2011 to 2014

After our weekend at Nagambie Jenny and I stayed on for another couple of days, but the wind got up so we did not use the boat again.

We headed to Benalla where I had a days work and clients to see, before heading across into the Strathbogie ranges to the east of Euroa. Here we visited friends on a farm at Gooram. This is an amazing area only a short distance from the flat areas of the Hume highway but worlds away with hidden valleys granite boulders and beautiful rolling hills.

Roderick Smith emailed me recently concerning an article published on Rubeena, which is now taking passengers on short trips near Sale twice each day.

“The article covers much of the history. Working from memory, it was built for Sydney Harbour, then came to Lakes Entrance.

We sailed, we rowed, we putted! The weather was initially kind to us, with a warm, sunny morning and light winds suitable for a variety of boating activities. Jim and I arrived early to find the Carroll's crabber Rufus tied up at the jetty, with Geoff Carroll and Chris Macdonald ready for breakfast. They had sailed across from St Kilda the previous day, along with Geoff Divko, their trip enlivened by a sudden squall near Williamstown.

I thought fellow members might find amusement when someone like me has one of those days.

It all started on the Saturday when my good lady wife informed me of my duty to drive her to the Showgrounds at Flemington to attend a horse event with her girlfriends.

That’s ok I thought to myself I will load the zodiac and outboard on the farm ute and checkout Gumnut after I’ve dropped her off. Its only 10 mins away after all and I know the forecast is for 25 to 30 knot winds but hey I’m an optimist.

It pays to be patient. Our WBA friends learnt this at the planned launching of Rufus, or rather late launching on 11th October. Sadly after waiting most of the afternoon, the Carrolls and Rufus failed to turn up until most had to head home. Then in the rush to launch the mast raising turned disastrous as it rotated sideways and destroyed the tabernacle!  John from TriState Towing arranged for the fabrication of a new tabernacle. Greg their fabricator produced an accurate copy of the original which was installed with the help of Jimmie Baillie. Nevertheless, Rufus went into the water and into her berth at St Kilda Marina without her mast and bowsprit.

What a fantastic weekend!

Some arrived on Thursday, with the remainder arriving over the course of Friday.  Overall we had 30 members and 12 boats.

Friday was hot. David, Wal MacCadames and Kevin from NSW took to the water for a putt. Disaster struck when Penguin's rudder broke a couple of kms upstream. An oar was jury rigged into action surf boat style to get back to camp.

This was the best attended Club Night for some time, attesting to how well known Dugga Beazley is in the boating scene on Port Phillip Bay. Dugga’s wife Frances and daughter Karen were in the audience to prompt him on a few occasions and to emphasise the family’s ongoing involvement in commercial fishing on the bay. In fact his family has generations of experience in boats and fishing on Port Phillip.

As a brand new member of the Wooden Boat Association, I have a request for information (might as well hit the ground running!).  My wife, Elaine and I own a 100-year-old 12 foot sailing skiff, originally owned by Professor Flynn (father of Errol Flynn) of the University of Tasmania, and sold to my late father-in-law, Dr Donald Thomson, the well-known anthropologist, some time in the 1920s. 

I am in the process of restoring it and need some information about the likely shape of its centreboard.  When my wife and I retrieved the boat from a shed, it was in poor condition and lacked oars, spars, rudder and centreboard. 

Andrew Campbell’s double bill presentation at our August Club Night covered two very different topics.

The loss of the Minesweeper Goorangai in a collision with the Troop carrier Duntroon just inside Port Phillip Heads on the night of 20th November 1940 was the subject of Andrew’s first presentation. Andrew has researched the incident in great detail, including use of material that has now been declassified. He has reached the view that the commonly circulated explanation of what happened and the findings of the enquiry at the time are incorrect in a number of respects.

In the July issue of Shavings Andrew Yen shared details of his new boat, and promised to launch her at the AGM. Good to his word, Andrew successfully launched and sailed "Khaos Theory" at the AGM, and even provided well-wishers with an “Order of Service” memento, the contents of which is reproduced below. Thanks to Rob Ripley, we also have photos of her on the lake.

Traditions are timeless.  This year we picked up an old one.

With a spanking good breeze, on sparkling blue water, and with a glorious array of boats from the biggest, Andrew Yen’s Chebacco, to the smallest, Andrew Chapman’s little red tender, we had a Sailpast.

The Club boats Begonia and Lindsay Symons were on display at Seaworks last September for the arrival of the Tall Ships. Over that weekend it was decided that Begonia’s trailer needed some more work to stiffen it.

