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.

Members at our club night on Thursday 15th September were entertained by Barry North, who gave a talk on his Circumnavigation of Tasmania in 1998.


french-canalsGliding silently along the peaceful canal, green fields in the distance, poplar trees and birch forests along the bank, the beautiful black barge finally reached the next lock. The lock-keeper emerged from his cosy cottage and ambled over to operate the mechanism that would close the gates and fill the lock, allowing the barge to continue upstream. This mechanism has been faithfully operating for hundreds of years although the barge has undergone a transformation from carrying grain and other cargo to sumptuous accommodation for six wealthy guests and crew. The upper deck is a sun deck complete with deck chairs and potted geraniums giving a bright summery display. As the barge passes on its way the lock-keeper returns to tend his productive veggie patch, a ubiquitous feature of every lock along the canal. Summer is very precious and no time is lost in providing produce for the families living there.

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.

A great time was had by those of us who went to the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart with over 600 boats entered. Barry North on Peace Train with crew Doug Gullikson and Billy Errikson on board sailed down, taking 2 weeks to get there via the Islands.

clausen craft launchAt last the water is back at Goolwa! Two years ago there was no water and boats were high and dry. This time the barrage is open and the river is running free. Apparently the depth of the mouth of the Murray is about 60 feet. Something we were not used to at Goolwa was a current and that made the yacht racing very interesting in what was already a tight course. A couple of collisions resulted.

During the drought the council has taken the opportunity to rebuild the board walk and moorings. They now have floating finger wharves which made mooring much more convenient, although with about 250 boats registered, mooring space was still at a premium with many boats rafted up. This was a little interesting during the speed boat roar through, when a lot of fending off was done.

Looking out of the window on Sunday morning you could have been excused for thinking that boating and sailing was out of the question. It was pouring with rain. However, some intrepid WBA “boaties” packed up their boats, and headed for Rye. Well, I am glad we did, because on arrival at Rye the rain had stopped, the horizon had started to lighten up, and the breeze was light and steady (at least as steady as it ever is at Rye).

On behalf of the Victorian Wooden Boat Association I attended a promotion for the formation of the Lakeside Sailing Club. This was a morning event where I launched Lindsay Symons and proceeded to show the WBA flag and sail around the lake. I felt that this was an important venue, not only to assist another club’s formation but to generally promote 'on water' activities to the public.

AngleseaIt was New Years Day, and we were towing boats to Anglesea to support the Regatta event, arriving at 8.30am. This was the Centenary year for the regatta which is run by the Anglesea Recreation and Sports Club , formed in 1911 around a sporting challenge between the …. “crème de la crème of the residents of the township of Anglesea River do hereby challenge the like ( if there be any) of the village of Airey’s Inlet “…. extract from the original invitational challenge. The Regatta is a series of rowing races in the Club’s boats, Thames Skiffs built in 1909 in London for the Club, consisting of 2 pairs and 2 fours, very well maintained and used regularly, culminating in the Grand Challenge Cup.


East Gippsland Wooden Boat Association members had a great “putt-putt” weekend on April 16 and 17.

On Saturday a cruise up the Backwater was followed by a picnic lunch at the Port of Bairnsdale, and then a leisurely cruise up the Mitchell River in the afternoon. Fifteen people went to the Chinese restaurant in Bairnsdale for a lovely dinner, followed by an early night.

Approximately 30 people plus some visitors attended over the weekend with 13 boats on the water. We had 3 boats from interstate and the balance from metro and country Victoria. Torrential rain resulting in muddy and wet conditions on shore and muddy debris afloat did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm.

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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

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