Myra Too and Bill Barnett • Live Sail Die

The focus then shifted to the 1951 World Championship and the defense of the Kiwis.

Jack Logan had sold the 1950 world champion and led the New Zealand team in his new round nose skimmer, named Tarua, but from the start of the championship, Bill Barnett’s Myra Too was the only boat likely to win the regatta.

Myra Too won Race 1 by a convincing 4m27s from Tarua then backed up victory with another 2m victory in Race 2, although Barnett had to survive a protest from another NSW boat.

With the series already won, race 3 takes place in a stronger breeze, which should suit the skimmers better, Myra Too is unbeatable and finishes almost 2 and a half minutes in front of Tarua to formalize the victory of the 1951 World Championship.

Logan later commented “Myra Too was in a class of her own.”

In 2010 Bob Killick, Russell Debney and John Winning established the Australian Open Skiff Trust to help continue to promote the tradition of open boat building and sailing in Sydney and had a mission to replicate classic single scull racing of 18 feet from before 1950 by building and renovating famous skiffs.

Myra Too was an obvious target and in 2012 the Trust hired former Bill Barnett apprentice Bob McLeod to build a replica of Myra Too with Australian National Maritime Museum curator David Payne drawing up the plans.

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Myra Too’s original blueprints and half-models were destroyed in the fire that engulfed Barnett’s boathouse in 1971, leaving McLeod and Payne to work from a combination of skill, instinct, memories and old photos to create the replica, which was launched at Double Bay in 2013.

(This article was compiled from information and recordings in Robin Elliott’s Galloping Ghosts and Honoring Two Champions by Penny Hyde, David Payne, John Stanley and Bob Chapman)

Frank Quealey
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.

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