sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : The Kulmar Family JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff champions of 1976
The Kulmar Family JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff champions of 1976


'Paul Ziems Stephen Kulmar Paul Kulmar after winning the 1976 JJ Giltinan Championship in Miles Furniture'    Frank Quealey © /Australian 18 Footers League

2014 JJ Giltinan and Australian 18ft Skiff Nationals - The ‘Past Winners’ list of the JJ Giltinan Championship shows '1976 Miles Furniture Stephen Kulmar', but that statistic doesn't tell the full story about this team and their success in the 18s.

Australia’s 18 Footers are famous for having generations of a family competing over many years, and occasionally even two generations competing at the same time.

What sets the ‘Kulmar Family’ apart is their unique achievement of 1976 when they won the coveted JJ Giltinan (world) Championship on Sydney Harbour.

The winning skiff was built by Les (father), with assistance from sons Stephen and Paul, in the garage under the family house.

Stephen Kulmar skippered Miles Furniture, with his brother Paul Kulmar and brother-in-law Paul Ziems rounding out the team.

The story began at the family home in Hunters Hill. Stephen recalls:

'Our mum Flora and dad Les encouraged my brother Paul, my sister Sue and me into joining the Hunters Hill Junior Sailing Club in Woolwich, at the head of the Lane Cove River'.

'We started in Sabots and when dad built our first boat, in the workshop garage at our home, we graduated to a Manly Junior (Blue Sky)'.

'Every Saturday during the summers of 64, 65 and 66, Paul and I shared the roles of skipper and crew, without ever achieving a win. We were making up the numbers, enjoying every minute of learning how to sail while building great friendships'.

'1966-67 Season, Paul and I moved on to Flying Elevens (Vagabond), again in a boat built by dad with help from us. Over the next three seasons we began to win some races and championships together'.

'In the 1969-70 Season I moved up to the 12ft Skiffs in yet another boat built under our house. This time Paul elected to stay in the Flying Elevens where he continued to show his real skill and won races'.

The progress of Stephen and Paul Kulmar to this point was a typical path for young sailors but the building of the skiffs by Les (with the assist of the boys) was the beginning of the story which would take the family to the top honours in the 18s.

During the 1970s the 12ft Skiff class was extremely strong in both numbers and talent and was closely watched as a stepping stone into the 18 Footers.

Again, Stephen Kulmar describes the family’s progression to the top of the 12s:

'Over the four seasons from 1970-71, we designed, built, rigged, modified and sailed a new 12ft skiff. We were encouraged to explore new concepts, but it wasn’t until the 1973-74 Season, when we took a completely radical approach with a tiny deep V stitch and glue design (which was built in one weekend) that we really broke through'.

'Vagabond was unbeatable right from the start, winning the NSW (Sydney Harbour), Inter-Dominion (Auckland Harbour) and Nationals on the Parramatta River, all in one season'.

The strength of this performance was even greater than it appears as the fleet included the likes of John Winning, Iain Murray, Michael Coxon and Rob Brown.

With such a record, it was hardly surprising that the Kulmars decided to move into the 18 Footers.

Stephen Kulmar: 'We decided to move up to the 18 Footers and try our luck in the Big League'.

'Paul Ziems, our brother-in-law, joined us from a successful career in the 16 Footers where he won most of the major championships with Graham McKellar'.

'Next, we managed to find a wonderfully supportive sponsor, Laurie Miles of Miles Furniture. He was a harbourside local and loved following us around the course on his powerboat'.

'Miles Furniture was very much a family business. The synergies and culture were very compatible with the Kulmar family value'.

'Our first Miles Furniture was an attempt to upscale our thinking, taking the deep V Vagabond stitch and glue idea into an 18 Footer. We also added an aluminum frame for structural support that included external wings (maybe the first separate wings ever on an18 Footer)'.

'We continued to work with Bruce Hewish, our sail maker from the 12 Footers. We again built the hull at home in the garage and rigged her on the front lawn (avoiding the telegraph lines) as we did with all our boats'.

'Our first attempt wasn’t right. The boat was too small and it lacked power under 15 knots, but our sponsors were happy with our efforts and prepared to go again'.

The 1975-76 Season was the highlight of the team’s career, but its achievements came only after finely planned design then on-going development throughout the season.

Stephen Kulmar recalls: To compete and win, we needed to rethink and take a more evolutionary approach to match the Bruce Farr-designed KB, which was sailed superbly by the great Dave Porter'.

'We thought we could go one better with a slightly smaller, lighter, flatter boat. We spent the winter months in the workshop garage at home designing and building our second Miles Furniture'.

'An important new member to the team was Jack Eden, Miles Furniture Advertising Manager and surfing photographer. Jack became an integral part of our team, following us around the race and training courses'.

'His photography assisted our new sail maker Mike Fletcher, of Elvstrom Sails. Every week we re-cut or made new sails based on the findings we gathered from Jack’s photography'.

The just reward for the meticulous planning, building and ongoing development of the boat was a victory in the 1976 JJ Giltinan Championship, on Sydney Harbour, when the Miles Furniture team defeated the defending champion Dave Porter, in KB.

It was an outstanding performance from ‘the family’, and, as Stephen Kulmar points out: 'The quality and quantity of the fleets we sailed in was full of talent with the likes of McDell brothers and Russell Bowler of NZ, along with Dave Porter, Mike Chapman, Bob Killick and Dave Griffith, pushing us in the Sydney fleet' made the win even greater in an era which produced some of the greatest racing in the history of the JJ Giltinan Championship.

