At our Zoom Club Night on Wednesday 22 September we watched a presentation by Jane Howard and Lindy Marlow, from Coastal Rowing Williamstown (CReW), on the build of their St Ayles Skiff.

The St Ayles Skiff movement is now well established across the globe, and aims to encourage community participation in a practical boatbuilding project.  More than 20 of these beautiful Iain Oughtred-designed skiffs have been built by various community groups around Australia.

Jane and Lindy's presentation covered the inception, build and launch in 2019 of their skiff Thursday at Williamstown by this group of enthusiastic but inexperienced boatbuilding women, and their plans for the future. After their presentation there was an opportunity for questions from the audience (not included in this recording).

You can find out more about CReW at their Facebook and Instagram pages.

As a kid I was brought up in the seaside town of Budleigh Salterton on Devon’s southwest coast in England’s red soil country. Our garden backed onto the footpath which ran along the beach where the local fishermen kept their boats in this part of the four kilometre long pebble beach. As I grew older I became more and more involved with the fishermen and their boats. We kids would rush down to help launch or haul up the boats. Most of the boats were dinghies of around 3.7m with Seagull outboards. One was 4.9m long with an 8hp Stuart Turner two stroke inboard. Another was a traditional, old deep hulled 5.9m net boat with a 10hp Brit engine. These deep craft were used to drift for herring in the season and they all worked crab pots and fished for mackerel with hand lines for the summer months. Because we kids helped the fishermen we would sometimes get a small crab or some mackerel as thanks.

The smaller boats could be hauled up the beach by hand over holly log ways which had been greased to make the task easier. Holly was used as it is a tough timber, but as it only grows in small bushes it never became a commercial timber.

Hello everyone, here we are again socially distancing for the next few weeks. I am not going to use that “ lo*****n “ word!

So, what have we been doing over the last month? Our club night was on zoom and those joining had an opportunity to swap yarns and activities. This was attended by 12 people, so an intimate gathering.

Having said in my last missive that this would be my last report prior to the AGM, I now have to retract that statement due to the lockdown and postponement of our AGM to 29 August 2021. I am not going to tempt fate by making that statement again. Keep watch on your emails to be kept informed of any alterations out of our control but do plan to be available for the AGM at Albert Park on 29 August. Please notify Leigh McNolty of your RSVP by 20 August for our catering purposes (I know that we have had RSVP’s for the July date but please confirm for 29 August).

Our proposed Yarra River trip on 22 August has been rolled over to 26 September and a visit to Alma Doepel before she is re floated is to be confirmed... notice will be sent separately as this will be a day visit. Planning for the Mallacoota get away is happening and Andrew Campbell has arranged an interesting itinerary for us .. more to be revealed later. In the meantime, stay safe and I look forward to seeing you at the AGM.

Cheers, Chris

Inspired by the various building projects reported in Shavings, I acquired a set of plans for a CLC Skerry and a delivery of plywood as my Christmas/birthday present last year. If the whole thing went pear shaped, literally or figuratively, I hoped I could dispose of the evidence at the next council hard rubbish collection and few would be the wiser.

After some scarfing, sawing, shaping and stitching, I quite quickly had a boat shaped object, and discovered that my sense of spatial dimension, or perhaps capacity to measure and imagine, are not so great. The basic hull filled my shed and left little room to actually do any work.

We get a lot of offcuts in the boat building trade. These sound and useful bits of material may not be of use in a larger craft one is building, but there would be many situations in which they could be used.

When we built the 4.3m clinker boat for the WBA we ended up with a lot of strips from the edges of the planking. These bits were either Huon pine or New Zealand karri, too good to just throw away. So we decided to put on a small foredeck and narrow side decks to use them. The offcuts were cut into strips about 38mm wide. I added some bits of white beech that had been sitting around for a while to make the margin boards. The strips were sprung around to produce a good looking deck and it all worked out well once the joints were filled with black rubber. After a few months no one could tell the difference between the Huon pine and the karri.

Australia’s oldest and largest fishing club and its treasure trove of over forty working wooden boats from the last century.

On Sunday 27 June, twelve members of the WBA Vic enjoyed a pleasant luncheon at a Melbourne icon the Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club. The upstairs restaurant is literally on the beach with stunning views over the Bay. After an excellent meal we all embarked on an interesting tour of the Boatshed, in which are stored over 40 old Clinker style 14’ 6” (4.3 metre) wooden fishing boats. These are still working fishing boats with most still in semi-regular use for amateur bay fishing. The rack stored boats are launched via a travelling crane and two overhead gantries projecting into the bay. This is the story of the club and its boats.

