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

Genoa International Boat Show 2014 ‘in recovery’ by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia, Hong Kong
Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, Genoa was very much the numero uno Mediterranean boat show, with 3,000+ boats in the water and practically every manufacturer on the planet anxious to be seen there. The combined effect of the financial crisis 2008-onwards and subsequent financial austerity measures imposed by the Italian government, including swingeing taxes on luxury products ... [more]  

Dometic Group announced on September 9th that it signed an exclusive purchase agreement with Elkhart, Ind.-based Atwood Mobile Products, LLC, a global provider in designing, engineering and manufacturing appliances and hardware for the RV, On-/Off-Highway and Marine industries for over 50 years. ... [more]  

Heading to the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) 2014? Have you booked your place at the 13th International Sailing Summit? Taking place on 17 November, the day before one of the industry’s largest B2B exhibitions, the Summit is one of the key events on the METS programme. ... [more]  

2015 Festival of Sails - The Royal Geelong Yacht Club has welcomed the State Government’s decision to renew its funding support of the iconic Festival of Sails regatta for a further three years, cementing its position as a permanent fixture on the Victorian Major Events calendar. ... [more]  

October 30, 2014: The US Fed cited the vast improvement in the Labour market, with the Unemployment rate falling below 6%, while inflation has remained benign. The Fed's Balance Sheet is still providing massive stimulus because of its extremely bloated state. The size of the balance sheet means that just reinvestment of maturing bonds will be a massive stimulus. ... [more]  

Representing superlative achievement with a focus on sustainability, the awards were presented 29 October at the 24th Anniversary of ISS’s Awards Gala in Fort Lauderdale, Florida during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The Excellence in Innovation Award was accepted by David Hogan, son of Superior CEO, John and Jackie Hogan in front of an international audience. ... [more]  

2015 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show - After a successful 2014, Mulpha Sanctuary Cove is gearing up for its 27th annual Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, with exhibitor opportunities opening next week (November 6). ... [more]  

A brand new online classifieds website called Boat Bitz has just been launched specifically focused on helping boat owners clear their unwanted or unused boating and fishing equipment. ... [more]  

Built by one of Japan’s premier shipyards, EAGLE ONE has kept pace with modern luxury with a series of refits, most recently 2014, and is for sale, under $1m. ... [more]  

Exposure Marine is one of six brands nominated for a DAME award in the lifesaving and safety category. Entirely British designed and manufactured, Exposure’s innovative, immensely powerful Man Overboard (MOB) strobe and search light, will ensure you can be found fast and does not even need to be switched on! ... [more]  

WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society have released a 10-point plan to save the Great Barrier Reef, in response to the Queensland Government’s Draft Reef 2050 strategy. ... [more]  

October 29, 2014: The AUDUSD is looking to test 0.8840 while the KIWI traded 0.7905 ahead of the RBNZ meeting. Expectations are for them to desist from the current raising policy. There is a huge stimulus going on globally and that is the collapsing price of oil! The AUD currently trades 0.6920 and 0.5470 against the EUR and GBP respectively with the AUDJPY trading 95.40. ... [more]  

The famous Henri Lloyd Summer Sample Sail is in now at the Henri Lloyd showroom in Crows Nest, Sydney! Huge range of samples and discontinued lines from Henri Lloyd's marine, footwear and lifestyle collections for men and women. Discounts of up to 80% off original RRP! ... [more]  

Performance Sailcraft Australia has been involved in the singlehanded dinghy market for over four decades so they know a thing or two about single hander sailing. Chris Caldecoat from PSA said 'When we acquired the Byte CII we knew the boat had amazing potential but after discussing the boat with the global builders we also found it was still potentially too much of a step for lighter sailors ... [more]  

Where is the Deepwater Horizon oil? by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
During the 2010 crisis, some of the oil gushing from the seafloor appeared as slicks on the sea surface, while roughly half of it, scientists estimate, remained trapped in deep ocean plumes of mixed oil and gas, one of which was more than a mile wide, hundreds of feet high and extended for miles southwest of the broken riser pipe at the damaged Macondo well. ... [more]  

The illegal take of snapper from Port Phillip, Western Port and Corner Inlet will be the focus of a Fisheries Victoria blitz starting Melbourne Cup long weekend. ... [more]  

2014 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - Australia’s leading superyacht organisation, Superyacht Australia will be showcasing the best of Australian brands at 2014 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and promoting Australia as a cruising destination for global suoeryacht fleet. ... [more]  

Australian boating icon Riviera is happy to announce that three of its school-based apprentice students have received awards recognising them as finalists in Queensland’s School-based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SATs) Awards. Riviera and Helensvale State High School this year rekindled the school-based apprentice program, which first started in 1997. ... [more]  

October 28, 2014: The AUD is battling lower commodity prices and is struggling to break 0,8800 while the NZD is testing 0.7900. The RBNZ is expected to halt the inexplicable interest rate policy raises, this week, which will be a hollow relief for many. ... [more]  

SOS Marine and Mobilarm subsidiary Marine Rescue Technologies ('MRT') announce today that the sMRT Inflatable SOS Dan Buoy is one of the 45 products that have been nominated for final judging by the Design Award METS (DAME) 2014 jury. The products have been selected from a total of 116 entries from 23 nationalities from all over the world. ... [more]  

SOS Marine and Mobilarm subsidiary Marine Rescue Technologies ('MRT') announce today that the sMRT Inflatable SOS Dan Buoy is one of the 45 products that have been nominated for final judging by the Design Award METS (DAME) 2014 jury. The products have been selected from a total of 116 entries from 23 nationalities from all over the world. ... [more]  

The findings and recommendations of the government commissioned UK Marine Supply Chain Study will come to life at a dedicated forum on Wednesday 26 November. Taking place at Action Stations, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the British Marine Federation’s Supply Chain Conference is a must attend event for builders of small commercial and leisure vessels, their equipment manufacturers and suppliers. ... [more]  

Azimut Yachts further strengthens its presence in the overseas markets thanks to a new partnership with Euro Yachts, doing business as Azimut Yachts Mexico, the Group's new exclusive dealer for the Mexican market. Featuring four venues in key Mexican markets, Azimut Yachts Mexico is assured a strong presence throughout the country. ... [more]  

The Biograd Boat Show concluded its four day exhibition on Sunday October 26th, with a record 275 exhibitors from 13 countries, exhibiting 291 vessels (record) from two to 20m. Attendance was also record breaking, with more than 14,500 visitors coming to Biograd, which has a population of only 5,000, but more than 1500 registered vessels. ... [more]  

Innovation has been a crucial theme at METS since this leading B2B marine equipment trade show opened its doors in 1988. Surveys of the many thousands of visitors from around the world consistently show that innovation is the number one reason to come to Amsterdam each year for METS. ... [more]  

Superior recently signed an MOU with South Korean manufacturer and marine industry proponent, Scotra. ... [more]  

October 25, 2014: Equities rallied for a strong close to another tumultuous week. The coming week will focus on Geopolitical issues of terror, disease,war ...shades of the apocalypse. Markets will look at growth through GDP numbers and inflation while remaining alert to Central Bank activity from the Fed and RBNZ. ... [more]  

After more than 17 years with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Jerome has decided to pursue other professional challenges. ... [more]  

FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) today announced financial results for the third quarter that ended September 30, 2014. Revenue was $375.4 million, up 5% compared to third quarter 2013 revenue of $358.1 million. ... [more]  

October 24, 2014: Cost of living is on the rise so this inflation number is a sad reflection of the impact of the RBNZ monetary policy. The brakes were put on too soon and too hard! The KIWI is under attack from their Central Bank but interest rate differentials remain supportive. The NZD held 0.7820, while the AUD/USD traded 0.8750 ... [more]  

The Tauranga Boat Expo has proven a popular attraction for marine enthusiasts outside the main centres. This year, Lancer has chosen to join the show as part of their tour introducing the market to Sea Blade as well as their other exciting products. ... [more]  

2015 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - 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]  

NMMA loses E15 fuel U.S. Court of Appeals Decision by National Marine Manufacturers Association
While the battle in the U.S. over E15 might seem a local issue, its plainly has world-wide flow though for the recreationa marine market.The Engine Products Group, a coalition of organizations that includes NMMA, sought to block the EPA decision. ... [more]  

2014 Airlie Beach Race Week - ABRW wins major award
Mets 2014 - Barz Optics nominated for DAME Award
Collinson FX Market Commentary: October 23, 2014 - Inflation dips
13th International Sailing Summit will learn from British Cycling
High profile anglers support Rec. fishing reserve for Port Phillip
Team Vicsail - Key new appointments to the team
Explore Australia Expo and Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show join forces
METS names DAME Award nominees
Sanlorenzo names new Group President, General Manager
Barcelona International Boat Show reflects signs of recovery in sector
Collinson FX Market Commentary: October 22, 2014 - European recession
Smartphone App solves common race management issues in Port Hacking
Groupe Beneteau named sponsor of US Sailing Team and ISAF World Cup
Edmiston appoints new Chief Executive Jamie Edmiston
US Yachts changes name to Performance Cruising Yachts
Collinson FX Market Commentary: October 21, 2014 - Greenback retreats
New improved swell forecasting and more locations from PredictWind
A Sailor's Dream Home: View after the Coastal Classic - Auction 22 Nov
Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show moving to Manly Harbour in 2015
Partnership to encourage lifejacket use
2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo: Another outstanding success   
Headsync to distribute Gobius tank monitor system in the USA   
AIMEX and Superyacht Australia renew partnership with SCIBS   
2014 Gold Coast International Marine Expo - Marine Syndication wins   
Scotland’s Boat Show - More than 13,000 flock to Kip Marina   
RYA Scotland Annual Awards - RYA calls sailors to nominate   
2014 Gold Coast Int'l Marine Expo - McDonald’s boosts the family fun   
Yacht CN 2014 —3rd Nansha Bay International Boat Show open   
Dutch boy on a mission to rid the world's oceans of floating plastic *Feature   
Discover Boating Week starts tomorrow   
Collinson FX Market Commentary: October 17, 2014 - Calming the Storm   
Great start to another massive Gold Coast International Marine Expo   
Australian Sailing Team opens National Training Centre Extension   
Research project concludes Glycerine -a clean alternative marine fuel   
2014 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - About to start   
DualDocker welcomes Gerhard Bukac as International Sales Manager   
Hood Sails – an Australian sail-making icon   
Boating bodies combine to launch First Safer Boating Week   
Collinson FX Market Commentary: October16, 2014 - Panic mode in Europe   
Brad Stephens named Sales Agent for SMAR Azure in Australia and NZ   


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