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Wooden Boat Festival at Royal Geelong YC

by Bob Appleton on 7 Mar 2012
Wooden Boat Festival 2012 Bob Appleton
The Whyte, Just and Moore Lawyers Wooden Boat Festival is being held this weekend, 10th and 11th March 2012, at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

Entry is free and the general public can enjoy an amazing array of close to 100 different types of wooden boats.
Onshore displays and demonstrations will add to the historical aspect of our nautical heritage.

Local boat builders will demonstrate chalking, laminating and steam bending plus boat care and maintenance while others will display nautical equipment, rope making, boat building and more.

Close at hand, Classic yachts, Ocean racers, Sloops, Speedboats, Yawls, Pilot cutters, Couta boats, Trawlers, Sharpies, Tumlarens, dinghies, H28s, cruisers, steam boats, motor launches and other craft will be easily visible to all visitors.


The full-size copy of a 15th century caravel, the ‘Notorious’ will be open for inspection and the tall ship Enterprize will be open for sea trips. Surprisingly, entries are still coming in thick and fast.

Here’s a brief description of just some of the entries:

The tiny little steam boat, Firefly II. Only 18ft long and 6ft wide with a draft of approx. 2ft 6ins. Driven by the smallest compound engine ever built in 1911! The engine was delivered to early in 1912 making it 100 years old!! Its twin cylinders have 4in. X 2 ½ in. bore producing 6HP at 150 lbs/sq in. Built from a kit with a modified interior the decks are planked (to give it a little class) and a canopy fitted to make it more comfortable.


Sayonara of 1897. Arguably the most famous classic keel yacht in Australian yachting history! Records quote her as the yacht of the Victorian era that could not be beaten. Built in Adelaide and launched in November 1897 she is a top sail cutter with a sail area of 2079sq.ft.

Storm Bay was built in 1925, is a 54 ft gaff rigged boat with a topsail. She has Blue Gum frames with her hull and decks planked with Huon Pine. Some of the planks are 52 feet long in a curve. The owner, Tim Phillips of The Wooden Boatshop has meticulously restored her to her original condition as a sailing vessel.

La Belle Limone is an off shore speedboat with twin 454s Petrol ‘Riva Aquarama Super’ engines of 320hp with a top speed 87 knots! Built in Italy, La Belle is 8.5ms long, 2.1ms wide and when empty, she weighs 2,850kgs. She carries 480 litres of fuel in two tanks which lasts for seven hours!!


Nellie Rose (Circa 1900) is a 21ft Couta boat with an 8ft beam. Draws approx. 3ft with her centreboard raised. Now has a new rig, decking, floors, centre board case, fastenings and fittings after an extensive reconditioning. She’s powered by a 3 cylinder 17hp Yanmar. It’s believed that she once belonged to St Augustine's.

Renene (1955) Designed by William Atkin in 1925 based on the 47ft design of a Norwegian sailing rescue craft. 32ft long with a beam of 11ft. She competed in the 1956 Sydney to Hobart.


Windward II (1929) was built in Hobart in 1929, using Australian timbers, King Billy pine on Blue Gum frames with roved copper fastenings and has a lead keel. She measures 44ft on the deck, has a waterline length of 34ft 2in, overall length of 54ft. 6in and her beam is 10ft. 3in, a draft of 6ft. 6in and displaces 13 tons. In the 1930's and 40's she won the 1932-33 Fairfax Cup four years in a row, the Gascoigne Cup and the Revonah Cup.

Fancy (Circa 1920) is 24ft 3in long and was built in the 1920s specifically to win the Williamstown to Portarlington race, which she promptly did! She was wrecked in the creek at Queenscliff, where she languished for many years until she was brought to Geelong's Western Beach for major repairs. The side wall of the Western Beach Boat Club rooms had to be removed to get her inside for the operation. She was hit by a boat moored nearby and had to be completely restored from the keel up. They were able to kep the original keel, planks, stem, stern and rudder intact and, like all good craft, she has kept her shape well.

Torea is a fine example of a classic yacht from the late 1930s. Carvel built with Oregon planking above water line with spotted gum below. With copper and bronze fastenings, her deck material is of the original kauri timber planking overlaid with plywood/fibreglass. Her sails are of synthetic Dacron, made traditionally from narrow panels using dark thread and leather strips tied as bowlines to the brass track slides. She has an overall length of 9.14 m (30ft). Waterline length of 8.49 m (27ft 11in), beam: 3.05m (10ft), draft: 1.30m (4ft 3in) displacement: 5.9 tonne (6 ton) and 48sqm (517sq ft) sail area.

The topsail schooner Enterprize: There aren't many vessels that can be said to have been present at the birth of a city, but it was from the original topsail schooner Enterprize that a handful of settlers disembarked on the Yarra River on August 30, 1835, to begin the settlement which has capital of around 3.5-million people.

Today's replica Enterprize was constructed in Melbourne and launched in 1997 to commemorate that event. Colonisation was already under way in Tasmania in the 1830s, and the schooner brought settlers from Launceston.
The magnificent replica wooden ship Notorious is the oldest ship re-construction in Australia and is known as a Caravel, it is only 8 metres shorter than the Caravel used by Christopher Columbus’, the ‘Santa Maria’ in 1492! It’s the same shape and approximate size of the ships that were used by Ferdinand Magellan for his circumnavigation of the world in 1519 to 1522!! It’s ‘Lateen Rig’ is still used today on Arab dhows in the Suez Canal. There’s early history unfolding before your weather beaten eyes and, you’ll be welcome to board this majestic ship of the late 1400’s when it is open for inspection during the festival giving you a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Meanwhile, music, food, refreshments, wandering entertainers will amuse you as you meander among the boats and displays. Inside the RGYC Theatrette, historic footage of old time movies and pictures of sailing history will be running all weekend! Sea trips, yacht races, ‘Concours d’elegance’ to select the best cared for and the best maintained boat amongst this amazing display.

And – It’s all free!

A jazz band will entertain on Saturday afternoon and Rock and Roll on Saturday night with the Hoos Bros will help strengthen your sea legs. Children’s events will include a treasure hunt with Cap’n Jack Sparrow.


Wooden Boat Festival 2012 © Bob Appleton
Wooden Boat Festival 2012 © Bob Appleton
Wooden Boat Festival website
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