- Walter Burroughs
- History - general
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 2010 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
While sailing is a sport in which the navy should be expected to excel, the cutters and whalers used over many years were uncompetitive with modem yachts, and blue-water sailing only became possible in the RAN with the acquisition of the 33 ft sloop Tam O’Shanter. She entered the Sydney to Hobart in 1954 skippered by Captain R.J. Robertson, RAN with a crew from the then Flinders Naval College, and was to compete in four more races. At various times the Naval College also entered chartered yachts Four Winds (1956), Onya of Gosford (1983) and Pacha (1984). The yacht Franklin competed as a College entry in 1967 and then on another four occasions.
The Naval Engineering Training Establishment HMAS Nirimba had an apprentice built 42 ft steel hulled yacht Nirimba launched in 1966 which served as an important sail training vessel until paid off in 1984. She took part in several ocean races including four Sydney to Hobarts. In the early 1980s the RAN purchased five Swarbrick 111 class training yachts with two of these, Alexander of Creswell and Lady Penrhyn of Nirimba (shortened to Lady Penrhyn when Nirimba paid off in 1994) based in Sydney, with another two in Westernport and one in Western Australia. These yachts were to provide stalwart service with Alexander of Creswell and Lady Penrhyn first competing in the Sydney to Hobart in 1985 and continuing in this competition until 2001.
When Boxing Day comes around again and we watch the new breed of professionals in their latest racing machines, we might spend just a moment to remember those who helped establish the fine spectacle of this classic