The Caravel Notorious.Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong

10-11 March 2012

Wooden boats throughout the ages will be on display at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club during the Labour Day weekend of 10-11 March. A wonderful display of well loved and absolutely classic wooden boats have been painstakingly popped alongside piers or into pens by their particularly patient owners!
One highlight will undoubtedly be to meet the amazing pair of nautical narrators, Lin and Larry Pardey. Arguably, the world’s wisest wooden boat wanderers.
Lin and Larry have voyaged more than 200,000nm together on self-built engine-free wooden boats. They’ve been round the world, east and west-about and against the prevailing wind south of the great southern capes. In 2010, the Pardeys were awarded The Cruising Club of America’s prestigious Far Horizons Award.
Another of the many highlights of the festival is the full-size copy of a 15th century caravel, as sailed by early world explorers. It’s the oldest ship re-construction in Australia and is the magnificent replica wooden ship, the caravel, the Notorious.
Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus’s ship used for explorations in 1492, was a caravel (his was 8 metres longer than Notorious). Columbus sailed in company with two smaller caravels, Pinta and Nina, (each 4m shorter).
Notorious was built near Warrnambool in SW Victoria, by amateur boat-builder, Graeme Wylie who researched, designed and constructed Notorious entirely from reclaimed timber … not having to chop down a single tree! A truly unique endeavour, inspired by the legendary mahogany ship.
Twenty one metres long and weighing 70 tonnes, Notorious is straight from the 15th century. Rounding the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, Bartholomew Diaz was on board a caravel and the ships used by Ferdinand Magellan for his circumnavigation of the world in 1519 to 1522 were caravels. And, the same lateen rig is still used on Arab dhows in the Suez Canal today.
You’ll be welcome to board this majestic ship of the late 1400s, when it is open for inspection during the festival. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
A classic from the 1930s, Windward II was designed by Norm Dallimore, and built by Percy Coverdale in Hobart in 1929 using the finest Australian timbers. King Billy pine on Blue Gum frames. She is roved copper fastened and has a lead keel. With Oregon spars, she measures 54ft 6ins overall with a waterline length of 34ft 2ins and displaces 13 tons.
Windward II raced with distinction during the 1930s and ’40s winning the 1932-33 Fairfax Cup four years in a row, the Gascoigne Cup and the Revonah Cup. Once owned by Afloat’s editor Robin Copeland she came to Melbourne in 1990 where she now races against classic yachts of her vintage and undertakes corporate charters.
Children’s events include a treasure hunt with Cap’n Jack Sparrow and in the RGYC theatre short talks and historic footage will be running all weekend.
During racing on the bay, static displays will include rope making and boat building where local boat builders will demonstrate chalking, laminating and steam bending.
Why ‘wood’ you miss it?

Bob Appleton.

Best Dressed Boat was awarded to Full Circle.RMYC’s Boating Parade

The Royal Motor Yacht Club Broken Bay (Newport) held its annual Australia Day Boating Parade on Pittwater with more than 50 vessels assembling at Careel Bay for the start.
MV Theresa lead the parade down Pittwater. Invited guests aboard Theresa included the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, several club sponsors, Mayor of Pittwater Cr Harvey Rose and General Manager Karen Baldwin who all assisted in judging the Best Dressed Vessel and Best Dressed Crew categories.
SLSC boats, tennis and cricket players on catamarans, electric, sailing, game fishing boats and cruisers paraded past MV Theresa. Although a tough decision, the Best Dressed Crew shimmied past on the vessel Timeless whose Surf Life Saving Club theme made sure that those on the waters of Broken Bay were safe.
Best Dressed Boat was awarded to Full Circle whose tennis players paid tribute to the Australian Open and the Best Overall Crew was awarded to Leeuwin who gained their inspiration from our Aussie cricketers.
The day started with an Australia Day brunch hosted by the RMYC for over 200 members and VIPs. Past Commodore and Life Member David Hinton lead the singing of the Australian National Anthem to get the festivities started.
The highlight of the morning was a presentation to RMYC employee and Special Olympian Alyse Saxby who won a gold medal in Sailing at the 2011 Special Olympics. In 2011, Alyse was a special guest panellist who dreamed of winning gold and true to her word returned to the RMYC with that Gold Medal in hand!
The RMYC also made special mention of our Longest Standing Members who have held membership for 40-plus years.
The Royal Motor Yacht Club 2011 Employee of the Year was awarded to Doug Taylor who received an award from Commodore Peter Haig and General Manager Baldwin.


