Wild wave in December 1953 with Jock and crew
Wild Wave nearing the Sydney-Hobart finish line, 1953
Built by owners Geoff and Lindsay Keats, and the sister ship to Waltzing Matilda, Jock said of Wild Wave:
“I was invited to be her sailing master in the 1953 Sydney-Hobart with the very experienced crew of; John Bennetto (navigator), Dudley Burridge, Peter Attrill, Keith Radcliffe, Basil Chipman, Peter Crawford and owners, Lindsay and Geoff Keats.
“The trip to Sydney was not uneventful: after a Bass Strait sou-westerly gale, two waves collided causing Wild Wave to knockdown. I had the tiller at the time and was staggered to see not only the two windward dog-house windows of 1/4 inch plate glass shattered, but then the two leeward ones followed suit. Lindsay Keats was standing under the dog-house at the time and was lucky to escape injury.
“We completed the 630 nautical mile course back to Hobart in five days, four hours, five minutes and 25 seconds (corrected time of three days, 22 hours and three minutes). We had taken the lead on the first night out of Sydney and were never headed. On the second day we were Some three hours, 17 minutes ahead of our old rival Solveig, with Josephine and the Livingston brothers’ Kurrewa III battting it out for minor placings. We were placed fourth on handicap, but became the first yacht to be owned, designed, built and skippered from Tasmania to cross the line first. The propeller had been unshipped and the aperture sealed up.
“It was a race of complete weather contrasts; setting off in strong, fair winds down the coast of New South Wales and 40-knot storms across Bass Strait (where we had a 206 mile spinnaker run in one day); to north-easterlies down the east coast of Tasmania and then a relative calm in the final days. Beyond St Helens it was a drift almost down to the line. Ruthean, the 54-foot Newcastle yawl, skippered by Vic Toll, was blown way off course after being prominent with us for so much of the journey across Bass Strait.
“Needless to say, it was a hearty welcome we received from Tasmanians on our arrival in the Derwent and as we crossed the line, but this soon turned to disbelief as the race and fourth place on handicap was taken away from us within the walls of the Royal Hobart Yacht Club.”
– Source: Maritime Reflections, Chris Hudson and Jocelyn Fogagnolo