The profiles listed in this Register have been documented from the stories and photos contributed by custodians and others who willingly shared information. Readers who have additional information about the history of any Couta Boat are invited to forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that it can be added to the Register.
Wooden Boat Shop, Sorrento, Victoria.
Planking: Australian Red Cedar
Ribs: Huon Pine
Custodian: David Currie; 2016 – 2023
Bella was commissioned by David Currie and built at the Wooden Boat Shop (WBS) in Sorrento, Victoria in 2016. She was built at a length of 26 foot.
David was an Etchells sailor, but after sailing with Nick Williams on Wagtail, his interest in the Couta Boat class and the quality of the competition was ignited. During post-race drinks on the deck of Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, David saw plenty of familiar faces from his days in Etchells and ocean racing, many with the grey in their hair like him.
In 2014, David purchased Swan Bay, a beautiful boat but heavy, sluggish in a tack and slow to accelerate. However, the boat was not providing the competitive excitement that he was searching for.
It wasn’t long before David spoke to Tim Phillips about the new way of design and production at the WBS. Two ‘regatta boats’, Georgia and Jocelyn, had already been built and were very successful. They were the new way in design and construction by Tim and his team at the WBS. Thus the Bella story began.
Built by Tim Phillips, the boat is at the other end of the spectrum to Swan Bay.
It tacks quicker, accelerates out of a tack and has better overall speed on all legs of sailing. Being built of lightweight timbers, these boats do have a tendency to open up a bit when out of the water for winter maintenance. Put them back in for a new season and they do leak for quite some time before eventually closing up again. In one race at Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, Bella was doing very well. So much so that some complained that they were using their engine! It was just the bilge pump excreting surplus water and not the engine exhaust.
Launched in 2016 and named after David’s daughter, Bella was an excellent performer in light airs. But David wanted a more all-round performer. This challenge was achieved by adding more ballast and commissioning flatter sails. The boat now performs at the front end of the fleet in all breezes and has an impressive race record, including overall line honours in the 2017 Nationals and the 2018 Portsea Cup.
Custodians: Rob Curtain, Colin Mitchell, Bernard O’Hanlon & Chris Thomas; 2023 – Present
In 2023, a syndicate of experienced sailors in the Couta Boat Division 1 fleet at SSCBC was formed to purchase Bella. Rob Curtain, Colin Mitchell, Bernard O’Hanlon & Chris Thomas continue to campaign the now named Bella Blue in the Division 1 fleet and were successful in her podium place of 2nd Line Honours in the 2022-2023 CB Aggregate.
Bella Blue is moored off the jetty at Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club.
2017: Equal 1st Line Honours, National Championships, Couta Boat Association, Pittwater, NSW
2018: 1st Line Honours, Portsea Cup, Couta Boat Association, Portsea, Vic.
2018: 3rd Handicap, Portsea Cup, Couta Boat Association, Portsea, Vic.
2018: 3rd Line Honours, Season Club Aggregate, Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, Sorrento, Vic.
2019: 2nd Handicap, National Championships, Couta Boat Association, Sorrento, Vic.
2020: 1st Line Honours, Trophy Race, Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, Sorrento, Vic.
2020: 2nd Handicap, Trophy Race, Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, Sorrento, Vic.