"Swagman" was built by Bill Waldby at Swarbrick Bros. boatyard in Jolimont, Western Australia. At that time Bill was working night shifts at a local banks EDP centre in Perth. This allowed him plenty of daylight hours to work on "Swagman". With technical assistance from Swarbrick's; Bill and family and friends put "Swagman" together.
After about 12-15 months laying the hull and deck up, and fitting the boat out inside, "Swagman" was transported to Royal Perth Yacht Club where she touched water for the first time. With Dick Newnham and his S&S34 "Sulphur" on hand the motor started and "Swagman" made her first self propelled journey to her new home at South of Perth Yacht Club. Over the next few months Bill put the rig and deck equipment on her, and did the final touches to the inside.
The summer season of 1981-82 was her first racing season, with just family and friends crewing her, and getting to know how to race her. The next few years "Swagman" spent racing on the Swan River, with skipper and crew fine tuning her. Then it was time to venture offshore, and compete in some short ocean races off the coast of Perth and Fremantle. Slowly, but surely the professionalism of the crew came through, and "Swagman" started performing well against boats of her own size, as well as larger ones.
Over the next 10 years "Swagman" become a well known West Australian ocean racer, taking out many major ocean racing trophies. She competed in many Bunbury City Classics, Cape Naturalist, and many other day and overnight racers, becoming feared among many competitors.
"Swagman" also competed in local S&S34 class racing, both on the river, offshore, and in championship regatta's, taking out a number of offshore, and river championships. When the S&S34 and UFO34 classes amalgamated she continued to do well, with both classes well matched to each other.
With virtually the same crew on board from about 1985 to 1995 her offshore career began to subside, due to the ever increasing cost of, not only racing, but general upkeep, as well as availabilty of crew. The core crew group of Bill, Phil and Simon had spent a lot of their life on "Swagman" and it was time for them to give a bit of time to other interests. But, "Swagman" still appeared around the sailing traps quite regularly.
And, now with Bill's eldest son Andrew taking much more interest in the boat, and increased enthusiasm from Bill, and the other long term crew, "Swagman" is beginning to stamp her mark on the West Australian sailing scene again. Since about 2000, her competitiveness has increased drastically. Initially only on the river racing, but more may soon follow.
In 2001, after being disillusioned by the racing scene at South of Perth Yacht Club, we made the move to race at Royal Perth Yacht Club. Here she is racing against like sized boats, and really enjoying it. With everybody on board doing all they can to keep her in front of the fleet.
She is now almost back to her best, and continues to improve week-in, week-out. The old crew is starting to come back, as well as some new. But, with everybody so busy nowadays it is hard to attract good, new crew.
Keep an eye out up infront for "Swagman", because that is were she will be!!