We sailed, we rowed, we putted! The weather was initially kind to us, with a warm, sunny morning and light winds suitable for a variety of boating activities. Jim and I arrived early to find the Carroll's crabber Rufus tied up at the jetty, with Geoff Carroll and Chris Macdonald ready for breakfast. They had sailed across from St Kilda the previous day, along with Geoff Divko, their trip enlivened by a sudden squall near Williamstown.

Talisman headed out of the Werribee River into Port Phillip, where we enjoyed watching a pod of 6 dolphins hunting and feeding on a school of fish. We pulled up on the beach near the settlement ponds of the Western Treatment Plant and were amazed by the number of waterbirds to be seen, including a pair of endangered pink-eared ducks. Seven banjo sharks lazed in the shallows, barely noticing us wading past them back to the anchored boat. Peter Batchelor in Kirsty Ann joined us and we sailed in company back towards lunch, where Jill Carroll and Jan Gibson had established a WBA presence near the BBQ.

The rest of the contingent had headed upriver and now returned for food and conversation - David Gibson and Mick Beltvenzen sailing Lindsay Symons, Jimmy and Judith Baillie rowing Hunca Munca, with David and Marg O’Dempsey (Slithy Tove), David Ayers and Peter Taylor (Maggie D) and David Stott (Penguin) in their respective putt-putts.

In the afternoon, as the weather became less benign and strengthening winds made conditions unpleasant out on the bay, there was a run on the ramps as motor boaties rushed to get out of the water. Geoff and Chris set off for the trip back to St Kilda, after some co-ordinated shoving to get Rufus off the jetty where she was held by the wind. As they departed, we were delighted by an elegant craft that swept in with a cry of "Is this the Werribee River?" Stewart McGarvie from Colac and friend George had sailed across from Swan Bay in Speewa Jack, Stewart's Caledonia Yawl, stretched by 15% in all dimensions (with the blessing of designer Iain Oughtred) to create a beautiful and practical sleep-aboard boat. Great job, Stewart, hope you had a comfortable night and we look forward to seeing her again!

Meanwhile, a couple with a young baby set off from the beach paddling an inflatable and were carried rapidly upstream by wind and tide, not visibly in control of the craft. David Stott and Penguin kindly rescued them before they could come to grief, towing them back to their friends and saving them a potentially dangerous return paddle.

Many helping hands assisted with hauling members’ boats out of the water quickly and safely, and we headed for home. In hindsight, we were very fortunate with the “window” we had, as the weather both before and after Sunday was not at all conducive to boating or relaxing outdoors with friends!

Penny Braybrook

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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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