Wooden Boat Quality and Performance come Alive in Geelong



Whether under power or under sail, the popularity of the wooden boat remains high.

This unique major biennial event, run by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) is held over the Labour Day long weekend every second year, alternating with the famous Hobart Wooden Boat Festival. 2018 marks the 8th year of the Geelong event. Nearly 150 wooden boats from dinghies to Tall Ships coming from all neighbouring states will be in port hosted by RGYC.

The Wooden Boatshop (WBS) and Yanmar engines (distributed by Power Equipment) have partnered to sponsor the event. This is already a longstanding and highly successful partnership combining the extensive specialist skills and knowledge of WBS with the acknowledged reliability and performance of Yanmar diesel engines.

WBS had been installing Yanmar engines in new boats and re-powers well before it became an official Dealer when Power Equipment was formed in 1990. WBS’ iconic Couta Boats were almost exclusively powered by Yanmar engines. Even more have been installed in yachts and luxury launches. Hundreds of these engines ply the waters of Port Phillip and associated waters.

Yanmar has become the accepted standard in the wooden boat fraternity, driven by performance, reliability, efficiency and service support. The partnerships between WBS, Yanmar and Power Equipment have established southern Port Phillip as ‘Yanmar territory’. (Note: Port Phillip is officially NOT a ‘Bay’.)

The evolution of leadership

From the 1970s WBS installed Yanmar engines in the majority of their Couta boats because “The GM/YM series was a quantum leap in technology beyond others available at the time,” WBS’ Wayne Parr said. “They had new technology, were of modern design, compact and light in weight – ideal for Couta boats.” Hundreds of these trusty engines still ply Port Phillip.

Then followed the JH series, also light and compact and widely used in the WBS ‘Nepean’ launches. The 4JH80 was the first Common-Rail Yanmar diesel in Australia, acclaimed for its lower noise levels and reduced vibration.

‘Cheviot 32’ launches, the ultimate day boats, were fitted with Yanmar 6LP or 6BY engines – smooth, quiet and very fuel efficient. From this evolved the ‘Efficient 44’ powered by the 500hp Yanmar 6CX530 –the lightest engine in its horsepower range while still far exceeding future EPA requirements.

Most recently WBS’ classically styled ‘Shearwater 38’ launch arrived, fitted with the Yanmar 8LV370. The latest Shearwater 38 nearing completion, ‘Squally Cove’, will boast the first Yanmar Common-Rail 6LY440 in Australia.

Wooden Boatshop is equipped for handling all manner of vessels, with comprehensive facilities at Sorrento and Queenscliff, and a team of qualified shipwrights and trained technicians. Backed by Yanmar and Power Equipment, WBS has the resources to undertake all your wooden boat mechanical and engineering requirements.

Old and new – traditions continue

Among the many wooden boats featuring at the Wooden Boat Shop Yanmar Geelong Wooden Boat Festival, 2018 are some fine examples of the WBS-Yanmar (Power Equipment) partnership.

Stuart Dickson and ‘Patternmaker’: Patternmaker is a 40ft Adams-designed cutter-rigged boat. While the design dates from the 1980s, Stuart Dickson built Patternmaker over 20 years and it was finally launched in 2011.

Stuart says Patternmaker, named for his late father’s lifetime trade, sleeps up to six people and is “a serious ocean-going boat – taking you virtually anywhere on the planet if you wished”. While the original design did not have such a big engine, Stuart wanted more power plus reliability. He did a lot of research and got a lot of help from Wooden Boatshop as to what the Adams 40 could accommodate and how to package it in. So a 54hp Yanmar 4JH naturally aspirated diesel went in. “I can’t speak highly enough of the Yanmar motor. It’s been fantastic,” he commented.

Stephen Shanasy and ‘Torea’: The cutter Torea was designed by Charlie Peel and launched in Sydney in 1938. It is listed on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels (ARHV). Stephen found Torea for sale in Sydney in 2004.

With his son David he journeyed north and on a short test sail through the Heads they “simply fell in love with it” even if it did need a little TLC. Upon arrival at the Wooden Boatshop, Tim Phillips said simply, “that’s a beautiful boat”. Torea then spent 1600 hours over 10 months in 2005 undergoing a refurbishment. It then made two return trips to Hobart for the Wooden Boat Show there (2009 and 2011) powered by the existing Yanmar 2QM15 (14hp circa 1978).

With several hundred hours clocked up this engine was reliable but, before the third and most recent trip to Hobart, Torea returned to WBS to be fitted with a new Yanmar 3YM20 21hp engine. “We immediately noticed the extra power which gave us better control of the boat, and the fuel usage is actually 50% less. I wish I’d bought the new engine earlier – as much as the old engines are good, the new engines are fantastic – just outstanding.” Today, after four years and 288 hours, the Yanmar hasn’t missed a beat.

At the Wooden Boatshop Yanmar Geelong Wooden Boats Festival 2018. There is something for everyone on land and on the water from the Friday evening to the Monday afternoon. The program includes events, presentations, exhibitions and activities and a Grand Parade of boats – a cavalcade of sail.

Naturally, there will be a big program of events on the water including the Festival Wooden Boat Passage Race from Portarlington to Geelong, Classic Wooden Yacht Cup, Couta Boat Cup, a Modern Wooden Boat Race, the Oslo Cup and a Wooden Power Boat navigation rally.