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.

Following the launch of Ticketyboo in 2011 and initial trials the addition of bilge keels and a lead keel were researched as options to enhance the dynamic stability of vessels in general and for Ticketyboo in particular. Eventually after much deliberation and planning the keels were designed, fabricated and fitted by Ticketyboo's boat builder, Bill Jones in September 2012 during its first slip at the Paynesville Slip Yard. Whilst an immediate and obvious improvement was noticeable when trialed on the Gippsland Lakes, the owners were curious to evaluate them in the blue water of Bass Strait.

The owners engaged a local qualified Coxswain (Skipper) Doug Haines who examined the changes that the lead and bilge keels had made over several hours on the lakes and following this it was agreed that weather permitting, an attempt would be made to motor to Lakes Entrance, cross the Bar and spend a couple of hours in Bass Strait. Therefore on the 6th June following careful preparations, Ticketyboo and its crew set off from Paynesville and arrived at Lakes Entrance to an outgoing tide.

A further and careful evaluation of the weather, currents, wind and swell was made after which Ticketyboo steamed towards the entrance and crossed the bar with minimal vessel instability noted. From there they traveled a further two nautical miles offshore where a further evaluation was made and comments regarding performance were noted. During this time it was agreed that the fitting of the lead bilge keel together with the addition of the two bilge keels had made a significant improvement to the vessel's stability. After an hour or so Ticketyboo returned to Lakes Entrance after successfully recrossing the bar and motored home to Paynesville arriving at 2000 hours to a well earned rest.

The whole exercise proved to be a successful and valuable opportunity to determine the efficacy of the combination of bilge keels and a lead keel to increase the dynamic stability of a small vessel in contrasting sea conditions. The owners acknowledge and appreciate the skill and expertise of both Mr Bill Jones (Shipwright) and Mr Doug Haines (Coxswain) who made this possible. Ticketyboo and its owners (caretakers) are moored and reside in Paynesville and are members of the East Gippsland Wooden Boat Association.

Gary Stewart.

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