Written by his daughter Jan Newland, the book titled “Graham Newland – A well navigated life” will be launched at MHYC on 30th November.
The hidden life of one of Australia’s greatest ocean racing navigators is discovered in a box of scrapbooks
When Graham Newland’s daughter inherited a box of old scrapbooks, she had no inkling of how rich her father’s life had been.
Of course, Jan Newland knew about the two Sydney to Hobart victories her father had won when she was young. There were rumours of Admiral’s Cup glory while she was living in Perth. She had heard mention of other contested cups including the Congressional Cup and the One Ton Cup but she lived in London and Toronto. And then there was the race from Bermuda to Copenhagen using nothing but a sextant to find the way and the America’s Cup in Newport, Rhode Island on Gretel II.
Turning the pages of the scrapbooks she also found a sailor who had been toasted by the Duke of Edinburgh and partied with the Aga Khan.
Graham had raced with the who’s who of Australia’s golden age of racing. His skills were sought out by the great yacht designer, Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens from New York. Known colloquially as The Yacht Doctor, the boats Graham had tuned for success stand as a litany of that age; The very first Ragamuffin, Vittoria, Love & War, Stormy Petrel, Salacia II, Mark Twain, Queequeg to name just a few.
The scrapbooks highlighted just how important Graham had been in making Australian yachts, not just contenders, but victors, on the international scene.
But Graham was also a quiet man, as happy tinkering in his engineering workshop as he was, sailing on Sydney Harbour. He wasn’t a man to blow his own trumpet. However, the accolades in newspaper clippings and correspondence outline the glory over a forty-year career had transfixed his daughter, so Jan read on.
One of his greatest achievements was the creation of the very first Ragamuffin and being its first mate for several years. This is an excerpt from a letter to Dennis Miller, famous English yachtsman in September 1968.
In 1974 Graham turned his back on sailing and purchased a 1,650-acre farm near Gulgong in NSW, called Tarawong. It only took a few years for Graham to improve the property into one of the most productive in the district before the call of racing had him back on the water as navigator, tactician and part helm on Gretel II in the America’s Cup.
It wasn’t just in the sailing and farming world that her father had achieved. He brought a husband and wife run airline business in Mt Molloy in Queensland with just two planes and the longest mail run in the world. Within a few years Graham had enlarged the fleet to twenty, with services operating throughout the Top End of Australia.
As he got older, Graham settled on one last major quest – to cruise his 56ft, 55 ton motor yacht, Siandra II from Australia to Alaska. It was a challenge that would take him three attempts as a civil war, volcanic eruption and illness attempted to stop the dream. With friends and family, he ended up spending three glorious summers tracing the Inside Passage of Alaska followed by an amazing journey across the Pacific Ocean bringing Siandra II home to Sydney.
The book is rich with anecdotes and a collage approach provided by the scrapbooks, Jan’s book, Graham Newland, a well navigated life, has created an engaging portrait of one of Australia’s sailing pioneers, a story of recognition that needed to be told, one that brings to life a man who just happened to be her beloved father.
“Graham was a quiet achiever in the golden era, when Australia took on the sailing world. He was one of the very best crew mates I ever sailed with.” – Sir James Hardy
Television producer Jan Newland, is the owner of the leading production house, Eden Media, based in Sydney. She has worked around the world and is something of an explorer herself having being one of the first non-Russians to travel the Trans-Siberian railway from Vladivostok to Moscow in 1971. She is also an accomplished competitive sailor and a stalwart of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.
Graham Newland, a well navigated life is a 220 page full colour book published by Eden Media. Its retail price is $38 plus delivery (increases to $75 on 10th December). Copies can be ordered by emailing Jan firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on the QR Code below