sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Boats for Sale MarineBusiness-World Sail-World Racing Cruising Int Magnetic Is RW Photo Gallery FishingBoating
Sail-World.com : Vale Lou Abrahams - A profile of the Doyen, (Pt I.)
Vale Lou Abrahams - A profile of the Doyen, (Pt I.)

'Lou Abrahams in 2007'    © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Earlier today, Australian time, the great Doyen of Victorian sailing passed away. Lou Abrahams, the softly spoken ocean racing legend will always be remembered for not only his contributions to the sailing, but dedication to making yachting a more female friendly sport.

In his later years, Lou was supremely dedicated to ensuring the future crop of sailors had the very passion he will always be remembered for. Vale, Lou. There's a special race being held in heaven for him tonight


Atop the stairs at SYC is the man, the portrait and some of the half models. -  Alex McKinnon  

Below is part one of a special profile John Curnow did on Lou some 16 months ago. We will publish part II shortly.

It's been a long time since the expression of surprise, ‘Goodness, gracious me!’ has passed from common vernacular. It does seem imminently suitable in reference to one, Lou Abrahams however, for he is full of goodness and very gracious. Indeed, sitting down with the man for a long chat is not only a privilege, but you also get to find out many things, ironically, some of which were a complete surprise.

One of these was that well before Lou got into boats, he held the Australian land speed record! Yes. Back in the 50’s when the Australian Grand Prix was running around Albert Park Lake the other way, Lou was heavily involved with Formula One and motorsport in general.

He designed and built his own car, including the engine, which is not altogether dissimilar from another Australian legend, Sir Jack Brabham. Lou then went out and set a then very amazing record of 159mph or 256kph at Coonabarabran and please remember, that this is the best part of 60 years ago! ‘It ran on straight ethanol and was pretty good, but a bit out of control. Fast in a straight line, you know, however you could not stop it. You had to get it into a skid to come to a complete stop, so it was a handful’, said Lou in his oh so customary method of understatement.

Not happy to have something that unsafe, Lou took a trip out to Point Cook air force base and saw the brakes on the Winjeels, which then got applied over to his car, the Tornado. What is also evident with all of this is Lou’s determination and engineering prowess, both of which would serve him well when he got into all things nautical, but that would not be until the 60’s, as it turns out.

Last year, Bruce Legg pointed out another surprising element in Lou’s esteemed maritime career. Lou’s first boat was not actually a yacht, but rather a powerboat that he based at Queenscliff and used for cruising around Bass Strait and its islands, with his wife Joan and their family. ‘I had been doing some sailing in Melbourne and went to Sydney to buy a cruising yacht, but could not find something I liked. There was this ex-US wartime vessel that had never been in the water and did not even have engines then.

As luck would have it, later I was buying a forklift truck at a disposal auction, when I peeked inside a crate labelled parts and bought it. It turned out to be a pair of ex-Army tank diesel engines and so voila, instant power. Ask and ye shall receive. We ended up having a lot of fun with that boat.’

The 60’s, 1963 to be exact, would also mark the beginning of Lou’s long association with one of the world’s greatest events, the Sydney Hobart Race. It was Arthur Warner who took the then 36-year-old Lou on the famed Winston Churchill as his bowman. Again, his determination has an exclamation mark after it, for he would complete 44 consecutive races before retiring from ocean racing in 2006.

In AFL terms, that would put you in there with the likes of the great Michael Tuck at 426 games and the late Jim Stynes at 244 consecutive appearances on the field. Coincidentally, Tuck started playing for Hawthorn in 1972, which is the same era that Lou was becoming known as the Doyen.

The beautiful Vittoria. -  Alex McKinnon  

Now I was just a little tacker when I first met him in the early 70’s. Lou was incredibly gracious when my mother managed to kiss the bow of our 14 tonne cruising yacht into the side of Vittoria, whilst manoeuvring at the Sandringham Yacht Club (SYC) on the shores of Melbourne's Port Phillip. Mercifully, there was no damage and thank God it was just a kiss really, for our vessel had a two blade folding prop that actually made going astern look more like a stationary stern and as for walking the transom across, well that was about the pace it did under full noise.

