Despite the unfavourable weather forecast, a number of intrepid souls turned out for the sailing day at Werribee South. Under heavy skies, Chris Kelly’s punt, David Stott’s Penguin, Tom McAdam’s Skerry Rosalie and Jim & Penny’s Drascombe Lugger launched at the nearly deserted ramp and headed up the Werribee River against the gently ebbing tide.

WBA members were welcomed by Craig Bramich, Seaworks Director, who gave us a very informative and up to date overview of life at Seaworks during the Tall Ships event. Well over 30,000 attended the festival over 10 days. The trials and tribulations of so many people from all walks of life congregating in Williamstown was equally inspiring and exciting for many first timers and old salts alike!

Peter Doyle, Secretary of Anglesea Recreation and Sports Club, writes to advise that they are refurbishing four racing rowing boats (two fours and two pairs) that were built for them by Jas Edwards & Sons at North Princess Bridge in 1911.

The tourism promoters like to call the Gippsland Lakes “Victoria’s Riviera”. It could be a triumph of optimism over reality on their part, but there are attractions that drew us back to Paynesville this year after last year’s successful trip. The weather could be counted as one of those attractions as long as you are prepared to experience a Mediterranean climate on about one day in three.

Tom McAdam’s new boat Rosalie was launched at Mordialloc creek on 21st September 2013.

After naming, blessing, and some toasting, she was rowed down the creek and out onto Port Philip Bay and performed beautifully. 

The job description for a ship’s cook in the eighteenth century, so we are told, was to “boil up the salt beef and hand out the weevily biscuits”. Scurvy was the inevitable result. You would have to say things have changed if you were at our September club night. The variety of vitamin packed seagoing dishes on offer would transform a sailor of old into a model of good health.

The Tall Ships fleet left Melbourne on Saturday 14 September, but gathered at the bottom end of the Bay to catch Sunday morning's high tide through Port Phillip Heads.

WBA member Roderick Smith was a keen specator on Sunday morning...

Our August 2013 Club Night featured Craig Bramich, Director of Seaworks, who gave an informative talk on the current status of the organisation.

Gusty conditions were experienced by the members who attended the August sailing day at Albert Park Lake. Geoff Carroll launched Bluebelle, Penny Braybrook and Jim Stockton sailed in Talisman, and Rob Ripley could be seen messing about in Green Bean. Club boats Begonia, Lyndsay Symons and the Stringybark canoe were all launched and several members who had arrived without boats took the opportunity to get out on the water in the club boats. We welcomed new member Tom McAdam to his first club sailing day, and he was able to sail or paddle all three boats. From the way he was paddling Stringybark it was obvious to all that he has spent quite a bit of time in kayaks or canoes in the past.

In the middle of July Jenny and I took Penguin to the Junction Rally at Wentworth NSW.  Wentworth is at the junction of the Murray and Darling rivers. The Junction rally is held only every three years and is for stationary engines, vintage cars, paddle steamers and small boats of all types. The Steam Boat association make this event their annual gathering as it is relatively central for most states including those coming from WA, and they had a good range of steam boats in action.

The past year has seen a good range of club activities. Sailing days have see both the club boats and member’s boats on the water. The committee undertook a project to sound out members on their views for club and club night activities. These were ably compiled by our secretary, Leigh McNolty, and the committee undertook to follow several of these suggestions which gave rise to recent club nights with visiting speakers and also the shanty night. In the calendar there were the annual events that were well supported by the membership.

The members who came to our June club night were treated to a presentation by Warren and Roi from Marine Timbers in Seaford. They are building up the company and seeking to re-establish it as a source of supply and service for the amateur boat building community. Roi gave a short presentation on many of the products on offer and then led a discussion on the uses of glues such as Bote Cote epoxies and Purbond. He provided a good update on some of the developments that have been made recently.

A calm sunny Melbourne winter’s day brought a number of us to Albert Park Lake for a gentle sail, row, or paddle. Others came simply to enjoy the company of fellow wooden boaters. With the successful launching of Begonia, Lyndsay Symons and the Stringybark canoe, on this delightful day, all our efforts at the working bees over the past months were rewarded. All three boats are now looking their brilliant best. However Begonia’s planks had dried out in the maintenance period and she was leaking prodigiously all day.

Watch a short video made by two of the WBA's younger members, Amelia and William Batchelor, of some of the WBA members at the 2013 Begonia festival.

