Captain Bligh

Photo Source: MYCQ Photo collection

Winner of the 1972 Brisbane to Gladstone multihull Yacht Race in cyclonic conditions. It also won line honours in 1973, 1974 and 1975.

The hulls are of Maple Ply over Oregon frames and stringers, glassed completely with Epoxy and 6oz. cloth. Brian Willey's comments are: "Great Boat", "Fulfils my requirements exactly", "Close reaches very well", "Exceeds 30 knots easily" and "Cyclone Emily experience proves the seaworthiness of the design"

Captain Bligh has been designed for speed,and not to any rating rule. Consequently, it has relatively enormous sails, light weight, low wetted surface, deep draught, low windage, high aspect ratio sails, and a long thin shape to give a prismatic coefficient which assures high speed under most conditions.

People who have seen it sail have been impressed by the tremendous acceleration, and sheer power. In a very hard trip to Mooloolaba, Brian noted that instead of climbing up a wave and being washed back at the crest, she powered straight on over and down and up again, as though no other forces could compare with the tremendous sail area weight ratio.

Les Allwood, who made the sails was impressed with the speed in hard driving conditions, that took them from the mouth of the Brisbane River to Moreton Island and back in less than two hours.

The yacht is constructed so that when,hard pressed the long thin sharp submersible floats will slip under the water without fuss and emerge again without slowing the yacht at all. This has proved to be a valuable guard against capsizing in the trimaran.

Hughie Morris built Captain Bligh down at Doboy Creek, and Brian finished the inside and rigging at the slip in his back yard at Yeronga. After a magnificent launching ceremony, the Captain Bligh was motored down river because its mast height would not allow it under the bridges, and the final touches were added for tuning.

The following weekend, Brian took his sail maker, Les Allwood for a memorable ride to Moreton and back, and about half way there Les started to unclamp his whitened knuckles and enjoy himself. Other trimarans and catamarans on the bay that weekend reported that Captain Bligh could travel at nearly double their speed on any point of sailing. The acceleration was something to see, and the day ended well when Brian overtook a Hayles cruiser at about 19 knots in fairly smooth water at the mouth of the river, acknowledging the plaudits of the crowd as he passed.

In 1972 Captain Bligh was the only Yacht (Multihull or Monohull) to finish the Brisbane to Gladstone.

While returning from the 1972 B2G, Captain Bligh spent the night in Pancake Creek, and upon leaving next day, under mainsail alone, the 3'9" draft proved too much. The absence of a certain lead made navigation difficult, and dead low tide made it impossible. A coral bommie tore the skeg loose and jammed the rudder sending the boat straight into another bommie. The high set floats allowed it to settle until the water was up to the table top, just below the bunks. Two tides later found Captain Bligh up the beach for repairs and after another couple of tides it was towed back to Gladstone to be put on the hard next to Australian Maid for more repairs.

In September 1972 Captain Bligh raced with the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS) fleet as the Trimaran Naiad had been doing for 8 years. It beat all other yachts in the fleet on all points of sailing and took line honours by 26 minutes. RQYS then banned Captain Bligh from racing with the fleet for the rest of the season.

The vessel was lost in around 1980.

Skipper/Owner: Brian Willey
Design: Lock Crowther - Kraken 40
Builder: Hugh Morris
Length: 39.6 ft
Beam: 28.85 ft
Height: 50 ft
Draft (Daggerboards Down): 6 ft
Draft: 3 ft 6 in
Sail Number: M52
Date Launched: 1971
Mainsail Area: 395 sq. ft
Genoa Area: 610 sq. ft
Spinnaker Sail Area: 2,200 sq. ft
Screecher Area: 760 sq. ft

Our Online Partners

Multihull Solutions Redland City Marina North Sails