Lou was very gracious when my mother went to apologise and this was not out of character. Rather it was very much in keeping with the man’s beliefs, for it was Lou’s vote as the then Commodore that first allowed Ladies in to the Members’ Bar at SYC. ‘They used to be in a separate room outside and order drinks through a hole in the wall. It was very controversial at the time to allow women into the bar proper, and there were a lot of people against it.

'Altering the by-laws. The very first thing to occur after we altered the by-laws was that a couple of ladies sat in the corner where these old guys used to always be and even put their handbags on the bar. What a stir it caused’, said Lou with a wonderful wry smile. Interestingly, the 101-year-old club will have its first female Commodore in the form of the delightful Kate Mitchell in the next couple of years. As Lou says, ‘She’s very good.’

So the impending 68th edition of the Sydney Hobart Race has had crews preparing in the freezing cold or under the tropical sun and the qualifying passages are just about upon us, too. As an example of how far Lou’s goodness extends, when I mentioned to another person quite synonymous with the great race, Richard Bennett, that I was preparing this piece on Lou, he very quickly supplied his wonderful shots that you see here.

Lou was the sixth man to join the 40+ club and it was a little surprising to learn that there are now currently just the 10 souls in it, with the late John Bennet to being the only one to be no longer plying the seas. At the time, Lou was the only Victorian in this most illustrious of clubs and has since been joined by Bernie Case. Shortly, New South Welshmen, David Kellett and Lindsay May will make it an even dozen.

When the latter gets there, he will also be the only one to have held the Tattersall’s Cups aloft three times and that will make him one of the most special members amongst this already über-exclusive club. ‘It was a good thing to do and certainly a tick in the box’, said Lou of the milestone. ‘The hardest part was stopping. I really enjoyed getting ready, the prestart and for that matter, the whole thing, then there you are, sitting at home. TV just isn't the same and the coverage doesn’t talk about all the boats.’

After his first run South on Winston Churchill, Lou moved all the way to the back of the boat when he purchased Odin. ‘It was too wet for me and it was a long way out that bowsprit. Time to head aft’, commented Lou. The Halvorsen penned, canoe stern vessel was a sister ship to three-time winner, Freya, but built in steel. ‘She was not too sophisticated, but a good sea boat. We broke the mast off Tasman Island that year, unfortunately in a good position to win at the time’, said Lou.

After five years, Odin gave way to the Sparkman and Stephens 42, Vittoria, which certainly has a soft spot with Lou, as he remembers all her wonderful timber. She was cold moulded, crosscut Oregon with a dinyl skin and had a fit out to match. ‘I think she is still in Sydney. That IOR era provided magnificent boats and you could look at them as art in pen.’

Challenge III in 1987. - Sydney Hobart Race -  Richard Bennett Photography  

Vittoria was used a lot as part of the Victorian Southern Cross team and was certainly a reason for Lou getting behind team based events as the years went on. Challenge, nee C2 or the Big Red Boat, was next. The S&S 45 was campaigned from 79 to 83, and provided his first Hobart win in that last year. Challenge III was from 84 to 87, with the carbon fibre Frers going off to do the Admiral's Cup and also part of the 1986 winning Kenwood Cup team in Hawaii.

Lou and the gang head South once more aboard Challenge. - Sydney Hobart Race -  Richard Bennett Photography  

Ultimate Challenge, which proved to be far from true, took Lou and the crew from then until 1995, with many an overseas trip and a close second in the 1991 Hobart, included. Importantly, the Ed Dubois IOR one tonner of Carbon/Kevlar provided Lou’s second win in 1989. Another Challenge, the Sydney 38 came next, and then just good old Challenge would follow shortly after, as he committed fully to One Design. They have won that particular title many a time now and indeed are the reigning champions, as well.

