Wooden Boat

Association of Queensland


Members' Articles

Making the “Bill Roland-World Famous Spar and Oar Sander”


Many years ago, Bill Roland demonstrated at a “show-and-tell” a spar-sander he made from a trailer wobble-roller. Whilst the detail faded, the concept remained in the memory and, faced with some oars that needed serious sanding, I set about to make one. So here is Bill’s original idea modified and updated.


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The Len Johnstone Story.’ by George Lestor, 1990


I am proud to share this story of my late sailing mentor and friend, Len Johnstone. I wish to thank the Lestor family for their permission to reprint the story that initially was contained in the book ‘History of the Sandgate Sailing Clubs 1897-1990.’ Ian Kirk.

‘The Len Johnstone Story.’ by George Lestor, 1990.

Len Johnstone

A legend in his own lifetime.

Without doubt, the most outstanding and remarkable small boat skipper produced in Sandgate, Queensland, Australia and possibly the world would be Len Johnstone.

Outstanding for his successful career in 12 and 16 ft. Skiffs, outstanding for his natural ability to ‘tune’ a boat for maximum performance, outstanding for his ability to rig and set up a boat, outstanding for his ability to win in the most demanding of all small boats-the completely open 12ft. and 16ft. Skiffs.

These were the older type skiffs-no buoyancy to allow righting after capsizing. A capsize meant finish. No automatic bailers, no exotic sail cloth, no modern fittings and aluminium spars, no trapeze, but heavy steel centreboards, spars, rigging etc. Those who have sailed in this type of boat know the skills required to stay afloat and still drive the boat hard. Those who have never sailed in this type will never know, as sailing skills were far different in those boats.

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Vacuum Bagging


Talk to the WBAQ Monthly Meeting July 2016 - Jim Jones


During the restoration and re-painting of Sea Lark, I decided to apply Silky Oak veneer to the transom. This could be easily applied by vacuum bagging. To do this I needed to build a DIY vacuum bagging system as professional systems were way out of reach.

Vacuum bagging uses a vacuum pump to extract the air from inside a vacuum bag and by doing so compress the part under atmospheric pressure in order for the clamping and hardening process to take place.


Link to full article.

Members Coastal Cruising 2016; article submitted by Ian Kirk

Ian Kirk recounts a coastal cruising passage with two WBAQ members by sail from Moreton Bay to the southern GBR & return

June 2016


source The Log, WBAQ August, 2016


WBAQ members Ivan Scott, Bruce Morris and Ian Kirk departed from Macleay Island on Ivan’s 10 metre Crowther catamaran ‘Dakini’ for a cruise north on Monday 20th. June.      Initially the trip was entitled ‘Three men in a Boat’ but that somehow in the rampant camaraderie of three mates sailing up the coast morphed into ‘the Cruise of The Cabin Boy’, Bruce being given that title as it was his first foray into the big briny. Of course Ivan was known as ‘Skipper’ because, well, he owns the bloomin’ boat. Ian was then designated ‘First Mate’ because he’d sailed the waters many a time before. Each day ‘Skipper’ would pass on the forecast of winds from the west but somehow northwest was the reality. Of course this on day one meant a nasty bash up to Mooloolaba because duh, the northwest channel runs--?


After recovering from this onslaught to the senses and some feelings of consternation for the green (at the gills too!) ‘Cabinboy’ the torn trampoline was pull-tied together and the hardy crew headed north for Wide Bay in yes, yet another northwester. At least it was light this time. This of course meant a mammoth 16 hour beat with ‘Dakini’ crossing the bar at dawn. This momentous occasion was promptly celebrated with a belated curry dinner beautifully cooked by the ‘Cabin Boy’s ‘wife Debbie. Naturally this was washed down by celebratory glasses of Merlot at 6.30 am. After a big rest ‘Dakini’ headed north into the Sandy Straits where Gary’s anchorage and later lunch at Kingfisher Resort were enjoyed by the ‘Three Men in the boat’.

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Hobart Festival

General view of the festival


Like a child in a chocolate factory, it was hard to know where to start.  The miles of marina packed with magnificence, or the scores of small boats ranging from furniture quality to restoration opportunity.  The MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart from 6 to 9 February this year was something to behold.
In addition to the look and feel and admire boats of all sizes, the place was alive with activity.  Children (of all ages) rowing and paddling in Constitution Dock and beyond; demonstrations of most things related to wood and boats; the sail past; rowing events; tall ships (although two were missing due to bad weather); harbour cruises; the Open Boat program; it was all there.
The WBAQ, including wives and friends, had a sizeable contingent present. Between the lot of us, there are probably enough photos for a picture night lasting well over a fortnight (I can only contribute 489). Queensland boats I spotted included Classic (see cover photo), Laurabada, and Pagan.
With side trips to the Franklin Wooden Boat Centre, the Tasmanian Maritime Museum and Mt Wellington on a clear day, all made this first trip for me to the famous festival a real highlight. Edward Elcock

Book Review: A Manual of Boat and Yacht Sailing, Dixon Kemp By John Milne

I was interested to read Martin's Kortlucke's note a while back on "American Sailing Craft" (1936).  It helped to explain to me the wide interest in Australia in wooden boats from that part of the world.  My own inspiration comes from the Brits and the rise of the British Victorian gentleman's indulgence in yacht racing.  My great grandparents emigrated from England bringing with them a copy of Dixon Kemp's sailing manual printed in 1880 - the year my grandfather was born.  My grandmother and her brothers were involved in yachting out of Bulimba at the turn of the century - not the last turn, the one before.

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Building an Iain Oughtred “Gannet” - Ian College

Building an Iain Oughtred  “Gannet”  - Ian College

"Never build an ugly boat" is good advice when choosing the design of a boat.  There are so many lovely designs that a choice is difficult.  I wanted a boat that sailed well, was small enough to sail solo and yet large enough to comfortably take another adult or a couple of grandchildren.  Although I had never seen a "Gannet" I liked the look of the Iain Oughtred boats I had seen.  The "Gannet" seemed to fit the bill.  It is 4.4 m. (14?5") long, beam of 1.73m. (5?8"), sail area 10.96 sq. m. (118sqft).

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Noosa Classic Boat Regatta Messabout

Noosa Classic Boat Regatta Messabout

Ron Prescott


Once again the messabout we held in conjunction with the Classic Boat Regatta was a great success. The Regatta was very well attended and  filled the marina at Tewantin.  The boats were on display to the public till 11:00 a.m.  There was a varied selection of gleaming varnish and polished fittings, mainly power boats of all shapes and sizes. 

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