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.

It was great to meet Graham and Helen Jones and their son Christian who had not attended a Rye sailing day before. Their delightful huon pine lugsail dinghy attracted admirers - and rigging assistants. Our Treasurer, Richard Jackson and his son brought their excellently finished clinker rowing dinghy and brushed up on their rowing skills.

It is not only our boats that reveal our idiosyncracies. The beach shelters are also a study in innovation and individuality. From the sturdy home-made canvas construction of the Carroll’s to the technically sophisticated contraption of the Remingtons we found a great variety of ways to shelter from sun and wind.

Jim and Penny (Talisman) and Leigh and Jo (PA96) showed their dedication to this event by staying in Rye on Saturday night to gain an early start on Sunday. Light and variable winds in the morning provided them with a tranquil atmosphere to open the day.
Frank Raisin sailed The Gnu II as only he can. The Batchelors with five on board ventured well down the peninsula in company with Talisman, Beth and Ursa. Leigh and Jo motored out to South Channel pile and others visited the South Channel Fort. Andrew Yen and his son Orlando dropped in as a detour on the way to a Boogie board party. It was great to have Tony and Jan O’Neill, Brian and Robin Flewell Smith and Jimmy Bailey arrive without boats of their own and join in the activity atmosphere and conversation.

The photos show an impressive collection of boats at anchor and on the beach. There were no collisions or strandings, although your correspondent managed to snag his Mirror’s rudder on Chris McDonald’s anchor line.

Packing up our boats at the end of the day is where the feats of organization, and nimble use of hands are revealed (especially when there are queues for all three lanes of the boat ramp. Chris McDonald demonstrated his “walk the plank” method for lowering the mast single handed.

Gathering for the traditional fish and chips on the beach as the sun set on a perfect day, the friendships were strengthened a little more and the value we find in the atmosphere and aura of wooden boats grows a little stronger. The group photo with our faces illuminated by the setting sun tells the story.

Leigh McNolty
Rye OOD

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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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