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Old 08-03-2011, 17:45   #1
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Sparkman & Stephens 30 Defiance Owners

I'm looking for information from owners of a reasonably common SS design, the Defiance 30, built in Australia up until about 95-98 (mainly in Brisbane I believe). We are looking for a cruising (although odd club race for fun) vessel between 28-32ft, mainly for bumming around the area of the Whitsundays to the Palm Island group, within the protect waters of GBR, where we live. We may eventually cruise further afield to PNG etc as our experience grows.
Being an ex-racer (and a Kiwi) I want a cruising vessel that doesn’t have the weight of a small moon, has a reasonable turn of speed and can point well (yep I know, so does everyone), it doesn’t need to win the Americas Cup, but I do like to get places.

So how do present/past Defiance owners rate the performance of these vessels – to windward, reaching and downwind? In a nutshell how do they perform?

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Old 08-03-2011, 18:08   #2
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Re: Sparkman Stephens 30 Defiance owners

Okay - didnt own one, but sailed one for many miles. Really good 30 footer, all round pleasant boat that should make for a good cruiser, always felt the hull shape was a little "pinched" in the rear which didn't help the death rolls down hill, but otherwise if I were looking for a 30ft mono it would be near top of the list for me.

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Old 27-11-2012, 14:54   #3
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Re: Sparkman & Stephens 30 Defiance Owners

I have had a Defiance for over 20 years and have raced it in club races and cruised the east coast of Australia extensively, both activities with great success. I am based in Gosford NSW . I have only good things to say about the boat. It handles a seaway beautifully in rough conditions and also is a delight in soft air. My wife and I spent 6 months on one Whitsundays trip and at no time did we have any doubts about the vessels ability to handle what was thrown at it. It works well to windward and points high, reaching and running is a dream. What more can I say, easily handled by two or st up properly, single handed, It'll do me. Sa1lb0y
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Old 27-11-2012, 15:11   #4
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Re: Sparkman & Stephens 30 Defiance Owners

G'Day Guy,

I'm not sure of the relationship between the Defiance and the S&S Yankee 30 built in the USA, but they look very similar in the water. Haven't seen a Defiance out of the water yet.

At any rate, I owned a Yankee 30 for 7 years back in the 70's, and it was a really sweet boat to sail. Did coastal cruising, day sailing in the SF Bay, a lot of racing both crewed and single handed, and eventually Ann and I did our first long passage (Hawaii and return) in her. That passage was very educational! The boat handled everything that came up, including a named TS and performed quite well. 16 days going, 21 returning. But, we learned that this design had a flaw for longer passages. Namely, she liked to sail at 20-25 degrees of heel angle, and on long passages this was unacceptable to us because of the fatigue that it entailed. This hadn't been an issue for coastal sailing, where one tends to anchor every day or two for a rest, but surely was on the Hawaii passages.

For your proposed usage in the Whitsundays and East coast cruising it would likely not be an issue, and of course, there may be enough difference in the two designs that our experience is not valid.


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Pittwater, NSW fora while.
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Old 27-11-2012, 15:35   #5
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Re: Sparkman & Stephens 30 Defiance Owners

Just a few words about the history of these boats. (Caveat: I stand to be corrected on any of the following, its bits and pieces I picked up along the way.)

A guy called Jack Savage got hold of the plans for an S&S 30, sometime in the late 60's-early70's. He went to Swansons in Sydney, and they knocked up a couple of prototype boats, out of timber. Savage then contracted Swansons to build a plug, which became the basis for glass production of the design.

Savage then went off to melbourne and commenced production of the Savage Defiance 30. Swansons kept some interest in the production (maybe quid pro quo for building the mould?), and produced a Swanson 30 from the plug. Swarbricks in Fremantle got into the act some how or other - Swarbricks and Swansons collaborated from time to time and produced versions of each others boats - and began producing a boat they called a S&S 30. Basically, these three boats are all the same hull, with the three producers putting on differnt deck/coach house arrangements. Savage has changed his design of deck/coachhouse along the way.

The design has had a very long production run, being built into the 2000's. Maybe still available new? I have only heard good things about the design. Swansons and Swarbricks are renowned for production of seaworthy boats (I am a bit biased here..owning a Swanson)

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Old 27-11-2012, 21:37   #6
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Re: Sparkman & Stephens 30 Defiance Owners

Hi guys, After Savage finished building the Defiance, I think in the early 80s, the moulds were taken up by Des Lawson of '"Anything Boating" at Sawtell south of Coffs Harbour, he continued to the late 80s when both he and the moulds went to Brisbane. Another party continued to build them. That's the extent of my recollection. In the early stages, the Defiance was the Australian half ton champion and held the race record for the Darwin to Ambon race for some years. Cheers sa1lb0y
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Old 05-03-2014, 02:53   #7
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Re: Sparkman & Stephens 30 Defiance Owners

Hi all
Just bought a SS Defiance 30 in Sydney plan to sail it to new home in Manly Brisbane after some refurbishment.
Anyone have a sail plan, mine is called Petra single spreader and keel steeped, mast tapered near top.
Sail plan anyone.
It is one of Jack Savage built ones,1978.

A mate had one in Geelong called Eclipse which we Di some trips out in the paddock, King Island, Port Fairy and so forth.
Very good sea boat from my experience.

Beers & Cheers
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Old 05-03-2014, 04:17   #8
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Re: Sparkman & Stephens 30 Defiance Owners

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, GoPopp.

Gord May
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