After discussions between Mick, David and Frank the extra stiffening was fabricated and fastened in such a way that it could be removed if needed. It was then decided that the trailer needed improvements in the way it supported Begonia. This work was begun by David Gibson and completed by David Stott over the Summer break.

Over the past year there have been a number of changes made to the website and to the way Shavings is delivered to members.

The website and the newsletter are tightly integrated, with content from the newsletter regularly being used on the website, which makes my work as editor of both much easier.

Combining a sail day and our AGM is always a recipe for a busy day and this was no exception. An early start at the lake with boats being rigged and launched, lunch/meeting room set up, notes checked and last minute items collated before the lunch bell was rung. A crowd of 36 attended with a terrific assortment of casseroles / lasagna / sweets enough to build up stamina to survive the afternoon.

In 2010 I had a decision to make – I’d built a couple of small dinghies to enjoy with my two sons but I wanted a trailer sailer to share with my whole family. Do I build it or do I buy a second hand fibreglass boat?

The purpose of this Queen’s Birthday long weekend expedition was to meet our South Australian compatriots (the SA WBA) at the border of our respective territories. Our plan was to voyage together up the Glenelg River in convoy on the Sunday afternoon to see how far we could reach into the remote gorges of the National Park.

We met, launched, fitted safety gear and loaded food at the Warmies, departing on-time at 10:30 in single and small groups, motoring down the channel to the marker, then crossing the Yarra and headed single file upstream. We had relatively fine weather, mild to brisk head wind to a mild crosswind after we rounded the Westgate bridge. There was very little river traffic, except for the occasional ferry craft producing wash and spray that surprised the unwary crew. About the halfway mark we slipped past some canoeists and then the odd sculler out for their morning exercise.

Another cold and windy evening was braved by an intrepid group of video devotees numbering 14 with Jenny Chinn ensuring that "the boys" behaved themselves.

No, not Melbourne’s St Kilda … the original location: an archipelago off the coast of Scotland where the 30 last permanent inhabitants left the islands in the 1930s.

The sun shone, a light South-Easterly ruffled the lake and the day was warmer than average for April. A great day for a sail you may have thought , but only one WBA member’s boat hit the water on our April sailing day. Rob Ripley had the K. S. Ripley launched and sailing early. He had the lake pretty much to himself for the rest of the day.

Our aim for the Club Night on 19th April was to increase the number of members with the ability to rig and sail our club-owned boat, Begonia. Five of us attended the evening, plus the two “tutors” Frank Raisin and Graham Signorini.

The 2014 Geelong Wooden Boat Festival enjoyed excellent weather, water conditions and participants. Geelong foreshore was at its best, and was handling a large display of classic vehicles too.

The wooden boats were there, but were in the thick of lots of local boats which weren't necessarily wooden.  People had brought large vessels from various bayside marinas.  A different class and size from my Murray and Goolwa events, and not available for onboard inspection.  Dear sailing ship Enterprize was the hit of the show: great people, and local cruises plus positioning and going home.

The EGWBA met for a BYO meal at the Paynesville Men's Shed on Thursday the 20th February to maintain contact with each other and plan some outings and meetings for 2014.

Located at shed 2, North Wharf Rd. Docklands , the evening commenced with variable weather turning into a solid downpour just before the 7.30pm commencement.

We were made very welcome by Tom Parkes and Robert Vandestadt, with a late arrival of Tim Horton to ensure all was well.

The WBA had yet another great day for our annual Rye Sailing Day. Gentle to fresh breeze, plenty of sun and, best of all, a great turnout.

The sailing day on 19th January was a bit of a new venture for the WBA since we have not held a sailing day in January in past years. Some of our members holiday out of town in January and we have considered that the numbers would not be sufficient. But this day of perfect sailing weather brought a number of members to the lake, some with boats, some without, some intending to sail, some intending to socialise. There were four WBA boats on the lake enjoying the 10 to 15 knot South-westerly sea breeze.

There is a major new event on the wooden boat community’s calendar. The Inverloch Wooden Dinghy Regatta is going to become a ‘must do’ item for those who are interested in classic wooden dinghies. Kerrin and I attended the three-day regatta on an Australia Day weekend of perfect weather for dinghy sailing and racing. Frank Raisin sailed his stunningly fast 16 foot skiff with a scratch crew. Tony and Linda Remington and Andrew Campbell came along as spectators. There were also some “newsletter only” WBA members whose names I don’t recall in attendance.

On the morning of our Christmas Party the sight of Acrospire, the 21 footer, under full sail was inspiring for those who know the challenge of trying to control all that power. Acrospire was part of a small ceremony to scatter the ashes of Ken Riley, a long term member of APYC who helped develop the Sailability program.

