By: KEVIN GREEN, Photography by: SUPPLIED

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  • Trade-A-Boat

Extensively refurbished, classic yacht Heartsease pulls at the heartstrings - and is being considered for syndication.

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The allure of classic yachts is their history and detailed workmanship. So it is with Heartsease, a 15.4m cutter rig yacht launched in 1897. Built in New Zealand of triple-planked Kauri by Charles Bailey Jnr, she has a rich history of cruising and racing.

Heartsease has been with her owners for the past 45 years and is permanently berthed at the Royal Motor Yacht Club marina, Newport, NSW. She underwent a major refit in 2016 in preparation for a trip to Hobart for the 2017 Wooden Boat Festival to celebrate her 120th birthday. This extensive refit included new rigging, new engine and came to more than $200,000.

"This will ensure her life for another 100 years or more," said joint owner Peter Repaja. Along with Alex Gilmour, they have owned Heartsease since 1974 and sailed her throughout the eastern Pacific and Australia's eastern seaboard.


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Due to the two owners now being "nearly as old as the yacht", they are looking at options for the future to keep this classic boat in pristine condition, while still enjoying sailing her. Hence, a syndication is being considered with up to eight shares as a way of complementing the owners' who will keep three shares.

"Ideally, we want people who are sympathetic to owning a classic yacht and enjoy sailing in classic regattas and wooden boat festivals," said Peter.

Heartsease has been recently surveyed and valued for insurance purposes at $450,000.

The owners enjoyed a challenging voyage on Heartsease in 2017 when they sailed to Hobart.

"We were well received and the Bailey designs were widely known," said Peter.

The 50ft classic yacht encountered 40kts winds off Bermagui, which shook the crew up much more than the boat, so a few left the boat in Eden, but the yacht carried on across a stormy Bass Strait to enjoy its time in Hobart.

"We enjoyed a much calmer cruise on the way home and we are looking forward to being at the Sydney Wooden Boat Festival (April 13-15, 2018)," said Peter.


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The slender hull with sheer and long overhangs gives beautiful lines to Heartsease, while at sea her long lead keel ensures she can hold her canvas in a blow.

Since a major refit, including new plywood decks and deck beams, the hull has been encased in fibreglass for complete protection of the wood.

"The hull is 2¼ inches thick, so very strong and solid," said Peter.

Another classic feature was the refitting of a wooden (spruce) mast in 2005 to replace an alloy one, so Heartsease is back to her original spars. However, the original sail plan was a gaff topsail yawl, which is a very elaborate sail plan compared to her current Bermudan.

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New stays support the cutter rig and there's running backstays for extra support. Sails are also recent and the mainsail is slab reefed, while the headsails are roller furler.

"She's fairly easy to sail and to reef in a seaway, and we run with just the headsails poled out," advises Peter.

The deep cockpit is well protected by a recent sprayhood and drains into the bilges.

"She's also fairly dry to windward and safe to sail from the cockpit," said Peter.

Deck gear includes an electric windlass and plenty of galvanised chain plus a massive stem post. Another classic feature is her long bowsprit which gives plenty of separation for the headsails. For cruising there are two inflatables with outboards, so ideal for a run to the beaches in her home waters of Broken Bay.


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Below are four berths – a double forward and two benches in the main saloon. There's standing headroom and a large skylight for ventilation and lighting. The single head is manual and has a shower nozzle. The saloon benches were recently reupholstered and pleasant brightwork sets off this comfortable area. The galley has a two-burner gas stove with sink and fridge.

Power comes from the alternator of the recent 34hp Yanmar diesel (300 hours use) shaft drive. The drive is through the centreline of the boat (unlike many classics).

"Yes, she does go astern quite well but we have an outside berth at the RMYC, so handling is fairly easy," says Peter.

Back in 1975 when they went voyaging to the Pacific as young men, they used a sextant and traditional chartwork, but nowadays there's a Raymarine chartplotter plus another Garmin one. Also, wind instruments and sonar are fitted, all without spoiling the classic feel.


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The Baileys are Kiwi royalty when it come to design.

"We were always scared to visit NZ in case they wouldn't let Heartsease out of the country again," laughed Peter.

Owning a classic yacht makes you a custodian of history and so it is with Heartsease. Three generations of Baileys were major figures in NZ boatbuilding from 1860 to 1927 when the last of them, Walter Bailey, produced both commercial and recreational vessels in Auckland.

Their story begins with Charles Bailey Snr who transferred his excellent helming skills to designing yachts. His boats keenly competed with the other great NZ yard, the Logans.

The designer of Heartsease, Charles Bailey Jnr, was apprenticed to his father in 1878 and formally trained as a naval architect. Heartsease was launched in 1897 and was well tested by the owners who sailed her throughout the Pacific and eventually to Australia. 




DESIGNER Charles Bailey Jnr

BUILDER Bailey Brothers

MATERIAL Fibreglass clad triple-planked kauri

TYPE Displacement monohull

LENGTH 15.4m

BEAM 3.5m

DRAFT 2.1m



ENGINE 34hp Yanmar diesel

CONTACT Peter Repaja

PHONE 0411 591 568


Check out the full feature in issue #500 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.


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