Bill Devine, 73, with crew Darryl Dedman, used a step-down rig to score 12th place in a ‘windy’ race three. International 14s – A clean sweep in the west

A Devine Footy blitz hit the 96th Australian championship for the International 14 class on the Swan River in Perth last month.
Local products Brad Devine and Ian ‘Footy’ Furlong dominated like no others in living memory of the class to win all seven heats of the regatta. The drought in domination is partly due to the competitive nature of the top 10 boats in Australia. Year after year, the hot boats rock up and slug it out, swapping race wins and jostling for the title. Not so this year.
Devine and Furlong were close to flawless on their home track to win their fourth national title in Fourteens. Their local knowledge, preparation and skills in a range of conditions proved a class above other entries in the 32-boat fleet.
They certainly make a formidable team. Devine as the talented helm with his true grit, gunslinger approach and Furlong, as the archetypal for’ard hand, who is big and gentle ashore but becomes all athletic power on the water.
Renown for their abilities in fresh to strong winds, the duo from the West have been carrying some scars from regattas like the Sydney Worlds in 09/10 and the Adelaide Nationals in 10/11 where they failed to fire in generally light conditions. Defeat, however, can inspire reinvention and the pair went into the Australian championship regatta keen to be consistently fast across a wide wind range.
Devine says the biggest issue they had to deal with was being a “one-trick pony”.
“With Footy’s size and weight, and the fact that I was getting older and fatter, we were always quick in a breeze but to win regattas this had to change,” Devine said. “Footy lost 10 kilos and I lost seven.”
Runner up for the title was Stuart Sloss with crew Cameron Elliot. Sloss, like Devine, is a product of Perth Dinghy Sailing Club where his family name is synonymous with a love of fresh conditions and an excellence in boat handling skills.
The dominators – Brad Devine and ‘Footy’ Furlong won all seven races on Del Boca Vista.In a show of Aussie fleet strength, seven of the 32 boats competing in Perth had only recently returned from competing in the world championships in England. Where Victorians Mark Kristic and Scott Cunningham finished 4th, fellow Victorian and former World Champion Lindsey Irwin 7th and South Australian David Hayter finished 10th.
While Brad Devine was sweeping all before him, his 73-year-old father Bill showed plenty of class to finish 20th overall sailing with crew Darryl Dedman. Bill is a class act and Fourteen legend who crewed in the winning boat of the 1960/61 Australian Championship and won the 1979 Open World Championship in Los Angeles.
The Devine dynasty was further on show at the regatta with Brad’s eight-year-old son spending hours blasting around in the fresh breezes in a small training boat out in front of the family’s beloved Perth Dinghy Sailing Club. It seems like the next generation of Devine is working hard on boat handling and soaking up local knowledge.

Neil Patchett 

Overall winners Steve Goacher and Matt Owen sailing boat number 56 at the top mark rounding.50th Anniversary Flying Fifteen Championship