Ultimate Challenge, which of course was a winner, but by no means the end of the line. -  Alex McKinnon  

Lou commented, ‘In the Ultimate Challenge era, the one tonners were dominating the scene. To me, the win in 1989 was the most exciting. We had a Farr one tonner in Sagacious, right there with us. It was unbelievable. You came on watch looked under the boom and you could see their instrument lights. We pushed each other on, which made it good fun. They were great campaigners and that made it even better. I see it as one of my pinnacles. My goal was to win a Sydney Hobart and the second win was better, as we 'won' it. The Big Red Boat got suitable conditions and had it won after reaching across Bass Strait, whereas we were spent after 89. We were pushing it to its limits and I came on deck and said to the crew, ‘Before you win, you've got to finish.’ Once again we see Lou’s experience, engineering prowess and general seamanship coming to the fore. A couple of years later and in a similarly tight race to Hobart, Sagacious actually lost the top of their rig.

Now it is not all over yet. We have many more items to cover, as you would expect with a man of Lou’s calibre. Alas, that will all have to wait for Part Two, which begins with that ‘wonderful’ year of 1998 and finishes with the Doyen’s thoughts on participation in sailing.

The old Constitution Dock area. Challenge III crew from 1986. - Sydney Hobart Race -  Richard Bennett Photography  


by John Curnow


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=119671

10:09 PM Fri 28 Feb 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World

Oceans of Hope, the 67-foot yacht undertaking the first circumnavigation with a working crew of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), spent the weekend traveling the locks of the Panama Canal. They have arrived in Panama City greeted by the Pacific Ocean and chocked off another major milestone in circling the globe under sail. ... [more]  

Planning an open ocean cruise? If so, you are the key to helping scientists better understand the health of the world’s oceans. When we look across the limitless horizon of a vast ocean, it’s easy to believe that one little action can’t possibly hurt or help something so large as the world’s oceans. ... [more]  

The hideous, mildly terrifying and rarely sighted frilled shark has turned up in waters off south-eastern Australia. The species, whose ancestry dates back 80 million years, is known as the 'living fossil'. ... [more]  

Croatia First Regatta - Positioned between a grand prix overseas regatta and a cruising rally is a brand new limited entry one design event due to start from the town of Split in Croatia on June 13, 2015. ... [more]  

Bay of Islands Sailing Week - BOISW and the New Zealand Millennium Cup start Wednesday and Doyle Sails are offering an overnight service on sail repairs and a basic rigging service. Doyles have team members on several boats during the regatta, so will be ready to help you as soon as you hit the dock, should you suffer any damage during the racing. ... [more]  

World Arc Leg 2 has commenced. After a very enjoyable and entertaining week here in Santa Marta it is with fond memories that the fleet depart for the islands of San Blas today. Santa Marta have been generous hosts to World ARC and World Cruising Club look forward to returning in 2016. ... [more]  

2014/15 World ARC - Crossing their final ocean, today Chika-Lu and Nexus were the first of the fleet to arrive on the quaint island of St Helena. Located in the South Atlantic, they have sailed approximately 1700nm to reach this remote British colony from Cape Town, South Africa. ... [more]  

Multihull Solutions has kicked off the new year with the launch of an impressive new website at www.multihullsolutions.com.au. The company, which has become the Asia Pacific’s leading multihull specialist, developed the new site as an informative resource for those looking to buy, sell or research catamarans and trimarans. ... [more]  

2014 warmest year since records began + Video by NOAA National Climatic Data Center
The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880. The annually-averaged temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). ... [more]  

In what should have been a leisurely cruise home to Coffs Harbour from Sydney with a newly acquired yacht, a mechanical failure off Hat Head south of Trial Bay last night, meant the skipper and two companions on the vessel needed help. ... [more]  

A newly awakened volcano off an uninhabited Tongan island has finally been viewed up close, with volcanologists saying it has created a substantial new island since it began erupting last month. ... [more]  

This spring, the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in America in over a century will begin sailing, and teens from around the country and the world will board in July and August for thrilling one- and two-week Education at Sea camps. The 200-foot Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Oliver Hazard Perry has a 500-ton steel hull and a 130-foot tall rig with square sails on all three masts. ... [more]  

