Geoff Barton Supplied us this info.
Major H. T. Shaw and Gerald Benson, partners of the Melbourne boat building firm of Benson and Shaw. Major Shaw of Beaumaris and Ray Glass each built sailing boats late in the war. They used a jig on which Shaw had built a Sabot for a tender in the early 1930’s. The plans came from the American “Rudder” magazine which Shaw had started reading in 1904. Another six boats followed in 1945 as soon as the firm of Benson and Shaw was established at the end of the war. In Shaw’s own words:
“A fellow I had known for many years came in one day when he had returned fro the services. I showed him what I was doing. He said “Oh I would like to be in that” I said “all right hang your coat over there” and that is how the firm started.” Shaw recalled “Both Gerry Benson and I sailed at Black Rock. I only weighted nine stone wringing wet, so was suited to Sabots. When we sold out we had built over 3,000 boats, some 250 being Sabots. We built them as dinghies as well as for sailing. . I built a special Sabot as a motor boat which did 28mph with a 14hp motor. Our work was condemned for being too light, but today 80% of builders have copied our ideas. I was an aircraft engineer and used ideas I had in the construction of aircraft”.
Initially plywood was used in the construction of aircraft and it was these two persons, through their vast experience in this field who realised that plywood could be adapted for marine construction as well. Ultimately in 1946 they built the first plywood boat in the Commonwealth.
(Sandringham Yacht Club History Sabot 2008)
For a history of the Benson and Shaw boat building company see the section on the following link to the Sandringham Yacht Club Web Site, http://www.syc.com.au/sabot/history.php
The B&W image is of the partners Benson and Shaw. (Major Shaw at Right) The image was borrowed from the book Bayside Reflections by G.Disney. Major Shaw served with the Royal Flying Corps during the First Worls War and became a certified aircraft engineer. Plywood was used in the construction of aircraft during the Second War and it was these two persons, through their vast experience in this field who realised that plywood could be adapted for marine construction as well.