In 1965 Muir's Boatyard built and launched the 46ft Balandra. She was an outstanding ocean and harbour racing competitor, and a yacht that Jock Muir described as one of the most beautiful boats he had ever been involved with. Designed by Peter Nicholson from Camper and Nicholson of the UK , she was built for Robert Chrichton-Brown of Sydney.
Jock Muir: “She has a beam of 12ft and draws 7ft, and there were several departures from the norm in her building. She wasn't an easy job really, and we took eight months over her. Balandra was built of two skins of Honduran mahogany glued onto pre-beveled frames, which means all the ribs were laminated and pre-beveled before they were put in place, instead of being steamed as we previously did.”
Jock’s son Ross worked with Gary Smedley on one side of her planking, and Jim Grove and Jock worked on the other. This was after Adam Brinton and Jock had prepared the backbone – a long job and an incredible amount of work because of the designer’s requirements.
Jock Muir: “The frame or backbone was also Honduran mahogany, which is, quite simply, the best timber in the world for both construction and interior joinery.”
Jock said Balandra was indeed worth the effort and he followed her with keen interest. Balandra took just over 20,000 hours to build, and her sister ship was reported to have taken thousands of hours more.
Jock's long time friend Neal Batt was with him on the delivery trip to Sydney, and they both sailed back amongst the crew in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race crossing second over the line behind the much larger South African yacht, Stormvogel. Balandra was awarded fourth on handicap with Peter Green from Sydney as the sailing master.
In later years Russell Piggot from Hobart purchased Balandra and raced her mainly locally. In 1990, Gerd Henneke bought her, raced her a lot, and later sold her to another Hobart yachtsman Jamie Saunders, of the well-known Hobart engineering company Saunders and Ward.
Over the past decade, Balandra has undergone a major refurbishment.