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Material relating to VJ and VS sailing and associations

Date: 1961 - 1981
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from John Robinson
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS1083

User Terms

    This archive series numbered [001] - [040] consists of printed material relating to VJ and VS sailing and the classes administration. It includes photographs of VJ sailing; 'Bolt It Down Under' stickers; articles from Seacraft, Modern Boating and Power Boat & Yachting; clippings of VJ and VS monthly newsletters; amateur sailing association constitutions and by-laws; and various booklets for VJ and VS NSW and WA State Championships and National Titles.
    HistoryThe VJ or Vaucluse Junior class is a simply fitted, single-chine training class for young teenage sailors. It has been one of the most popular classes in Australia for 80 years and remains active in 2011.

    The class began in the eastern suburbs of Sydney in 1931. Vaucluse resident Sil Rohu worked with naval architect Charles Sparrow on the concept of a simple, fast, low-cost skiff for their junior sailors at the Vaucluse Amateur Sailing Club on Sydney Harbour. They built a prototype at the club, followed by a second home built example, and the design immediately attracted interest. The flat bottom, single-chine hull shape was decked over and would not get swamped when it capsized, in fact it could be righted and continue to sail, so it was a safe class for young sailors.

    The 3.5m single-chine hull shape with a flat deck and small well for a cockpit was simple to build and well suited to amateur construction. The planning hull shape was fitted with a main and jib rig plan, and it had excellent speed. The combination offered exciting sailing and trained the young crews in all aspects of boat handling

    In the early days the class gained popularity at Vaucluse quite quickly, and a proper set of detailed building plans and specifications were drawn up. By 1934 it was well enough established for the national Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly to run a three page article in the June issue on how to build one of the boats, at this point still known by its original name ‘Vaucluse Sharpie’.

    Other clubs in Sydney and NSW quickly adopted the class, and by 1938 it was established in other states as well. The first national series, held as the Commonwealth Championships with the class called the Vaucluse Junior was sailed in 1938, and won by John Winning in REVIVAL.

    Winning has gone on to be a champion sailor in other classes and is very well known in the 18-Foot Skiffs. The class has an impressive roll call of other former champions including the 1983 America’s Cup winner John Bertrand, women’s World Laser champion Jacqui Ellis, and Chris Nicholson, a 49er class World champion and in 2011, skipper of CAMPER in the Volvo Round the World yacht race.

    The hull shape has remained unchanged over the years, allowing older boats to remain competitive for many seasons. The original hulls were plywood, but fibreglass and composite construction is allowed, to a minimum weight. The rig now carries a spinnaker, and the two crew can hike out on the sliding planks that were the original form of additional leverage allowed, or the trapeze, a more recent introduction.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Material relating to VJ and VS sailing and associations

    Assigned title: Collection of documents collected by John Robinson related to the Vee Jay and Vee Ess yachting associations

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