Reveille II

Launched Built for the Australian Army (Western Command). Date of construction contract 13/2/73. 3rd June 1973 – Official launch at RFBYC, Perth.
Owner Tony and Marj Clarke
Purchased 28 MAY 1985
Configuration Short rig but with double spreaders, wheel steering
Colour White/red
Berthed Bundaberg
Sail Number F 266
Australian Registration During 1987 Reveille became a Registered Australian Ship (ON. 852401) and renamed REVEILLE II – another vessel already registered as Reveille.
State Registration
Call Sign
Builder Swarbrick Brothers
Hull Number 18
Fit Out
Previous Owners 3 June 73 – 2 July 79 Australian Army – Club racing and offshore events (RFBYC).  2nd July 1979 – 1982? John & Gordon Martin. Some club racing plus major refit (RPYC). 1982? – 28 May 1985 Maurie Glazier. Activity unknown (FSC).
Previous Names Reveille

 The Yacht’s Story (see also Peter Tait’s story on the Grey Goose page)

Reveille was professionally built for the Australian Army (Western Command) by Swarbrick Bros Yachts Pty Ltd Perth W.A. She was launched on the 3 June 1973 at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. The launching was well attended with Lady Brogan having the honour of naming her. I believe that the choice of name is significant. “Reveille” is the name given to the military bugle call sounded each morning to mark the start of the day’s activities. It is described in the dictionary as the “early morning call”. With the tradition of naming 34’s with a “morning” prefix, and the obvious army connection the name was appropriate. The log book has the signatures of some 62 quests (including 3 Swarbricks) so must have been some event!

Reveille was built for racing and did club events on the Swan River as well as the offshore program. Her first skipper was Lt Col. John Tout with crew from various army units around Perth. A log book was maintained (with large gaps) up to Dec 1979 but only records the detail of races entered. I have reason to believe that during this time she lost a mast and also had a grounding off Rottnest Island but there is no detail of these misadventures in the log! One incident that is recorded was a mishap during the lowering of the mast while negotiating the Fremantle traffic bridges on the 17 Mar 74. The top bock on the mast lowering gear broke (with the mast at 45 degrees) resulting in a smashed instrument console!!

Reveille was sold on 4 July 1979 to John & Gordon Martin and continued to race (now out of Royal Perth Yacht Club). Some of the army crew stayed on until the end of this year (the last entry in the log is a record of the Cape Naturaliste and return race 7 Dec 79 – not a good one as they retired due to gear failure!). I think that Reveille’s serious racing days ended around this time. In 1980 she had a complete refit. The original fit out was basic with racing being the main consideration. At the time of launching Reveille was a burgundy colour and during this refit she was repainted white, the colour she remains. The brother partnership also ended with John Martin purchasing his own S&S 34 Ct Bon. Another change during this period was the fitting of wheel steering.

Reveille was sold at some time during 1982/1983. Her new owner was Maurie Glazier, a professional cray fisherman who hoped to retire and go cruising! This did not happen and she spent a lot of time in her new berth at Fremantle Sailing Club. The only significant event that I am aware of is a major engine rebuild.

We purchased Reveille on 28 May 1985 with the idea of also doing some cruising. As we hoped to cruise offshore we had her registered (Australian Register of Ships) in 1987. Reveille became Reveille II as a fishing boat in Kingston South Australia already had the name and we didn’t want to change it.

Modifications to Reveille II

We have met a lot of people who remember “the red army boat”. Few would recognise her today. I have included some information regarding the more significant changes that have been made over the years.

The Name:  She was launched as REVEILLE and we still refer to her as such. The name change to REVEILLE II was necessary as another vessel already had the name when we went to register her.

The Colour:  On launch day REVEILLE was a maroon or burgundy colour. She was repainted several times during the army days. When the Martins had her she was repainted white and remains so. We have now repainted her twice. The last time, I sanded her back to the original gel coat and could see the complete painting history in the many layers of undercoat/topcoat applied over the years! Her last painting was in Gladstone (Feb 2001) using an AWLGRIP two pack system and she still looks very smart.

The Rig : The original rig was the standard “short” stick with a single spreader. When we purchased her she had the same “short” rig but with double spreaders. I did hear that she had been dismasted at some stage during the Army days. One of the projects this year was to remove the compression post (a galvanized steel pipe that was showing signs of rust at the base plate). This involved removing the mast (it got a repaint) and the tabernacle which revealed a set of bolt holes belonging to a smaller tabernacle so the new mast is obviously of a larger section than the original.

