Pacer Pursuit

The Pacer Pursuit is a high performance version of the traditional Pacer developed by long time Pacer Builder Jim French in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia with 400mm extra on the mast, new larger fully battened mainsail, new larger jib, new larger asymmetric spinnaker and trapeze using the same Pacer hull. It is the intention for the Pacer Pursuit to be developed as a completely new and separate class alongside the traditional Pacer Class. This will allow the traditional Pacer to remain in its long established current format.

We asked Jim French to tell us about how he developed the Pacer Pursuit.

After sailing Pacers for many years, it became obvious to me that the class could do with a bit more sail to make sailing a bit more exciting. A lot of people were leaving Pacers because of this, and the class has taken on a training boat image in some areas. The pacer hull is a really good design, it is really stable and can easily take a lot more sail.

As the Pursuit was already a class in the 70`s (a not very successful  boat) I thought it was time to re-visit the concept and modernise it. The single luff kites of the skiffs are so much more modern than the old balloon spinnakers, much faster and much easier to handle. Mylar fully batterned main and jib were the way to go.

I first thought, to make the boat successful I should make it affordable, so I tried to do a rig using the same mast as the Pacer, gaining the extra area needed from a big roach on the main, and the biggest jib I could fit with the same sheeting position.  The mast needed spreaders and a different spin set up, but that was all. For the bowsprit I drilled a hole in the bow of the boat, and set up the retractable pole the same as the skiffs.

The boat worked brilliantly, especially off the wind, upwind it was just a little faster than a pacer. I sailed it for a few months, lending it to as many people as I could, their comments were noted , mostly the comment was that it should have a trapeze, so I added one.

I kept sailing the boat as often as I could and continued to lend it to as many that would try it. After the State Champs, I finally came to the conclusion through the feedback that it needed more sail to use the trapeze effectively and to be significantly faster than the pacer upwind.

A longer mast was the only option, so I made it 400mm longer, so people who didn`t want to buy a new mast could sleeve their old one. I ordered a new set of sails 400mm longer in the luffs and the kite longer in the foot as well to give it a bit more go off the wind.

The result is that the boat now is much faster than the Pacer upwind and amazingly quick downwind. It is really stable, especially off the wind, and is easy to sail, but not too much of a handful in a breeze.

The Legacy

The mighty Puffin Pacer was first introduced to Australia in the late 1960’s. Designed by Jack Holt in the UK many boats were made in Australia from timber kits utilising the stitch and glue process. The UK Pacer Association allocated numbers in the 600’s to 800’s range for boats in Australia. In the early 70’s Anchor Marine provided the first fibreglass boats. These came with wooden gunwales, mast gates and thwarts. Smackwater began making fibreglass boats in the 80’s down at Carrum. They were good boats but where structurally a little weak and maybe not as stiff as was needed as they were made with a lot of chopped matt fibreglass. Many timber boats are still with us today, boats made by Graham Downey and Alex Magner are still in use and sailing well.

In 1996 Jim French reworked an Anchor Marine boat (“Fred”) which performed well, and hence started a journey for him that has lasted until now. Jim French Yachts (Jim’s business) was asked by the Pacer Association to make two new Pacer moulds for fibreglass boats for Alan Clark (Smackwater) and Brett Young in Adelaide. Jim sailed the first boat from these moulds at the Nationals in Holdfast Bay in Adelaide in 1997. (“Amazon”). The boat was revolutionary by the standards of the day. It was made in two parts, the hull as one part and the deck as the other. The two parts were fixed together while the hull was still in the hull mould hence providing a straight and true boat. Made from fibreglass and PVC foam the boats were strong and stiff with rolled gunwales and fibreglass mast gates, thwart and rudder.

Jim French made another mould with some slight changes (MKII) for his own production of Pacers. Some 241 boats where produced from these moulds and where sold to Yacht Clubs and Yachting Associations for training as well as to private buyers who wished to race them. The boat Judy and I sail was one of these, “Limelight” sail no 2590 was constructed in 2001 and was one of the first to have the rear tank retro fitted. It is now 18 years old and has been sailed every year since. It’s structurally like new and has withstood our heavy weight very well and is a testament to it’s construction.

The MK III mould was introduced in August 2008 and reflected some slight modifications that still fitted within the Pacer Rules. Wider gunwales, rear tank incorporated into the deck mould, raised mast gate, dropped thwart and revised rudder box. Some 181 boats have been produced from these MK III moulds.

Jim further developed the Pacer Pursuit. There were a number of timber ones trialled in the late 60’s with none know to survive today.  Jim’s version had a taller mast, bigger fully battened main, a larger jib, a trapeze, larger rudder and an asymmetrical spinnaker. 12 of these boats were delivered by Jim to private customers.

Jim French is now concentrating his business on developing and marketing the new “Skeeta” foiling yacht based upon the scow moth. Check out Jim’s Facebook page for more details. (Skeeta Foiling Craft)

Accordingly Jim has sold the Pacer moulds and ancillary patterns etc to a new manufacturer and will no longer be making Pacers.

Jim is very confident the new manufacturer, JP Macquet, (JPM Shipwrights) is the right person for the ongoing production of great fibreglass boats.


