"In those days, a double-ender was the ultimate in which to go to sea. It was supposed to handle better in rough weather than a conventional counter stern and it was better to lay to a sea anchor." Although, he admits, he rarely had occasion to heave-to during his racing career. So, in 1935, still only 21, Jock started to design and build his 36-foot ketch, Westwind. She was to become the forerunner of more than 100 off-shore designs, mainly fast, safe sailing, easily handled cruising boats as well as severall power and fishing craft. He has also surveyed dozens of boats and valued hundreds more - and he has never had a complaint about any of the boats he has designed, built, surveyed or valued. Westwind gave him his first ocean racing success, winning the 100 nautical mile 1938 Bruny Island race in very rugged conditions. "She was a beautiful thing, built of Huon pine with a Tasmanian hardwood backbone. The ribs were also Huon pine which was a little unusual. The pine cost one and threepence (about 15 cents) a super foot and now it costs something like $6 a foot." Westwind made two return trips to Sydney and one final one-way voyage in 1941 when she was sold by Jack Capell, whose shed stood where the Cruising yacht Club of Australia now has its clubhouse, to Mr Sheldon, of Sydney. She was built behind the family home in Colville Street, Battery Point and his next big boat, designed as a fishing cruiser, Westward, was built in a paddock off Queen Street in Sandy Bay. The suburb was a great deal more rural in those days - a passing cow ate the original lines plans.
Dark Days Of The Depression
Although Jock says he yearned to be a designer and work with boats from childhood, the reality of the times, as it did with so many of his generation, took a hand when he left school. The depression saw him working in the metal fabrication industry. Even now he hates to talk about it "or even think about it" but they cover 10 years of his life and he says they did teach him something. "I was lucky to have a job at all. I remember just out of school applying for a junior clerk's job and therewere 80 applicants. It was a very sad time and I would hate to see anything like it again because in those days there was nothing like the dole. "Nevertheless, one of the best things the Premier of the day, Ogilvie, did was to put people to work on the mountain [Wellington] road for pay and that is the sort of thing that should be happening today.