'In an attempt to retain our title', Stephen says 'we went back into the family workshop to design and build our third Miles Furniture, which was a slightly larger, rounder boat that never quite performed across the spectrum of wind and conditions in the way of the previous Miles'.

'We went to Auckland to defend the title but managed only one win (by 15m in the final race) in a black nor’easter, only to be disqualified for being a premature starter'.

'With the ongoing support of the Miles family we built two more Miles Furniture 18s and competed in the 1977-78 and 1978-79 seasons, however, by this time our family sailing team had broken up and at the end of the 1979 season the Kulmar family officially retired from 18 Footers'.

'In all, we designed and built five 18 Footers, four 12 Footers, along with a Flying Eleven and a Manly Junior in the family garage workshop at Hunters Hill. We rigged them all on the front lawn of the family home, avoiding mum’s roses and overhead telegraph lines'.

Stephen Kulmar’s sailing career moved to yachts. He has since competed in eighteen Sydney-to-Hobart races and has three ‘Hobart’ handicap wins.

When you meet the Kulmars it’s obvious that the family unit is still as strong as ever.

Like a number of other past Giltinan champions, the team will be at the Australian 18 Footers League on Sunday 2 March to watch Race 2 of the 2014 JJ Giltinan Championship, proudly presented by Sydney City Marine, and help celebrate its 75 years history at an after-race barbeque function to be held in the park alongside the rigging area.

Miles Furniture 1976 -  Frank Quealey_©_-Australian 18 Footers League  

Miles Furniture - spinnaker style -  Frank Quealey_©_-Australian 18 Footers League  


1976 champion Stephen Kulmar with the JJ Giltinan Trophy -  Frank Quealey_©_-Australian 18 Footers League  

Les Kulmar with the 1976 world champion crew (l-r) Paul Ziems, Paul Kulmar & Stephen Kulmar in the family garage -  Frank Quealey_©_-Australian 18 Footers League  

Miles Furniture’s crew upwind -  Frank Quealey_©_-Australian 18 Footers League  

1976 JJ Giltinan champion Miles Furniture -  Frank Quealey_©_-Australian 18 Footers League  

miles furniture wins the start of a championship race in the 1974-1975 season -  Frank Quealey_©_-Australian 18 Footers League  


by Frank Quealey


  

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

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=119395

4:01 AM Wed 19 Feb 2014GMT


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

Click for further information on
2014 JJ Giltinan and Australian 18ft Skiff Nationals

Related News Stories:

17 Feb 2014  UK's 2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship Challenge
16 Feb 2014  18ft Skiffs NSW Championship – Difficult conditions in Race 4
14 Feb 2014  New Zealand and JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
12 Feb 2014  The unluckiest JJ Giltinan Champion
10 Feb 2014  18ft Skiff Championship - Seve prepares to beat off challengers
09 Feb 2014  18ft Skiffs Australian Championship final race
07 Feb 2014  JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs - Sydney City Marine to support event
05 Feb 2014  Fiji and the JJ Giltinan 18 footer championship
02 Feb 2014  18ft Skiffs Australian Champs: Gotta Love It 7 dominates Race 4
31 Jan 2014  JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship 2014 – Four weeks to event
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World













































International Moth Worlds: Rashley ahead as Aussies close in by Mark Jardine / YachtsandYachting.com,




















International Moth Worlds - Mothballed on day 4 + Video by Mark Jardine / YachtsandYachting.com,


Spirits high as Team Alvimedica completes Transatlantic crossing
Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature
29er North American Championship - Day 1 in Kingston
Red Bull 49erFX: First look at the Olympic sailing venue at Rio
Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam - Classic conditions on day 3
NYYC Race Week Part II images by Rolex/Daniel Forster
Drowning or electric shock? What you need to know to help save a life
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 1
Six Metre European Championship - Blazing sunshine on opening day
National Sailing Hall of Fame to present Lifetime Achievement Award
International Moth Worlds: Greenhalgh and Rashley tied at the top
PWA Pozo World Cup - Fantastic finale determines winners
Six Metre Class British Open Championship - Llanoria and Valhalla win
Anna Tunnicliffe set to compete at the CrossFit Games
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA holds foiling camp at Wangi SC
Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi OR completes double Atlantic crossing
Volvo Ocean Race: Team SCA has a 'pull through day' off the Canaries
No tiller sailing - how to steer using just the sails + Video
International Moth Worlds: Three bullets in a row for Greenhalgh
U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship - Sophia Reineke wins
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 0 Opening   
Fuerteventura World Cup - Slalom action highlights day 2   
2014 Governor's Cup - Sam Gilmour of RFBYC victorious again   
Farr 40 West Coast Champ - Skipper Alberto Rossi leads Enfant Terrible   
Flying Dutchman World Championships - Magyars are the Masters   
Final day shakes up standings at Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek   
2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica pushing towards Southampton   
NYYC Race Week - Saving the best for last   
VX One North American Championship - Chris Alexander commands   
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Waiting game on Day 3   
International Moth Worlds: Thunderstorms delay racing on Day 1   
Fuerteventura World Cup - Impressive tricks on day 1   
2014 Governor's Cup - Two former winners in the finals   
America's Cup: Iain Murray explains reasons for Australian withdrawal *Feature   
Wilson and Roble remain number one match racers in U.S.   
2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Set to start   
PWA Pozo World Cup - Moreno twins dominate home spot   
ISAF Youth Worlds - Record breaking regatta in Tavira + Video   
Melges 32 European Championship - Robertissima remains out front   
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Italians take one-point lead   


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 NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT