Skip to main content



Lidgard 36

Sail No

Sm 880

Current Owner Name(s)

Justin Brenan


Duthy Lidgard

Build Year





Fibreglass over balsa






Mike Welch (Hobart)


Current Club


Other Past Boat Names and/or Owners

1998 1999 Alien Tasmania Mike Welch
1999 2009 Alien SYC Mike Welsh
2009 Present Alien RYCV Justin Brenan

Notable Race Events

2003-4; 2004-5 SYC Club Champion AMS 1st
1999 Sydney-Hobart PHS-B 2nd
2005-6; 2006-7 SYC Women in Sailing Challenge IRC 1st (also 1st AMS 2005-6)


1998 Alien is a Lidgard 36 that was built in Tasmania by Mike Welch in 1998 with a focus on building a very strong, but light, hull that was competitive on rating systems. Interestingly, approximately a year later, Mike Welch then sold the boat to SYC’s Mike Welsh who was looking to get back into measurement rating system racing after a number of years with his previous yacht Raffles.
1999 After purchasing Alien, Mike keenly entered the 1999 Sydney-Hobart race – the year after the devastating 1998 race. Thinking that a storm like 1998 would be unlikely to be experienced in two concurrent years, Mike and crew started the race with high expectations. The race started in overcast conditions and a moderate NE. After exiting Sydney Harbour, Alien headed south under spinnaker. The NE breeze built steadily (and so did the rain) and Alien blew out two spinnakers in the rapidly deteriorating conditions. As Alien approached the top of Tasmania a strong storm front hit from the South with 60-70kn wind belting the remaining fleet (the larger yachts had finished by this time, with Nokia breaking the race record). Well known SYC member Lou Abrahams later described the storm as worse at times than he experienced in 1998. At the peak of the storm at night, Alien was flattened by a massive breaking wave and she slid sideways down the wave. Thankfully there were no major injuries to the crew nor any gear breakages. Battered and bruised, the crew decided to head for the Tasmanian coast and take shelter in Wineglass bay until the storm subsided. However, when approaching the coast, Alien crossed tacks with Lou Abrahams’ Challenge Again which provided the crew with a renewed enthusiasm to press on and finish the race, which they did at 6:13pm on 30th Dec 1999, earning Mike and the Alien crew a 2nd place in PHS-B division. In Hobart, Alien was greeted by some of the locals that built her, who proudly boasted that they knew the strength of the boat would withstand any storm.
1999-2009 Alien underwent a series of modifications under Mike’s ownership, with input from designer Duthy Lidgard and North Sails’ Ross Lloyd, striving to improve its rating and performance – predominantly under AMS. The mast and rig were replaced by a new swept-back spreader configuration. Weight was removed from the keel by cutting off the front of the bulb and replacing with a fiberglass cone (which was knocked off at one point when Alien met a sandbank in the Hopetoun Channel on the way to Geelong), subsequently re-adding that weight, shaving off lead (using an electric plane) and reshaping the bulb. This work was largely done by SYC members Don Shields, Ralph White and Jeff “Bluey” Casley. After 10 enjoyable years, Mike decided it was time to upgrade. Alien was sold to RYCV member Justin Brenan and Mike purchased his first new boat: Wicked, a Beneteau First 40 after a recommendation from North Sails’ Ross Lloyd.
200? Mike and crew travelled north to participate in the Pittwater – Coffs Harbour race. On the first night whilst running downwind Alien was hit by a squall with laid her flat. Whilst lying flat, there was a loud bang as the backstay broke. After dropping the spinnaker and proceeding under reduced sail a search was done for any further damage. A small 5cm crack was identified in the mast below deck. Unfortunately this crack grew as the race went on, despite reducing sail to minimize pressure on the rig. By the time Alien finished at Coffs Harbour, the crack had spread round 50% of the mast and was visibly opening as the rig pumped, but it held long enough to finish. Alien was then slipped and trucked back to SYC where a new swept-back spreader rig was fitted based on a Sydney 38 configuration, including additional strengthening of chain plates by Don Shields and Mike.
2006 Prompted by SYC member George Shaw, Mike entered Alien in the inaugural ORCV Melbourne – Vanuatu race series (South Pacific Boomerang Series). Despite a nasty storm of 50+kn and then being totally becalmed for three days north of Lord Howe Island, Alien finished 3rd IRC. After winning an inshore race in Vanuatu, Alien then participated in the Vanuatu – MacKay race. The race was supposed to be a nice, easy reach back to Australia, but turned out to be a tough 10-day beat into a unrelenting 30+kn W-SW. Despite the tough conditions, Alien won the race which then gave Alien the overall series win. Following this series, Alien continued on to participate in the 2006 Hamilton Is Race Week (placed 15th in IRC Cruising).

Image Gallery