Fifty eight Flying Fifteens competed in the 2012 50th Anniversary Australian Championship held at South of Perth Yacht Club sailed on Melville Water West from 6-13 January.
The regatta attracted legends from the class including three former world champions from the UK, Steve Goacher, Alan Bax and Mike Hart. Steve Goacher the only Flying Fifteen sailor to have won three world championships.
Australian legends included John Cassidy, Graeme Lillingston and Dean McAullay, all world champions. Visitors from the Eastern States included top sailors Ashley Smith and Adam Kingston, and Adam Hawkins and Ben Jones.
First placed winners of the eight races included Steve Goacher/Matt Owen, Alan Bax/Simon Childs, Mike Hart/Richard Rigg, Adele Jackson/Dean McAullay, David Tucker/Matt Summers and Graeme Lillingston/Ed Repseviscius. In the absence of regular crew Phil Evans who was unable to make the trip, Steve Goacher teamed up with the 2011 National Champion Matt Owen (Canberra).  
The invitation race on Sunday was won by UK World Champion Alan Bax with crew Simon Childs. The UK sailors showed strength from the start of the regatta sailing well in the 25 knot sou’westerly breeze and adapting quickly to the Perth conditions.
From day one of the championship the UK contingent showed the Australians this would not be a regatta for the weak or unfit. Australian sailors Adele Jackson and Dean McAullay giving everything to their racing managed to keep the UK sailors behind to take out a first in race two. Adam Hawkins and Ben Jones sailed a hard race to take out a second in race one.
By Wednesday the breeze had lightened leaving Race Officer Les Swinton to postpone racing for several hours until 4:30pm. Still strong contenders, the UK contingent enjoyed the shifty, light conditions to finish with first, second and third. Jackson and McAullay continued to fight against the UK sailors to place El Torro with a fourth.
The UK’s Goacher/Owen combo won the series with a final score of 17, Bax/Childs were second with 20 points and Hart/Rigg third with 22. Australian sailors Jackson/McAullay finished fourth, Tucker/Summers fifth, Hawkins/Jones sixth and former local legend Lillingston/Repseviscius team seventh.
For action of the 2012 Flying Fifteen Nationals visit

Jennifer Sims

Sophie Lahey and Kirsten Norris battle it out for the title.Lahey wins the MarinAssess Women’s Match Racing

Sophie Lahey and her crew of Rayshele Martin, Ali Sutherland and Georgia Cronin representing Southport Yacht Club (SYC), have won the MarinAssess Women’s Match Racing regatta by three points from Kirstin Norris representing Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with Stephanie Strong representing Sandringham Yacht Club in third place a further point adrift.
The regatta was conducted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on the Youth Sailing Academy’s Elliott 6.0m boats.
For Lahey and her crew, who came together for this regatta, the win was a good one.
“I’ve had some good results at regattas hosted by the CYCA. This time last year, I was part of the winning crew in the 2011 Harken Womens International Match Racing regatta and it feels great to be back on top of the podium again,” Lahey said.
Lahey also competed in the Club Marine NSW Youth Match Racing championships in August last year where she placed fourth.
“One of our toughest matches today was against Stephanie Strong. The pre-start was close and we managed to win that battle, but Strong was better on the downwind leg than us yet we came away with the win in the end,” Lahey added. She finished round robin two with a perfect scorecard of six wins.
For Kirsten Norris and her crew of Catherine Trew and Jennifer Lowe; this regatta was the first time the trio had sailed together in three years. All have extensive match racing experience gained from being involved with the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy.
“This is the first time all three of us have been in the same city at the same time for three years. As we had the weekend off from our ship duties, we decided to put together a team and see how we would go,” Norris said.
“We had some tough matches but we had a little bit of an advantage by not knowing much about our competition, so there was no stress going into the matches and were able to focus on the job at hand,” Trew added.
All three will return to their respective naval duties.
Norris on approach to the finish line.For the race management team lead by Race Officer Brian Brenac it was a fickle day on water. Racing was delayed due to a sick nor’westerly and eventually got underway at 11.30hrs once the nor’easterly had filled in.
“It was perfect match racing conditions once the nor’easterly filled in and was constant at 8-10knots,” Brenac said. “All of the crews showed great improvement; everyone was more aggressive as their match racing confidence grew, thus resulting in a few more penalties being awarded today.”
Chairman of the Training and Development Committee CYCA Director Anthony Dunn thanked past Commodore John Messenger and MarinAssess for the ongoing sponsorship of the regatta, women’s match racing and the Youth Sailing Academy.