“A new beginning.”

 "JPM Shipwrights is proud to announce that we have purchased the Pacer dinghy moulds from Jim French. We will be starting production shortly once we have cleared our current projects as we already have orders in the books for next season."

Jean-pierre Macquet known simply as JP has an established shipwright business located at Factory 7, 19-25 Grange Rd Cheltenham. Vic 3192, +61 (0) 418 380 575 as well as a unit on site at Sandringham Yacht Club.

JP currently owns a Pacer in which he placed 3rd at the Victor Harbour nationals. His boat (sail No 783) “Kraken” is an older Anchor Marine boat which is currently being refurbished by JP.

JP has a wealth of sailing experience, from Farr 40’s, Echelles and Dragons to 470’s. He also ran the shore crew for the Newscorp Volvo boat for the Melbourne leg of the Volvo race stopover a couple of years ago. JP operates from Grange Road and Sandringham Yacht Club where he has recently been involved in work on some of the Melbourne to Osaka yachts.

JP is committed to continuing the production of great quality Pacers and being a Harken authorised service agent will be fitting out boats with quality Harken fittings.

For further information and pricing contact JP at JPM Shipwrights P/L

Tel:   +61 (0) 418 380 575 Email:

[Article by Paul Hardie]


Pacer Hull and Deck moulds
JP Macquet









Pacer Nationals 2018/19 - Paynesville

Latest results can be found here:

Congratulations to the Australian champions Ross Martin and Natasha Martin, winners on a countback.

Junior champions are Lauren Kemp and Eliza Kemp.

Winners of the non-spinnaker division are Ethen Perry and Archer Manuell.

Junior / Senior champions are Jessica Viza and Anne Vize.

Masters champion is Paul Taig with Emma Taig.



Paynesville Nationals

The next Pacer Nationals will be held at the Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club, Paynesville, Victoria from December 28th 2018 to January 3rd 2019.

Notice of Race

Entry is now open at:

Current entries:

Sail Number Boat name Division Skipper Crew Club
2115 Banana Split Open Nicole Jenvey Kate Bart Beaumaris Yacht Club
2195 Wildwood Masters Phillip Connard Janette Connard Beaumaris Yacht Club
2590 Limelight Masters Paul Hardie Judy Hardie Beaumaris Yacht Club
2632 Dad's Day Out Masters Mark Harrick Judy Taylor Beaumaris Yacht Club
2695 L'O Masters Thomas Ruether Nathalie Braussaud Beaumaris Yacht Club
2847 Good Pace Masters Paul Taig Emma Taig Albert Park Yacht Club
2941 Pocket Rocket Non-Spinnaker Steven Ross Mackenzie Ross / Matilda Ross Beaumaris Yacht Club
2942 Dancing Pirate Junior Skipper / Senior Crew Jessica Vize Anne Vize McCrae YC
2943 Patience is over rated Open Ross Martin Natasha Martin Safety Beach Sailing Club
2951 Lion Pride Open Ethan Perry Archer Manuel GLYC
3011 Bebop Junior Skipper / Junior Crew Lauren Kemp Eliza Kemp Beaumaris Yacht Club
3063 Hustle Open Peter Kemp Samantha Kemp / Tania Urquhart Beaumaris Yacht Club
3119 Spyderboat Masters Darren Sherriff Sarah Blackman Parkdale Yacht Club
TBA TBA Junior Skipper / Junior Crew Jasmine Francis Harry Connley GLYC

Pacer sailors, families and friends, with the state championships now completed, it’s time to start thinking forward to the Australian Pacer Championships which will be held at Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club from 28th December 2018 – 3rd January 2019. Whilst it is about 8 months away, we are sharing some information now to assist competitors and families with travel and accommodation arrangements. Paynesville is a popular holiday spot, so we recommend booking accommodation early.

If you’re already a confirmed participant or just “interested” at the moment, like Pacer Australia’s facebook page ( to ensure you keep up to date with the latest information on what will be a fun, family friendly regatta!!!

We'd also like our acknowledge our wonderful sponsors of the recent State Championships at Mt Martha:

OTB Marine:

Thomson Sails:

Sailing Gear for Women and Girls:

Innovative Sports Products:

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS Here are some accommodation options in the Paynesville and close surrounding areas:

Apartment accommodation Captains Cove Mariners Cove

House accommodation Gippsland Lakes Escapes Air.bnb   Caravan, cabin & camping Resthaven Caravan Park (Paynesville) Allawah Caravan and Boat Park (Paynesville) Eagle Point Caravan Park (Eagle Point) Lake King Waterside Caravan Park (Eagle Point) 


Victorian Championships 2018 - Mount Martha Yacht Club

The 2018 Victorian Pacer Championship held March 10 - 12, 2018 at Mount Martha Yacht Club.

Final results: Final Results

Congratulations to the winners Paul and Judy Hardie.

Thanks to our sponsors:

OTB Marine


Notice of race is here: Mt Martha Yacht Club State Championship 2018 Notice of Race

 Enter at


 States 2018 flyer



Videos has a channel on YouTube.


