Photo Source: QMYC Multihull annual
Winner of the first Brisbane to Gladstone multihull Yacht Race in 1965. In 1964 it won also line honours in the QCYC Brisbane to Gladstone and set a new race record (32 hrs 22 mins) but was unrecognised for both achievements. In the 1966 race she was second home behind Hedley's new Vagabond Nth II "Privateer" after blowing out her spinnaker.
This was the prototype for Hedley Nicols' range of trimarans. She was built in Hedleys own backyard at Cleveland and launched in 1964.
Previously she had been tested to the limit and beyond, when, stripped bare, she was taken out in a 50 kt plus westerly to "see what she could do".
Eye witnesses testify that the boat took off like an aeroplane, some feet above the water, rolled slowly over and crashed back upside down. The only casualty was a crewman on the weather hull who jumped when he estimated he was 20ft off the water and sustained broken ribs for his trouble. The crew asserted that the sumlog needle was hard against the stop at 30 kts plus at the time. Film of the sumlog taken the previous day under similar conditions showed it hovering at 29 - 30 kts. Quite a lot of film was taken which would be most valuable today if it could be tracked down. The second days film was, of course useless. Vagabond was righted in Manly boat Harbour by crane and minor repairs enabled the boat to sail in the next QMYC race - which she won.
Returning home from the 1966 Gladstone Race she is supposed to have sailed over Breaksea Spit in cyclonic seas. She was sighted semi submerged east of the spit by HMAS Sydney and an attempt to take her waterlogged body aboard resulted in the amputation of the bow section. Failing to break up the remains by ramming, the Sydney finished her off with explosives. The bow section and various pieces of equipment were returned for identification and photographs of the attempted salvage appeared in the newspapers, boating magazines and even MAN pinup magazine.
Articles: 1965 Brisbane to Gladstone Race Report