New Port lights:  REVEILLE has the “standard” five ports per side with the two forward ones being slightly smaller than the ones in the main cabin. The aluminium frames had become badly corroded around the stainless steel fastenings and the “glass” was also on the tired side. I did some homework and found that there were standard GEBO ports that fitted with minimal changes to the cut outs. We replaced all of the ports in 2000 and we are very pleased with the results.

Wheel Steering:  REVEILLE was launched with tiller steering. The Martins changed it to wheel steering taking the mainsheet traveller forward and moving the sheet control to the cabin top near the companion way. This didn’t work so well when we had a dodger fitted so the sheeting is now back on the traveller in front of the wheel. This wheel now has a Raymarine ST4000 autopilot fitted – a new addition and untried at this stage. I should also add that REVEILLE has had a Fleming wind vane fitted since leaving Fremantle in 87

Electric Anchor Winch: We went around the World pulling up the anchor (35lb CQR with 10mm chain) by hand. An electric winch was on top of the list when we got back!! During the early days REVEILLE had her anchor stowed below deck (she was a racing boat). The Martins had a shallow anchor well fitted and I have deepened this to give the chain sufficient “fall”. The wells volume is about the same just deeper and also gets the weight lower down.

Below Deck : REVEILLE had a major refit in 1980. The basic layout from this time remains the same although we have added a few things and I doubt that any of the old Army hands would recognize her today. Now that she is a cruising boat her waterline is a lot higher than on launch day!!

The Engine:  REVEILLE’s engine is mounted amidships. We replaced the original 24hp diesel (Volvo MD2B) with a Bukh DV24 in1995. The Bukh is a similar engine and one of the reasons that we chose it was that it fitted into the old engine compartment. The only miscalculation was that the Bukh required a right handed prop (the Volvo was left handed) so that any plans to save money by using the existing two bladed folding propeller didn’t happen! We now have a nice three bladed feathering prop which has really made a big difference to our performance.

About the Owners

For two years we raced Reveille II “around the buoys” on a Saturday afternoon out of FSC. We did the Christmas cruise to Busselton in 85 and the Geraldton and return race in 86 as shake down sails for our cruising. We moved aboard early in Oct 87 and have been living aboard ever since!

Reveille II’s cruising life commenced on 27 Oct 1987 when we left Fremantle and headed south taking a year to reach Cairns in north Qld. It was a good time to be on the east coast as we were in Sydney for the bi-centennial celebrations and Brisbane for the world expo in 88.

April 1989 saw Reveille II on her first off shore passage – a 6 month cruise to the Louisiades (PNG) and the Solomon Islands returning to Cairns to prepare for a voyage to New Zealand the following year.

In April 1990 Reveille II revisited the Louisiades and the Solomons continuing south through Vanuatu and New Caledonia before crossing to Auckland New Zealand. We remained in NZ for 18 months. We cruised the coast between Auckland and the Bay of Islands area seeing the rest of NZ by car.

In May 1992 Reveille II set sail for Tonga retuning to Australia (Cairns) via Fiji and Vanuatu. We then moved south to Townsville for a change of scenery and a few years of work.

April 1995 was the start of Reveille II’s circumnavigation. She headed “over the top” to Darwin and then across the Indian Ocean via Ashmore reef, Christmas Island, Cocos Island, Chagos Islands and the Seychelles. Christmas 95 was spent in Elat (Israel) at the top of the Gulf of Acbar having come up the Red Sea. Reveille II wintered over in Elat before going through the Suez Canal in the northern spring of 1996. The summer was spent cruising Turkey, Greece, Malta and Spain where we spent another winter.

In the spring of 97 it was down to Gibraltar and up to England before heading south again to cross the Atlantic to Barbados for Christmas. The trip south was via Spain, Portugal, Madeira the Canaries and the Cape Verde islands.

Reveille II cruised the Caribbean during the winter of 98 and then headed north to the USA for the summer. Reveille’s new engine (Bukh DV24 installed in Townsville) got a good workout over the next 6 months as she did parts of the intra coastal waterway on her way to New York. From there it was more motoring – up the Hudson river and through 300 miles of locks and canals to the Great Lakes coming out in Lake Erie just above the Niagara Falls. It was on this trip that Reveille II’s tabernacle stepped mast came into its own. We were able to lower and stow the mast on deck without assistance or the expense of a crane.

