Sail Number C31
Location of Boat Sorrento
Owner’s Name David Barnes, Michael Golding, Tricia O’Brien, Stephen Wyatt
Built Year 1931
Builder Ken Lacco at Rosebud Victoria


When the well-known wooden boat builder, Tim Phillips, purchased Lucy in the early 1980s, she had been renamed ‘Diane’. For the current owners, this is a surprise discovery and indicates that Lucy has a history that is yet to entirely unfold. As is often the case with heritage boats, Lucy’s 86 years of history will take some unravelling, relying largely on the oral records proffered by her various owners and crews from the 1980s and onwards.

Lucy was built by Ken Lacco in 1931 at Rosebud and it was widely assumed that she was named after Ken Lacco’s mother, Lucy. But according to Tim Phillips, Lucy was named after Ken’s elder sister, Lucy, who created her own pedigree in the world of wooden boats. For some time Lucy worked locally as a sailmaker, and when she was living in Queenscliffe, she made oil skins under the instruction of their father, Mitch Lacco. Later, Lucy worked as a sailmaker at Radins, a Melbourne company, thus demonstrating her own dedication to the family tradition.

Lucy was one of the first of the couta boats that Ken Lacco built after the Lacco family relocated from Queenscliffe. Of note, the first couta boat he built back in Rosebud was Rob Roy, currently owned by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Lucy was built for Ken to go long lining snapper ‘up the bay’. She was used as a fishing boat in the vicinity of Rosebud, Mordialloc and Williamstown. She was also used to fish out of Apollo Bay and then at San Remo where she was worked as a fishing boat until the 1960s. Suffice to say, it is difficult to obtain any detail regarding this period in Lucy’s life. We can assume however, that in keeping with the tradition of couta boat vessels, as a working fishing boat Lucy made an invaluable contribution to the fishing industry in Victoria, and of that we are proud.

From the information provided by Tim Phillips it is apparent that Lucy underwent some alterations in her time as a working fishing vessel but, sadly, she also deteriorated into a state of disrepair. When Tim salvaged Lucy in the early 1980s from her resting place in Hastings on Westernport Bay, she was not far from sinking on her mooring and, in Tim’s words, “full of worms”. Further, she had been substantially altered from her original couta boat configuration. The centre-case was removed and a cabin had been added by Jack Pompei, the boat builder from Mordialloc. But sadly, Jack is no longer around to reveal his working knowledge of Lucy. When Tim purchased the derelict Lucy she was, in fact, named ‘Diane’ but he instantly recognized her as a ‘Lacco boat’. Ken Lacco was able to verify that the boat was actually Lucy, which he had built in 1931. ‘Diane’ was quickly reverted to Lucy, her original name, much to the pleasure of Lucy Lacco.
Lucy remained in Tim Phillip’s ownership for a short time until she was purchased by Warick Leeming in 1983. They worked together in the carport of Tim’s mother at Delgany Ave Portsea to restore Lucy to her original condition. Tim declared that he worked ‘round the clock’ on the restoration. They were ably assisted by Warwick’s 12 year old son who had the pleasure of sailing Lucy in the Scotch College Sea Scouts regatta in Portsea over the coming Easter. In the process of this massive restoration Tim used wooden shearlegs and a block and tackle to install the centre-plate. When finished, Lucy was striking in her navy blue and Cumberland stone colours, and beautifully restored and preserved for her future life on the water as a racing couta boat, after her many years of service as a fishing vessel.

In the following years Warick Leeming raced Lucy out of Sorrento Sailing Club and was successful in winning numerous races, including the Portsea Cup. Warick maintains that Lucy is a very fast upwind boat. Having proven Lucy’s successful racing pedigree over the next five years, Warick sold Lucy to buy Kate, a Division 1 boat.

Lucy was next purchased by Andrew Molloy who moored her off Shelly Beach in Portsea. It was in this period that Lucy, again, almost succumbed to the elements, having slipped her mooring in a gale and ending up on the beach.

In 2002 Lucy passed into the hands of David Todd. David undertook an overhaul of Lucy to restore her to pristine condition, including applying 2- pack epoxy paint on the hull and fitting her with new Rimmington sails. David painted Lucy in the port-wine colour to match Kate. The current syndicate is intent on maintaining this classic colour to highlight Lucy’s heritage features. After eight or so years of successfully racing Lucy (see Records Section), David passed on the custodianship of Lucy to a syndicate of sailors at SSCBC.

