The club in its early days set out to come up with a boat that could handle the then very open waters of Mawson Lakes, one that could be both relatively easily and cheaply built. What came out of that was a model taken from a 1970’s Vic Smeed design, the “Panache”, originally built as a 30 inch model. It featured in the December 1980 Model Boats magazine.
Vic Smeed was an international model designer of note. He based the Panache design on former UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath’s Morning Cloud 4, one of a series of ocean racing yachts he owned by that name.
That design was chosen because a member had a 30 inch version built from an old timber packing case, fitted out with an odd set of sails and it seemed to be able to handle anything. Then the consideration was how big to make it and it was scaled up to provide for a 45 inch (1.1 metre) hull.
That size was chosen because it fitted in the popular Commodores and Falcons of the day, as well as the smaller Ford Lasers while not being too big for the retirees to carry. Being chined, it was considered suitable to be built by even the unskilled in the growing group.
It was decided during the early development process to adopt the IOM rig as the standard sail set up. Scaled up sails from the 30 inch just were not right and with zero sail making skills at that time, the IOM decision was a no brainer as they were readily available.
Most of the initial models were built in a group workshop environment where the then 5 founding members participated and helped each other. Two newcomers managed however to race the 5 founders boats to be launched, such was their enthusiasm. Their boats we believe were launched in January and February 2005.
From the first 7 boats launched in 2005 and the first months of 2006, 150 have now been built. We still have members who prefer an all wood boat but plenty opt for a fibreglass one. Because exotic materials are not allowed, a boat can be put on the water for around $400 - $450, depending on electrics and finishes chosen.
Fully rigged with radio equipment the overall weight is about 6.4 kg and there is little difference between the wood and fibreglass ones. Some are more, some are less, being somewhat dependent upon the builder’s efforts to pursue less overall weight. It's more traditional design and construct is ideal for the newcomer. It then allows a less costly later transition to a club focused on racing, particularly with the IOM class.