The owners of Ticketyboo, a small replica Tugboat built in both Mordialloc and East Gippsland by local boat builder Bill Jones, has been undergoing trials to evaluate any measurable increased stability following the addition of a lead keel and two bilge keels.

Unfortunately none of the club boats were back at APYC for the May sailing Day. We did however have a good roll up of boats. During the day we saw Leigh McNolty’s Mirror and Phillipe Patacca’s Norwalk Island Sharpie. Yes, all 18 ft of her and both masts but we didn’t tell the rangers.

The weather has been excellent over the Summer and Autumn appears to be living up to its reputation as ideal for boating on the Lakes and therefore we cordially invite all those with a passion for "messing around" in boats to visit and share with members from the East!

Gary Stewart.

The Nellie Report

In February, Bernard O’Kelly and his crew set sail for the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival from Lakes Entrance. They were about 20 miles from Deal Island when Nellie was hit by a fast moving front. At first the topmast carried away at the spreaders which had recently been replaced. As the crew struggled with this, the boat was hit by another gust which brought down the complete mast, rig, sails and all rigging, with the boom landing on deck. Fortunately no-one in the crew was injured. The mast, sails and rigging were lost overboard and when Bernard started the engine, some of the ropes fouled the propeller. There was no radio as the aerial had been carried away with the rigging so Bernard activated the EPIRB.

Despite the dire weather forecast, our sailing day for April turned out to be fine with some good sessions of sailing between the periods of light winds. A highlight of the day was the launch of Rob Ripley’s new boat.

There was a serious launching ceremony with the appropriate biddings to the spirits of the sea in placation for the name change. Then there was the tradition wetting of the bow with the required bubbly liquid and the good health of the ship and all who sail in her was drunk by the gathered throng. Rob and Pat had been accompanied by the entire family crew with many hands being lent to see the boat safely in the water. The picture shows her sailing well after the launch.

April 24 saw our first club night at APYC since February. Although the attendance was rather light, those who did come experienced a very informative and thought provoking presentation by Doug King, ex water policeman, current pilot on Port Phillip. Doug gives marine safety sessions for the recreational boating section of Transport Safety Victoria.

EGWBA had agreed not to meet until April when the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Festival had taken place and all vessels and their crews were back in East Gippsland. The next scheduled event is Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th April when the EGWBA will meet at the Johnsonville Jetty for a meeting for all who can manage it. An overnight stay there will be enjoyed, and will also include a Sunday barbeque lunch followed by a committee meeting. It is expected that some will attend with trailer boats and members of the EGWBA and our friends from Melbourne are also welcome with trailer parking available on private land adjacent to the jetty.

This festival was again held at Easter and Jenny and I decided to attend with Penguin as we have in recent years.

The Hume highway is now all freeway to Lake Macquarie except for the last remaining part that runs through Holbrook, and this will shortly be bypassed. Therefore it allows a fairly quick and easy trip to Lake Macquarie even though it is 1,000 km’s . Weather as usual was fine and warm with the only rain being at night, so it did not affect us.

Returning to the Begonia Festival where the WBA began is one of our traditions. Locating the oak tree under which the founding fathers met in 1989 involved some head scratching. Alan Chinn, one of those founding fathers, pondered the question with our WBA group as we sat in the shade of the oaks by the lake. “It must have been one of these” was as close as we got to a conclusion. Thanks to “our man in Ballarat” Quinton Wilkinson, the event ran smoothly and the Yacht Club facilities were made fully available to us. Quinton has been the driving force in maintaining our links with the festival organisers and the Ballarat Y.C. A WBA pennant was presented to the Commodore of the Ballarat Yacht Club, Paul Crosbie, by our President, Geoff Carroll in recognition of their hospitality.

The South Australian Wooden Boat Festival was on at Goolwa over the weekend 23/24 February so we decided to drive over and have a look. We pre- booked our caravan park accommodation a month beforehand and were lucky to get in, Goolwa was full.

The WBA was an oasis of tranquillity in a frenetic world on our Rye sailing day. Surrounded by the petrol powered wasp screams of jetskis, the wave making plastic runabouts, the beach ball tossers and the designer beach wear crowd, the WBA focuses instead on enjoyment of the natural world and being in the company of good friends. Thirteen boats and 34 people made their way to the patch of beach we occupy each February sailing day. The newly opened Peninsula Link freeway saved some wear and tear on boats and nerves on the trip from Melbourne.

