Finding information on yachts may involve contacting several sources, including the ones below, many of which can be found in the museum library.

The museum Library has a range of books on the subject of yachting as well as books on the histories of specific yacht clubs. Search the subject index of the catalogue (under 'Yachts and yachting') to locate them.

Books on specific yachts can also be found using the subject index - just enter the name of the boat (for example, Australia II). If you were searching for books on the America's Cup, you would also use the subject index (enter "America's cup races").


Yachting in Australia

Lou D'Alpuget. Sydney. Collins, 1986.
797.140994 DAL

Little ships

Ronald Carter. Wellington, N.Z.Reed. 1948.

A history of rating rules for yachts 1854-1931

Alan Viner. Greenwich National Maritime Museum, 1980.
797.124 VIN

Manual of yachting and boat sailing

Dixon Kemp. New. ed. Southampton. Ashford Press, 1988.
623.82023 KEM

Yacht architecture

Dixon Kemp. 2nd ed. London Horace Cox, 1891.
RARE 623.82023 KEM

Additional Books

The following early Australian yachting books are also recommended.

Reminiscences of twenty-five years yachting in Australia: an essay on manly sports, a cruise on shore etc: notes of a voyage to China and Japan.

W.H.Bundley. Adelaide E.S. Wiggs and Son, 1888.
797.140994 BUN
Also available online at Open Library

The yachtsman's guide to Sydney Harbour and its neighbourhood

C. MacLaurin and W. L. Hunt.
Sydney. Maclardy and Co., 1898.
RARE 797.12409944 MAC
Our digitized copy is available online.

A hundred years of yachting

E.H. and Norman L. Webster. Hobart. J. Walsch and Sons Pty Ltd, 1936.
RARE 797.140994 WEB (173528)

Buying books? Shop online in the museum store.


The British Register of Ships is the official register for both Australian and New Zealand vessels (each country maintained its respective records). The originals of this are held by Australian Archives.

The register involves several series of records for each port. There is an index both by ship name and official number and a separate guide to the microfilm which is located in the drawer with it which explains the range of records available for each port. The Library also holds the Le Maistre Index listed below. This is quite an important source as many of the larger early yachts were registered as "british ships". It’s a very useful resource, listing details of each ship and changes of ownership.

While registers can help you find out many details about a yacht and its history, remember that not all yachts are registered.

Index to the New Zealand Section of all British Register of Ships 1840-1950. Part 1 Ships. Part 2 Ownerships.

Compiled by M.N.Watt. Wellington, NZ. The New Zealand Ship and Marine Society, 1962.
REF 387.20993 WAT
Also available online to Ancestry subscribers.

Register of British Ships: Australian ports

1833-1981 (Microfilm)
MF 39-41

Composite index to ships registered in Australian ports under British merchant shipping acts 1827 to 1980

Compiled by Robert R. Le Maistre. - [Canberra?. National Archives of Australia?], 2002.
REF 387.20994 AUS
Also available online.

Lloyd's Register of Yachts

REF 387.5 LLO
This yearly alphabetical listing of (mainly) large yachts (by name) compiled by Lloyds Register commenced publication in 1878. It provides technical specifications of each vessel, dates and place of build, names of owners and designers. The register includes yachts owned by Lloyd's subscribers plus those above a certain size (in later years this was a minimum length of 27 feet and/or sail area of 350 square feet). The library has a fairly good coverage of this register from 1901 on the Reference shelves.

For a fee, Lloyd's Register Historical Research Service will search Lloyd's Register of Yachts (published from 1878 to 1980) for yacht details, ownership histories and also yacht plans/survey reports.

Register of Australian and New Zealand Shipping

Published by the Marine Underwriters and Salvage Association from around 1870 to 1942. Library holds:
1874, 1876-7, 1893-4, 1902-3, 1906-7, 1915, 1922-1923, 1924-25, 1925-26, 1927-28, 1928-29, 1933-34, 1937, 1941, 1946, 1949 .
REF 387.50994 REG
Our digitized issues for 1874; 1876; 1893; 1902- 1906; 1915; 1921-1925 are available online.

The Australian Register of Historic Vessels is a very useful resource for researching Australian yachts, designers and builders.


In addition to photos in book and sailing magazines, the library holds reference prints (taken from the museum's Hall Collection of glass plate negatives). Many relate to yachting from 1880s to 1920s. (See REF 994.410022 HAL). These can also be viewed online at Trove and from emuseum - the Museum’s collection online.

The State Library of NSW and the Sydney Heritage Fleet's Maritime Records and Research Centre (phone 02 9298 3850) have extensive yachting photo collections.

Many public libraries have added their local history photograph collections to the Trove collections gateway, making it a useful resource for those tracing yacht photographs. A growing selection of images from the museum collection is available on the site as well as the National Maritime Collection online.

Many yacht clubs also maintain historical collections, including photographs, race programs and more.



The Anchor: The Australian and New Zealand yachting and motor boating newspaper [microfilm]

A short lived but very good quality journal published 1911-1912.
Library holds Vol. 1 no. 1(Oct 1911) - Vol. 1 no. 13 (21 Mar 1913). missing issue no. 3.

Australian yachtsman and canoeist [microfilm]

Library holds 26 September 1896 to 10 June 1889.

Australian coal steel shipping and the harbour

Covers period 1920 to 1970. Library holdings are incomplete.
Our digitized copies 1920-1924 are available online.

Open boat

The magazine of the Sydney Flying Squadron and the 16 ft Skiff Association. Covers the period 1933 to 1939.

Australian motor boat and yachting monthly

This long running title contains racing results, profiles of people and new boats, historical articles, photographs and some lines plans. Covers the period 1925-1970. Indexing of the title is underway (1925 to 1946 is complete) - see Library staff for access.
Our digitized copies from 1925-1930 are available online.


A long running and well regarded title, covering a slightly later period for sail and power boats. Includes profiles, photographs and some lines. Library holds 1946 to 1979.
For more current material see Modern Boating (PER MOD) and Australian yachting (PER AUS).


Plans of yachts are not as easily obtainable as plans of other types of vessels. While there are several known private collections, there is no comprehensive institutional collection in Australia. We suggest contacting the builder, owner or designer of the vessel if possible. Some books and journals also have plans (see above).
Plans of the yachts in the museum's collection are not currently available online.

Online Resources

Here is the result of a Trove search for books journals pictures etc for Australian content relating to Yachting.

Useful Links