An ancient scroll describing the yoga tradition for boarding a boat has been recovered in the excavation of a shipwreck…



Step 1 - Take a slow inhalation and as you exhale, set an intention to embark on the boat boarding pose with stability and ease.

Lift the arches of your feet, your pelvic floor and draw in your navel, as you raise your right knee up by engaging your thigh and hip flexor muscles.

Carefully press the ball of your right foot on the edge of the boat.

For the more advanced practitioners amongst us, there is an option to not place your hands on the boat and to keep the knee directly above the ankle.


 Step 2 - As you lean into the posture, notice the subtle shift of your weight moving forward.

Appreciate how this translates into your muscles, from your feet into your core muscles. As your right foot takes your weight, engage your left glute to lift the left leg.

Be mindful of keeping your shoulders lifted, light and balanced. Reach your fingertips as far away from your left heel as you can. Hover, holding this intermediate balancing posture for five, slow, belly breaths (or repeat the mantra "calm, blue ocean" silently five times), keeping your drishti (gaze) on the horizon.

Don't forget to keep lifting the pelvic floor and the edges of your lips, whilst keeping your forehead unfurrowed, jaw relaxed and heart open.



Congratulations, you have performed the boat boarding pose.

To recover from this pose, either fall into the boat or fall into the water.

Enjoy the Namasplash.

 This is my final report prior to our AGM and this month has passed quickly.

Our club night was held on zoom due to a covid cancellation and was attended by only six members but ... a good and lively discussion was held by the attendees on topics close to their hearts.

On the 17 June 11 people attended the lunch arranged by Bob Morgan at the Albert Park Angling Club. We all had a good meal and enjoyed the views across the bay to Williamstown. Bob showed us the storage facilities below the Club where members store their fishing boats and the gantry launching / retrieval system, a most enjoyable time on a cold but sunny day.

Now, having mentioned the AGM scheduled for Sunday 27 July ... put it in your diaries, RSVP to allow us to arrange catering and come along for a day of sail and information. You should have received a separate email reminder of this as well.

Andrew Campbell has agreed to be the OOD and organiser of our trip to Mallacoota over the 17 - 24 of November, make your bookings soon and advise Andrew of your intention to be there.  A proposed itinerary will be posted by Andrew in the next couple of months.

Looking forward to catching up at the AGM.


Like all Melbourne residents, 2020 was a difficult year with over 100 days locked down and isolated for that time.

Fortunately, in the months prior to the lockdown I had taken the opportunity to ‘dabble’ with the thought of making my first scratch-built radio-controlled model. Inspired by a friend in Sydney, Dave Glasson who has makes ‘perfect’ scale replicas of boats and ships he has worked on as a Navy conservator, I wanted my model to be:
• A functional replica of an existing boat.
• Made from the same materials as the original boat.
• Be able to ‘pass’ as an ornamental model while having good waterproofness.
• Small enough to store in my study.

My choice was to build a 1/8 scale replica of my own mini tugboat Mars, using similar methods and scaled drawings to the original boat.

At our April club night we were asked to talk about a book that influenced our journey as amateur boat builders and sailors. I chose a book about a boat called Mingming II because it described the type of sailing that I once aspired to do. The book is Mingming and the art of minimal ocean sailing by Roger D Taylor.

While some of you enjoyed a sailing day at Albert Park on 18 April, I was up country in the Mallee area checking out the art silo trail ... dry country until we reached Ouyen, where a manmade lake has been established for recreational use by all local communities ... swimming, fishing & boating .  We had a great trip and I understand that the activities on Albert Park Lake were also enjoyed by those who attended, congratulations to Peter and Kirsty on the launch of their new boat, Pitthirrit and welcome to Roger and Cathie Spooner from Geelong.

Upcoming events to keep in mind are :
Wednesday 19 May, club night at APYC, commencing at 7.30pm.
Geoff Carroll will regale us with a show-and- tell session about his experience building “Tenderly”, the new tender for Rufus. Some of the stories might even be true! An interesting and fun night is guaranteed, and a light supper will be provided after the talk.

Sunday, 23 May, sailing day at APYC, commencing at 10.00am. Take advantage of the late autumn sunshine to get out on the water in your own boat, or one of the club boats.

Sunday 27 June - A booking on behalf of the WBA has been made for lunch at 12 noon at the Anglers Restaurant, Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club, Kerferd Road Pier, 129B Beaconsfield Parade, Albert Park (cnr Kerferd Rd, Melway 57 E5). It is a great spot in good or bad weather, but we will be seated inside as it is the middle of winter! Street parking should not be a problem. The menu is a la carte, with drinks from the bar at very reasonable prices. Our booking is in Bob Morgan’s name and you will have to sign in on arrival, as is usual for licensed clubs. After lunch (approx. 2pm) Bob will conduct a tour of the boatshed where there are approx. 40 clinker boats from the 1920’s to the 1960’s.

