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Material relating to C-Class catamaran design and racing

Date: 1963
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Roy Martin
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS1066

User Terms

    This archive series numbered [001] - [281] consists of material relating to C-Class catamaran design and racing, including MISS NYLEX, SOUTHERLY and HELLCAT 35. The material was donated by Roy Martin, the designer of MISS NYLEX which was the first C-Class catamaran to defend the Little America's Cup using a solid wing sail.

    It includes 110 technical drawings; 57 notes; 25 sets of statistics; 23 technical notes; 19 lists; 17 calculations; 16 graphs; three drawings; seven diagrams; one set of data; a timeline; a sailing course map; and a letter from A B Nicholson to Roy Martin.
    HistoryMISS NYLEX was the first C-Class catamaran to defend the Little America's Cup using a solid wing sail, and was designed and built completely in Australia. MISS NYLEX raced for the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy which began in 1960 and was held every two years. QUEST II of Australia won the series in 1970, defeating a Danish holder of the trophy. The series was always run as a match race between two C-Class catamarans from competing nations, and became known as the Little America's Cup as it shared a similar format to the America's Cup series.

    For the 1972 series a syndicate was formed with sponsorship from the Nylex Corporation to design and build a new technology, solid wing-sailed craft. The designer was Roy Martin, and the syndicate included John Buzaglo, Roy Martin, Chris Wilson, Frank Strange and Leon Ward. Sponsored by the Nylex Corporation, it carried the name MISS NYLEX.

    The 7.6 m long composite hulls were built in Victoria by Len Dobson, and although MISS NYLEX performed well in trials, it was considered too risky to use as there was no spare wing sail in case of an accident. Instead the cup was defended by the more conventional QUEST III. In 1974, with a back-up wingsail in reserve, MISS NYLEX was chosen to defend the trophy, and defeated the New Zealand Challenger. MISS NYLEX was crewed by Bruce Proctor and Graeme Ainslie and the series was sailed off Sorrento on Port Phillip.

    Prior to this event it set a new Australian sailing speed record of 24 knots, and also beat the 18-foot skiffs on Sydney Harbour in a 'Cock-o-the-Harbour' speed race.

    For 1976 a set of new, stronger hulls were built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation to the same shape as the original hulls made by Dobson. MISS NYLEX won the right to be defender, but in a series characterized by light winds, the Achilles’' heel of the wing sail at that time, the soft-sailed, super light American catamaran AQUARIUS won the series 5 to 4.

    The syndicate disbanded after that series, but the pioneering work was carried on by other Australian syndicates and the trophy was regained and defended by Australia in later series with wing-sailed craft. Meanwhile MISS NYLEX was used only occasionally sailing from the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron before it was dismantled and the parts became separated. In the mid 1980s some parts were rediscovered under a compost heap in a back yard. A search was then mounted which soon located the other items dispersed around Melbourne. Members of the original syndicate got together and along with Bob French restored the boat to its 1976 condition. In 1988 MISS NYLEX was donated by the C-Class Catamaran Association of Australia to the Australian National Maritime Museum to become part of the National Maritime Collection.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Collection of documents relating to MISS NYLEX

    Web title: Material relating to C-Class catamaran design and racing

    Collection title: MISS NYLEX collection

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