Pacer Nationals Coming to Sydney

Chances are high that when you first learnt to sail, it was in a Pacer. Many of us belong to sailing clubs where Pacers are used as a training boat.   As they begin to race, novice sailors might form a skipper/crew team together or perhaps an experienced sailor/instructor might sail with the trainee. It is often at club level that the racing bug is born!

Do you still sail a Pacer? Or do you consider yourself too old, too young, too fast, too slow, too competitive, too inexperienced, too cool or not cool enough?

The Pacer is a double handed 'Off the Beach' dinghy and is the boat of choice for both Learn to Sail and Teams Racing throughout Australia. Victoria and Queensland have active state associations that hold regattas in their respective states. Pacer fleets are also strengthening in NSW. It is likely that a state body will be formed in the next few months. Under the stewardship of the national body, Pacer Australia, Pacer NSW will organise regattas at state level and continue to build the Pacer class in NSW.

Pacer Australia is keen to encourage stronger ties with schools and youth sailing teams as well as club sailors. Many coaches and sailors may not be aware that the National Pacer and Pacer Pursuit Championships are held annually. All Pacer sailors are made very welcome. The National Championships offer a fantastic opportunity for teams sailors to participate in a national competition with a fleet racing format. Now is the time to plan for the Nationals, which are coming to Sydney in January, 2018!

So who is your typical Pacer sailor? Is it Darren? He sails with young trainees from his local club. Or could it be Nicole? She usually sails with Jonathan, when he isn't racing in his own Pacer. That's when she teams up with Jane or Silke. Judy and Paul have been married a long time but have been sailing a Pacer for even longer. They prefer strong wind conditions and only argue when it gets below 10 knots. Mun is promiscuous. He sails with a different person every week. Ian prefers the higher power of his Pacer Pursuit, with crew Conor on trapeze. Sarah and Will enjoy teams racing with their school. Sea Scout Grace likes to sail with Rachel, although they don't use a spinnaker. Orla and Eamon are siblings who take turns at being skipper or crew. They are past National Pacer Youth Champions.

Pacers provide exciting racing for a rich combination of age and ability levels, from young children to teens to those pushing seventy. There are plenty of challenges, especially when racing with a spinnaker in a stiff breeze.

Highly competitive sailors from other classes frequently return to Pacers to sail with their family. These teams seem to have the perfect balance of lightness of weight and depth of experience to get the boat flying. Peter and his children Lauren and Eliza are the current National and Victorian State Champions. A sailor who can overtake them will be competitive in any class.

On the other hand, some of us started sailing in Pacers and would no sooner sail another class than give away a beloved pet. The sailors of these hardy, stable, beautiful and seaworthy crafts can be intensely loyal to our class. This group of die-hards is highly social and love nothing more than welcoming newbies and catching up with old friends from previous Nationals. They have quite a few sailing smarts to share.

The next National Pacer and Pacer Pursuit Championship will take place in Woolahra, Sydney Harbour, next January. It's during summer holiday time, so will combine well with an interstate or local holiday. There is always plenty of time for exploration and socialisation with non-sailing family members and other Pacer sailors. Those new to racing will discover the thrill of competing in a fleet of both serious and not-so-serious sailors. The Pacer community sails competitively but is also very inclusive and generous in sharing tactical, sailing and rigging tips with others who are wanting advice on the best ways to catch the faster sailors in the fleet.

You don't have to qualify for entry in the Pacer National Championships. You don't even need to own a Pacer, as some will be available to hire. There is a Green Fleet division for those new to sailing, a Youth division, a Masters division and a Non-Spinnaker division. All you need is a wish to enjoy competitive and friendly racing on the beautiful waters of Sydney Harbour.

We know there are lots of Pacer sailors in Sydney and around Australia who would love to join us. Tell everyone you know and come along and join us.  

Pacer and Pacer Pursuit National Championships. Woolahra Yacht Club, Sydney. 2-6 January, 2018. More information and accommodation options are available on Please note that Sydney accommodation should be arranged well in advance.

[As published in Australian Sailing June/July 2017]

National Championship Jan 2-6 2018, Woollahra, Sydney Harbour

Championships are underway. Results are posted here:

Notice of Race is now available HERE

Entry is now open at



Pacer Australia has negotiated special rates at nearby University of NSW and University of Sydney campuses. For more information CLICK HERE.






Victorian Championships 2017 - Parkdale Yacht Club

The 2017 Victorian Championship will be held March 11 - 13, 2017 at Parkdale Yacht Club.

Results here:

Notice of Race

Enter at



City sail

Albert Park Yacht Club is running this event. Pacer's are invited.


City Sail Poster

National Championship 2016-17 - YMCA Sailing Club, Canberra

The Pacer and Pacer Pursuit National Championships were held at the YMCA Sailing Club, Canberra from December 28th, 2016 to January 3rd, 2017

Current results can be found here:

Congratulations to:

Eamon Gray and Jospeh McCauley winners in the Junior/Junior division

Graeme Cox and Sophie Cox in the Pacer Pursuit division

Peter Kemp, Lauren Kemp and Eliza Kemp in the Open division.