Western Morning

Launched 1969
Owner Alex Wolffman
Purchased  2015
Configuration English style, she was the original male mould
Berthed Royal Yacht Club of Victoria
Sail Number R 298
Australian Registration
State Registration
Call Sign
Builder Helmatics/Swarbricks
Hull Number 1
Fit Out
Previous Owners The original owner was a Mr J Taylor. Bought by Justin Brennan in 1996, then sold to Alex Wolffman in 2015
Previous Names Western Morning is her original name

The Yacht’s Story (from Justin Brennan):

Western Morning has quite an interesting history.

The hull & deck were built by Helmatics in 1968 and used as the plug when the original S&S34 mould was sent out to Swarbricks later that year. The UK coach house and cabin design are quite different with less headroom and a completely open interior except for a single bulkhead about 40mm forward of the mast – midships engine, no forward bunks. Click here for pdf with more details and 2008 specs

She was extensively refitted in 1981 with lots of teak & mahogany, and seemed destined for a cruising life. However this changed shortly after I acquired her during the 1996/7 season. Around that time the major interclub teams racing in Victoria switched, to the IMS rule and Ron & Ralph White in their legendary Shenandoah II were demonstrating that S&S 34’s were pretty hard to beat under that rule… in fact it was the crew work as much as the boat but that’s another story.

The next rebuild came in two stages – first saw replacement mast & rigging after a dismasting some 90 miles off the coast during the 1999 Queenscliff – Stanley race. Having digested this unexpected outlay, the real work came in 2003 after the engine died… new engine (Volvo 2030 which provides very adequate power thank you) requiring new engine bed … requiring new cabin sole and bunks … well why not relocate the fuel and water tanks so all the weight is amid ships … Hmm have to strip out the bow and stem as well. . .. A couple of new floors and foam core stiffeners running from the bow to the steering quadrant…replacement companionway all done in Balsa core and there we are … a new boat!

So we are currently on mast No 3, engine No 3; weight has been reduced from 5.45 tonnes to 4.76 tonnes [thanks to use of balsa core as much as anything else] rating has come down account shorter waterline and reduced draft, same speed upwind 0.5 knots faster off the breeze. .. .. and no death rolls. It really is a different boat.

We still sail with the 42 ft single spreader design and the UK skeg rudder both of which work fine but we haven’t replaced the old laminated plywood cabin liner yet and someone said that polycarbonate sheeting laminated with a thin layer of polypropelene carpet would be light and warm … next winter perhaps!

Western Morning has been racing out of the RYCV for some 15 years now and looks like being up there with the rest of the fleet for some time to come. She remains competitive under both IRC and AMS rules


The Start of the Fremantle to Geraldton race 1972. Photograph: courtesy of Mike Finn

The first 3 boats in order are: S&S36 Hotspur (Peter Packer), S&S 34 Western Morning(Jim Taylor) and S&S34 Cicely June (Pat Dixon)

Click on the photo for an enlargement of the original

Click here for pdf with more details and photos

4 thoughts on “Western Morning

  1. Western Morning was also based in Esperance WA for some years in the early-mid 70’s, after she was acquired by Ben (aka Chip) Copley who later sold her to build a Peter Cole designed One Tonner, Jucasta. She was the first of 3 or 4 S&S 34’s in Esperance over the years, followed by Eos and Star of the Sea.

  2. I recently bought Western Morning, she’s in poor condition and a lot if work to do to get her racing again! Any history would be appreciated.
    Mark Ayto

  3. My father (David Spriggs) owned Western Morning – kept her at Brighton Yacht Club (initially on a mooring – then in a pen when one became available). I can’t remember exactly when but must have been late 80s/early 90s? His next yacht was a bit bigger – a Formosa 46 that was called Vent du Large (from SA) but was re-christened Renaissance – also kept in a pen at Brighton. I’ll have to see I can find any photos of western morning from then but he kept her to a very high standard and my mum kitted out below decks beautifully too.

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