Undine, a Derwent Class sailing yacht, is considered a true gem of maritime history that embodies the spirit of racing excellence. More than just a boat, Undine is a piece of living history and she is now for sale.
Restored by the skilled craftspeople at the Wooden Boat Centre, Franklin, the magnificent, 24-foot Undine is the Australian Wooden Boat Festival’s first ever boat resto project and is scheduled for relaunch in February at the Kettering Wooden Boat Rally.
Developed as a one-design racing yacht for the challenging waters of the River Derwent and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, the Derwent Class is the oldest racing class in Australia. The “D” is a one-design racing yacht designed by naval architect, AC (Arthur Carlyle) Barber in the 1920s for competing on the River Derwent and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Tasmania.
Launched in 1948, she was built by Don Colbourn of Pirie Street, New Town, Undine competed against the other 20 or so D-class vessels in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and earned a formidable racing reputation.
Each D-Class vessel is named after a mythological or literary character, resulting in a colourful cast of characters: Imp, Pixie, Gnome, Sprite, Mermaid, Peter Pan, Wendy, Pim, Gremlin, Merlin, Janus, Merlin, Titania, and now, Undine, a water nymph, which adds a touch of whimsy to her undeniable elegance.
Abandoned in a berth at Oyster Cove Marina, Undine (D13) faced an uncertain future before she was rescued and donated to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.
With her extensive restoration undertaken by Australia’s only wooden boat building school, the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin, Undine has been brought back to life, ensuring she is ready to compete against her rivals once more.
Under the supervision of Cody Horgan, Head Shipwright and Manager of the Wooden Boat Centre, the small band of students and volunteers carried out a complete inner hull restoration, construction of new decks and deck beams, a new cabin and forehatch, internal fit-out, existing deadwood and ballast removed and refitted.
Her hull has been fully refurbished, and her interior has been meticulously painted.
Over Christmas, Cody and his team had a two-week break before returning in full swing to ensure Undine leaves the shed by the end of January.
“We have applied the blue OneUp undercoat primer, in readiness for the Oxford Blue Toplac Plus,” explains Cody. “We have a lot of stainless mast fittings currently being made and aim to get them fitted by the first week of February. All the hull fittings are now applied, the last being the stainless bob-stay fitting.
“We had a lot of fun getting the rudder installed,” he continues. “We had to raise the entire vessel about 1.5-metres off the ground to get the rudder in. It was daunting but had to happen! Work is now underway on the spars, the mast, boom and jib club. The mast required repairs and the other two have been laminated out of Oregon, using WEST SYSTEM 105 epoxy resin and hardener, thickened with 413 WEST SYSTEM Microfibre Blend powder modifier. We use WEST SYTEM because their products are a known quantity, they’re consistent. When you use them a lot, you become confident they’re up to the task. And ATL Composites provide technical support whenever we ask.”
“We’ve started to coat the spars with varnish now, using a French tung oil varnish called Le Tonkinoir, which is quite a lush resinous coating that should allow the mast long serviceability in the elements. Next is the fun job of varnishing the cabin sides!
“In the next two weeks, Undine will be ready to roll out of the shed and recommence her racing life as a brilliant example of the iconic D-Class.”
D-class yachts are making a comeback in the Tasmanian yachting realm with an exciting calendar of events throughout the year at various venues around the country.
Based at Oyster Cover Marina at Kettering, 30 minutes’ drive south of Hobart, a new generation of wooden boat owners formed a cooperative to purchase, restore, maintain, and race D-Class boats. At least 18 still exist out of the 26 or so built, many of them fully restored.
The skippers and crew stage regular week-day races during the racing season and compete yearly in the ‘Derwent Worlds’, hosted by the Kettering Wooden Boat Rally in even years, and the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in odd years. The Kettering Wooden Boat Rally and Derwent Worlds will be held 10 to 12 Feb 2024, the Hobart Regatta long weekend.
The new owner of Undine will undoubtably possess a masterpiece and a vessel that’s primed for victory. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor seeking a challenge or an enthusiast looking to immerse yourself in the world of classic yachting, Undine is your ticket to an unparalleled experience on the water.
Undine will be unveiled and launched at 10am, 10 February 2024 at the Kettering Wooden Boat Rally. Expressions of interest are now open to purchase her. For more information, contact the Australian Wooden Boat Festival on firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 6223 3375.