Many of our members are sailors, builders and restorers of wooden 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. Some members do not currently own boats, but we cater for them as well.
Our Association owns a number of boats, available for members to use by themselves if you are able to handle them, or if you prefer you could be the crew for one of our experienced members. Once you have experience in handling the boats it is possible for you to borrow them to take to sailing days, boat festivals, or even for private sailing.
Begonia is a gaff rigged 15’ sailing dinghy able to carry two or three people. She started life as a unique project, organised by the Wooden Boat Association, to construct a traditional wooden boat.
Begonia was designed by Master Boatbuilder, Tom Whitfield, of totally traditional clinker (lapstrake) construction. Starting in 1991, using donated Kauri and Huon Pine, the boat was lofted, moulds made, set-up and planked, all by volunteers, under Tom's guidance. We were very fortunate to have the use of a shed alongside Polly Woodside. No better site could be hoped for to undertake such a project.
This was a unique opportunity to learn, in detail, from a master of the craft in a hands-on manner, the skills and problems of traditional construction, and was very enthusiastically received.
The original sails were hand sewn by Rick Mitchell, with assistance from Clare Atkins. Originally rigged with a Spritsail main, with two jibs on the bowsprit, she was eventually changed over to a Gaff rig.
As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we created a pictorial record of the launching of Begonia. Look for it in our Image Gallery.
Begonia has been taken to many boat festivals by members to display on behalf of the WBA, as well as various club sailing days.
Lyndsay Symons is a 10’ single-sail clinker dinghy, easily sailing by novices.
Stringybark, our single-person canoe is usually in action on club days at Albert Park, and is easily carried on roofracks. She is ideal for sheltered waters, such as rivers, creeks, and lakes. Come along to a WBA activity to try her out.
Our boats are kept at Albert Park Yacht Club and usually one or both are launched on sailing days.
We are very privileged to have the boats available, due to the efforts of our earliest members who built Begonia. We like our boats to be used, otherwise there is not much point in maintaining them and anyway, Begonia needs her bottom wet regularly!
We have a guide to rigging Begonia available here.
All our boats are available for members to borrow to take to sailing days, festivals, as well as for private use. Phone our Boat Manager, Graham Signorini, on 9391 56217 to find out more.
The Association has also been given an extremely rare Port Phillip 12 racing dinghy. Over the last few years she has been undergoing restoration work, and will be back on the water shortly.