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Home-made sailing harness

Date: 1950s
Overall: 1290 x 200 mm, 863 g
Medium: Cotton webbing, metal fittings
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Richard Zoeller
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Sailing harness
Object No: 00025983

User Terms

    Richard Zoeller, a self-taught craftsman made this sailing harness from ex-army webbing. A keen yachtsman, he purpose designed and make much of the fittings and running gear for the yachts CIMBA and SONDA from 1949 to the 1950s. This 'making do' philosophy born of the Depression, led to design born of necessity and the ingenious use of materials.

    In the 1940s to the early 1960s yacht fittings such as sailing harnesses were expensive to purchase due to the impact of wartime shortages. Sailing equipment in the post war years was commonly from ex-army or ex-navy sources. This led to the production of home-made sailing equipment. Available commercial items were often not suitable for use in the subtropical Queensland climate.
    SignificanceThis sailing harness is an example of making-do technology produced in the years following World War II, when materials were in short supply and commercially available alternatives were expensive.
    HistoryBuster Zoeller (1908-2002) was a life member of the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club and in the 1930s sailed with the Sandgate Yacht Club's Linton Hope Rater class.

    During World War II he joined the Navy Auxiliary Patrol and in the evenings patrolled the Brisbane River submarine nets after finishing work. When the Navy Auxiliary Patrol was subsumed into the Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve, Zoeller served initially as a skipper and then at Sub- Lieutenant before enlisting. He took a RAN commandeered launch to Papua New Guinea and piloted Liberty ships into Buna and was described in his wartime service papers as 'a competent seamen'.

    From 1949-1954 Zoeller sailed on the H28 yacht CIMBA and then on the newly launched SONDA until 1970 when he bought the Endeavour 26 yacht FILIBUSTER.

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