A Red Witch is a shallow draft 20-foot (6 m) trailerable, fixed keel yacht, designed to fit under major bridges on the Swan River in Western Australia. The boats are easy to cruise and race and are an excellent entry into sailing as they are affordable and easy to maintain.
The hull and cabin are made out of Glass-Reinforced Plastic, the keel is cast iron and the rudder is wooden, originally with a rudder box, or replaced with GRP as owners upgrade. The transom has space for an outboard bracket and a ladder. It is virtually unsinkable, as it has airtight cavities in the cabin.
The Red Witch was a development by Hill & Cameron Yachts Perth in the 1970s, using as its inspiration a 22-foot (6.7 m) "Seal" yacht from England. It was subsequently further developed to produce a "Sorcerer" 20 feet 6 inches (6.25 m) to cater for the local Division IV category. Unfortunately for the Sorcerer, the Red Witch eclipsed sales and was faster, thus it became the dominant 'Red' in racing circles, and an active class Association was formed in 1973.
The Red Witch was preceded by the Red Eagle and Red Jacket designs, both of which are very similar to the Red Witch, but substantially slower. The Red Eagle is longer, narrower, has a longer cockpit and a higher cabin roof, more similar to the Red Jacket than the Red Witch. Also developed by Hill and Cameron in the mid-1970s was the Red Baron catamaran at 5.99 m LOA with a 2.63 m beam, 0.30 m draft, displacement of 352 kg and sail area of 13.8 m2. The Red Baron was designed by Neil Fowler of Darwin.
They are sailed as a separate division at South of Perth Yacht Club. Small fleets of boats are found at Claremont, Nedlands, East Fremantle, Cruising (Rockingham) Yacht Clubs and Hillarys Sailing Club, and some have even found their way to the eastern states (such as Canberra and Lake Macquarie). Many Red Witches live on their trailers in the suburbs, as they are compact and easily stored—there are 90 yachts registered with the Red Witch Association, and over 240 were manufactured.
Legend has it that a Red Witch owner submitted an application to participate in the Sydney to Hobart race, but was rejected due to the yacht's small size.
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