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.

While reading the news on the BBC Scotland website, Kirsty Batchelor found a reference to a recently renovated 120 year old 6 metre skiff, named Aurora, that a crew of eight was planning on rowing 160km, from the remote islands of St Kilda, to Portree, Skye.

Before being relaunched in April this year, the last time the boat had been used was to help passengers chase and catch up with a Glasgow steamer they had missed on Skye in 1913! Since then she had been stored in a boatshed in Portree. Most of the original Larch planks were able to be used in the restoration.

The crossing was completed on 31 May, and took just under 31 hours. The crew had spent two years preparing for the voyage.

See and for more information and photos of the boat and crew.

Member login

Join the WBA

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

Join the WBA now