoria, his strongest influence after his father died in 1911 was his grandfather, a ship's master. Jack took up a shipwright apprenticeship with Howard Smith in 1915 and worked at their yard until taking up a carpenter's position aboard the ship CENTURY in 1920. Later he transferred to the COOMA before returning to work at Howard Smiths in 1923.

In his spare time he built the launch JAY VEE (now CORRYONG), and by 1925 he was married and settled at Brighton. In 1927 Guiterrez was one of many workshop staff laid off at Howard Smiths, and he then managed to get by with odd jobs and repairs on houses and yachts. He was lucky enough to be asked to join designer and builder Charlie Peel to help build Joel White's ACROSPIRE IV in 1928. This led to him taking the yardman's position at Royal St Kilda Yacht Club in 1930, and he supplemented this work over the next decade by helping other builders on their projects.

During the war he worked at Williamstown Naval Dockyards, and started building another launch for himself called LEURA. He returned to the yacht club after the war, then left in 1951 to build Dragon class yachts full time. The Australian 12 Foot Cadet class also caught his attention and he joined Royal Brighton Yacht Club, the Victorian base for that class. He became a stalwart supporter of the club and class, initially building wooden Cadets, then fitting out fibreglass hulled versions, doing the club's repairs and being the on-water support vessel with LEURA assisted by his wife Doreen.

From the mid 1950s until he closed his shed in 1974 he was based in Brighton where he built a number of vessels including yacht designs by Len Randell and a Tasman Seabird by Alan Payne called JULIE O for Jock Sturrock. Although no longer building large vessels he maintained his work with the Cadet Class from 1974 until 1988. He then moved to North Brighton where he died in 1994.

In 1980 he was awarded an MBE for services to Youth Sailing. His close association with the Cadets forged a strong and enduring relationship with the yachting fraternity in Melbourne. He was already well known to the older generation who were the parents of the next generation he supported in their dinghies, who then became the yachtsmen of the 1970s and onwards.