Long-time favourite at Hobsons Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) Indi sits alongside Ferguson Street pier entertaining with temptations to pack up & sail away. In 2013 we took ownership from the Finlay family who understood she was coming into skilful hands for a restoration to her former glory. After a lot of painstaking work we are chuffed with how she looks and sails.
Built to the William Atkin, Ingrid design inspired by the great Colin Archer north-sea double ended rescue boats of the early 1900’s. The keel was laid and hull constructed by Lackington Brothers Port, Melbourne between 1948 & 1951. She was carefully fitted out by young engineer Alex Finlay and in 1957 Indi was trucked to HBYC and launched the dream of sailing the world. Family intervened and Indi has instead sailed waters of SE Australia & New Zealand.
When shipwright & budding naval architect Reuben Kent and dad Graham came along, Indi needed an overhaul. We stripped her out, replaced garboards, floors, ribs to the waterline, engine and all systems. To get off the hardstand we worked round the clock while Reuben took odd jobs in the boat yard and restoring tall ship Alma Dopel, while Graham enjoyed long service leave.
The restoration philosophy was to be faithful to tradition maintaining original curved panelling style, varnished openings and the honest yacht look. Unique to Indi is Alex’s program of continuous improvements. We honoured this by evaluating each and modernising without compromising heritage. Modifications include a fridge and a composting toilet. Alex’s son Ross remains involved, popping in to check on progress, helping out and keeping his chief deck oiler status.
New floors are recycled Red Gum, new engine beds are timber salvaged off the Ferguson St. Pier. Old Blackwood ribs were replaced with Tasmanian Celery Top also used for new benches, lockers & drawers. The Leyland motor 2nd hand in 1975 was replaced with a smooth running new Yanmar 54 hp. Indi’s fourth engine!
We stripped old fibre glass off the spruce rig and rebuilt the box section masts with recycled Canadian Douglas Fir (Reuben’s payment for rebuilding a HYBC member’s H28 garboard). We eye spliced new galvanised wire rigging which we parcel and served by hand. Christmas Eve 2017, we had our first sail in almost 2 years to the day. What a feeling!
Stories of older members who have sailed aboard Indi are plenty. These, as well as stories of Alex’s special bits and pieces, inspired us to stay true to the original and traditional. After all the work it’s nice to stand on the old boat’s original Celery Top deck and know she’s as strong as ever.
HBYC members have remarked that Reuben must have used every bit of knowledge gained through his apprenticeship & shipwright skills learnt at the Sorrento Wooden Boat Shop under the guidance of Tim Phillips. Here he learnt his trade in an environment seldom seen today, building and sailing Couta boats the real way.