Highland Yacht Club - Lake Ontario’s hidden jewel of a Yacht Club by Katherine Stone - Canadian Yachting Magazine
Nestled in the middle and protected on all sides you will find one of the friendliest places on Lake Ontario, Highland Yacht Club. The City of Toronto put an ad out, some 40 years ago to encourage people to come together to form and build a boating community at the base of these Bluffs. What emerged were four clubs and Bluffer’s Park Marina. ... [more]  

Particular Harbour – Gananoque by Andy Adams - Canadian Yachting Magazine
Andy says, 'I know of no other boating location quite like the town of Gananoque in the Thousand Islands. The graceful double-ended St. Lawrence rowing skiffs were a swift and effective way to travel through the area in the 1800s carrying cottagers to their islands, visiting millionaires to the fishing grounds and transporting all manner of goods through the beautiful and sheltered island area.' ... [more]  

SE Asia tanker hijacks rose in 2014 - IMB report reveals by International Chamber Of Commerce
Attacks against small tankers off South East Asia’s coasts caused a rise in global ship hijackings, up to 21 in 2014 from 12 in 2013, despite piracy at sea falling to its lowest level in eight years, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed. Pirates took 442 crewmembers hostage, compared with 304 in 2013. ... [more]  

'It was great to see Ben Ainslie sailing past Necker Island as he enjoyed his honeymoon with his delightful new wife Georgie Thompson. Seeing as Ben is one of the greatest sailors of all time, what we didn’t expect to see was his boat getting into trouble!' said Richard Branson. ... [more]  

Christmas Caribbean Rally 2014 successful end (CCR 2014) sees elated crews and their shore support teams enjoying Antigua to the full. Eight boats and almost 50 crew safely completed the 2850nm crossing from Marina Rubicon in Lanzarote to arrive in the historic Caribbean sailing capital of Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua. ... [more]  

The last thing anyone thinks when looking at single-handed sailors in the Vendée Globe non-stop round the world race is that this might be comfortable and relaxing. However, combining the fastest possible yacht design with the demands of cruising is in vogue. ... [more]  

10th January marked a special day in World ARC history as two fleets set sail as part of new annual editions of World Cruising Club's round-the-world rally. In the rally's Caribbean home port of Saint Lucia, the World ARC 2015-16 fleet began their 15-month circumnavigation, whilst in South Africa the seasoned adventurers of the World ARC 2014-15 fleet re-started after a two month break. ... [more]  

Corals strive to stay just under the surface of the ocean. Coral reefs need to get it just right—submerged in the sea, but shallow enough for the corals’ symbiotic photosynthetic algae to soak up sunlight. Too deep and the ecosystem wastes away without solar energy to make food. Too shallow and corals dry out at low tide. This delicate balance is achieved by a constant tug-of-war. ... [more]  

The lowering of the ocean’s pH is making it harder for corals to grow their skeletons and easier for bioeroding organisms to tear them down. Erosion rates increase tenfold in areas where corals are also exposed to high levels of nutrients, according to a study published January 2015 in the journal Geology. ... [more]  

An Australian yachtsman who lost a treasured boat at sea has described his rescue off a remote Indonesian tropical island as a 'sweet and sour experience'. ... [more]  

Recently we asked a group of around 100 cruisers if they’d be interested in a rally with a greater emphasis on the sailing side of both passage making and cruising. ... [more]  

Already renowned for state of the art facilities and luxury conveniences, Abell Point Marina is about to add two more exceptional guest services to its bow – a free courtesy car and a dedicated helicopter service. Responding to feedback from guests, the Marina has added the new services in order to help provide the best possible experience for visitors to the area. ... [more]  

The Hoegh Osaka ran aground in the Solent off the coast of the Isle of Wight late on Saturday and is listing at 45 degrees on Bramble Bank. The salvage master tasked with refloating the Costa Concordia cruise liner, Capt Nicholas Sloane, said salvors face a 'critical situation'. He said the next 24 hours are 'crucial for the local conditions and the wash'. ... [more]  

A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and their colleagues examined behavioral responses to sound by cuttlefish, a type of shell-less mollusk related to squid and octopi. The study is the first to identify the acoustic range and minimum sound sensitivity in these animals. ... [more]  