The weather on the day was something of an early Christmas present with a mild southerly breeze and clear skies.

Despite the unfavourable weather forecast, a number of intrepid souls turned out for the sailing day at Werribee South. Under heavy skies, Chris Kelly’s punt, David Stott’s Penguin, Tom McAdam’s Skerry Rosalie and Jim & Penny’s Drascombe Lugger launched at the nearly deserted ramp and headed up the Werribee River against the gently ebbing tide.

WBA members were welcomed by Craig Bramich, Seaworks Director, who gave us a very informative and up to date overview of life at Seaworks during the Tall Ships event. Well over 30,000 attended the festival over 10 days. The trials and tribulations of so many people from all walks of life congregating in Williamstown was equally inspiring and exciting for many first timers and old salts alike!

Peter Doyle, Secretary of Anglesea Recreation and Sports Club, writes to advise that they are refurbishing four racing rowing boats (two fours and two pairs) that were built for them by Jas Edwards & Sons at North Princess Bridge in 1911.

The tourism promoters like to call the Gippsland Lakes “Victoria’s Riviera”. It could be a triumph of optimism over reality on their part, but there are attractions that drew us back to Paynesville this year after last year’s successful trip. The weather could be counted as one of those attractions as long as you are prepared to experience a Mediterranean climate on about one day in three.

Tom McAdam’s new boat Rosalie was launched at Mordialloc creek on 21st September 2013.

After naming, blessing, and some toasting, she was rowed down the creek and out onto Port Philip Bay and performed beautifully. 

The job description for a ship’s cook in the eighteenth century, so we are told, was to “boil up the salt beef and hand out the weevily biscuits”. Scurvy was the inevitable result. You would have to say things have changed if you were at our September club night. The variety of vitamin packed seagoing dishes on offer would transform a sailor of old into a model of good health.

The Tall Ships fleet left Melbourne on Saturday 14 September, but gathered at the bottom end of the Bay to catch Sunday morning's high tide through Port Phillip Heads.

WBA member Roderick Smith was a keen specator on Sunday morning...

Our August 2013 Club Night featured Craig Bramich, Director of Seaworks, who gave an informative talk on the current status of the organisation.

Gusty conditions were experienced by the members who attended the August sailing day at Albert Park Lake. Geoff Carroll launched Bluebelle, Penny Braybrook and Jim Stockton sailed in Talisman, and Rob Ripley could be seen messing about in Green Bean. Club boats Begonia, Lyndsay Symons and the Stringybark canoe were all launched and several members who had arrived without boats took the opportunity to get out on the water in the club boats. We welcomed new member Tom McAdam to his first club sailing day, and he was able to sail or paddle all three boats. From the way he was paddling Stringybark it was obvious to all that he has spent quite a bit of time in kayaks or canoes in the past.

In the middle of July Jenny and I took Penguin to the Junction Rally at Wentworth NSW.  Wentworth is at the junction of the Murray and Darling rivers. The Junction rally is held only every three years and is for stationary engines, vintage cars, paddle steamers and small boats of all types. The Steam Boat association make this event their annual gathering as it is relatively central for most states including those coming from WA, and they had a good range of steam boats in action.

The past year has seen a good range of club activities. Sailing days have see both the club boats and member’s boats on the water. The committee undertook a project to sound out members on their views for club and club night activities. These were ably compiled by our secretary, Leigh McNolty, and the committee undertook to follow several of these suggestions which gave rise to recent club nights with visiting speakers and also the shanty night. In the calendar there were the annual events that were well supported by the membership.

The members who came to our June club night were treated to a presentation by Warren and Roi from Marine Timbers in Seaford. They are building up the company and seeking to re-establish it as a source of supply and service for the amateur boat building community. Roi gave a short presentation on many of the products on offer and then led a discussion on the uses of glues such as Bote Cote epoxies and Purbond. He provided a good update on some of the developments that have been made recently.

A calm sunny Melbourne winter’s day brought a number of us to Albert Park Lake for a gentle sail, row, or paddle. Others came simply to enjoy the company of fellow wooden boaters. With the successful launching of Begonia, Lyndsay Symons and the Stringybark canoe, on this delightful day, all our efforts at the working bees over the past months were rewarded. All three boats are now looking their brilliant best. However Begonia’s planks had dried out in the maintenance period and she was leaking prodigiously all day.

Watch a short video made by two of the WBA's younger members, Amelia and William Batchelor, of some of the WBA members at the 2013 Begonia festival.

The owners of Ticketyboo, a small replica Tugboat built in both Mordialloc and East Gippsland by local boat builder Bill Jones, has been undergoing trials to evaluate any measurable increased stability following the addition of a lead keel and two bilge keels.

