MarineBusiness-World.com
 
 
News Home FishingBoating Photo Gallery Australian Cruising Sail-World Australia
Sail-World.com : Vale Lou Abrahams - A profile of the Doyen, (Pt I.)
Vale Lou Abrahams - A profile of the Doyen, (Pt I.)

'Lou Abrahams in 2007'    © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Earlier today, Australian time, the great Doyen of Victorian sailing passed away. Lou Abrahams, the softly spoken ocean racing legend will always be remembered for not only his contributions to the sailing, but dedication to making yachting a more female friendly sport.

In his later years, Lou was supremely dedicated to ensuring the future crop of sailors had the very passion he will always be remembered for. Vale, Lou. There's a special race being held in heaven for him tonight


Atop the stairs at SYC is the man, the portrait and some of the half models. -  Alex McKinnon  

Below is part one of a special profile John Curnow did on Lou some 16 months ago. We will publish part II shortly.

It's been a long time since the expression of surprise, ‘Goodness, gracious me!’ has passed from common vernacular. It does seem imminently suitable in reference to one, Lou Abrahams however, for he is full of goodness and very gracious. Indeed, sitting down with the man for a long chat is not only a privilege, but you also get to find out many things, ironically, some of which were a complete surprise.

One of these was that well before Lou got into boats, he held the Australian land speed record! Yes. Back in the 50’s when the Australian Grand Prix was running around Albert Park Lake the other way, Lou was heavily involved with Formula One and motorsport in general.

He designed and built his own car, including the engine, which is not altogether dissimilar from another Australian legend, Sir Jack Brabham. Lou then went out and set a then very amazing record of 159mph or 256kph at Coonabarabran and please remember, that this is the best part of 60 years ago! ‘It ran on straight ethanol and was pretty good, but a bit out of control. Fast in a straight line, you know, however you could not stop it. You had to get it into a skid to come to a complete stop, so it was a handful’, said Lou in his oh so customary method of understatement.

Not happy to have something that unsafe, Lou took a trip out to Point Cook air force base and saw the brakes on the Winjeels, which then got applied over to his car, the Tornado. What is also evident with all of this is Lou’s determination and engineering prowess, both of which would serve him well when he got into all things nautical, but that would not be until the 60’s, as it turns out.

Last year, Bruce Legg pointed out another surprising element in Lou’s esteemed maritime career. Lou’s first boat was not actually a yacht, but rather a powerboat that he based at Queenscliff and used for cruising around Bass Strait and its islands, with his wife Joan and their family. ‘I had been doing some sailing in Melbourne and went to Sydney to buy a cruising yacht, but could not find something I liked. There was this ex-US wartime vessel that had never been in the water and did not even have engines then.

As luck would have it, later I was buying a forklift truck at a disposal auction, when I peeked inside a crate labelled parts and bought it. It turned out to be a pair of ex-Army tank diesel engines and so voila, instant power. Ask and ye shall receive. We ended up having a lot of fun with that boat.’

The 60’s, 1963 to be exact, would also mark the beginning of Lou’s long association with one of the world’s greatest events, the Sydney Hobart Race. It was Arthur Warner who took the then 36-year-old Lou on the famed Winston Churchill as his bowman. Again, his determination has an exclamation mark after it, for he would complete 44 consecutive races before retiring from ocean racing in 2006.

In AFL terms, that would put you in there with the likes of the great Michael Tuck at 426 games and the late Jim Stynes at 244 consecutive appearances on the field. Coincidentally, Tuck started playing for Hawthorn in 1972, which is the same era that Lou was becoming known as the Doyen.

The beautiful Vittoria. -  Alex McKinnon  

Now I was just a little tacker when I first met him in the early 70’s. Lou was incredibly gracious when my mother managed to kiss the bow of our 14 tonne cruising yacht into the side of Vittoria, whilst manoeuvring at the Sandringham Yacht Club (SYC) on the shores of Melbourne's Port Phillip. Mercifully, there was no damage and thank God it was just a kiss really, for our vessel had a two blade folding prop that actually made going astern look more like a stationary stern and as for walking the transom across, well that was about the pace it did under full noise.

Lou was very gracious when my mother went to apologise and this was not out of character. Rather it was very much in keeping with the man’s beliefs, for it was Lou’s vote as the then Commodore that first allowed Ladies in to the Members’ Bar at SYC. ‘They used to be in a separate room outside and order drinks through a hole in the wall. It was very controversial at the time to allow women into the bar proper, and there were a lot of people against it.

'Altering the by-laws. The very first thing to occur after we altered the by-laws was that a couple of ladies sat in the corner where these old guys used to always be and even put their handbags on the bar. What a stir it caused’, said Lou with a wonderful wry smile. Interestingly, the 101-year-old club will have its first female Commodore in the form of the delightful Kate Mitchell in the next couple of years. As Lou says, ‘She’s very good.’

So the impending 68th edition of the Sydney Hobart Race has had crews preparing in the freezing cold or under the tropical sun and the qualifying passages are just about upon us, too. As an example of how far Lou’s goodness extends, when I mentioned to another person quite synonymous with the great race, Richard Bennett, that I was preparing this piece on Lou, he very quickly supplied his wonderful shots that you see here.

Lou was the sixth man to join the 40+ club and it was a little surprising to learn that there are now currently just the 10 souls in it, with the late John Bennet to being the only one to be no longer plying the seas. At the time, Lou was the only Victorian in this most illustrious of clubs and has since been joined by Bernie Case. Shortly, New South Welshmen, David Kellett and Lindsay May will make it an even dozen.

When the latter gets there, he will also be the only one to have held the Tattersall’s Cups aloft three times and that will make him one of the most special members amongst this already über-exclusive club. ‘It was a good thing to do and certainly a tick in the box’, said Lou of the milestone. ‘The hardest part was stopping. I really enjoyed getting ready, the prestart and for that matter, the whole thing, then there you are, sitting at home. TV just isn't the same and the coverage doesn’t talk about all the boats.’

After his first run South on Winston Churchill, Lou moved all the way to the back of the boat when he purchased Odin. ‘It was too wet for me and it was a long way out that bowsprit. Time to head aft’, commented Lou. The Halvorsen penned, canoe stern vessel was a sister ship to three-time winner, Freya, but built in steel. ‘She was not too sophisticated, but a good sea boat. We broke the mast off Tasman Island that year, unfortunately in a good position to win at the time’, said Lou.

After five years, Odin gave way to the Sparkman and Stephens 42, Vittoria, which certainly has a soft spot with Lou, as he remembers all her wonderful timber. She was cold moulded, crosscut Oregon with a dinyl skin and had a fit out to match. ‘I think she is still in Sydney. That IOR era provided magnificent boats and you could look at them as art in pen.’

Challenge III in 1987. - Sydney Hobart Race -  Richard Bennett Photography  

Vittoria was used a lot as part of the Victorian Southern Cross team and was certainly a reason for Lou getting behind team based events as the years went on. Challenge, nee C2 or the Big Red Boat, was next. The S&S 45 was campaigned from 79 to 83, and provided his first Hobart win in that last year. Challenge III was from 84 to 87, with the carbon fibre Frers going off to do the Admiral's Cup and also part of the 1986 winning Kenwood Cup team in Hawaii.

Lou and the gang head South once more aboard Challenge. - Sydney Hobart Race -  Richard Bennett Photography  

Ultimate Challenge, which proved to be far from true, took Lou and the crew from then until 1995, with many an overseas trip and a close second in the 1991 Hobart, included. Importantly, the Ed Dubois IOR one tonner of Carbon/Kevlar provided Lou’s second win in 1989. Another Challenge, the Sydney 38 came next, and then just good old Challenge would follow shortly after, as he committed fully to One Design. They have won that particular title many a time now and indeed are the reigning champions, as well.

Ultimate Challenge, which of course was a winner, but by no means the end of the line. -  Alex McKinnon  

Lou commented, ‘In the Ultimate Challenge era, the one tonners were dominating the scene. To me, the win in 1989 was the most exciting. We had a Farr one tonner in Sagacious, right there with us. It was unbelievable. You came on watch looked under the boom and you could see their instrument lights. We pushed each other on, which made it good fun. They were great campaigners and that made it even better. I see it as one of my pinnacles. My goal was to win a Sydney Hobart and the second win was better, as we 'won' it. The Big Red Boat got suitable conditions and had it won after reaching across Bass Strait, whereas we were spent after 89. We were pushing it to its limits and I came on deck and said to the crew, ‘Before you win, you've got to finish.’ Once again we see Lou’s experience, engineering prowess and general seamanship coming to the fore. A couple of years later and in a similarly tight race to Hobart, Sagacious actually lost the top of their rig.

Now it is not all over yet. We have many more items to cover, as you would expect with a man of Lou’s calibre. Alas, that will all have to wait for Part Two, which begins with that ‘wonderful’ year of 1998 and finishes with the Doyen’s thoughts on participation in sailing.

The old Constitution Dock area. Challenge III crew from 1986. - Sydney Hobart Race -  Richard Bennett Photography  


by John Curnow


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.marinebusiness-world.com/index.cfm?nid=119671

10:09 PM Fri 28 Feb 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Marine Business News

The world’s largest sailing media group, Sail-World.com, held its first continental group meeting at the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) this week. METS is the world’s largest B2B Marine show and this year it had a record 1358 exhibitors and more than 21,000 Marine industry representatives. ... [more]  

2015 Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show - US Sailing and the National Marine Manufacture Association have partnered to enable one-design dinghy classes to promote their class associations and one-design sailing in general at the Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show. ... [more]  

BUKH Diesel UK Ltd has been acquired by UK based design engineering firm, Supacat Group, which has signed a new distribution agreement with BUKH A/S Denmark, creating a new sales and customer support service for the UK and Ireland marine engine market. ... [more]  

Zhik’s ZK Seaboots have been developed for extreme weather protection in the most demanding sailing conditions, using a combination of neoprene, rubber and merino to provide unparalleled warmth, flexibility and total protection. Whether you are driving a RIB, on a delivery trip or extending your boating season into the winter months, these Zhik Seaboots will keep your feet warm and dry. ... [more]  

The Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) confirmed its status as the world-leading B2B event of its kind this week in Amsterdam RAI. A record number of 21,086 visitors were welcomed by a record number of 1358 exhibitors. Crucially, early results of the post-show surveys prove that visitors and exhibitors alike were pleased with the results of the three-day event. ... [more]  

November 21, 2014: Commodities fought a rear guard action and the associated currencies attempted to stem the losses, with the AUDUSD pushing back to 0.8620, while the NZD moved up to 0.7860. ... [more]  

EMC Computer Systems Spain, the Spanish arm of the EMC Corporation, has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona (FNOB), the company organising the Barcelona World Race, to become the technological provider for the double-handed, non-stop, round the world regatta. EMC will meet the data storage and backup needs of the Barcelona World Race. ... [more]  

On Monday 17 November, an impressive line-up of speakers at 13th International Sailing Summit shared ideas and best practice from around the world, demonstrating how the sailing industry can change to increase and retain participation, through innovation, technology and cultural changes. British Cycling has seen its membership grow by 567% since 2005. ... [more]  

An auction is set to be held at Runaway Bay Marina, Gold Coast, on Saturday 22nd November. Telephone bidding is available by contacting, Jo on 0407 213 557, or email, jo@marineauctions.com.au. ... [more]  

The 2015 London Boat Show has today (Thursday 20 November) agreed to a title sponsorship deal with Forex trading company, CWM FX. The 2015 Show will become known as the CWM FX London Boat Show. CWM FX offers quality, user-friendly and professional trading platforms and features, giving users the power to customise their trading experience to fit personal needs for any trade, anywhere, any time. ... [more]  

Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation, has announced its next generation of open-array digital radars – the GMR™ 424, 624/626 and 1224/1226 xHD2. Continuing to set the standard for open-array radars, the xHD2 series offers brand new features and capabilities that provide better precision, targeting and performance while transmitting power at four, six and 12 kilowatts respectively. ... [more]  

Garmin Ltd has announced a new line of scanning transducers designed to accommodate any calibre of mariner, from the casual cruiser to the professional angler. Supporting both the newest lines of Garmin echoMAP and GPSMAP chartplotters and multifunction displays (MFD), this full array of thru-hull and transom-mounted transducers are a valuable addition to any vessel. ... [more]  

November 20, 2014: The KIWI also staggered as Dairy prices were hit by the prospect of increased competition arising from China Free Trade Agreements. The NZD fell to 0.7860 and may face some short term pressures mellowed by interest rate differentials. ... [more]  

The Maritime Management Centre and Sailability NSW have announced a partnership to promote lifejacket awareness. The Centre has presented Sailability NSW with 50 new generation lifejackets so their volunteers can act as ambassadors by wearing them and role modelling behaviour to further encourage everyone on the water to wear lifejackets. ... [more]  

Arvor reveals new diesel range by Arvor Boats Australia
Boat building should be both creative and technical and Arvor has always sought to push back its boundaries. This is what inspired its creators in the first place. And this is what leads us to the future. This summer Arvor Boats are delighted to announce the launch of two new models to the hugely popular and ever growing Arvor range – the 690 D and 730 D. ... [more]  

Carla Demaria, President of Monte Carlo Yachts, Board member of Italian Yachting Federation (UCINA) and the Board of Bénéteau Group and General Manager of Bénéteau Brand, has given a fascinating keynote speech at the opening ceremony of METS 2014. ... [more]  

Have you booked your accommodation for Hamilton Island Audi Race Week 2015? It is always good to book early to secure the best properties. We are also offering early bird discounts for bookings between now and February 2015. ... [more]  

November 19, 2014: The GDT dairy auction overnight showed prices falling 3.1% from two weeks ago, this pushed the NZD down from overnight highs nearing 0.7950. The NZD pushed lower on all crosses after the auction to trade 0.6312 and 0.5050 against the EUR and GBP. ... [more]  

Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation, has announced a new line of echoMAP combination chartplotters that integrates scanning sonar capabilities without the need of an additional sounder black box. Along with a user-friendly interface and built-in cartography, the new echoMAP series proves to be a valuable tool for boaters and anglers of all types. ... [more]  

Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation, has announced the GSD 25, a premium sonar module that offers traditional sonar, 1kW CHIRP, CHIRP DownVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonar for a versatile, all-in-one black box. The GSD 25 is the ultimate solution for the boater or angler that requires both scanning capabilities and traditional sonar. ... [more]  

Net sales for the Dometic Group’s third-quarter totalled SEK 2,147 million (SEK 1,961 million), representing a nine percent increase. 'It is encouraging to see top line growth together with a slight recovery in gross margins compared to the first half of the year, despite continued price pressure. We are maintaining our efforts to improve working capital and cash flow was strong in the quarter. ... [more]  

Bill Dixon, Chairman of the Jury, presented the prestigious DAME Award 2014 at the commencement of METS this morning to the Steering Traveller from Jefa Steering ApS of Denmark. The jury praised the product for the way it offers a genuine solution to chain/wiresteering. ... [more]  

At the opening of METS 2014 in Amsterdam today, marine electrical products manufacturer Furrion® announced that it will launch a distribution center in the Netherlands later this year, to improve service to its customers across the continent. ... [more]  

The very versatile SUV collection from Riviera is set to scale even greater heights after the series flagship 565 model secured Best Motoryacht honours at the biggest boat show in the world. The prestigious Editors Choice awards for the ‘best of the best' in production and semi-custom yachts were announced at a special gala presentation during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. ... [more]  

Australian luxury cruiser manufacturer Maritimo has recorded one of its most successful Fort Lauderdale International Boat Shows ever with multiple sales of its M58 and M50 cruising motoryachts. Maritimo Sales and Marketing Manager Greg Haines said the atmosphere and positivity at the recent show was the best it had been in many years. ... [more]  

Superior adds to Sales Force by Superior Jetties
Craig Little has joined Superior as group sales manager. In this role, Little will work across all Superior product ranges and client bases both domestic and international, mining, construction, marine and custom rotomoulded products. ... [more]  

