Hero C1

Sail Number CB1
Location of Boat Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Perth
Owner’s Name Kim Gamble
Built Year 1980
Builder Will Baillieu and designed by Ken Lacco


‘Hero’ was designed by Ken Lacco for Will Baillieu in 1979. She was the first new sailing Couta Boat since before the second World War. Built by Will Baillieu in Ken Lacco’s shed at Newhaven Phillip Island during 1980. At the same time, Tim Phillips was restoring ‘Wattle’ in a factory at Moorabbin, and Charlie Strong was restoring ‘Rita’ in South Melbourne for Dennis Wilkins.

‘Hero’ is Huon Pine, on Kauri ribs with silver ask being used for extreme bends in the tuck. Keel and backbone pf Yellow stringybark. Deck of Celery top pine. ‘Hero’ was the very first of the ‘new’ couta boats, at a time when old boats were being sought out for restoration. She was originally painted white, but was changed to black, with white boot top and gold streak in 1982.

Will Baillieu sold her to Arthur Meredith-Smith in 1985, and she was later sold to Tony Unmack in Perth around 1994. She was penned at RFBYC.

Tony Unmack subsequently sold her to a syndicate headed by Kim Gamble, and she remains as part of the couta boat fleet at RFBYC, in Perth.


‘Hero’ is more of the ‘motoring’ type with full sections aft, and hard bilges, resulting in a stiff boat. After the experience Ken Lacco went back to the ‘sailing type’ for future designs with fine sections aft, and delicate transoms. The plans cost $100 and included lines plan, construction plan and sail plan. Later, Ken Lacco produced drawings of all the cast fittings and patterns for these were produced by Will Hurst, Ken Lacco’s nephew, from off cuts of ‘Hero’s’ planking. These patterns are still being used with Will Baillieu’s permission by Tim Phillips for all new Couta boats.

‘Hero’ was/is possibly the most significant modern Couta Boat to be built and can claim to have laid a foundation for the continuing tradition of Couta boat building.

Significantly, Clive Beckingsale then built ‘Victory’ in 1982, and Tim Phillips built his first new boat ‘Sally’ the same year. After that it became common again to build new boats.

She was given the sail number ‘1’ in recognition of her status, when the Couta Boat Club was first constituted.

Of interest, the name plate on Hero’s transom is carved out of Huon Pine by Jason Monet, a great grandson of the famous French impressionist, Claude Monet.  Jason Monet is a sculptor and wood carver living on Phillip Island.

Race Record

‘Hero’ took part in all the original couta boat races, from before the foundation of the club.  She was sailed by Will Baillieu, and crewed by the late Tim Sutcliffe, with Clive Beckingsale, Nick Sweetland and Roger Scales.


Photos go here

Boat Measurement in Detail

C1 Hero
Hull LOA 26′
FWD (Fwd Mastface Fwd Stem) TBA
AFT (Aft Mast Aft Transom) TBA
BOBSTAY to waterline TBA
Sails LP (Luff perpendicular) TBA
Ballast Ballast Weight 2tonnes
Engine 2QM Yanmar 13hp
Compliant YES

Maximum Draft: 3′ 3″  Max. Beam: 10′ 3″  Plate Case Length: 7′ 6″