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