Always a crowd favourite. A large open hull of beautiful form, balanced by the long elegantly curved bowsprit. A Couta boat under sail is the boat that people watching from on shore inevitably say “wow, look at that!” My Girls was built by myself (an amateur boat builder) in NW Tasmania. I used Tasmanian timbers and built her dry seamed and clenched with copper nails. No different to how Queenscliff Couta Boats were built between the Wars. I was “kick started” and supported in this build by Wayne Parr from the Wooden Boat Shop in Sorrento, Victoria. Indeed, we were able to set the keel, stem and stern post, with transom, place the molds and ribbands and frame the boat and complete the garboard in two weeks; a time frame that the old guys used in their hay day. Quite an achievement. From that point on, Wayne left me to myself, but returned for the centre case.
My Girls maiden voyage was from Smithton to Hobart, via the the East Coast of Tasmania. Three men in a boat and what a trip. A big SE blow on the first night tested her well. But the highlight was an afternoon nudging 13.6 knots as we caught waves and scooted along in front of the sea breeze from Eddistone Point to St Helens. An open boat with a long keel and a gaff rig, a reef in the main and a number 3 jib up, sitting upright as you could wish for, with not an ounce of concern, and doing almost twice hull speed.
A classic wooden boat that embodies the essence of sailing. Simplicity and beauty. And she’ll look after you in a blow.