There may be nothing that is half as much fun as messing about in boats, but there is also nothing to match the sense of achievement that comes from launching a boat you have built or restored yourself. As members of the WBA, we always enjoy the arrival of a newly built or restored boat at one of our sailing days. To share the joy of seeing a new launching amongst all our members and to recognise and reward the efforts of the builder, the WBA committee created an award for boatbuilding.

The Alan Chinn Award for excellence in boatbuilding was established in 2018 in honour of founding member, long term committee member and highly skilled boatbuilder, Alan Chinn. The aim of the award is to promote the skills of boat building and restoration and to recognize the work of our members in their boat building activities.  Nominations are now open for the 2021-23 Awards.

The emphasis is on recognizing the efforts of all members who get involved in a boatbuilding project rather than finding a winner for the award. A brief story about each nominated project will appear in Shavings.

The  biennial Alan Chinn Award has been presented twice since its inception, at the AGM in 2019 and the AGM in 2021. The next award will be presented at the AGM in July 2023.

The range of sizes and styles of boats nominated over those years shows the huge variety of interests within our WBA membership. From strip planked kayaks to large motor cruisers, from sailing dinghies to vintage speedboats and with a model boat added to the mix, we have something for everyone.

The inaugural award winner in 2019 was Russ Hurren for his restoration of the motor cruiser, Maude. The second award was presented to Tim Drinkall for his restoration of the speedboat  Comet, in 2021.

Maude 08 IMG 1573 
Russ Hurren and Maude, a work in progress  Comet on the Maribyrnong River

 The WBA Committee would like members to start thinking about nominations for the next award in 2023. The nomination could be for a new build, a restoration project or a model boat construction. You can nominate someone you know, with their consent, or nominate yourself. Each nominated project will be reported in Shavings to keep members in touch with the boatbuilding activity that is going on within the club.

What interesting projects will the panel have the pleasure of inspecting and considering for the 2023 award? The award is given to "the person, not the boat” which means that the story behind the project, the effort and motivations of the builder and the involvement of others in seeing the project through are important to the assessment of the award nominations.

Nominations for projects to be considered in this round are now open (September 2022) and will close at the end of February 2023. Projects completed during 2021 and 2022 and which were not nominated for the previous awards will be eligible for the 2023 award.  Please read the award's Rules and Requirements and view the Nomination Form before making your nomination.

If you know of a project that could be nominated (including your own) please contact the Chair of the Judging Panel, Graham Signorini or organiser, Leigh McNolty. 

Graham Signorini:
Leigh McNolty:


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Join the WBA

Membership is open to all wooden boat enthusiasts. Many members own boats, others do not, but all enjoy the chance to get together and "muck about with boats". Their boats include rowing boats, putt-putts, radio controlled models, pond yachts, canoes, kayaks, steam-powered boats, sailing dinghies, dayboats and ocean-going yachts.

The Wooden Boat Association is based in Melbourne, with regular sailing days scheduled on Albert Park Lake, as well as other venues around Melbourne, and at least one weekend each year elsewhere in the state.

Especially welcome is the first-time wooden boat builder or restorer, who can expect to receive ample advice and assistance in getting their dream onto the water.

Benefits of Wooden Boat Association Membership 

  • Become part of a friendly and sociable group of people with a common interest in wooden boats.
  • Receive Shavings, a monthly newsletter bringing timely news about events and activities in Victoria.
  • Regular meetings with a wide range of interesting speakers and activities. Our usual venue is the Albert Park Yacht Club, with visits to other venues from time to time.
  • Monthly sailing days, on Albert Park Lake and other locations close to Melbourne.
  • Use of the Association's own boats, two traditional sailing boats, Begonia and Lindsay Symons, our canoe Stringybark, and our extremely rare Port Philip 12.
  • Access to the Association's extensive library of boatbuilding and other nautical books.
  • Companionship with sister associations in other states

Join the WBA now

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