Once on the lakes we stepped the mast again and cruised Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan before lowering the mast again at Chicago and taking the canals and rivers (Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee) to come out in the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile Alabama. We spent Christmas 99 in Florida before crossing to Cuba. After 6 weeks in Cuba it was down to Jamaica and then south to Panama with a few weeks in the San Blas Islands before tackling the canal.

April 1999 saw us back in the Pacific Ocean. Reveille II returned to Australia via the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Niue, Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia. Reveille II arrived back in Australia at Brisbane (Nov 1999). We then cruised north and settled in Gladstone for a while.

October 2001 and Reveille II was on the move again. We sailed south to Tasmania for the summer. As we had not been back to Townsville we decided to “tie the knot” properly we cruised up there for the winter. We then returned south as far as Bundaberg where we are at present.

We plan on leaving Bundaberg soon [Sept 2005] to return to Perth. We will take the southern route as we have family and friends to visit along the way. The Great Australian Bight may prove to be a challenge and one we are not looking forward to!! When we crossed it in 1987 heading East we got the weather wrong and had a miserable trip with gale strength NE winds on the nose most of the way! If we can get a suitable weather window we hope to be in Perth early in 2006. The plan is to stay a while and the head north to see the Kimberlys. We are also considering a return to the Cocos Islands before heading back to Australia via Thailand and other parts of SE Asia. Just ideas at this stage.

Cruising Summary (Oct 87 – Present)

Oct 87 – Oct 88 Fremantle to Cairns. (Southern route).
Jul 89 – Nov 89 Cairns – PNG – Solomon Islands – Cairns.
Jun 90 – Dec 90 Cairns – PNG – Solomon Islands – Vanuatu – New Caledonia -NZ.
Apr 92 – Dec 92 Auckland – Tonga – Fiji – Vanuatu – Townsville.
Mar 95 – Dec 95 Townsville – Darwin – Indian Ocean – Red Sea – Elat (Israel).
Mar 96 – Nov 96 Elat – Suez Canal – Cyprus – Turkey – Greece – Malta – Spain.
Apr 97 – Dec 97 Aguadulce (Spain) – Gibraltar – England – Barbados.
Jan 98 – Dec 98 Caribbean Islands – USA – Canada (via Great Lakes) – Florida (via US river and canal system).
Jan 99 – Dec 99 Florida – Cuba – Jamaica – Panama – Galapagos Islands – French Polynesia – Niue – Tonga – Fiji – New Caledonia – Gladstone.
Oct 01 – Oct 02 Gladstone – Tasmania – Townsville – Bundaberg.
Proposed voyage Sep 05 – ? Bundaberg – Perth. (Southern route).

Notes From Afar

Reveille II – 6th January 2006
Reveille II – 20th December 2005
Reveille II – 8th November 2005
Reveille II – 15th October 2005
Reveille II – 1st September 2005
Reveille II – 19th July 2005


Bundaberg, NSW. Photograph: Tony Clarke

Walking on Water, Bundaberg, NSW.

In 2004 we had a flood in the Burnett river and while the water levels didn’t get too high the river became choked with hyacinth weed that washed down from up stream. The marina was so choked that one could walk on the weed (it was 3-4 feet thick). Reveille was completely trapped and it took two days to clear it all away – the photo shows the final stage of our extraction!!. Photograph: Tony Clarke

Erie Canal. Photograph: Tony Clarke

Greek Islands. Photograph: Tony Clarke

St Katherines Dock London, England. Photograph: Tony Clarke

Panama Canal. Photograph: Tony Clarke

2 thoughts on “Reveille II

  1. Hi, I am the archivist at RFBYC but also a former member of the Army Sailing Club Perth which launched REVEILLE in 1973. I sailed on her briefly with Col John Tout & Maj Bert Cassidy & then for 5 years with Maj Tony White. I was also an alternate helmsman if Tony was away. We lost touch with the boat after she was sold without our knowledge by Maj Kevin Wolfe who did not know how to saIl her. Can you please fill me in with her movements since 2005 and the proposed return to Fremantle. I would like to write her story for “TIDINGS” the RFBYC magazine. The deadline for articles is 18 March 2013 so it would be great if you could reply before then. Thanks, Basil Twine (Past Commodore RFBYC)

  2. Basil, I spent a couple of years (78/79) sailing on Reveille of and on while posted to WA and have very fond memories of that time. Returning to Perth soon and would like to track her down and chat with the owners. Where you able to contact such and if so could you provide me withe their contact details.

    Don (Blue) Mackie

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