Launched late 1979/early 1980 (date of contract 12/1/1979)
Owner Patrick Roberts
Purchased 2011
Colour White with grey and white deck
Berthed Sandringham
Sail Number SM 2000
Australian Registration 855381
State Registration
Call Sign
Builder R. J. Ford & Mike Jessop-Jolly at Swarbrick Brothers
Hull Number 69
Fit Out R. J. Ford & Mike Jessop-Jolly
Previous Owners R. J. Ford & Mike Jessop-Jolly (original owners), then Richard Beck Ode Saw (TCYC), Jesse Martin, Geoff Middleton (2003-2011)
Previous Names Petrel(launched as), Lionheart of Perth

The Yacht’s Story

Jesse Martin and Lionheart hold the record for the youngest non-stop unassisted circumnavigation (Jessica Watson who was younger circumnavigated in 2009 in Pink Lady but by that time the record was no longer recognised, so Jesse remains the official record holder). Departed Mebourne 7th December 1998, arrived 31st October 1999.

From Michael Jessop (original owner) Aug 2009:

“I don’t have any written records of our building the S&S34, so must rely on memory.

We built her around 1979/80. I believe we were about the 98th hull from the mould, though that’s by no means certain. We did have the original deck with the submarine type forehatch. At that time there were 4 other 34s in the yard at Swarbricks. One left just as we vacated the mould, which I think belonged to Dr Stan Reid. Also Roger Passmore’s Aquilla was there at the same time. A pale blue 34 called ‘Geordie Bay’ was there, owned and built by 4 or 5 young blokes. If I remember correctly they sold the boat soon after. Also another 34 which was grey in colour owned by a guy called Garnet, who I never saw again so he probably sailed away.

We launched our yacht and christened her Petrel, though I don’t recall registering her with the S&S34 association. I do remember being approached to join, but don’t think it was our cup of tea at the time.  Besides we intended to sail her away, never to return… the best laid plans and all that. After only 6 months ownership, we sold her to a real estate baron, first name Richard but I forget the surname. He renamed her Lionheart of Perth. After one year he was in financial difficulty and offered to sell her back to me, but alas… I couldn’t afford her. I believe she was bought and based in Rockingham for a few years after that, then eventually sold and moved to the Eastern States.

All contact was lost until eventually we saw her in the media (front page of The West Australian) as the vessel that Jessie Martin was intending to sail around the world in an attempt to beat David Dicks record. We contacted Jessie’s committee to confirm that she was, in fact, our yacht and was convinced beyond doubt when we saw the interior, which was quite unique. We were the first (I believe) to put 4 windows in the cabin trunk instead of 5, and we designed and had built a custom stem fitting. There were several other features of the fitout that confirmed her as our boat.

That’s about all I recall of our brief ownership of the fine ship Petrel. I hope it’s of some use to you.”

About the Owners

From Geoff Middleton (May 2005):
I’ve been doing up Lionheart for the past couple of years including a new Yanmar engine, underwater refit, cabin and deck repaint in the colours when Jesse had it (grey and white), some sanding using around 263kg of sandpaper (or so it felt) and a few gallons of varnish. I have tried to keep her as original as possible, even down to the notes Jesse wrote on the roof as he was chatting on the HF radio! And the interior is just as you see it in photos. I still run the sails that came with the boat (although I changed from the around the world ones to the newer ones) and the sail number SM2000 has been retained as has the Aust reg number (cant remember it at the moment). I race the boat every Wednesday (came equal first in the summer series) and in the twilights in summer. I also enter some trophy races in the club and take her to Geelong Race Week every year entering in the Passage Race. Last year I featured the boat in a brief story about repowering in Trade-A-Boat mag. Down the track I really should do a feature on her although I don’t like banging on about my own boat in the mag so much.

Geoff was also editor of Trade-A-Boat Magazine

From Patrick Roberts, 2015:
Jesse sailed with us recently. It was a highly nostalgic afternoon for him as he reacquainted himself with the little home he had lived in, all alone, for nine months, all those years ago. We were able to show him his pencilled phone numbers, email addresses and reminders still on the cabin ceiling. 

When we bought Lionheart, in 2011, she was in a sad and shabby state. We have spent a lot of time and money restoring her to something of her former glory – a list of the works we have completed is below:

Late 2011:

  • All deck furniture, including stanchions, removed,
  • Star cracking around stanchion bases repaired.
  • Topsides and deck painted
  • Stanchions reinforced with backing plates.
  • All screws/bolt holes Sikaflexed prior to replacement (this resolved water leak issues long associated with the boat)
  • Replaced lifelines.
  • Replaced most running rigging.
  • Installed new porthole Perspex.

February 2012:

  • Marine electrician removed defunct Transat system and associated cabling.
  • Sorted out and tidied up all cabling, removing redundant cables.
  • Installed new Raymarine Ray 55E VHF Radio.
  • Installed new Raymarine ST 60 instruments.

May/June 2015:

  • New s/s standing rigging installed
  • Mast and boom removed, sanded, etch primed and two pack paint.
  • All sheaves removed, serviced and reinstalled.
  • New Evergreen NMEA 183 GPS aerial installed.
  • All navigation lights replaced with new LED.
  • New boom bag and lazy jacks by Bull Sails.

September 2015:

  • New 16 kilo Mantus anchor
  • 20 metres new anchor chain
  • 100 metres of 12mm nylon rode.



Lionheart showing off her new power shortly after the fitting of the new Yanmar engine in 2004

Jesse Martin – Youngest unassisted circumnavigation

6 thoughts on “Lionheart

  1. Hello,
    Greetings for the day.
    Hope you are doing well.
    We are writing to you on behalf of Pearson Education USA. We are working on a upcoming book “Try it”
    Famous circumnavigator Jesse Martin has appearance in this upcoming book.
    We got the information about him on your website at below mentioned weblink.
    We would like to contact you for his photos.
    Could you please let us know what is the procedure to obatian images and their approvals.
    Let me know if you require any further details.
    In case if I have contacted to the wrong department or person kindly forward this email to the right department or person.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  2. Pingback: Lionheart for sale – Your Chance to Own a Piece of Maritime History! | S&S 34 Association

  3. Good afternoon
    I am an Australian currently living in the UK. I am 68 years of age and seriously looking to buy a yacht to fulfill a lifelong ambition to sail around the world, not non stop though. Well maybe!!!
    I have always admired the S&S yachts and followed closely all those amazing yacht persons who have circumnavigated the globe. in S&S yachts and other boats.
    I just happened to come across this notice to say ‘LionHeart’ is for sale. I am looking for a yacht that is fully equipped and ready to sail as seen in Jessie’s book and your ad.
    Price is important so if ‘Lionheart’ is still for sale I would like to make contact with you via this email.
    Look forward to hearing from you when you have a moment.
    Thanking you and kind regards.
    Robin Farrall

  4. Dear Robin,
    Thanks for your enquiry, I am not sure whether Lionheart is still for sale. I have updated the ad so you can contact her owner direct via email. In terms of budgeting for a circumnavigation, please be aware that the cost of refurbishing an older yacht can easily exceed the purchase price (sometimes 2-3x), so there is a big difference between a new/refurbished boat and a “fixer-upper”. It is unlikely that you will get a boat in in condition for and equipped for a circumnavigation under AUD$100,000 whatever the initial purchase price may be.
    Regards, Simon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *