This book is a brief record of the work of Jock Muir, a Tasmanian whose whole life has been bound up with the sea - as a boat builder, designer and competitive yachtsman. It has been put together from many sources - a jigsaw of pieces gleaned from scrapbooks, photograph albums, newspaper cuttings, yacht club records and other publications - as well as Jock's keen memory. The very wealth of material available to the authors made it difficult to know what to include and what to leave out but it seemed important to set down some sort of record now before this chapter in Tasmania's history was lost in uncertainties.
Tasmania's early settlers on this scenically dramatic heart-shaped island, staying in the path of the roaring forties, were entirely dependant on seagoing ships for communication with the Australian mainland. The country was blessed with rich farming land and timber forests of Huon Pine, Celery Top, King Billy pine, Tasmanian Blackwood, Oak and Blue Gum. Boat-building became a necessary and thriving.industry. Square rigged whaling barques, two, three and four masted schooners, the famous shoal draft cargo ketches and the beautiful cutters and ketches that made up her fishing fleets were responsible for Tasmania becoming a close partner to the other Australian states. Jock Muir was born into this environment and sailed as a child to develop into one of Australia's greats as a hard driving skipper and superb designer and builder of fine ships. During the war he built vessels for the Royal Australian Navy and the Army Small Ships. My love for Tasmania and her people first came in 1935, when I sailed down with Verne and Curly Brinkman aboard Waipru. We anchored under the lee of Schouten Island by the big Tasmanian ketch Lenna. Captain Sward and his crew were tossing back under-size crays, so I sculled over in the hope that some may land in the dinghy. Captain Sward said; 'Not to worry, we have a stack of big ones on deck here for you." I shall never forget my first introduction to Blackmans Bay, Dunalley, the little canal, Frederick Henry and the Derwent, with the fishing boats working under sail and great Mt Wellington in the background: then Constitution Dock and the boat yards around Battery Point - the little pubs with open wood-fires, the creamy, off-the-wood Cascade beer, old world buildings and the kindly people.