As intimated in the last Shavings edition, this AGM was my last as President, and I wish the new President Andrew Campbell a successful reign.

The WBA Annual General meeting was held at Albert Park on Sunday 24 July 2016

on a cold but clear day. The conditions obviously influenced the member’s choices, as there were plenty of warm clothes, lots of hot food, but no boats on the water.

The 36 intrepid members attending included two new members , Bob Morgan and

Robert Tolano - welcome to you both and we hope to see more of you.

Topsl 1Jimmy and I took Rufus out on Wednesday 1st June, in light airs. We spent a happy half hour raising the topsail. Then, as we were ghosting along we decided to try out the new fishing rods on board. 

The results were quite amazing. Here was Rufus sailing at about half a knot with all sails up while we were busily pulling in the flathead!  The topsail makes a big difference in light airs and we finally doused the lines and had a pleasant sail over lunch time with a slight but strengthening breeze. All in all it was a great day.

I have attached photographic proof of topsail and the catch in case you might think it is one of those nautical yarn.

1Hanh and I ventured to the Morgan Living Festival in South Australia for the weekend 14 and 15 May. Although it was a long drive, it was a worthwhile weekend away. We towed Mars the distance which was a test for our new / old motor home.

P5221353Winter is upon us...  the last few weeks have been windy (very) wet and cold with some beautiful late autumn days thrown in for good measure. 

Our Maribyrnong trip went well with a handful of intrepid enthusiasts turning up for the voyage.  We met at the "Warmies"and launched our craft - Geoff Carrol with Kibby crewed by Jimmy Baillie, Mars with Andrew and Hahn Campbell, Graham Signorini as OOD with Nebari, and Chris Kelly with Takapunt crewed by David Mahony.

IMG 20160424 142214Our April sailing day saw the St Ayles Skiff Cariad return to Albert Park Lake once again, with members of the Melbourne Welsh Church. Several of our members were able to take advantage of the wonderful conditions and enjoyed putting her through her paces.

Not to be outdone, Begonia also carried a number of WBA members in the light conditions, with not a leak in sight.

Peter Medlings (, one of the organisers from the Paynesville Classic Boat Rally forwarded the following to the WBA.

Here is some Drone footage from the Paynesville Classic Boat Rally weekend.The Boats and Paynesville just look Brilliant! See if you can find your boat! We have over  40 minutes of footage. YouTube only allowed 17 minutes. If you would like more let me know. This event was in a lot of minds one of the best events to happen in Paynesville  So please feel free to share and help make the next one in March 2018 even bigger! Please watch it all the way through - the second half is amazing!

On a return form a recent quick trip to Brisbane and back, I took the opportunity to call in on Russell and Margaret Hurren at Nagambie to check on the progress of their current project.

Russell and Margaret took their 18’ half cabin boat Agnes on the Murray trip from Echuca to Goolwa last year, and at the completion of this journey, they decided they need a boat with accommodation, rather than camping on river banks.

I saw this advertised in Shavings, and was hooked.

I have had Jessie II on lakes King, Victoria, Reeve and Tyers (Toorloo and Nowa Nowa arms), and have been on the La Trobe, Thomson, Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo rivers, and up North Arm to Mississippi Creek. I first met WBA when at Marlo for the PS Curlip commissioning, but was without my boat there (it was in SA). This rally would give me the chance to cross Lake Wellington, and poke into the Avon and Perry rivers, then stay on the tackle the Snowy, Mallacoota and various south-coast NSW inlets.

Hanh and I ventured to the rally on the Friday before the weekend start. We didn’t bring Mars as I didn’t think it fitted the entry criteria and I had just bought a small second hand motorhome that I hadn’t used yet so I only wanted to worry about one thing at a time. I think as it turned out Mars would have met the criteria but I was happy to watch this out.

The day started overcast, but warm, with offshore and very shifty winds of approx 5 knots close to shore, and 10 – 15 knots out past the outer channel markers. Soon after lunch the sky cleared making pleasant sailing and boating conditions.

The Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta has established itself as the place to be over the Australia Day weekend for owners of wooden racing dinghies of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Over the three years the event has been going, a core group of regular attenders have been at every regatta. I am one of them.

Where else can you see a collection of boats from the era that made Australian dinghy racing so wild and vibrant?

It was a time when plywood was a new wonder material, and building a boat in the back shed was the booming popular craze. Today’s crazes are about cooking or fitness or renovation, but back then you bought yourself a Mirror kit from Blockey the Boatbuilder, or you built something from Build a Boat magazine and you did the best you could with nails and glue and hand-me-down tools.

At our February Club Night WBA members were introduced by Reverend James Barr to a beautiful St Ayles skiff built as a community project by the Melbourne Welsh Church in the heart of the CBD. Launched in 2014, Cariad is one of a growing number of these elegant, Iain Oughtred-designed rowing craft which have rapidly gained in popularity around the world.

I was given a copy of this book at Christmas, and I have found it to be a fascinating read. As the title suggests, this book describes the Port Phillip coastline, and provides information on the geography, animals and plants that you are likely to encounter.

My father, Neil Smith, spent his early teenage years close the Murray at Swan Hill. His later teenage years were in an ancestral house in South Melbourne, built by his grandfather (or great grandfather), who had worked in port management. His uncle, who had inherited the house, also worked in port management.

Before training as a teacher, my father worked as a numbertaker and ticket seller at Princes Pier. His boats came after a few rural-school postings. The longest (and happiest) prewar stay was at Tooradin North (1936-41), boarding in Tooradin 'a pretty little fishing village', in Stella Maris boarding house. He alternated between weekends in South Melbourne (socialising), and having Melbourne friends come to Tooradin for picnics and to go boating.

Many of you will know that I underwent a total shoulder replacement last October, and although the new shoulder is fabulous in many ways, it has so far prevented me from most boating activities – especially rowing.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from Jim Stockton the Monday before Australia Day, suggesting that he and Penny Braybrook take me rowing the next day!   Jim suggested that I provide the vessel and he provide the muscle – no rowing for the David, he said, the Jim will do it all!! All I had to do was extract and load the boats etc. and be ready (together with the Margaret) at 8:00am for an hour’s row!

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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.

Wooden Boat Association Membership Benefits

  • Shavings, a monthly newsletter bringing timely news about events and activities in Victoria.
  • Monthly meetings with a wide range of interesting speakers. Our usual venue is the Albert Park Yacht Club.
  • 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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