Australian square metre association

For Australian square metre yacht enthusiasts



Launch Date : 1964

Launched in New Zealand, Fidelis is Australia's only 75sqm vessel. She was built in Auckland by Fred and Jim Lidgard. Inspired by the her visionary and owner Vic Speight. In keeping with traditional New Zealand building techniques of the time she was constructed with a triple skin Kauri. Her design was based on the lines of the 1936 Knud Reimers Square Metre Yacht Bacchant.

 The racing career of Fidelis started with a  bang when she claimed line honors in the Auckland to Suva Race of 1966.

Under her new owner Jim Devern, she then made her way to Australia to enter that year’s Sydney to Hobart race. Kiwis had ridiculed him when he announced back in the early 1960s that he was going to sail Fidelis across the Tasman and contest the Sydney Hobart.
They reckoned the boat would break in half; it didn’t, but they did replace some ribs after that Sydney Hobart. Fidelis was the first New Zealand-built yacht to get the gun in the 628 nautical mile ocean race, recording a then fast time of 4 days 8 hours 39 minutes and 43 seconds. Her next competitor was more than 60 nautical miles astern. 

Her habit of breaking records whilst winning races continued the following year when she broke the race record in the Noumea race.

During the eighties Fidelis was altered extensively. Shipwrights labored to transform her from a stripped-out ocean greyhound into one of the fastest and most luxurious passage makers around. Roller furling headsails, self-tailing winches and state-of-the-art navigational equipment mean that she can now be handled by a much smaller crew.
Down below, Fidelis has a classic teak fit-out, leather upholstery and a catalogue of everything that is necessary for comfortable cruising.

She has been to Hobart fives times, sailed across the Tasman six times, been to Queensland three times and cruised to the Solomons, Noumea, Port Vila, Fiji and Lord Howe Island.

Close to 40 years later, Jim Davern was aboard Fidelis once more, joining current owner Sydney yachtsman Nigel Stoke for a ‘Forty years on’ celebration as Stoke prepared to sail Fidelis in the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Fidelis races and cruises regularly both in the harbour and offshore. In the last few years she has raced in regattas in Sydney, on the Queensland coast and in New Zealand. You can see her half model hanging up in the Sydney Yacht Squadron.