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Hand bearing compass and case used by Jack Earl on KATHLEEN GILLETT

Date: c 1941
Overall: 155 x 117 mm, 1.25 kg
Medium: Wood, cedar, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jack Earl
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Compass
Object No: 00016697
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    This Sestrel hand bearing compass and case manufactured by Henry Browne & Son Ltd, was used by Jack Earl on KATHLEEN GILLETT. KATHLEEN GILLETT was built for Sydney marine artist, Jack Earl to sail around the world. A founder of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race, Earl sailed KATHLEEN GILLETT in the first race in 1945. Two years later, the ketch (named after Earl's wife) circumnavigated the globe, only the second Australian yacht to do so.
    SignificanceThis compass is significant in having been used by Jack Earl to plot his course around the world. It also represents navigation technology of the 1940s - a technology which has been refined and superseded by radar and satellite navigation electronic equipment.
    HistoryIn 1933, Jack Earl commissioned Sydney boat builder Charles Larson to build him a yacht to sail around the world. It was based on a design by Norwegian naval architect Colin Archer and Earl named it after his wife Kathleen. In the 1890s Archer had designed double-ended life boats and pilot boats renowned for their seaworthiness. The design was ideally suited to cruising boats.

    It took Jack and Kathleen fifteen years during the depression and war to gather their funds to build and outfit the boat for a world cruise. Launched in 1939 it was to be another three years before KATHLEEN GILLETT was rigged. The Earl family lived on board while jack worked for the illustrated press.

    Earl skippered KATHLEEN GILLETT in the first Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in December 1945. He was one of the handful of sailors who formed the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and started the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The Club became a focus for the sport of cruising in Sydney and the race became an international Bluewater classic.

    In 1947 Earl and four crew set out north from Sydney Harbour in KATHLEEN GILLETT. Their eighteen month voyage was followed enthusiastically by sailors and the wider community in Sydney. It was serialised in yachting magazines and was influential in shaping interest in the sport of cruising in Australia. The crew returned home to a tumultuous welcome on a crowded harbour in December 1948.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Hand bearing compass and case used by Jack Earl on KATHLEEN GILLETT

    Assigned title: Sestral compass used on board KATHLEEN GILLETT

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