Lucy was sold to the syndicate comprising David Barnes, Michael Golding, Tricia O’Brien, Stephen Wyatt in 2010. The syndicate members have continued to sail Lucy regularly in both the Summer and Winter Series at Sorrento and have been successful in ensuring that Lucy continues to preserve her racing pedigree. Significant wins are recorded in the Race Record section.

In addition to the regular club racing Lucy has competed in the annual ISAF Regattas conducted out of both Sandringham and St Kilda. She has also been successful in regattas at the Bi-annual Wooden Boat Festival at Geelong in 2014 and 2016. The journeys to and from such regattas constantly test her crew’s capabilities in terms of endurance and sailing skills, but the pure sensation of sailing an 86 year old couta boat through the waters always brings immeasurable pleasure to her owners.

Beyond the racing competitions the current owners are also intent on maintaining the ‘heritage’ pedigree of the historical Lucy by using her for recreational pleasure. On occasions Lucy is used for fishing, she is a regular participant in the annual “Catch a Fish Day’ held on Good Friday.

Acknowledgement is made of the following contributors: Tim Phillips, Warick Leeming and David Todd
Compiled and Authored by Tricia O’Brien in 2017

The following notes are taken from Tim Phillips

“The Lucy we know was definitely built by Ken Lacco for himself for long line & snapper fishing up the Bay, he thought he launched her in about 1931.

Lucy is an old Lacco name & Ken’s mum was Lucy too, the eldest daughter was Lucy, she was a special friend of mine in the early 80’s, we use to talk for hours.
Forti Lacco, was Kens grandfather a fisherman.

Mitchell died in 76 (always remember this as it was the year colour television came in) aged about 92 or thereabouts so in 05/06 he would have been 20 or 21 so I would surmise it was him sailing & that he called the boat after his girlfriend or wife.
Mitchie is in the Dromana cemetery, he outlived both wives.

I don’t know if Fortie did any racing, but Mitch was very keen and a sought after helmsman in the Melbourne based Yacht Clubs
They reckon he was always away racing that why he went broke at Queenscliff in about 1925 and sold out to Peter Locke

They moved back to Rosebud in about 1929 and young Kenny took over the business, the kids didn’t have shoes, they lived off the sea!

Should write the book, when I’m dead all this history will go??”



Race Record

Significant wins in Division 2 at Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club

2003 – 2004 Season

2004 – 2005 Season
Snap Printing Winter Series – 1st Handicap
Cascade Match Race Series
Around Mud Island Race

2006 – 2007 Season
Portsea Cup – Line Honours

2011 – 2012 Season
Series Aggregate –2nd Handicap
Barloworld Nationals 2nd Handicap

2012 – 2013 Season
Series Aggregate – 2nd Handicap
Popes Eye Cup – 1st Handicap
Barloworld Nationals 2 nd Handicap
Dean World Cargo South Channel Race 1st Handicap

2013 – 2014 Season
Portsea Cup – 1st Handicap
Lacco Cup – 1st Handicap

2014 – 2015 Season
Series Aggregate – 1st Handicap
Barloworld Nationals 2nd Handicap
Wooden Boat Festival Geelong Couta Boat Cup 1st place.

2015 – 2016 Season
Series Passage Aggregate 1st Line Honours – 1st Handicap
ISAF SWC Couta Boats (St Kilda) – 1st Handicap
Barloworld Nationals 1st Handicap
Wooden Boat Festival Geelong Couta Boat Cup 1st place.

2016 – 2017 Season
CBA Couta Boat Victorian Championship – 1st Handicap


OK Nationals – 2013.14

Lucy crew December 2015


Lucy C31 WBS Yard

2016 GANT Portsea Cup

Warick Leeming Days

WBS Yard 2010

Boat Measurement in Detail

C31 Lucy 22′ 4.5″
Hull LOA
FWD (Fwd Mastface Fwd Stem) 7′ 1.0″
AFT (Aft Mast Aft Transom) 14′ 11.0″
BOBSTAY to waterline
Sails LP (Luff perpendicular)
Ballast Ballast Weight 800 kg
Engine Yanmar 2GM20
Compliant YES