Jennifer Crooks 

Abel Janszoon Tasman’s ships Heemskerck and Zeehaen brave the passage through Nanuku Reef, Fiji, February, 1643. The Maritime Heritage Gallery

Marine art has long been a particular personal passion for the writer and journalist Bruce Stannard. So much so that he has now established his own online gallery devoted to the very best in marine painting.
“Nineteenth century sailing ship portraits have graced the walls of my family home for more than half a century,” Bruce Stannard said.
Stannard started collecting when he worked in London in the early seventies. Living by the Thames at Greenwich, hard by the National Maritime Museum and the clipper Cutty Sark.
“I spent a good deal of time scouring antique dealers’ basements in the search for marine paintings with a special Australian connection. For me, nothing quite compares with the joy of finding a wonderful ship’s portrait. It’s a thrill I’ll now be able to share through a new on-line gallery dedicated to the world’s best marine art.”
The Maritime Heritage Gallery’s initial exhibition features eight outstanding oil paintings by Oswald Brett, the Australian who has long been one of the world’s best-known and most distinguished marine artists. To view high resolution images of the paintings, visit


The Edwards Classic Yacht Regatta

The Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club will be hosting its Inaugural Classic Yacht Regatta over two Sundays; starting March 25th and concluding April 1st. The aim of this regatta is to open entry to yachts with a design date of greater than 30 years. This year the classes invited will be Clansman, Compass 28/29, Folk Boats, J24s and Hood 23s.
Racing will consist of courses containing both Windward/Leeward and Passage Races.
A Notice of Race will be provided shortly to all class associations involved. For further information contact the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club via email:


Australian Radio Controlled Yachts National ChampionshipsApart from the rustle of the breeze in the reeds and from the gentle wake of the competing yachts, the only sound was the polite murmur of “starboard” on “contact” from one of the dozen or so yachtsmen lining the banks of Risdon Brook Dam on the eastern outskirts of Tasmania. Occasionally, a request for “buoy room.”
But the intensity of the competition was just the same as that shown by helmsmen and crews from the crews of another fleet of racing yachts, where I had watched a boisterous start to their race a few kilometres downstream on the River Derwent.
The first event was the start of the Hobart Combined Clubs Long Race at Bellerive. The second was the final heats of the International One Metre class at the Australian Radio Controlled Yachts national championships on Risdon Brook Dam.
Racing a radio controlled yacht requires much the same concentration and skill of steering as a 40-footer and a similar knowledge of the racing rules. The difference, of course, is in the size of the boats and the fact that there are no crew to shout at.
Many of the competitors are current or former prominent sailors. Rod Jackman took a day off from sailing with his father Roger on Doctor Who, while John Cole-Cook is a former ocean racing yachtsman.
Other competitors, who came New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and New Zealand, have been racing these boats for many years or also retired big boat racing skippers or crew.
Their boats are highly sophisticated racing craft, the hulls of fibreglass, mast and boom of fine grade aluminium, the sails made of draughtsman’s film. Apart from using a transmitter to steer the boat, most have electronic winches to control the sails on and off the wind.
Design rules vary for the different classes but in the case of the International One Metre class, it is a ‘box’ rule that allows flexibility in hull shape. The latest trend is for hulls with a chine and a deep bulb keel that comes within a weight restriction.
The A class championship went to West Australian Graham Howie, beating Tasmanian Michael Hickman and another WA entrant, Gary Cotterell. Victorian Lincoln McDowell won the 10 Rater title from Graeme Howie and Queenslander Jeff Byerley. Tasmanians dominated the Marblehead class, with Denis McLoughlin winning from Lisa Blackwood and Michael Hickman.
The IOM class attracted 38 entrants with Queenslander Michael Grieve taking the title from Craig Smith (Vic) and Paul Jones (NSW) with Michael Hickman (Tas) fourth overall. John Cole-Cook finished eighth overall and Rod Jackman 12th.

