A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE JUBILEE CLASS YACHT
In the early 1980’s a class booklet was produced a pdf version is available here. ( a large file please be patient)
Also Available as a flip-book here
In 1935, was the Jubilee year of the reign of the late King George V, the “first yachtsman of the Empire,”
During the previous yachting season, yacht clubs on Port Phillip Bay had suffered heavy losses, and many yachts had foundered, during two disastrous gales that swept the bay. Fleets were so depleted that the time was opportune to plan rebuilding along popular lines. Mr J.A. Linacre, then commodore of Royal Brighton Yacht Club, had the inspiration for a one design yacht, moderately priced, and suitable to withstand heavy seas and hard weather. It was to called the Jubilee One Design Class Yacht.
The idea aroused great interest. Yachtsmen from many clubs met at RBYC and discussed ideas which were, incorperated in the Jubilee One Design Class.
It was agreed that the salient features of this new class would be:-
- Boat must be powerful and stable design, so as to be able to safely withstand big seas and strong winds.
- The boat must be of handy size, so as to facilitate easy slipping and launching, and beaching if necessary.
- The design was to be strictly one design.
The measurements therefore decided on were:
- Length overall 18 ft
- Length waterline 16 ft
- Draft (board up) 1 ft 4 in
These keys points, together with other information derived from the original meetings were then turned over to Mr. W.D. Higgins (RBYC) and Mr. Chas Peel, a well known boat builder and designer’
They were asked to draw up complete designs. Their design was accepted and the class was born. Within six months, ten boats were built, and while the fleet grew strongly in Victoria there was also a strong presence in NSW. A fleet was even formed in Hong Kong. At their peak in the 70’s, there were over 130 Jubilees on the register.
The design has proved itself under all conditions and even the most experienced yachtsmen are unanimous in their praise of the complete seaworthiness, ease of handling and safety margin of these yachts. They are comparatively small boats, but will nevertheless safely tackle the worst conditions. On the other hand, they “ghost” along most satisfactorily in the slightest breeze.
Although designed primarily for close class racing, Jubilees make admirable cruising/camping/day-sailing boats. With their shallow board-up draft they are ideal for negotiating areas inaccessible to deeper draft vessels.
In the late 60’s, the rising cost of labour, scarcity of good timber (most were built of huon pine) and the general decline in boat building skills prompted the Association to design and produce moulds for a GRP version of the Jubilee.
Strict scantling specifications and displacement minimums for the ‘glass boats ensured the older timber Jubilees remained competitive with their plastic sisters.
In 1946, the first of the annual interstate races for the Huntingfield Cup was conducted. This trophy, presented by Lord Huntingfield, then Governor of Victoria, was originally for races between fleets from Vic and NSW, and has been held every year since then. Series alternate between venues in NSW and Vic, although notionally, the “Huntingfield Cup” is now a national competition open to boats from any state.
JUBILEES IN QUEENSLAND.
Surprisingly, given the shallow waters of Moreton Bay, and the resultant choppy seas similar to Port Phillip, Jubilees have (until recently) never been raced or sailed in Queensland (There must have been one up here however, as the owner of ‘Jason’ reports seeing one as a kid in the 50’s, and subsequently always wanting to own one.
In about 2010, Dave Gemmell from Lamb Island, who was looking for a small, shallow draught sailing boat to moor outside his waterfront house, discovered and purchased the lovely timber Jubilee “Beverley” J83. Coming across “Beverly” at Redland Bay revived old longings in yours truly, and prompted Tony and Lyn Harland to purchase the dilapidated hull of “Jason” J40 (1951 vintage) and rebuild her. Mike King from Macleay Island also liked the idea of a Jubilee for the thin waters in this region of the Bay and hunted down and purchased the timber jubilee “Nereid” J39 from Ballarat’s Lake Wendoree. Paul Driver also from Macleay Island, who was selling his beautiful classic launch “Atria” also decided to join the ranks and purchased the very competitive GRP Jubilee “Stella” J123. Mike King, thinking one Jubilee in the family wasn’t enough, convinced his son John to purchase the GRP “Lyla” J125.
Although John lives at Deagon, he has left “Lyla” moored alongside “Jason” on the mud at Point Talburpin, Redland Bay, so there are now a fleet of five Jubilees in the Redlands.
In January 2014, John King, Mike King and Tony Harland took “Lyla” to Sorrento in Victoria for the Huntingfield Cup, finishing 7th in a very competitive fleet. “Lyla” was the first Queensland based Jubilee ever to compete in these “national” titles.
Thanks to Tony Harland for materials for this page.