Unfortunately none of the club boats were back at APYC for the May sailing Day. We did however have a good roll up of boats. During the day we saw Leigh McNolty’s Mirror and Phillipe Patacca’s Norwalk Island Sharpie. Yes, all 18 ft of her and both masts but we didn’t tell the rangers.

The weather has been excellent over the Summer and Autumn appears to be living up to its reputation as ideal for boating on the Lakes and therefore we cordially invite all those with a passion for "messing around" in boats to visit and share with members from the East!

Gary Stewart.

The Nellie Report

In February, Bernard O’Kelly and his crew set sail for the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival from Lakes Entrance. They were about 20 miles from Deal Island when Nellie was hit by a fast moving front. At first the topmast carried away at the spreaders which had recently been replaced. As the crew struggled with this, the boat was hit by another gust which brought down the complete mast, rig, sails and all rigging, with the boom landing on deck. Fortunately no-one in the crew was injured. The mast, sails and rigging were lost overboard and when Bernard started the engine, some of the ropes fouled the propeller. There was no radio as the aerial had been carried away with the rigging so Bernard activated the EPIRB.

Despite the dire weather forecast, our sailing day for April turned out to be fine with some good sessions of sailing between the periods of light winds. A highlight of the day was the launch of Rob Ripley’s new boat.

There was a serious launching ceremony with the appropriate biddings to the spirits of the sea in placation for the name change. Then there was the tradition wetting of the bow with the required bubbly liquid and the good health of the ship and all who sail in her was drunk by the gathered throng. Rob and Pat had been accompanied by the entire family crew with many hands being lent to see the boat safely in the water. The picture shows her sailing well after the launch.

April 24 saw our first club night at APYC since February. Although the attendance was rather light, those who did come experienced a very informative and thought provoking presentation by Doug King, ex water policeman, current pilot on Port Phillip. Doug gives marine safety sessions for the recreational boating section of Transport Safety Victoria.

EGWBA had agreed not to meet until April when the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Festival had taken place and all vessels and their crews were back in East Gippsland. The next scheduled event is Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th April when the EGWBA will meet at the Johnsonville Jetty for a meeting for all who can manage it. An overnight stay there will be enjoyed, and will also include a Sunday barbeque lunch followed by a committee meeting. It is expected that some will attend with trailer boats and members of the EGWBA and our friends from Melbourne are also welcome with trailer parking available on private land adjacent to the jetty.

This festival was again held at Easter and Jenny and I decided to attend with Penguin as we have in recent years.

The Hume highway is now all freeway to Lake Macquarie except for the last remaining part that runs through Holbrook, and this will shortly be bypassed. Therefore it allows a fairly quick and easy trip to Lake Macquarie even though it is 1,000 km’s . Weather as usual was fine and warm with the only rain being at night, so it did not affect us.

Returning to the Begonia Festival where the WBA began is one of our traditions. Locating the oak tree under which the founding fathers met in 1989 involved some head scratching. Alan Chinn, one of those founding fathers, pondered the question with our WBA group as we sat in the shade of the oaks by the lake. “It must have been one of these” was as close as we got to a conclusion. Thanks to “our man in Ballarat” Quinton Wilkinson, the event ran smoothly and the Yacht Club facilities were made fully available to us. Quinton has been the driving force in maintaining our links with the festival organisers and the Ballarat Y.C. A WBA pennant was presented to the Commodore of the Ballarat Yacht Club, Paul Crosbie, by our President, Geoff Carroll in recognition of their hospitality.

The South Australian Wooden Boat Festival was on at Goolwa over the weekend 23/24 February so we decided to drive over and have a look. We pre- booked our caravan park accommodation a month beforehand and were lucky to get in, Goolwa was full.

The WBA was an oasis of tranquillity in a frenetic world on our Rye sailing day. Surrounded by the petrol powered wasp screams of jetskis, the wave making plastic runabouts, the beach ball tossers and the designer beach wear crowd, the WBA focuses instead on enjoyment of the natural world and being in the company of good friends. Thirteen boats and 34 people made their way to the patch of beach we occupy each February sailing day. The newly opened Peninsula Link freeway saved some wear and tear on boats and nerves on the trip from Melbourne.

Roderick Smith's photos from the 2013 Begonia Festival, held on the shores of Lake Wendouree, Ballarat.

Regular WBA contributor Roderick Smith recounts his experiences at the 2013 Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival.

This was my fifth, and was the largest and best, helped by good weather: the notorious Goolwa chop was present on both afternoons, but faded for the evening, and so sleeping aboard was peaceful. There were about 250 boats, of all sizes and styles.  Some are rally regulars, but many I had not seen before.