Peter Campbell

Triple gold medallists Bill Bain and Charlie Copeland.Aspiring young Olympians dominate at Lake Wendouree

Emerging Australian paddlers Charlie Copeland and Bill Bain continued their dominance in the U18 men’s events at Australian Canoeing’s GP2 event held at Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria at the end of January.
On the final day they added the K2 200 gold medal to their K2 500 and K2 1000 titles won the previous days, crossing the line ahead of Sydney Northern Beaches paddlers Ben McLean and Fraser McTavish, with Patterson Lakes duo Jarrad Campbell and Kieran Carson finishing third.
In the absence of Copeland who finished fifth in the Men’s Open K1 200m final, Bain also took out the men’s U18 K1 200m ahead of Germany’s Max Lemke and Sydney Northern Beaches Ben McLean.
In the men’s K1 1000 final, 2011 ICF Junior Marathon World champion Bill Bain finished second to Tasmanian Sam Norton.
The duo from the Sunshine Coast Kayak Club, have been training hard under the watchful eye of National Elite Development Kayak Coach Peter Petho who is impressed with the strength of his two young charges leading in to the Olympic Team Selection Trials, Oceania Championships and National Championships which will be held at the SIRC, Penrith, NSW this month.
A specialist K1 200m paddler, Copeland has had a solid preparation leading into the event since recovering from illness which sidelined him from Grand Prix 1 in Perth, WA and is looking forward to showing the seniors what he has got in his pet event.
Earmarked as a future Olympian, Copeland stunned Australian selectors at the Junior World Championships in Germany in July last year where he was ranked the fastest 17-year-old in the world.
Copeland, who was recently awarded a ‘Clem Jones Sporting Scholarship’ to attend the University of Queensland where he intends to study dual degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Science, is looking forward to competing against Olympic gold medallists Ken Wallace (Beijing in 2008) and Clint Robinson (Barcelona in 1992).
“GP2 was a good warm up for March,” Copeland said, referring to Olympic trials in Sydney.
“I’m just really focused on getting faster.”
The Olympic Team Selection Trials for K1 200 will be held on 1 March, while Oceania Championships are from 2-4 March and National Championships from 14-18 March.


Jack Graves wins 2012 Optimist Nationals

Jack Graves has won the 2012 Optimist Australian National Championship after consistent racing on the final day of the series. Conditions at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron were too strong for the Green Fleet to race with 18-20 knots from the south creating short choppy seas.
“I think it went better than I expected, to be honest,” Jack said. “I was really happy with my performance. Top five was my goal and I made that. I was a lot more organised than I am usually at regattas and that helps mentally as well.”
After a strong start to the series, Jack’s plan became conservative racing. When his lead extended significantly later in the series he began to take more risks on the course.
“From then on I just tried to keep low scores like top fives which I managed to do alright,” Jack said.
The top end of the Open Fleet was dominated by New Zealanders. Alastair Gifford was the highest placed Kiwi finishing second followed by fellow New Zealander Lola Stoodley in third.
“I reckon this club is a really cool club and Brisbane is just really fun,” Alastair said. However, when asked if he would consider moving to Brisbane, he emphatically answered no.
The top five Australian competitors have now qualified to represent Australia in the next Optimist World Championship in the Dominican Republic later this year. Alistair Young, Jim Colley, Kyle O’Connell and Kye Evans will all join Graves in the Caribbean.
Winner of the Green Fleet, Shannon Dalton was thrilled with her success after only ten months of sailing an Optimist.
“Mum and Dad are really proud of me. I didn’t think I’d do very well because I haven’t been sailing very long.” Shannon plans to race in the Open Fleet at the next nationals.
After racing was abandoned and rescheduled during the event due to strong winds, race management still managed to fit 15 races for the four open fleets.
“I think it was a fabulous regatta,” said Rob Ware, Chairman of the Jury. “The race management was really good, the kids’ behaviour was good and the quality of the sailing was just excellent so it was very pleasing all round.”
To view the final race results visit

Clare Murray

The Royal Hobart regatta burgee frames The Protagonist, skippered by Colin Denny, president of the Maritime Museum of Tasmania.Keen sailors front up for 174th Royal Hobart Regatta

