Flying Tadpole II was the first light schooner built in Australia (sail no. 1A) but about the twenty-fifth built worldwide. She was built 1991 with her maiden voyage in January 1992. A second Australian boat has recently been built but neither have met yet. There are now about 40 boats worldwide with the largest concentration on the east coast of North America.
What's in a name...
No, the name was not invented to irritate race committees.... In the beginning (1976) was Blockey the Boatbuilders stitch'n'tape open canoe kit, built in our front hallway and at home both in the Murray River and in the Adelaide mangroves. Tadpole was an obvious name - small, wriggly and frequently muddy. Mangrovey alternatives such as Crab or Toadfish or Blue-ringed Octopus lacked that certain something.
Later (1978) two of us, one pregnant, trying to paddle across 3km of open tidal flat in the teeth of a 20-knot sou'wester decided we were fed up with paddles. Hence the dramatic creation of outriggers, booms, sails, leeboards and fencing wire, which permitted Tadpole the canoe to take wing on an hour's notice as Flying Tadpole, the miscegenated Canadian/South Sea Islands sailing craft (see Australian Amateur BoatBuilder Spring 1993). You'll find the full story in Tadpole Genesis.
A long time and two children later, Flying Tadpole was sold to fund building a Bolger Nymph. "The nymph" was never formerly named, though in retrospect Spawn would have been appropriate.
Come the Light Schooner (1991-1992), Flying Tadpole II just simply fitted - a memory of a much-loved craft. Family votes, or perhaps like her namesake the combination of long, low, lean, fast, frightening and wet! We knew we had the name right when we saw the winces from some quarters.
Is this really a racing boat....
We built Flying Tadpole II to go sailing in, not for the building itself, so she is definitely not a concourse-standard creation. She was built as a family fun boat first and foremost, and a camp cruiser second, but we did get sucked in to racing....
This is not a boat built for racing as a way of life-it's just super-fast (other than dead to windward) and who can resist? Those who bemusedly view our occasional and impromptu 3-stooges' act while trying to de-rig will also realise that slick yachting is not a high priority. But when we do race, we race seriously. That includes our spectacular debut in the Milang-Goolwa , where we came 450th or something (got a finishing gun, too!)
We never did quite finish FT2 properly. She was completed in a tearing hurry for the 1992 Milang-Goolwa and is a bit rough as a consequence. One day we'll get around to finishing her--fairing the hull, decent foils for the daggerboard and rudder, floorboards not made out of someone's verandah posts etc--and when we do, we think she might turn out to be quite a fast boat!
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