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Couta Boat

Name of Boat


Owner's Name

Mick Ahern 

Boat Location

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club Perth 

Registration No.


Sail No.



Feet & Inches  Outside of stem to outside of transom

Overall Length

27' 1.5" 

Maximum Draft

3' 4" 

Maximum Beam

10' 6" 

Centreplate Case Length




Carvel Clinker
Open 1/2 Cabin Cabin


Gaff Lug



2.25 Tonne 


Lead Ignots 



Yanmar 2GM 


13 HP 





Will Baillieu 


Will Baillieu & Ken Lacco 


Ajax was originally a Ken Lacco design, from late 1983. Several versions were drawn until Will Baillieu drew the 5th version and took it back to Ken Lacco for his comment. Ken agreed to this final version with a shallower forefoot and straighter deadrise forward and this version of the plan was completed. Built in 1984 by Will Baillieu out of Huon Pine on Celery Pine ribs. Grey Box backbone. Grown Ti Tree knees. Deck out of Celery Pine on Oregon deck beams. She was designed at 26ft 10 ins, but a simple mistake in setting out stations along the keel for the moulds added 3 1/2 ins. She finished at 27ft 1 1/2ins. She has 19 planks per side, where most have 17. This made a very fair hull. There is not a Couta Boat with a longer Centre Plate. The case is 9ft long and is built of Merbau to the water line and Celery Top Pine above. She raced with a hollow gaff, built from 2 pieces which had a unique rotating tub at the mast. Ajax is a return to the old style "wedgy" shapes. She has a shallow forefoot and straight lines between the waterline and the keel (deadrise) for more than half her length. She has a 7in spring in the keel. Because of the straight lines, full length Oregon Stringers were fitted to add stiffness. Because of the wedge shape, planks required a lot of twist and were steamed before fitting until above the waterline. She is a very well balanced boat with minimal helm in any conditions. Ajax was built in Tim Phillips new Oxford St factory during winter 1984 by Will Ballieu. She was built alongside "Kate" which Tim Phillips was building for Bill Davis. Names "Ajax" after Will Baillieu's great uncle, E.L Baillieu's race horse.

Race Record

For almost her entire career before leaving for Perth in 1997, she was the handicap back marker. Ajax won many races, and was always in contention for line honours. In later years, when Will Baillieu moved to live in North Queensland, she was raced by


Ajax is a big wholesome Couta Boat. Plenty of beam, in a nice full sized boat. She is reasonably soft in her bilges, and the shallower forefoot meant she turned quite easily. The Plate case is huge, and the long plate and wedgy shape allow her to climb to windward very efficiently. Ajax travelled by road to Sydney in 1988,for the Bicentenary celebrations, and remained on Sydney Harbour for 3 months. In 1990, she travelled to Bingil Bay in Far North Queensland, where she spent most of the year. She cruised as far south as Hinchinbrook Island, laying at anchor at such spectacular locations as Bedarra Island, and over the coral reefs of the Brooke Isles. A heavy mooring was put in place at Clump Point (Mission Beach) using the Dunk Island barge, on its last day in service, to transport the ground gear (a huge lump of concrete) into deep water. She sailed North to Cairns in the threat of Cyclone Joy in December 1990, before sheltering in the Trinity Inlet and then returning to Sorrento at the end of January 1991. She may be the only Couta Boat that has had Spanish mackerel and Coral trout across her decks! For races after her return, she always flew the Danger/Crocodile warning sign as a battle flag.



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