The Royal Hobart Regatta is second only to Sydney’s Australia Day Regatta in longevity, celebrating its 174th anniversary on a perfect late summer’s day in the capital of the island State of Tasmania.
Regatta Day has been a public holiday since 1838 when the then Governor, Sir John Franklin, declared it a day of recreation and fun afloat and ashore for the citizens of the then small Hobart Town on the banks of the River Derwent.
Sir John and Lady Franklin led a sail past to the regatta grounds, still used today, and with a benevolent gesture, turned on free beer and food for the populace.
Tasmania’s current Governor Mr Peter Underwood AC arrived by water, too, on the historic launch Egeria, but his Government House budget no longer runs to providing drinks and food for the citizens of this city, now some 250,000 people.
However, His Excellency certainly gets into the spirit of the Regatta, mixing with the spectators on the lawns and presenting medals to winners of the swim race across the Derwent, as well as having lunch with Regatta officials.
Unlike Sydney’s Australia Day Regatta, the Royal Hobart Regatta retains its original concept of a “people’s day” with sideshows, wood-chopping contests, Miss Regatta parades and musical entertainment ashore as well as swimming, rowing, powerboat, dinghy and keelboat racing on the river.
Sailing his Farr 40 War Games, Banks-Smith and his crew took line honours in the 23-boat fleet in a constant 14-16 knot south-easterly seabreeze, gusting to 19 knots.
Winner of the historic Lipton Trophy, decided on PHS handicaps, was the smallest boat in the fleet, Greg Rowling’s J24, Another Toy, from Ian Johnston’s Portabello and John Hunn’s Atilla.
War Games sails past the Regatta flagship, HMAS Melville, as TasPaints runs down to the leeward mark.The AMS division saw a win for Ian Stewart’s Mumm 36 TasPaints from Colin Denny’s new Beneteau First 40, The Protagonist, and Total Locks and Alarms, skippered by John Mills. This was the first race for The Protagonist under an AMS rating, with an AMS division introduced for the first time in this year’s Royal Hobart Regatta.
In the non-spinnaker division Keith Bolton’s Mottle 33, Tara, took first place on corrected time from another Mottle 33, Bahloo (Nigel Grey) and the Young 88 Footloose (Ian Stewart).
Another sailor lining up again after competing in the Bruny Island Race the day before was 12-year-old Angus Calvert, who sailed his first long ocean race aboard Auch, skippered by Richard Scarr.
Angus was back sailing his Sabot, notching up three seconds in his class in the Yardstick races for centreboard class dinghies.
“He had a ball in the Bruny Island Race but after nearly 17½ hours at sea on Auch he is still rather weary,” added his skipper. “But he still wanted to get back on the water in his Sabot.”

Peter Campbelll

Australia’s oldest vessel still floating, Admiral, built in 1865 was a shining star among the stellar turnout which graced Launceston Wooden Boat Rally.Oh Daddy, Joy – the Pipes, the Pipes are Calling