Sailing holidays at Port Albert can be fantastic . . . or frustrating! We experienced both extremes on our most recent visit to this historical coastal village in South Gippsland. Established in 1841 by explorer Angus McMillan, Port Albert is the oldest seaport in Gippsland and once was the home port of several large commercial fishing vessels. These have now been replaced by large numbers of visiting recreational fishing boats, which means that facilities for small boats are excellent; the (free) 2-lane all tide concrete ramp with jetty and floating pontoon makes launching and retrieval easy.

On the 12th and 13th January members and their boats of the EGWBA sailed to Nungurner to rendezvous for lunch. The vessels included; Jabiru, Moongalba, Nellie,Peace Train and Ticketyboo. The weather was ideal and most arrived at about noon and following berthing and tie-ups, immediately started to barbecue, prepare and lay out their lunch. Apart from the usual conversations regarding wooden boats and recent adventures on the lakes there was much discussion about the upcoming Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart at which two of the Association’s boats, Bernard O’Kelly's Nellie and John Mulligan's Moongalba will sail to Hobart to represent the EGBA and enjoy the Festival attractions. We wish them smooth and happy sailing together with a safe return. I think we are also hoping to see lots of images and hear the stories and news from the attendees regarding the Festival.

There has been a steady trickle of comment from members as to their activities over December and January. Rob Ripley let slip that he had gone to look at one of the boats advertised for sale and came home with it. (Our commiserations go to Pat) Rob has since spent a very happy time going over the rig and getting the little trailer sailer ready for use. Frank Raisin and Paul Rubera have been taking part in the Tawe Nunnugah 2013 Raid being held up the SE coast of Tasmania from Cockle Creek up to Hobart via the inner waters to Dover, Bruny Island, Cygnet and other small towns along the way. They are to reach Hobart in time for the Wooden Boat Festival.

Early birds to the weekend had to face strong winds that raised white caps even in the canals of Paynesville. Little wonder no boats were launched until the quiet of Friday morning. For those present on Friday there was some tootling around the canals, bearings to gather, ferries to dodge in McMillan Strait and a pleasant drop in from the water on David and Jan Gibson at their Raymond Island property. Winds were gradually abating by nightfall and, as the main contingent arrived, good weather was forecast for the weekend. Friday dinner was at the Paynesville pub, a good night in good company. The highlight of Saturday was a visit to the 15th century replica caravel, Notorious.

On the 9th September 2012, it was 100 years since the keel was laid for the PS Melbourne and a major celebration was held at Mildura to celebrate. Jenny and I with Penguin, Rob and Pat Ripley with Green Bean and Norm and Jen Boreham in my other boat Curlew all made the trip to Mildura.

It was the biggest gathering of paddles Steamers seen for many decades. The Adelaide made the 880 km trip from Echuca, taking 12 days to cover the distance. It has been 60 years since the Adelaide has left Echuca, and was a major undertaking for a boat that is 146 years old. In Echuca she does tours locally and never has to work hard. For this trip she steamed all day every day to make the distance in time. Lift up bridges had to be negotiated, many of which had not been lifted in years, as well as the locks. The river is still very high and in some places almost in minor flood, so at some bridges clearance was touch and go.

PS Curlip II was built in Orbost, and is based at Marlo (river mouth) to cruise on Snowy River and Brodribb River. The commissioning, in November 2008, was a major WBA event, with a large fleet gathering for the weekend.

The first survey 'slipping' (2010) was achieved by craning out of the water: expensive. With recent high water, the mouth has been scoured, and the 2012 slipping was at Paynesville. This made PS Curlip II the first Australian paddlesteamer to venture into open sea under steam since PS Weeroona was commandeered for WWII service.

River people like to rally; in the 1980s there were regular gatherings at Mildura for Signal Point races, with boats from both ends of the river meeting in the middle.

A 2001 'Source to Sea' event (to mark the centenary of Australian federation) was to be tinnies from Khancoban, then a fleet from Echuca to Goolwa.  Low water resulted in the tinnies being on trailers, and the fleet commencing at Mildura.

A 2003 'Randell Cadell' event (to mark the 150th anniversary of the first commercial navigation on the Murray-Darling system) did succeed in reaching Echuca from Goolwa.

This year Begonia took part in the re-enactment of the landing (177 years ago) for the founding of the village that became Melbourne.

Andrew and I collected Begonia at the APYC at 7.15 am on the 28/8 and towed her to Williamstown where she was launched at Seaworks. She was then taken in tow by our 'gaffer" for the trip up the river to South wharf and handed over to The Enterprize crew as their landing craft.

