Begonia, one of the boats owned by the Wooden Boat AssociationMany of our members are sailors, builders and restorers of wooden 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. Some members do not currently own boats, but we cater for them as well.

Our Association owns Begonia, available for members to use by themselves if you are able to handle her, or if you prefer you could be the crew for one of our experienced members. Once you have experience in handling Begonia it is possible for you to borrow her to take to sailing days, boat festivals, or even for private sailing.

Begonia is a gaff rigged 15’ sailing dinghy able to carry two or three people. She started life as a unique project, organised by the Wooden Boat Association, to construct a traditional wooden boat.

Begonia was designed by Master Boatbuilder, Tom Whitfield, of totally traditional clinker (lapstrake) construction. Starting in 1991, using donated Kauri and Huon Pine, the boat was lofted, moulds made, set-up and planked, all by volunteers, under Tom's guidance. We were very fortunate to have the use of a shed alongside Polly Woodside. No better site could be hoped for to undertake such a project.

This was a unique opportunity to learn, in detail, from a master of the craft in a hands-on manner, the skills and problems of traditional construction, and was very enthusiastically received.

The original sails were hand sewn by Rick Mitchell, with assistance from Clare Atkins. Originally rigged with a Spritsail main, with two jibs on the bowsprit, she was eventually changed over to a Gaff rig.
As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we created a pictorial record of the launching of Begonia. Look for it in our Image Gallery.

Begonia has been taken to many boat festivals by members to display on behalf of the WBA, as well as various club sailing days.

Begonia is kept at Albert Park Yacht Club and usually launched on sailing days.

We are very privileged to have this boat available, due to the efforts of our earliest members. We like Begonia to be used, otherwise there is not much point in maintaining her and anyway, she needs her bottom wet regularly!

We have a guide to rigging Begonia available here.

Begonia is available for members to borrow to take to sailing days, festivals, as well as for private use. Phone our Boat Manager, Graham Signorini, on 9391 56217 to find out more.