Boat Name: Sayonara
Designer: William Fife III
Builder: Mr A McFarlane of Birkinhead, Adelaide
Year Launched: 1897
Rig: Topsail Gaff Cutter
LOA: 57’7″ (excluding Bowsprit)
LWL: 38’2″
Beam: 10’6″
Sail No: R6
Owner: Sayonara Syndicate
ARHV Number: HV000367

History: Sayonara, Japanese for goodbye, was built by Mr G F Garrard, then commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria (RYCV) at a time when the largest yacht in Australia were to be seen on Port Phillip Bay. Designed as a fast cruising yawl with high bulwarks by W Fife of Scotland, being a sister ship to his own champion Cirego, she was built by Mr A McFarlane of Birkinhead, Adelaide, and launched Novemeber 1897. She then cruised around to Melbourne in record time. Her first major race was when sailed by Mr A P Agg of the Brighton Yacht Club in the Intercolonial regatta held on Hobsons Bay, February 1898, where she defeated all opposition including the then undefeated South Australian Champion Alexa to win the major prize of $140. In no time she proved to be invincible on Port Phillip. She was a marvel in light weather when she was able to walk away from all opposition. Then a hard blow was struck when the various clubs decided to put limitations on the sizes of yachts entering important races and regattas. This decision only affected Sayonara and the Alexa which had remained in Victoria for several years as there was no competition for a yacht of her size in Adelaide. July 1898, Sayonara was sold to Messrs C D and J A Wallace who decided to keep her at St. Kilda in season 1898/99, when able to, she raced in events of both the RYCV and the St Kilda Yacht Club. In winter 1899 her rig was altered to that of a cutter, increasing her sail area to 2079 sq. ft. Shortly afterwards she was under the sole ownership of C D Wallace. The season 1900/01 she was laid up as her owner was overseas. After being sold to Mr Alfred Gollin sometime about 1902/03, her new owner tried to stimulate interest in New South Wales in an intercolonial challenge. This at first did not meet with approval in Sydney for reason that a larger type of yacht would have to be built than was then in vogue in Sydney. Finally a challenge issued through the RYCV was accepted by Mr H Binney (RSYS) who’s Auckland designed and built Bona had the reputation of not having been beaten; Mr Gollin then donated a $105 trophy for the series. From her moorings at St. Kilda, Sayonara took 13 days to reach Sydney in light, Fluky conditions. The three heat series conducted in January 1904, was a closely contested one with Sayonara winning the first and final heats, so winning the Cup. Alfred Gollin then offered back the Cup as a perpetual trophy to be called The Sayonara Perpetual Challenge Trophy for competition between Victoria and New South Wales. Conditions were then drawn up for future competition on lines similar to those of the Americas Cup. Sydney yachtsmen did not take too kindly to their fastest yacht being beaten by a cruiser type. This persuaded Mr A T Pittar, an ex New Zealander living in Sydney, to commission Logan Bros of Auckland, New Zealand, to design and build him a yacht capable of beating Sayonara. Rawhiti was built and launched in 1905, and sailed on her own bottom to Sydney. Her owner however did not challenge for the Cup and in a very short while sold her to Mr C T Brockhoff, who immediately challenged. Sayonara in the meantime had also changed hands and was under the ownership of Messrs Robb and Newbigin, and was taken off the St. Kilda register. A week prior to the Sayonara Cup Series 1907 there was raced for on Hobsons Bay the La Carbine Cup which was donated be Sir Rupert Clarke. It was for a three heat series open to all yachts throughout Australia. Great interest was held in both series as the Rawhiti was entered in both events, and as she was until then unbeaten in Sydney, general opinion was that she would be too good for her older opponent. Sayonara was stripped out for the LA Carbine Series, being lightened by up to almost one ton in order to improve her rating, this alteration proved unsuccessful as she sailed disappointingly and was not placed in any of the heats. The winner was Rawhiti. With only days before the Sayonara Cup Series, Sayonara was hurriedly put back into her old trim. This paid off as she scored on every point of sailing and was unquestioningly the better boat in conditions that were fair to both. Deciding that Sayonara was too old to continue defending Cup, her owners approached the RYCV stating that a new yacht should be built to uphold the honour of Victoria. Their attempts were unsuccessful. Sayonara received received a hard blow when she was barred from entering the first Bass Straight Race in 1907. According to the Geelong Yacht Club, who was conducting the event, no defender of any Cup was eligible. It was obvious that this ruling only applied to Sayonara, the fastest yacht of her size in Australia. The Geelong Yacht Club came under a lot of criticism. Their reply was that the race was for wholesome cruising boats, not racing machines. If racing machines wanted to race, they could get up a class and race by themselves over the same course. In the past Sayonara had proved her seaworthy qualities, from sailing from Adelaide and had cruised to both Sydney and Tasmania. In the meantime a further challenge was received for the Sayonara Cup by a Mr A Saxtons Awanui but owing to changes in the International Yacht Racing Rules this challenge was withdrawn. Victoria received and accepted a further challenge in 1909 in the 19 year old Thelma owned by Lloyd Jones, Royal Prince Albert Yacht Club. Once again Sayonara was appointed as the defender and she was again converted to her cutter rig. After three most exciting and keenly fought heats, the Cup was won to remain another year in the safe keeping of the RYCV. Shortly after Thelmas defeat, Mr A Saxton of the RSYS issues a challenge to the RYCV to race for the Cup in 1910 with his Awanui. This challenge was shortly afterwards revised by Mr W Marks who had acquired Awanui, renaming her Culwalla 111 (she was to become famous in latter years at St. Kilda under the name Eun-na-mara) Victorian yachtsmen were kept in a state of suspense until early January 1910, as until that time doubt existed where Sayonara would be racing as she was until then laying dismasted on her moorings at Williamstown. Mr John Dixon of the Brighton Yacht Club came forward and purchased her merely with the idea that Victoria should not concede the Cup by default to New South Wales. He then hurriedly got her ready for the series. Sayonara had to concede defeat to Culwalla 111 in a closely contested three-heat series and the cup finally found its way to Sydney. Not long afterwards Sayonara was back on the register of the St. Kilda Yacht Club where she remained until 1912 when she was sold to Sydney where, under several owners, she has remained ever since. Sayonara was converted to a Bermudan rig and spent the latter years on Pittwater. The yacht has been a well known sight at her mooring off Scotland Island being used for cruising. The previous owner, Mr Hank Kossen, was impressed with the restoration of Waitangi when he inspected the yacht in Sydney during the 1995 Gaffers Regatta. He undertook to advise Col Anderson if he was ever to consider selling Sayonara (which at that time was unlikely) Late in 1996 Hank advised that he wished to sell Sayonara. A holding syndicate was formed to purchase and transport the yacht to Melbourne and gave her a million-dollar refit before re-launching her in 2000. She has since been a regular in classic yacht events.

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