As a brand new member of the Wooden Boat Association, I have a request for information (might as well hit the ground running!).  My wife, Elaine and I own a 100-year-old 12 foot sailing skiff, originally owned by Professor Flynn (father of Errol Flynn) of the University of Tasmania, and sold to my late father-in-law, Dr Donald Thomson, the well-known anthropologist, some time in the 1920s. 

I am in the process of restoring it and need some information about the likely shape of its centreboard.  When my wife and I retrieved the boat from a shed, it was in poor condition and lacked oars, spars, rudder and centreboard. 

I have stripped the boat back to the keel, replaced some planks and one or two seam battens (it is carvel built), fixed with thousands of copper nails and roves,  and am about to make new ribs, once I have replaced the centreboard casing.  However, I need to know what shape to make the centreboard and wonder if any members of the WBA have seen dinghies like mine, or know of sources of information about them and their construction.

We believe it was built in the early years of the 20th Century, probably in Hobart, and, according to Tim Phillips, owner of The Wooden Boat Shop in Sorrento, where I am restoring the boat, it was most likely built by a skilled amateur, since a commercial boat builder, according to Tim, would not have had the time to build it so beautifully.

The photos of the boat show the centreboard casing taken apart, a starboard view of the centreboard casing, and general views of the boat. 

I would welcome any information members may have about this style of dinghy.

Ian Temby (Email:


Ian (centre) discussing details of his historic skiff with other WBA members

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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.

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