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 requirements for Ticketyboo was that it should be modelled upon the James Patterson (Grandpa's favourite Tug), be constructed from Huon Pine, use traditional construction methods and be of course an all weather vessel. Finding a traditional and qualified Boat builder was difficult because of the disappearance of the skilled tradesmen, however Jack Pompei from Mordialloc agreed in 2008 to build the hull, which took approximately one year. And Bill Jones from Bruthen accepted the commission to work with me to complete the vessel. After a further two years Ticketyboo was launched in Paynesville in June 2011 where she is used almost daily plying the straits, rivers and the beautiful Gippsland Lakes.

Ticketyboo has a separate galley with fridge/freezer, sink where porridge, poached eggs on toast and copious cups of tea are produced. In the after cabin there is a table to eat at, TV, DVD and music system. The table also converts to a double bed where we sleep when travelling with the other members of the Gippsland Wooden Boat Association. The wheelhouse sits astride the engine compartment and there is a steam whistle on the cabin roof attached to the "dry stack" funnel and the canal inhabitants come out when we pass by gesturing for the whistle to be blown.

Ticketyboo is precisely what we wanted thanks to Bill, with his skill in construction and design. She is about to be slipped to have bilge keels and a lead keel fitted to provide more stability. Other details are that Ticketyboo is 22 feet long and has a beam of 8' 6". She is powered by a commercial Yanmar diesel engine. The hull, decks, wheel house and super structure were all constructed using Huon and Celery Top pine. She has been trialled in all weathers and we find that the Tug boat design provides excellent visibility, protection from the weather and mostly an opportunity to reminisce about the times I spent at sea with Grandpa on his Tug. In summary, Ticketyboo was named in memory of my late father who often used the word to describe “when things are grand”.

Garry Stewart