November 18, 2014: The NZDJPY is little changed at 92.00 despite the announcement that Japan has officially entered an economic recession, after a second consecutive quarter of negative growth. This had surprisingly little overall effect on the JPY final value, despite a volatile night of trading. The effect may be seen in near future trading as the market has time to absorb the implications of th ... [more]  

Exposure Marine is celebrating having scooped a DAME Design Award at the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) in Amsterdam. Exposure Marine’s revolutionary new MOB (man over board) light, has achieved top honours, winning the Life Saving and Safety Equipment category at the 2014 DAME Awards, announced this morning at METS. ... [more]  

Fifteen participants completed the intensive Intermediate Marina Management (IMM) course last week in Dubai. The course was a joint venture by British Marine Federation (BMF) and the Marina Industries Association (MIA) through their partnership in the Global Marina Institute. Delegates attended from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the UK. ... [more]  

Maritime Management Centre General Manager Howard Glenn today welcomed a trans-Tasman collaboration that promotes the wearing of lifejackets when boating. ... [more]  

Working alongside John Parker and Brian Fennessy, Mark Peak will be involved in all aspects of the business including sales, customer service and support. As well as having recently graduated from Bangor University with an Ocean Science (BSc) degree, Mark has over seven years of educational and teaching experience in a water sports environment. ... [more]  

Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the government authority charged with regulating, coordinating and supervising all aspects of Dubai’s maritime sector, has recorded a wide turnout for maritime licensing services. The tremendous response to marine licensing services has urged DMCA to continue to offer new facilities to maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction. ... [more]  

Ferretti Group has announced the opening of its first Flagship Showroom in Shanghai, located in the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Pudong. The new Showroom sits on the bank of Huangpu River, in a beautiful location inside Mandarin Oriental Hotel. ... [more]  

Gulf Craft to invest $100 million in developing luxury yacht facility
Yamaha announces the end of V4 Saltwater Series 115C and 130B
Yachting Australia looking for Sport Services Coordinator
Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show - Exhibitor applications are now open
Visit Doyle Sails New Zealand at METS 2014
GC Marine Expo - Winner Mark is Rib-Ready thanks to Sirocco score
Traditional canoe culture and a new look at Endeavour
Review of boat driver licensing in NSW
Collinson FX Market Commentary: Nov 15 - The beaches beckon
Singapore yacht associations to merge
Festival of Sails: RGYC announces Rex Gorell Land Rover major sponsor
Moth Worlds 2015: Sliced bread, sheep stations, awe and reverence *Feature
Spirit Yachts Asia announce new Hong Kong Office
Collinson FX Market Commentary: Nov 14 - US Equities unchallenged
Australian marine technology to be showcased at next week's METS 2014
Call for increased efforts to realise single ASEAN Shipping Market
Pantaenius Insurance - 'Know boats, me.' *Feature
METS 2014 - Carla Demaria prepares to strike the tone
METS 2014 - Halyard to launch innovative thermal insulation product
Collinson FX Market Commentary: November 13 - Bulls beware
SSCBC - The once little club with a big heart   
Yanmar Joystick Control makes boating easier   
Book your meeting with Superior at METS   
Australian Marine Alliance (AMA) savages NSW Fisheries minister   
Malaysia becoming preferred destination for yachting tourism   
Indonesian Govt eases yacht permits to boost ‘marine tourism’   
Gamma Yachts delivers Gamma 20 to opera singer Andrea Bocelli   
Collinson FX Market Commentary: November 12 - All quiet on Vets Day   
METS - TRAC Ecological to feature environment-friendly products   
First sponsor announced for Int'l Superyacht Coatings Conference   
Vector Compact, the smallest GPS compass in the world   
Reaching Global Sailing markets *Feature   
The new OST Carbon Furling Mast - DAME 2014 nominee   
Australian Leisure Marine mission to PIMEX 2015   
Collinson FX Market Commentary: November 11 - AUD over shellacking   
Boab Boats RIB Challenge at Mandurah Boat Show   
Delegates ship in as Maritime 2014 conference begins in Melbourne   
David Kellett first Australian to be awarded ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy   
British creativity thrives at the 2014 ISS Design Awards   
Collinson FX Market Commentary: November 7 - New political resolve   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
  







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW MBW
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT