Why I Own and Sail a Bluebird

Why a Bluebird? First a bit of background.

Coming from a family associated with boatbuilding, it was somewhat hard not to be thrown into a boat at an early age. The business still runs today from Nelson Place, Williamstown. Dad and my grandfather built me my first yacht a Sabot, when I was 10; Dad continued to build boats for his kids, next an International Cadet then a Rainbow.

Dad didn't build anymore yachts for us, so from Rainbows I went to crew on a YWC Diamond then I had a short stint in Kitty Catamarans and my last 'one of a kind' yacht before the my Bluebird was a Lightweight Sharpie. I had a go at crewing on keel boats and trying to breakdown the mysteries of winning and losing on handicap, I didn't enjoy it. I love 'one of a kind' sailing, where all the boats are about the same shape and speed and then it's left up to you and your crew to get the most out of your boat. I love that competitive feeling you get and the tactical involvement in a fleet of yachts that are all the same.

My first keel boat, now that I am a little older had to give me that same sort of feeling I got from sailing all the classes that I have mentioned and be supported by an active class association with good people and of course the boat had to be the right size and price.

I now sail with my darling wife, who had never set foot in a yacht before we bought Gaylene and even though I can get a bit too competitive she enjoys it and doesn't mind, like all of us a laugh and drink at the club after the race. The Bluebird is a great boat and we get a lot out of it for minimum outlay.

I highly recommend you try one out.

Tim Blunt


I had been sailing as crew for a couple of seasons on a Kitty catamaran, and the skipper & I were toying with the idea of buying a keelboat. Around this time we were offered the use of a bluebird to compete in the Winter "Bluebird cup" series from the Hobson's Bay Yacht Club.

Now, the Kitty catamaran is a fast, physical, and exciting yacht to sail; so I thought, "this is probably going to be slow and boring, but we'll give it a go." Slow it is, relatively, with a maximum hull speed of approximately 6-7 knots on paper; but definitely not boring.

After looking at a few other yachts, we were fortunate to find a beautifully maintained and inexpensive bluebird, that we bought immediately. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better value for money entry-level keelboat .

This tough little yacht (22' long) is very stable and handles heavy weather well. A couple of our experiences come to mind- 30kts of breeze , a reefed main with #3 headsail and surfing waves doing 10kts or being caught in the middle of Port Phillip bay, returning from Geelong, in a 45 knot  Southerly squall , a bit scary (well, a bit more than scary!) but the boat handled it easily!

With fleet sizes of up to 13 yachts in the State title series, the racing is very close- literally and figuratively! And with a great group of supportive and friendly people, the sailing is always enjoyable.

John Vermeulen