Not much of a photo but it was the nationals in I think 1995?? The red Heron (10156) is Afterfx, a boat built by Don Rantanen and decked by myself with help and guidance from my friend Jason Llewellyn.
Afterfx was created in the image and spirit of Bunabaroo. It was built by someone else. After handing over his creation to James, Don Rantanen must have had nightmares. The intervention of Jason however solved most of the major structural issues, like how to make the deck strong enough to handle a size 12 bum and how to cut a piece of timber to an accurate length in one go instead of three. "Measure twice, cut thrice" James was heard to proclaim loudly just before he was seen bandaging his last good finger.
These were not the only Herons to come under the gaze of the ever innovative Gough's. Sidefx was the precursor to Afterfx and was built in a similar way. Have someone else build a sound and fast hull, then throw a deck at it. In this case however James was preoccupied with cars and girls and Andy was thankfully left alone to create this masterpiece. After what Andy swears were months of backbreaking labour and precision engineering - though James reckons he came home one day and a new Heron had magically appeared in the garage - he had the pleasure of sailing the boat once before James said "not too shabby that, mind if I have a go?" and with that Sidefx had effectively been commandeered for all Travellers Trophy's and the State and National titles.
An exceptionally fast boat it proved to be too. Andy used it to great effect in convincingly winning the club championship for the umpteenth season in a row. Sidefx featured many technical innovations, including the Telegraph Pole Mast, the I Shaped It Myself Doesn't It Look Fast Rudder Blade and the Side Buoyancy Tanks Built To Withstand Being Sat On By A Size 12 Bum, a technique sadly lost to the fibreglass Heron builders of the modern era.
Many of these techniques were carried through into other Herons built at Casa de Gough including the ill fated Quixotic and Top Gunn, built together by James and his partner in crime Joel Gunn. During the design phase, whilst dreaming of daffodils, clogs, giant spinning sails and rusting iron suits James managed to alter the laws of trigonometry, thus precipitating the alteration of the boats with a circular saw.
The building phase was noted for the stringent materials testing undertaken by James and Joel and co-ordinated by construction guru Chris Schauwecker. Among the properties tested were permeability, absorption uptake and the effects of the materials on strength and balance. The materials tested included some 43 cartons of Tooheys New, multiple bottles of Bundy Rum, more than a few cases of wine society Cabernet Shiraz, some Merlot and copious amounts of biscuits and cheese. This aside the boats were a remarkable feat of Gough engineering in that they actually floated and occasionally floated the right way up.