When we started our Great Loop journey last year, we did something that hadn't been done before - capture the entire Great Loop on video. We mounted a GoPro camera on our flybridge and shot high-def, time-lapse video through every travel day. Here are some of favorite videos. ... [more]  

World ARC 2014 - One year on by World Cruising Club
For the World ARC 2014 fleet January 2015 marks a significant milestone. Exactly one year on since their voyage began in Saint Lucia, they have been on an adventure exploring the spectacles of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Now, with the fleet moored at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town it’s almost time to once again set sail and get back on the ocean. ... [more]  

Radio Ham Exams in the Davao Gulf of the Philippines by Seven Seas Cruising Association
On February 25, 2015 at 0930 local time the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) is conducting a ham exam 'gam' at Holiday Oceanview Marina on Samal Island in the Davao Gulf of the Philippines. ... [more]  

This summer the Australian National Maritime Museum is all about underwater exploration with its brand new children’s adventureland, Voyage to the Deep. And to celebrate it is inviting families to a special submarine family fun day inspired by the exhibition and its resident submarine HMAS Onslow on Sunday 18 January. ... [more]  

This summer the Australian National Maritime Museum invites families to enjoy a brand new theatre show, Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, inspired by its new children’s adventureland, Voyage to the Deep. ... [more]  

It was an epic battle right from the starter’s gun with Comanche, the new and very sexy US built 100-foot supermaxi, leading the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet out of the heads in record making speed. ... [more]  

A man has been taken to Shoalhaven Hospital this morning after escaping from a burning yacht on the Shoalhaven River on the NSW South Coast. ... [more]  

Toronto Boat Show Ocean Sailing Forum - Learn from cruising experts
World ARC 2015-16 fleet prepare in Cape Town
Five sailing rope tips for sailing or cruising
Marine Rescue Kioloa and Ulladulla vessels investigate flare sighting
Phuket International Boat Show preview
Two men and 4-year-old missing on fishing trip off Jervis Bay
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Age no barrier for the final finisher
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Friends make Wild Rose 'Simply the Best'
Wish a Marine Rescue NSW volunteer a happy New Year on Sydney Harbour
Rolex Sydney Hobart; Wild Action on Handicap Winning Wild Rose VIDEO *Feature
Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves
Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves
10 'New Year habits' for safe and enjoyable boating
Old charts and inexperience brings yacht undone
The power of the tide
Bringing a Lab to seafloor - New device probes deep-sea microbial life
For Christmas a Shiny new Sail-World.com *Feature
Marine Rescue Batemans Bay brings two home safe on Christmas Eve
ARC 2014 – 29th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers wraps up in Saint Lucia
Yachties forbidden cargo 'deliberately hidden' claims NZ officials
Quiet Atlantic hurricane season - new surge forecast products debuted   
Beach party wraps up ARC+ for another year   
Waves within waves   
Nereid Under Ice vehicle: A powerful new tool for polar science   
2015 Lakefest Aquatic Week - A week-long celebration of boating   
Marine Auctions raises the bar with live internet bidding for auctions   
Christmas Caribbean Rally 2014 - Atlantic adventures underway   
You are what you eat – if you’re a coral reef fish   
Sea urchins from Antarctica show adaptation to ocean acidification   
Seabird poo has unique spectral signature - satellite images show   
Keep safe on the water this holiday season   
Sail-World new format - Important first visit changes needed   
Farewell to Knorr: Research ship and crew made oceanographic history   
Antarctica Day 2014: 55 years since signing of the Antarctic Treaty   
Scientists urge protection of world's deltas   
Court tells France to pay damages to Somali pirates   
Yacht lost on Majuro   
Skipper's 'top ten' checklist for safer sailing   
Go on an underwater adventure this summer at the museum   
ARC 2014 - Leopard by Finland’s record breaking finish   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph, contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS Cru SH
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT 

Page does not exist

Unfortunately the web page you were trying to reach does not exist.

Please check the web page address you entered, or try to navigate to this page from the home page at http://www.sail-world.com.