Leanne Marie

One day, around 1991, I noticed a big, green boat sitting on a small hill in Redland Bay. I went and said hello, and had the pleasure of making friends with Greg and Cheryl Vining.

Greg is a shipwright and would later do the fit out of Narena, a previous yacht of mine (see this blog post). The phrase “master craftsman” is an understatement when trying to describe Greg’s skills. The big, green boat was Leanne Marie, Greg’s boat.

Windjammer (formerly Leanne Marie) in the Whitsundays

Leanne Marie was launched in 1993 and is considered to be one of the most beautiful yachts ever built in Australia. She has been the focus of many an article and the pallet of a lot of artists. She is a 72′ gaff rigged schooner; a replica of the famous 72′ schooner ‘Integrity”‘ designed and built by Pete Culler in 1960-62. Culler’s designs are considered so important that over a hundred of them are now archived in the Mystic Seaport Museum in America. Schooners like these worked the Grand Banks in the North Atlantic and plied the east coast of America for 200 years as trading packets.

She has the grandest of schooner qualities, sailing at speeds of 10 knots or more on the beam and broad reaches. With 2000 sq ft of sail area and raked masts she is a spectacular sight. She is a classic example of elegant lines and fine craftsmanship.

Looking from the bowsprit in Moreton Bay, 1993.

Greg eventually sold Leanne Marie and she moved to Sydney. I had the good fortune to be part of the crew for the delivery from Southport to Sydney (Pittwater), and this was the last time I saw Leanne Marie. She is now known as “Windjammer” and has been in charter off the Whitsundays with Barefoot Cruisers for the past 16 years.

In June this year, she found her way home to Greg for a refit at Pelican’s Slipways, Redland Bay. Her owners, Ashley and Cathy Kerr, intend sailing her around the world, making sure she visits the US East Coast where her design originated.