A noted waterfront expert recently commented that “you couldn’t build Raetara today for a million dollars, if you could get the timber, which you can’t.”
"Raetara" - the last boat built by Cec Quilkey is for sale through Pittwater Yacht Sales.
Maurice Gilet principal of Pittwater Yacht Sales said he was delighted to have listed Raetara for sale and thanks to the assistance from the current owner has uncovered a rich history from one of the best boat builders Cec Quilkey
Maurice and the current owner of "Raetara" have described some of her rich history below.
Raetara was planned by the sole owners, to meet very specific requirements:
- A delight to sail;
- Large enough to provide the required ‘creature comforts’.
- On the other hand not too large so as to require a crew for cruising.
- An excellent sea boat for coastal cruising.
- Competitive for racing.
The designer, John Ward not only responded to this list but added some of his own:
- An overall length of 38’.
- A balanced helm with no sailing vices.
- A jib boom in addition to being able to carry racing headsails and a spinaker complete with twin poles for ease of jibing.
The builder chosen was the legendary wooden boat builder, Ces Quilky. Ces had retired from building due to not being able to recruit tradesmen of his caliber. Nevertheless, due to Ces’s regard for John Ward and his designs, and even though he had rented out his own shed, Ces was persuaded to rent a shed and get back into harness. It is noteworthy that Raetara was the last boat built by Ces Quilky.
Reatara was the last of a long line of Quilky boats which included such famous boats as the Fastnet Race winner Ragamuffin1; Mercedes 3 & 4; Admirals Cup contender Salacia 2; three times Hobart winner Love and War; Centrefold which sailed in 4 Hobart races, the Noumea race and a Lord Howe Island Race.
Construction is in the Quilky mould of laminated Queensland Maple ribs with three skins of 3/8” Oregon, the intermediate skin being striated, with a finish in fiberglass giving her the appearance of being a fiberglass boat. Ces was delighted to be able to get hold of enough Honduras mahogany to be able to complete the fit-out with this beautiful furniture grade timber. It is a tribute to Ces that twenty two years later the locker doors and the drawers close as well as they did when Ces finished his work. The work was completed with a laid teak deck.
It is noteworthy that another noted waterfront expert recently commented that “you couldn’t build Raetara today for a million dollars, if you could get the timber, which you can’t.”
From a sailing viewpoint, Raetara in her cruising configuration of a fully battened main and fully battened working jib can be sailed from the steering position including being able to reef both sails and work the mainsail preventers.
It is a great tribute to John Ward that when cruising on the wind, one can leave the wheel and go below to put the kettle on.
However the Auto pilot makes cruising easy in any case. The boomed jib comes into its own when you find that you can go about in the freshest breeze by doing no more that turning the wheel or by turning the knob on the auto-pilot.
Creature comforts include:
- Hot and cold water with a shower and a laundry tub for hand washing;
- Two heads – one electric
- Gas stove
- Large refrigerator and separate deep freeze
- Two sleeping compartments, both with double bunks
- Two other bunks
- Plenty of storage space thanks to the absence of water tanks in the hull.
- Cocktail cabinet
- Leather upholstery
- Cockpit table
- Large awning which folds away in the cockpit.
Other results of Ces’s skills are the total absence of cabin or hull leaks and the provision of a boarding ladder installed in the hand rail amidships and designed to not allow the dinghy to get under it when lowered, plus a gate on the other side.
No description of Raetara would be complete without reference to the folding down workbench with its vice and tool rack.
Lastly in regard to construction details, the hollow stainless steel keel must be described. This contains 3 tons of lead in the forward half and 110 gals of freshwater in the stern half – no tanks under bunks on Raetara.
Raetara can and has raced with the RSYS, distinguishing herself in a number of Squadron Cruises and Harbour races. For this she has a mylar genoa and spinnaker with twin poles.