Why build a wooden boat? Maybe we all have different reasons – but I built mine because I wanted to go fishing on Port Phillip Bay, and I didn’t want to spend the money on a new boat, or take a chance on someone else’s reject
As it turned out, my first boat wasn’t the one I had selected from the web as top of my “wish-list”. A friend suggested that I was probably aiming a bit high for a first effort, and so I selected a smaller, simpler, rowing boat and started boat-building.
It doesn’t happen to everyone, but I finished the first boat, built my dream boat (both still going), then a smaller car-topping rowing boat for use on the Yarra, then a bigger car-topper because the wife likes to come along too!
Ok, I just love building the things, and just between you and me, I think I’m up to number 11 or 12 over the past 10 years (5 – or is it 6 - still with me).
It turned out that there is a Melbourne based club that is full of men and women who like to get together and use and talk about the wooden boats and model boats they have built or rescued! I wish I had discovered it before I started building, but here I am now, and it’s good to be part of a group that has a similar affliction.
You can do it, you know. Yep, you can build a wooden boat and have the thrill of turning lumps of wood or sheets of ply into something beautiful and practical.
Want to know more? Want to know where to start? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – you are not alone!
I built three wooden boats as a teenager – a kayak, a 10’moulded plywood dinghy, and a sailfish. Then, for forty years, my attention was diverted into bushwalking, travel and family activities.
When I retired four years ago I built a nice, big shed and searched for a new boat building project. My main selection criteria were as follows: a construction method that suited my skill level, big enough to be stable and comfortable for an older person, able to be set up and sailed single-handed, easily trailerable, and it had to be a pretty boat.
I eventually settled on a Penny Fee, a five metre long glued lapstrake sailing dinghy designed by Ian Oughtred. I bought plans and a kit from Robert Ayliffe of Straydog Boatworks (South Australia). The kit includes moulds and plywood planking. These were laser cut in Melbourne, so I picked them up directly from the factory. As the planks are cut out of 2400 x 1200 sheets there is a bit of scarfing to be done. Small laser marks are aligned with a string line to ensure the finished planks are the correct shape.
The Wooden Boat Association was formed in 1989 for people who enjoy wooden boats and wooden boat building.
Members appreciate wooden boats for their aesthetic qualities, the beauty of the boats and the materials from which they are constructed, and the pure romance of wooden boats.
In this age of mass production, each wooden boat is as individual as her owner.
The St Ayles Skiffs are 22 foot row boats that are similar to ancient Scottish craft used for fishing and recreation around the Scottish Isles. The St Ayles Skiff was designed for communities to build and own to encourage community engagement and build skills both in the building and the rowing. These boats are now being built around the world for this purpose. The Williamstown group had its inaugural meeting in July 2016. A core group of 12 women members have been active in raising funds, attending other events here in Victoria (Geelong and Warrnambool), Tasmania and South Australia, and meeting monthly. The commitment by the women to attend on a weekly basis for the build has been phenomenal. The Williamstown build was inspired by the Franklin Women's Build in Tasmania. Their boats (x4 now) are moored on the river and accessible at all times for casual rows and competitions.
In February a small group attended the Hobart Wooden boat festival and participated in the mini raid return to Franklin over four days. This introduced us to people from around Australia, Scotland, England, Holland and New Zealand and gave us an amazing opportunity to see the full impact that this growing sport engenders.We are auspiced by Outlets Community Co-Op in Newport who are very supportive. As part of Outlets we qualify as a non-for-profit group. We have a committee and membership structure. At the beginning of the year the Welsh Church (which built and rows the St Ayles Skiff “Cariad”), kindly allowed us to set up to build our St Ayles Skiff in their shed at Seaworks, Williamstown.
Another great night at the Albert Park Yacht Club rooms (APYC) – a great turnout.
It was good to see visitors and their model boats from Broadmeadows, the Albert Park Yacht Club with Chris’ and Paul’s twin model yachts, Surrey Park Model Boat Club with a model of the “African Queen” as it looked in the film, and the Lake Illawong Model Boat Club (Patterson Lakes) displaying 3 models which included a vintage model of the pilot vessel “Wyuna” that had been made by Rosey as an 8 year old.
Our club also had models on display from David O’Dempsey, Alex and Stewart Pigdon with their lovely model Couta boat, and Graham Signorini’s giant model of the cutter “Madge”. This last boat is so detailed, I suspect that Graham soaked the original cutter until it shrank to its current size!
If you are building a Wooden boat of any size, building a model wooden boat, - own a wooden boat, or you are interested in building a wooden boat of your own, THIS CLUB MAY BE FOR YOU.
Every member of the WBA has at least one of these interests, and you will find like minded men, women, and the occaisional youngster, willing to share experiences - and if required, offer advice and assistance. Of course we enjoy using our boats together, too.
More information required? Email email@example.com and we will be in touch.
A great forecast for the day, and a mate rings up to see if I would like to go fishing. I have to think carefully about this, as he doesn’t have a wooden boat! On the other hand, his boat is bigger, he is doing the towing and launching, responsibility for finding the fish and shouldering the blame for failure is his, I don’t have to spend an hour cleaning up etc. when I get home …. and his missus is a fabulous cook who always forces his friends to stay for homemade delights with accompanying beverages.
So I pick up the 3rd mate, rendezvous with the skipper and we head off to Warneet to catch the tide.
All is well, although the skipper did drop a bucket accidentally over the transom, which managed to snap off the transponder on the way past……. But we simply drop into “what we used to do before transponders” mode and head out.
Well you know what fishing is like, you sit and chat for 4 or 5 hours, throw the keepers in the fridge and the others overboard, then getting tired ,and having eaten all the food you go home! Usually!!
Over the years of browsing the Float a Boat shop in Ringwood, I had been intrigued by the large model boat (as I thought) on the counter as a display item.
When I asked after plans for the boat, Adrian informed me that there were no plans – the boat is in fact an original full size craft that had been brought in by a customer for refurbishment to supplied specs – but never reclaimed.
There was a good turnout for the unofficial Sailing Day on 22 Jan! We were pleased to meet new member Simon Webb and his crew, who travelled from near Bendigo with Oughtred-designed Arctic Tern Oenon to his first WBA event. The Lake was busy with walkers, joggers, cyclists and pic-nickers, and the pleasant day and light conditions were perfect for mucking about on the water. Jimmie Baillie rowed Hunca Munca the length of the lake and later sailed with Geoff Carroll in Bluebelle, Penny & Jim gave guest Chris the helm of Talisman while David Stott put son Andrew’s $100 Pacer through its sea-trials, declaring it satisfactory subject to new rigging. Leigh McNolty, Jill Carroll, Jenny Stott, Andrew Stott and friend and Andrew Campbell did not venture out on the water but we enjoyed a convivial lunch together. Members of APYC were also out and about, their social sailing day timed to coincide with the WBA’s – an excellent idea.
“Ultimately I would like to make something that can carry the six of us for an afternoon of sailing but I think that would be too much of an undertaking for a first attempt at making a boat. I would rather start with something that is achievable and fun to build with the boys”.
Discussions with Chris Kelly, Bill Jones and others, led to that the conclusion that although simple, the boat would be too small for his purposes and this led to research into finding something that may better suit the family and would not be beyond the resources available at present in Vanuatu.
A few options were checked out, and the Selway -Fisher 11’6” Acorn Garvie http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/sf/dinghies/sdp/acorn/index.htm was put forward as an option. It is a relatively simple build, follows the lines of the Graefin in many ways and help is available from the designer if required. Yes Leigh, it looks very much like a Mirror dinghy!
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