The Story of Acrospire IV

ACROSPIRE IV is a Charlie Peel designed International 9 metre Class wooden racing yacht, built in Melbourne in 1929 for Commodore Joe White of the St Kilda Yacht Club, to mount a Victorian challenge for the Sayonara Cup.

The term ‘acrospire’ refers to the germination of grain and the name symbolizing the emergence of fresh ideas and ever faster design served Cmdr White through all four yachts that would reflect his obsession with winning the Sayonara Cup which was then the pinnacle yachting trophy in Australia – our ‘America’s Cup’.

Joe White’s line of Acrospires had their origin on Lake Wendouree at Ballarat from the first in 1903 soon replaced in 1911 by Acrospire II. At the time she was the largest racing yacht designed for the inland lakes of Victoria and caused a sensation eventually becoming ‘The flag ship’ for the Albert Park Yacht Club.

In 1915 White again commissioned Peel to design a fast yacht of 30 feet. Acrospire III was built by Hayes and Son in Sydney and launched in 1924 and would go on to win the championship of the bay and the Association Cup in 1927 and 1928 but never quite the elusive Sayonara Cup.

White became obsessed with desire for the Sayonara Cup. After several close attempts with Acrospire III he again commissioned Chas Peel to design a larger more powerful yacht specifically to win the Sayonara Cup. In 1928 shrouded in complete secrecy at Joe Whites Malthouse in Collingwood, the largest Acrospire IV was underway and would later emerge for the season opener to the utter disbelief of the yachting elite of the day.

At Victoria’s Centenary Regatta in1934 Acrospire IV scooped the pool in the A1 class. At the Royal Hobart Centenary Regatta, she won the 100 mile Bruny Island race in atrocious conditions, and set a race record time that stood over 50 years until the mid eighties. She also won the Cactus, Sir Earnest Clarke, Sir Thomas Lipton and John Colvin Cups along with the Grand Aggregate Trophy.

In 1960 following the death of Joe White, Acrospire IV was sold to a syndicate from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.

She was used in training Jock Sturrock’s America’s Cup team against Gretal where Acrospire amazed by beating her larger rival on a number of occasions. 

She was delivered to Western Australia in 1971 and after a comprehensive rebuild from the keel up and an exquisite refurbishment completed in 2011 has returned to her winning ways by securing the 2012 Fremantle Harbour Classic, 2012 P & O Fremantle to Rockingham Trophy, 2013 Fremantle to Rockingham Kwinana Industries Trophy and the 2013 Oswald Family perpetual Trophy for the overall winner at the Sail Mandurah Regatta.

Owner Gary Martin says; “As a paint supplier to the boating community of WA it started as a chance to showcase a boat of exceptional beauty and it was only later I pieced together the fascinating history.

Current Owner Gary Martin

What started as a flirtation quickly became a love affair. Although her sheer beauty is what takes everyone’s breath away she is still, even by todays standards a very fast boat which makes racing a joy but also means we have and excellent range for day cruising.

The bright work brings an endless stream of admirers and if I could fit it in my lounge room it would be the best furniture in my whole house, but laying alongside after a days sailing with friends enjoying a drink in the cockpit while streams of admirers say their hellos, or sitting snug below with a port on such an exquisite boat is a joy very few people will ever know."

Geoff Chambers

© 2018