The East Gippsland Wooden Boat Association was recently treated to a presentation by the builder and owner of the Caravel Notorious, Mr Graeme Wylie. The event was held on the evening of 12 July at the Men’s Shed in Paynesville and was preceded by a BYO dinner with tea and coffee provided by the Men’s Shed.

As the guest speaker, Graeme enthralled the audience with his boat building history together with some associated successes and surprises. Graeme was accompanied by his wife Felicite and he acknowledged her support during the construction of Notorious.

Members of EGWBA enjoyed a pleasant meal at the Imperial Hotel in Bairnsdale at the social get-together on the June Club Night.

With a dire forecast for sailing day, an impromptu decision was taken at the club night that a warm lunch would be all the go on the sailing day. There is nothing like a prawn from the barbie and a hot sausage to keep winter chills at bay. One of the highlights of sailing day was the warm lunch put together by Andrew Cohen and Geoff Carroll. Geoff was seen in the kitchen sizzling sausages on his little galley stove from Kibbee rather than venturing out to the APYC barbeque in the cold wind. Andrew provided some warm finger food of marine origin. Another highlight was the rigging of the Port Philip 12 as members tried to evaluate what was still needed in the way of equipment for the rigging. While this was being thought through, Rob Ripley and Frank Raisin were exploring the possibilities of sculling from the stern of Lyndsay Symons.

Twelve brave members attended the June club night. The weather was freezing but there was a warmth of interest for the various plans and books shared.

My affection for working boats and in particular Tug Boats, I suppose, can be explained by the fact that both my Grandfather and my great Grandfather were Tugboat Captains in Williamstown. As a boy and until I married and went overseas to live, I took every opportunity to be with Grandpa on the Tug. They were all steam power then and the enduring and indelible interest remained.

Now as a Grandfather myself I decided that I would build a Tugboat so that I could regain the experience and perhaps give my grandson the same happiness.

The annual AGM was held on the17th May in Paynesville at the home of Barry and Jenny North. A sumptuous casserole meal was hosted by Jenny and was enjoyed by all prior to the commencement of the meeting.

The most common aboriginal origin of the name is said to be ‘Mirring-gnai-birr-nong’ - ‘I can hear a ringtail possum’. This gives a lead to the area and the life style; the name is also given to the Yams that used to grow along the river.

This explanation sets the scene for our expedition up the river, which was third time lucky. After the rains on Friday and Saturday most were saying, “ah well, maybe next year”. Well, we were all caught out. Sunday morning dawned calm and just the day we wanted, with a little wind and not too chilly, so everyone started to appear - There was the OOD, followed by the president, and everyone else followed. A call from Leigh and Jo Hayley from Ballarat was just what we wanted. They are new members and rang to say they were on their way. Then it was 9.45am and all were ready.

Roderick Smith reports on the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Echuca.

At the last minute we decided to go up to Lake Macquarie for this festival over Easter. Jenny had work commitments and could only fly up on Thursday after work, so I drove up on Wednesday with Penguin in tow, and met her at Newcastle airport.

On Friday morning we launched at Rathmines at the Catalina flying boat ramp, and with our friends Dave and Jenny Myers, we had a pleasant putt around to Toronto. Weather was calm and warm and we enjoyed morning tea on board along on the way. Plenty of boats were moored on the foreshore, including fellow travellers, Malcolm Mckay from Narooma with his launch Carmel J, and Jim and Pauline Fowles from Handorf in South Australia, in their Hartley designated Seas the Day.

Although the weather forecast had not been particularly brilliant the gods smiled on us and the sun shone for us. Our visitors from the Lake Illawarra Model Boat Club and friends brought a good selection of their models although the wind strength meant that only a few of the models were able to take to the water. In the full size category there was the relaunching and naming of the Linda J, Andrew Cohen’s work in progress early in the proceedings. The bubbly was duly poured over the bows of Linda J and with much ceremony she was launched to float proudly by the lake’s edge. Andrew had some interesting floatation devices aboard. It was found that there were a couple of places the boat needed to take up and when the floor boards floated Andrew knew it was time to start bailing! Nevertheless he has a done a fine job of restoration keeping the authentic touches to show that his boat has a working history.

The April Club night opened with apologies for a change of format as our Librarian, Allan Chinn, had found he was not as mobile as he had hoped in order to be able to set up the books as originally planned. Nevertheless in good WBA style, we changed tack and were treated to a video of the turning of Andrew Yen’s 25 footer on the previous Sunday.

East Gippsland members met for a pleasant sail and evening entertainment at the Nicholson River pub, on the weekend of 17 and 18 March. Some stayed overnight and moored in the river.

