When The Great Gatsby is viewed in 3D at the Cannes Film Festival, Hurrica V will be onscreen—as the yacht of the 1920s mining magnate Dan Cody.
That’s thanks to a major rebuild of this classic beauty that consumed many years and—as real-life owner Steve Gunns puts it— “two truckloads of cash.” But the final result was worth it; as soon as Hurrica V emerged from the rebuilding shed, she went straight to the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart, Tasmania, where Bruce Stannard of Maritime Heritage Press saw her. Later he wrote in Afloat magazine. “I have seen some amazing restorations over the years, but this was something quite extraordinary. She is without doubt, among the finest vessels of her type anywhere in the world.”
Hurrica V was a significant yacht for her period, a sizable yacht by Australian 1920 standards, built in Sydney by W.M. Ford and launched in 1924 for a wealthy Melbourne wool grazier. A triple-headed auxiliary ketch designed by Charles E Nicholson, she was splendidly maintained by three live-on-board paid hands until 1938. She also served in World War II, though without her masts.
After the war Hurrica V returned to private use, and she has only been out of service once during her lifetime, for a few years in the early 1980s. She’s been through various refits to accommodate the wishes of different owners, including an expanded deck house and remodeled interior to bring her up to date on comfort and conveniences. To make her easier to sail, she is no longer gaff-rigged and has many modern systems in place (though discreetly hidden from view).
The hull is from an era of yachting that no longer exists. The lines show a long continuous keel, sinuous lines and a well proportioned form. Her pronounced overhangs lead forward to the spoon bow and aft to a retroussé transom, which along with the harmonious sheer, are all characteristic of the period. The extensive deck can be utilised by the crew for relaxation, and a tall bulwark helps to minimise splash and makes her feel more enclosed.
This manageably-sized, stunning classic has a listing in the Australian Register of Historic Vessels, and stepping onboard is like stepping back in time. There are few if any yachts in Australia or elsewhere with such pedigree, provenance, good looks, usability and excellent state of finish.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Steve Gunns for providing much of the information included here. Steve describes himself as Hurrica V’s “part-owner, project manager, design manager, sourcing manager, maintenance manager and general dogs body for 10 years.”