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10 foot skiff REDWING

Date: 1942 - 1943
Dimensions:
Overall: 565 x 650 x 150 mm, 5.7 kg
Display Dimensions: 545 x 400 x 605 mm
Medium: Brass, timber
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Eric Potts
Classification:Models
Object Name: Model
Object No: 00028860
Related Place:Kogarah Bay,

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    Description
    A 1:12 scale brass model of the 10-foot skiff REDWING built in 1942 - 1943 by Eric Potts, the owner of REDWING, who sailed with the St George 10-foot Restricted Sailing Club during the war.

    SignificanceThis brass model is an example of an amateur built model based on a full scale 10-foot skiff named REDWING,
    by its owner and skipper Eric Potts. It is a detailed representation of the St George10-foot skiffs, a prominent sailing class on Kogarah Bay in the 1930s. This model also illustrates the variety of open boats and regional skiff classes sailed in Sydney up to the Second World War.
    HistoryEric Potts was employed as an electrical fitter at AWA and worked on the model during his lunch period "for about ten minutes a day over a few years" after he ate his pie and sauce, (his lunch for six years!). He modelled the skiff in brass "a material on hand", and portrayed it sailing off the wind with ballooner up. It is very finely detailed with
    removeable belaying pins, rigging blocks and adjustable centre board with pin. All components are very finely worked and in very good condition.
    The model was built with a hand egg - beater drill, several files and a fret saw with a metal cutting blade. It is based on dimensions as measured from the full-scale skiff.
    The timber pattern for for casting the hull was made by skiff sailor and builder Bill Boulton's next door neighbour. Eric Potts took the sail plan for the brass sails directly from REDWING's rig (originally made by Jack Hamilton of Brisbane) and the measurements of thes pars and mast from the skiff.
    Eric Potts was born in 1922 and lived at Bellevue Parade South Hurstville. He started sailing 10-foot skiffs around the start of the second world in his older brother Hector's boat RED TERROR (named after champion race horse Phar Lap). Hector, 12 years Eric's senior, went to New Zealand and gave the skiff to his younger brother Eric who
    then renamed it REDWING after a 16-footer owned by shipwright Charlie Scaysbrook who had built the skiff for Hector.
    While Eric maintains that Hector "never finished a race in his skiff -that was where he learnt to swim!" he admits to having limited success in club races himself.
    Eric spent first two years sailing forward hand with Charlie Scaysbrook as his skipper in the first year and Jack McCulloch in the second year. They raced during the war with an entrance fee of two shillings, for 'ten bob prize money'. Eric earned six pounds a week as an electrical fitter at AWA working six days a week- 14 hour days and ten
    hours Saturday, with three hours travelling time each day to and from AWA at Ashfield. His only day off was Sunday - when he raced.
    The International Power Boat and Aquatic Monthly 10 July 1942 reports that REDWING won the McPherson trophy skippered by McCulloch. Eric competed until racing was discontinued when all boats in the Bay were taken up
    the river and pulled out at Liverpool possibly in 1943.The boats were brought back and raced again however the class was losing its appeal for young sailors with the advent of the more manoeuvreable VJ. The St George 10-foot
    Restricted Sailing Club on Kogarah Bay folded by the end of the war. The St George 10-footers were relegated to B class skiffs and dispersed among clubs on the river and 'down the harbour'.
    Eric sold REDWING at the end of the war.

    REDWING carried a ballooner of 120 square feet, spinnaker of 120 square feet, two suits of sails, three masts - two gaff rigged one with a marconi track - plus three jibs. Its sail insignia was a red circle with a wing off the side.
    While the sail area of the 10-footers was huge for the length and beam, the St George
    class with its crew of two was over shadowed by the Balmain10-footers with their tremendous suits of sail on 10-foot long, beamy hulls of eight feet which were crewed by four or five.They were 'sailing frying pans' according to Eric and Fred Thomas.
    Balmain 10-footers were modelled on the open boat classes, particularly the 18-footers, while the St George boat resembled a miniature 16-foot skiff. The Balmain tens competed 'down the Harbour' among the variety of skiff classes and clubs while the St George Club had virtually no inter club competition being limited to Kogarah Bay. Although the two 10-foot skiff classes did race once or twice, the larger boats from Balmain proved too powerful for the smaller St George class. The Balmain boats attracted the spotlight - they appealed to the crowd which followed the 18-footers and raced on the same course.
    The new era of peacetime and the increasing popularity of the lighter VJs brought the demise of both classes.
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