Roderick Smith's photos from the 2013 Begonia Festival, held on the shores of Lake Wendouree, Ballarat.

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Regular WBA contributor Roderick Smith recounts his experiences at the 2013 Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival.

This was my fifth, and was the largest and best, helped by good weather: the notorious Goolwa chop was present on both afternoons, but faded for the evening, and so sleeping aboard was peaceful. There were about 250 boats, of all sizes and styles.  Some are rally regulars, but many I had not seen before.

Sailing holidays at Port Albert can be fantastic . . . or frustrating! We experienced both extremes on our most recent visit to this historical coastal village in South Gippsland. Established in 1841 by explorer Angus McMillan, Port Albert is the oldest seaport in Gippsland and once was the home port of several large commercial fishing vessels. These have now been replaced by large numbers of visiting recreational fishing boats, which means that facilities for small boats are excellent; the (free) 2-lane all tide concrete ramp with jetty and floating pontoon makes launching and retrieval easy.

On the 12th and 13th January members and their boats of the EGWBA sailed to Nungurner to rendezvous for lunch. The vessels included; Jabiru, Moongalba, Nellie,Peace Train and Ticketyboo. The weather was ideal and most arrived at about noon and following berthing and tie-ups, immediately started to barbecue, prepare and lay out their lunch. Apart from the usual conversations regarding wooden boats and recent adventures on the lakes there was much discussion about the upcoming Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart at which two of the Association’s boats, Bernard O’Kelly's Nellie and John Mulligan's Moongalba will sail to Hobart to represent the EGBA and enjoy the Festival attractions. We wish them smooth and happy sailing together with a safe return. I think we are also hoping to see lots of images and hear the stories and news from the attendees regarding the Festival.

There has been a steady trickle of comment from members as to their activities over December and January. Rob Ripley let slip that he had gone to look at one of the boats advertised for sale and came home with it. (Our commiserations go to Pat) Rob has since spent a very happy time going over the rig and getting the little trailer sailer ready for use. Frank Raisin and Paul Rubera have been taking part in the Tawe Nunnugah 2013 Raid being held up the SE coast of Tasmania from Cockle Creek up to Hobart via the inner waters to Dover, Bruny Island, Cygnet and other small towns along the way. They are to reach Hobart in time for the Wooden Boat Festival.

Photos by Roderick Smith

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More Photos - from Shavings

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Photos by Roderick Smith

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Photos and text by Roderick Smith

This was my fourth Goolwa.

Having purchased an SA-built Tennessee, which had been at the display under earlier owners, I felt morally obliged to exhibit at the 2005 event.  Great camaraderie, but horrible moorings; my boat was damaged.  I sent a letter of complaint.  I came back for 2007, got the same mooring, and more damage.  I vowed 'never again'.  I was back for 2009, as I was taking the boat to Duck Flat for maintenance, and had it at Mt Barker.  I drove to Goolwa for the day.  More relaxing and just as friendly, and no responsibility, and I cruised in other boats.  I wouldn't have gone to 2011, but I met Moonshine at Robinvale; it was planning to cruise over the lake to get to the event. A great chance to go in tandem.  I did book, but too late for a mooring.  My smug comment 'why do the Halvorsen's get the good moorings?' didn't sit well with the organiser, a Halvorsen owner. I was too late to accompany Moonshine across the lake, but did have the boat on the grass ready to launch on closing day and cross the lake with Moonshine returning.

The weather turned rough, and I didn't launch at all.  I positioned the boat back to Colignan, ready to retrieve for the March - April Industry centenary. Moonshine's owner was taken by a friend to get his car and trailer from Wellington, and came out of the water at Goolwa. Solway's owner was still building in 2005, and came aboard for ideas.  He was on display in 2007, but didn't like the mooring.  In 2009, he stayed on the grass.  In 2011, he was back in the water.

Nomad III was an elaborate retirement vessel, solar powered.  The owner's wife has had medical trouble and he is forced to sell.  He had a professional crew bring it from Renmark to Goolwa.  I deckied for him on Monday to the marina pumpout, then back to the marina at which it could be inspected.

The following selection includes a couple of wooden ancillaries, but not the railway or helicopter aspects.  Each festival, a helicopter is deployed to the local citizen force, and performs search and rescue demonstrations, just part of the great mood.  1950s wooden teardrop caravans have a cult following, and appear at a lot of technical-hobby rallies.

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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.

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  • 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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