Rob Ripley had done a great job of keeping everyone informed about arrangements and so a goodly flotilla arrived for the Saturday. Boats were launched and sailed across Lake Wendouree to the display area. The organisers had supplied posters identifying each of the boats. The weather was fortunately fine and provided good sailing with winds that challenged the sailors from time to time. Your president had two attempts at getting to Ballarat. Well on the way in the morning, the transmission went on the car and so it was a tow back to Glen Waverley and a new start which finally saw Bluebelle sailing in to the show mid afternoon. Saturday night was a great social affair at the Black Hill Hotel, a highly recommended venue for a good meal.

Peter Doyle, the Hon Sec of the Anglesea Recreation and Sports Club reports that the club has now become a member of the WBA. The ARSC is a club in name only, formed by some lads from Anglesea and Airey’s Inlet in 1911 around a regatta. Two of their four 1912-built rowing “shells” were at the Geelong WBF on the Labour Day weekend. It was a fantastic success. They were flat-out talking to people about our boats and our new Years Day regatta. Stuart did an outstanding job of arranging and managing the Festival.

Under Brian Flewell-Smith’s supervision and guidance we set up the WBA Marquee at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club early Saturday morning amidst hundreds of Classic Yachts, modern and many well loved wooden boats and a few plastic hangers-on and many wooden boat groupies.

For the weekend of 13, 14 January a number of boats met at Holland’s Landing for a very pleasant weekend. The weather was kind with no rain and a sea breeze to limit the heat. Bernard and John O’Kelly sailed there in Nelly. With the pleasant weather Bernard demonstrated how to enter the water while doing the splits between “ittle Nellie and the jetty. A new boat and crew to join the WBA was the tug Ticketyboo crewed by Garry and Margaret Stewart. The other two boats present were Doug & Marion Gullickson in Jabiru and Colin McArthur in Ibis. There was some pleasant fishing.

Does it really exist? No-one has sighted Andrew Cohen and Chris Kelly’s gaffer yet. We were told that it was berthed at Blairgowrie but the conditions were such that we couldn’t sail down to see it. At present all is hearsay!

The demise of Green PeaWhen the man of the house stated that he was going to cut Green Pea in half, what could I do but shrug the shoulders and walk inside without comment.

Then there it was in two pieces!

STEP 1: Find desirable boat.

We were very sorry to read Alan Chinn.s report of the death of Jim Whiting, and embarrassed that we had not known. Thank you Alan and it indicates how few of the East Gippsland Branch have been around. Jim was a respected and loyal member of our branch. Jim was a quiet member, but with interesting comments to make. During my time he attended almost every meeting. In fact at the last AGM the Helmsman gave Jim an award recognising him for continuous support and attendance at activities.

Jenny and I attended this event a couple of years ago and decided to go to Narooma again this year and to spend some time afterwards on this wonderful coast. Narooma is located 700 Kms from Melbourne between Bermagui and Batemans bay. It has a lovely waterway called Wogonga inlet and an excellent caravan park right on the water within walking distance of everything.

Photos by Roderick Smith

More Photos - from Shavings

Several members arrived on Thursday afternoon at the Albury Wodonga Yacht Club, Andrew Cohen with Begonia, Chris Kelly with Will'o.. and David Gibson with his Swan Bay 12 . In the sunshine and humidity, they set up camp and launched boats etc. Thursday evening , it started to rain and continued for the next two days on and off.

VIDEO EVENING - Steam Boats on the Murray Darling.

Doug Gullickson showed an excellent video of the Silver Jubilee Rally of the Steamboat Association of Australia held on the weekend of 10th September last year at Wentworth. There was a total of 28 boats from NSW, Tas, Vic, SA, and Qld. These included a mixture of steam launches, paddle steamers and motor vessels.

With a very unusual stiff breeze blowing due south, and many Optimists/Lasers and others competing in the Northern end, a good handful of club members turned up, spending most of the time in the sunny shelter of the club room overlooking the thrills and spills on the water.

A good crowd of around twenty members attended the June club night. Rick Mitchell was introduced by president, Andrew Cohen. Rick opened his presentation with a little background on the manner in which he had acquired his skills as an outcome of some experimental archaeology. A suit of sails for the Duyfkin was one of his adventures which required some research that took him to the Vasa Museum in Sweden for information on 17th century sails.

In May the PP12 was transported to the workshop in Preston of ‟Build Wooden Boats". This was the first stage of the refurbishment where Phillipe and his team (Chris Ribecchi) were commissioned to complete the structural repairs ... replace the cockpit floor, stringers and rebond the bulkheads.

