Payne (1921 - 1995)
Alan Payne, a brilliant naval architect designed
Gretel and Gretel II, two of Australia's first America's
Cup challengers. When Australians decided to venture
into the America's Cup, there were few Australian
naval architects capable of designing 12 Meters: no
boat of this type had ever been designed and built
in that country. Payne had studied naval architecture
at Sydney Technical College and the University of
New South Wales, and in 1945 was the only Australian
naval architect to devote all of his business to yacht
building, both sail and power. His 55-foot Solo won
the Sydney Hobart race in 1956.
Alan Payne, having created fast lines for numerous
racing craft, was the logical person to elevate Australia
to competitive Cup status. He set to work on a four-year
project in which he analyzed the lines of Vim, America's
best trial horse brought over by Sir Frank Packer.
Payne proceeded to test a total of 30 models toward
developing Gretel's design. In the 1962 America's
Cup, Gretel gave Weatherly a run for her money. Gretel
was hugely admired for her superiority in fast downwind
sailing. This quality won a race for Australia and
nearly a second race in a tight series in which Bus
Mosbacher and Weatherly defended the Cup for the New
York Yacht Club.
In 1970, Payne designed Gretel II for Packer and
skipper James Hardy. The new design proved to be an
even more dangerous challenger. Racing against Intrepid,
which had won the Cup three years earlier, Gretel
II was in contention in the first race until a crewmember
fell overboard. The Australian boat won the second
race on the water, but lost it in the protest room.
After Intrepid won the third race, Gretel II took
the fourth before losing the series in the fifth.
Payne maintained his involvement with the Cup after
1970, designing the 1983 challenger Advance and consulting
for a defense syndicate in 1987.