Ashtrays may come and go but of all the pipe-smoking accessories I have ever owned the most cherished of all was a 26-foot, carvel-built, traditional gaff-rigged yawl by the name of Seabird.
With the arrival of our first child imminent, my halcyon days of blithely puffing black cavendish tobacco were completely snuffed out. It wasn’t until later – in the actual delivery room – that the horror of a chilling realisation crept over me. Along with the cellophane packets of pipe-cleaners, tampers, reamers, rests, Peterson’s and Turkish block Meerschaum’s that I had so heroically binned – Seabird too had inadvertently been turfed out!
Lazily negotiating the Tamar River in Tasmania’s north east, in a gesture of genuine pity, or perhaps cold calculation, Michael handed me Molly Jean’s tiller.
The scenery here is not a million miles away from that of Arthur Ransome’s beloved Lakes District – and just like Nancy Blackett – Molly Jean too is a sailing cutter with cheerful lines who, like any self respecting Swallow, is always ready to take on yet another jolly adventure. At 92 years of age, she’s no doubt seen quite a few.
Dotting the left bank, held fast by silt and tangles of reeds, derelict boats lay orphaned, abandoned, or just simply forgotten. Somber cenotaphs to glorious afternoons with family and friends that, in former golden youth, goose winged, rowed or just drifted their way across these sanguine waters.
Along this stretch, the chatter of children has long faded. Gone too are the harsh bellows of impatient husbands and the sharp stinging tears of trembling brides struggling to make good a bowline. The soft scraping of varnish from wood is also a sound now banished to distant memory.
Hauling the mainsheet on our homeward approach, the impossible sight of a river brimming with life once more bewildered me beyond measure. Gaff- rigged couta boats waltzed in romantic slow motion on faint zephyr breezes, elegant steam launches chuffed languidly as pretty sailing dinghies bobbed happily in berths. Runabouts in gleaming mahogany burbled by with beaming skippers casting nods our way.
High on the boardwalk above, exquisitely varnished rowboats and canoes winked cheerfully in the sun. Gliding upon her own reflection, Tasmania’s oldest vessel, Admiral, dipped all six oars in harmony as she headed upstream.
wooden boatsIf the signage on shore was genuine – and not additional stage dressing for an elaborately orchestrated yacht brokering sting – I had sailed straight into this year’s Launceston Wooden Boat Rally.
Sitting there alone in Molly Jean’s cockpit; admiring golden hues of oiled wood and the weathered patina of her bronze fittings, I came to notice the faint whirr of an electric bilge blower followed by the distinctive aroma of black cavendish wafting from a vent in the vicinity of ever widening nostrils.
With the truffle-rich incense now taking effect, as no doubt intended, and the marvellous glow of a pinot noir slowly spreading, I swiftly succumbed and made a frantic call to my bank manager.

John Dean

Maritime Museum finds Royal Charlotte shipwreckMaritime Museum finds Royal Charlotte shipwreck

An Australian National Maritime Museum expedition currently taking place on the Coral Sea has located the remains of the India bound ship Royal Charlotte, wrecked in 1825.
Led by museum curator and maritime archaeologist Kieran Hosty, the 24 divers and observers set out from Gladstone, Queensland, on 4 January to look for the ship’s final resting place.
The 471-ton, wooden three-masted Royal Charlotte was en route to India with a contingent of troops when it ran aground in June 1825 on the inaccurately charted Frederick Reef, approximately 450km off the Queensland coast, during a gale.
Built in India, the ship reflects aspects of Australia’s strong colonial links with Asia.
On running aground, most of Royal Charlotte’s crew, the soldiers and their families moved to a small cay (Observatory Cay) which was partially submerged at high tide. They used timber and cargo from the wreck to build up the sand cay and to repair their boat, which was soon dispatched to Moreton Bay for help.
The survivors huddled for six weeks on the sand cay and the wreck of the Royal Charlotte, perched high and almost dry on the reef just ¾ mile south-west of the cay, with water and provisions salvaged from the ship. They were finally rescued by the government brig Amity on 1 August 1825.
Just two days out of Gladstone the museum team, hauling magnetometers (submersible metal detectors) from small boats, located a site ‘of interest’ and found timber, a gudgeon and pintle (rudder fittings) which appeared to be from the wreck. In the subsequent days they located copper fastenings, an anchor chain, anchor and cannon that confirmed they had found the Royal Charlotte.
“We are elated,” Hosty said. “Very few Indian-built ships have been identified and surveyed and there has been much excitement in the expedition team.
“Locating the remains of the Royal Charlotte provides us with interesting historical detail and information on convict and troop transportation in the 19th century.”
The Australian National Maritime Museum has three curator / maritime archaeologists and a shipwright, who is also an expert diver. All four are taking part in the Royal Charlotte project.
The 18-day expedition, which is operating from the Gladstone-based vessel MV Kanimbla and Silentworld II, is mounted by the ANMM in collaboration with Silentworld Foundation*, part of Silentworld Ltd, an Australian shipping company that operates in the South Pacific and the Caribbean.
This is the same dive team that in January 2009, located and identified the government schooner Mermaid wrecked in 1829, 20km south of Cairns.

* The Silentworld Foundation is a not-for-profit Foundation established to further Australian maritime archaeology and research, and to improve Australia’s knowledge of its early maritime history.