Herreshoff H28 Association of Australia Inc


A classic sloop-rigged H28 which has undergone a full restoration

Bunbury boatbuilder Jim MacDonald built about half a dozen of L. Francis Herreshoff's famous cruising and racing H-28 yachts in the 1950s. At the time the H-28, which L. Francis had designed in the early 1940s, was one of the most popular yachts in Australia.

It could be cruised anywhere, it was quick around the buoys in everything from a zephyr to a gale, and its lines were beautiful. Herreshoff said he wanted to design a yacht that combined "grace of line, stability and sea kindliness" It would be, he said, a cruising ketch for the man who has only limited time to sail and who "must report to the office without fail on Monday morning". Dozens of H-28s were built by do-it-yourselfers around the world and hundreds more by professional boat yards such as that run by Jim McDonald in the pretty town of Bunbury, south of Perth.

While McDonald was working on this yacht, acclaimed Australian film maker Charles Chauvel was working on the first full-length colour feature film made in Australia. The film, called Jedda after the lead character played by Ngarla Kunoth, was a huge hit when it was released. MacDonald launched this yacht in1959, named her Jedda, and so she still is today.

Retired South Australian sailor Tony Gerlach, and a syndicate comprised of two of his mates and their three wives, became the fifth owners of Jedda almost three years ago when they bought her from a bloke who had brought the sloop with him to Adelaide from Perth a few years before.

In Perth the yacht, rigged as a Bermudian sloop rather than the ketch Herreshoff originally designed, had been used by all her previous owners for racing and an occasional bit of coastal cruising. As with many boats of that more carefree time, she had never been fitted with a pulpit, pushpit or safety lines – things most of today’s Adelaide sailors regard as necessities.

She was also fairly bare below decks; but her hull was sound and watertight and free of rot.

MacDonald had built the hull of 32mm Karri that was carvel planked. Her full-length cast-iron keel was filled with lead ingots and she displaced three and a half tonnes.

Gerlach and his two partners, assisted by shipwrights Klaus Becker and Rob Ayliffe, set to work on a full restoration and interior fit-out -- a job that took almost two years. "We did spend a lot of time and money on Jedda but she had been sitting, unloved, for a couple of years and needed a lot of love and attention," Gerlach told BoatPoint.

The deck and cabin were restored and repainted in 2011. The two-cylinder 10hp Nanni diesel was fully serviced and restored in 2010 and new mounts and a new propeller fitted. A 40-litre stainless-steel fuel tank was also installed. The mast was refurbished and re-rigged in 2010 and navigation and anchor lights fitted, along with the new stanchions and safety lines, bow cap, rollers and an electric anchor winch.

A furling headsail was fitted and the main sail was fitted with a stacking sail pack and lazy jacks.

The interior was rebuilt to house a small galley and large cooler, a manual head and comfortable sleeping accommodation for four. For day sailing the cockpit holds six with a squeeze and six people can enjoy a meal at the table in the saloon.

Now with other interests competing for their time, the syndicate partners have placed Jedda on the market for $35,000, a price Gerlach says is very reasonable considering the time and money that was spent bringing her back to top notch condition.


Make: Herreshoff H-28. Timber cruising sloop, Built 1959.

Length: 28ft.

Beam: 9ft 6ins.

Draft: 4ft 6ins.

Engine: Nanni 10hp diesel.

BoatPoint reference number: SSE-AD-917638

Location: Wirrina Cove marina, South Australia.

Price: $35,000.

Reprinted from Boat Point

words - D.D McNicoll

Published : Sunday, 4 November 2012

(C) 2012, 2013 Herreshoff H28 Association of Australia, Inc - Registration Number: A0040053W

Herreshoff H28 Association of Australia Inc

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