...you own a wooden boat, are building a wooden boat of any size, including a model, are interested in building a wooden boat of your own, or just enjoy the beauty of wooden boats, 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 occasional 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  info@woodenboat.asn.au  and we will be in touch.

Read about some WBA members' boatbuilding and boating experiences below.


Alma J 7a

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.

Alma J 1   Alma J 2

  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.

IMG 2   IMG 1

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.

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.

I accept.

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.

            Floataboat bait boat 10

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.

Hands On Learning Australia is a programme committed to preventing the harm of early school leaving by creating opportunities AT SCHOOL for young people to discover their talents and experience success.

In addition to their normal schoolwork, participants in the programme are involved in “making and doing” at the school they attend. They have access to resources which allow them to learn life skills, and under the oversight of trained coordinators may also learn how to use the tools required for various tasks. For those interested, more at http://handsonlearning.org.au/ .

Towards the end of last year your club was involved in helping the Westernport Secondary College HOL group prepare for one of the fun events of the year – the annual raft race between HOL Schools, held at Mornington.

     HOL 8

You may want to check out the only video I could track down of a previous race, and get a picture of what happens - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m54rEKnKd8 .

Design is one of the keys to a good raft, along with simplicity of construction, availability of resources, skillsets of the builders, time constraints – and of course, floatability (is that a word?).

A number of designs were considered, and the suitability of many different construction materials was discussed – from plumbing pipes and car tubes, to large garden tubs and plastic barrels. In the end, the kind donation of a stack of packing ply from Cambridge Commercial Equipment – a commercial refrigerator supplier in Hallam – resolved the issue, and plywood it was.

         “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!

AcornGarviepGraefin 10

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