To cater for our Helmsman heading off to Lightning Ridge and as other members were also heading north, our AGM was held in May rather than June, resulting in two activities in May and none in June.

With our winter weather and some of our retirees heading north there has been no WBA action and little activity on the water for June.

the cradle"I'm pregnant! " proclaimed my wife Liz as she excitedly passed me the test stick with the two blue lines on it. It was at this time that my heart skipped a beat, as I am sure it does for all males when they hear these words.

For me it skipped with excitement that sparked an idea. Maybe I could build a cradle boat like the one I had seen at the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Show when I was there in 2009.

Bear with me – the following may not seem like it has much to do with wooden boats, however… Many of you will be familiar with the phrase “Computer cut kit” or “Laser cut kit”. This evokes images of accuracy, precision, complexity, speed, efficiency – at a price. It is a technology that has often fascinated me with its potential to create complex forms quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, such advanced technology came at a high price ($50K +), putting it out of reach of all but the commercial operators putting through the volume to pay for it, and perhaps the very well heeled enthusiast. I continued to toy with the idea, thinking “Surely there must be some clever fella out there who has managed to make this stuff cheaply?”. Through the magic of the electric-inter-web, I discovered that this hypothesis was true! What an amazing thing the electric-inter-web is – it seems there is no end to the amount of information available and the willingness of people to freely share their thoughts and ideas (where do they get the time!).

At Easter this year Jenny and I attended the above event at Toronto on beautiful Lake Macquarie, in New South Wales.

Penguin had been relaunched for the Yarra trip at the end of March and performed well. In the following weeks, painting, attention to a couple of leaks that got past me, and a few other bits and pieces were completed and she was ready to travel to Toronto. After the Yarra trip she had taken up a bit, and with some salt water in the hull for a week or so, she held water all the way to Toronto.

Considering that the weather forecast was for “scattered showers “ and that what we received at 7.00pm was a torrential downpour for about 40 minutes, we had a good turnout of members (23). At the end of the evening the Lake level had risen 10cm and the centre road car park area was 45cm deep!

Tony Remington at Pakenham

Many of the WBA members were to be found on the water over Easter, or working on their boats.

The weather was kind, for the most part, and many of us took advantage of the last of the warm weather to remind ourselves of why we love messing about in boats.

It was a great placid and windless day for our first model boat day at Albert Park. There were our usual WBA models, and a few APYC models , but the highlight of the Model Boat display at the lake last month was the Lake Illawong Model Boat club contingent admirably steered by Rosie and Brian.

The weather was fine, the breeze was light, and the tide was high. What a great combination for the start of the Club’s annual boat trip up the Yarra. As an added bonus the launching facilities have been improved and it was much easier to tie the boats up. From my memory (short) it was the best turn-out of members yet. Eight boats arrived at the “Warmies” and three launched from Williamstown to meet us along the river.

Well she was back where it all began. Begonia was back on the water where she came out and did herself proud. She arrived on Friday, ferried up by Tim Gay. Thanks Tim. Rob and Pat Ripley, who camped out at the Welcome Stranger Park in Ballarat, arrived with Green Pea and Maple, the canoe.

Saturday saw a beautiful sun rise across Lake Wendouree, empty for the past 10 years, and now full and, in fact, overflowing. Quinton Wilkinson from Ballarat, a relatively new member, brought his 5 meter Put-Put (The Wastell) with a Blaxland Twin down and the art of rigging Begonia began. Neither of us having rigged her before, we welcomed Brian Canny, the commodore of the Ballarat Yacht Club, who lent his considerable yachting skills in assisting us. Thanks Brian.

Photos by Roderick Smith

Photos and text by Roderick Smith

This was my fourth Goolwa.

Having purchased an SA-built Tennessee, which had been at the display under earlier owners, I felt morally obliged to exhibit at the 2005 event.  Great camaraderie, but horrible moorings; my boat was damaged.  I sent a letter of complaint.  I came back for 2007, got the same mooring, and more damage.  I vowed 'never again'.  I was back for 2009, as I was taking the boat to Duck Flat for maintenance, and had it at Mt Barker.  I drove to Goolwa for the day.  More relaxing and just as friendly, and no responsibility, and I cruised in other boats.  I wouldn't have gone to 2011, but I met Moonshine at Robinvale; it was planning to cruise over the lake to get to the event. A great chance to go in tandem.  I did book, but too late for a mooring.  My smug comment 'why do the Halvorsen's get the good moorings?' didn't sit well with the organiser, a Halvorsen owner. I was too late to accompany Moonshine across the lake, but did have the boat on the grass ready to launch on closing day and cross the lake with Moonshine returning.

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