Treasured ocean memories

IT WILL be a poignant moment for Lindy Boyd as she waves off Boxing Day's iconic Rolex Sydney - Hobart Yacht Race fleet from the safety of the VIP boat.

Lindy holds many past connections with the race through her grandfather and father, and with the race organiser, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

On Boxing Day 75 years ago, her father Peter Luke was on the start line with his little yacht Wayfarer and eight other competitors.

That Wayfarer crew still holds the record for the longest time to reach Hobart - 12 days, six hours and 20 minutes. They sailed into the history books as competitors in the first fleet to contest the famous ocean race.

Peter is also in the history books for co-founding in 1944 the CYCA. The club's first meeting was in Peter and his father's city office, the Monte Luke Studio.

Peter Luke's Wayfarer at the start of the 1945 Sydney - Hobart Yacht Race.
Peter Luke's Wayfarer at the start of the 1945 Sydney - Hobart Yacht Race.


Monte was a highly regarded photographer who liked to shoot sailing yachts along with recognisable scenes and people. His father was The Age's first photographer.

For the last 10 nights of Peter's life "the rails of his bed became the rails of Wayfarer", Lindy remembers as Peter shared with her in his gentle, rambling way many of his memories.

Lindy recounts one memory that reminds us just how deep the distress of Japan's involvement in WWII was to Australian soldiers.

"He was on the coastal patrol, manning Sydney Harbour before the end of the war," Lindy said.

"One of the things that really upset him was when the Japanese subs came in and blew up the young men in the naval vessel and also that one of the submarines was blown up in Taylor Bay where Dad's parents lived."

Because of this, when in 1976 the CYCA accepted sponsorship from Hitachi, Peter resigned in protest.

Peter Luke aboard his 1945 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entry, Wayfarer.
Peter Luke aboard his 1945 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entry, Wayfarer.

"He could never forgive them for what they had done to those young men."

Lindy, 72, has diligently collected and stored this and more exceptional memories and memorabilia of her father and grandfather.

"I have trunks of Dad's stuff," Lindy said of the family memories stored in her Brisbane home.

As her children weren't showing an interest in hold-ing on to the store of family history, Lindy has (since Peter died in 2007) found homes for many items.

Items such as Wayfarer's comprehensive log from the first Sydney - Hobart race and Monte's photographs have gone to the National Maritime Museum.

Monte's historic 16mm films, photo records and photography medals have been donated to the National Archives and the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

In Lindy and Graeme's second home in Maleny are items stored from Graeme's uncle Charles Boyd.

"I am mindful I need to pass on historical facts so they are not lost," Lindy said.

After 75 years, Wayfarer is moored near where she was built on Sydney Harbour.

The current owners use it take out disadvantaged children.

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