For history buffs, the club is on the site of the 1860’s Middle Park Half Battery gun emplacements which along with the Williamstown fort were the last line of defence for Melbourne. The pier itself was built in 1897 and the club house built in 1909. The original building is still there although it has been extended several times. To book, email, with “Anglers Restaurant booking” in the subject line.

That’s enough for now folks, I hope to see you on either 19 May or 23 May, or I dare hope, both!
Cheers all, Chris.

Like all Australians, Hanh and I managed the original COVID19 lockdown at home in March.With the second lockdown, like all Melbournite’s we pushed the limits of boredom through the 121 days.

Hanh busied herself by taking up vegetable gardening from the basic principles. Basic principles realised vegetables from dried seeds from previous vegetables we had bought at the supermarket. I supported the concept as I could see the advantage if the pandemic turned to some kind of greater event.

Our first autumn sail day was held on the 28 March and was (I believe) well attended and a good day was enjoyed, a “thanks” to Penny for being the key keeper for the day and opening and closing the facilities.

You will have received an email detailing the coming events for this and next month.

Wednesday, 14 April, club night at APYC, commencing at 7.30pm. Share your favourite readings from nautical literature (or even writing that could not be called literature). Bring your own material, or make use of our library resources. Choose a work that you found inspirational, instructive or funny, and tell us about it and how it relates to your boating experiences. A light supper will be provided.

Sunday, 18 April, sailing day at APYC, commencing at 10.00am. Get out on the water, browse the Club library, catch up with friends over lunch on the deck.

Wednesday 19 May, club night at APYC, commencing at 7.30pm. Geoff Carroll will present a show-and-tell session about his experience building “Tenderly”, the new tender for Rufus. A light supper will be provided after the talk.

Sunday, 23 May, sailing day at APYC, commencing at 10.00am. Take advantage of the late autumn sunshine to get out on the water.

We did have a working bee on 13 March to tidy up and move some of our collection in the lower hall of the yacht club, thanks to those who helped, Jim, Penny, Jimmy, Rob and David for your able assistance. There is more to do in the future and I will call for assistance again.

For a club lunch, Bob Morgan has kindly arranged a booking for 20 at the Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club, Kerford Road Pier, Beaconsfield Parade, Albert Park. The date is 27 June, 12.00 pm. Bob will conduct a tour of the premises and the boatshed after luch at approx. 2.00 pm there are about 40 timber from the 1920’s to 1960’s to be seen. Please contact me to make a booking on 0438 519 033. First in best dressed!

Also in Shavings you will find details of accommodation available at Mallacoota which is our location for the WBA annual getaway. Normally we run these over a weekend but due to the distance we suggest that a little extra time be allocated... the weekend date is 18 to 21 November (Grand Prix weekend in Melbourne) so based on what time you have available, book your accommodation accordingly.

A schedule of activities will be worked out and communicated in due course.

I look forward to seeing you at some or all of these events!
Cheers all, Chris.

by David N. Webb, skipper of the Yawl Mariko

Bangladesh may not be the first place that comes to mind when discussing the building of traditional timber boats. However, when I went there in December 2019, I found that stepping on and off boats of all kinds was part of daily life there. Bangladesh is a country of waterways: everywhere land and water are interspersed at regular intervals and, aside from urban apartment dwellers, the lives of the majority of its hundred and sixty-three million people are to some extent amphibious.

I have just done two days of hard labour.

My offence was to make a mast that is 50mm across at the top, 80mm across at the base and 6.1m long. There was plenty of time to contemplate why sanding took so long on this project. I’ve made several masts with cross sections around 50mm during the lockdown, and sanding them never took more than a few hours. I actually made my physical and mental torment worse by starting at the narrow end.

Welcome all to 2021 ... this is going to be a much better year!

I am sorry that I was unable to attend the Christmas Party but thank you to Andrew Campbell for taking over and to all the committee for their great work in organising and holding the event.  We were unable to hold many events in 2020 so you all deserved a good day for Christmas and it wouldn’t have been a party without your attendance, particularly those who travelled from outside the metro area... Russ and Margaret Hurren, Colin and Jan Hunt - always good to have your support.

We had a sailing day on 17 January at APYC and we had a small attendance, but it gave us the opportunity to get Begonia into the water, and with Leigh and Graham aboard she sailed well.  In fact, if she was fitted with a trapeze, Leigh would have used it at one stage.

Your committee will be arranging an exciting schedule of events for the coming year so watch for notifications and reminders.

Best wishes to everyone for 2021.


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