Gisella, formerly known as Julia, was built by Gary Edwards at Barwon Heads on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria in 1999.
Custodian: Gary Edwards; 1999 – 2000
Following his restoration of another Couta Boat, Sarah C40, Gary set himself a challenge to build a boat from scratch. Through a family connection he contracted Ken Lacco to design a ‘big 21 footer’ Couta Boat to be used for fishing out of Barwon Heads.
The construction was undertaken in Gary’s shed at Barwon Heads where he applied his skills in cabinet making and carpentry to complete the project. Her keel, stem and stern post were constructed out of Spotted Gum, the planking out of Indonesian Kauri (Damar Minyak), the deck beams out of Oregon, and the decking out of Queensland Beech. On her completion, he named her Julia after his second daughter.
After her completion, she was moored on the Barwon River, close to Gary’s home. As fishing was Gary’s pastime, he made good use of Julia to fish the waters at Barwon Heads, even managing to catch the occasional ‘couta in the local waters. He also sailed Julia for recreation. But Julia was in Barwon waters for a brief time only.
Custodian: Jamie Spencer; 2000 – 2004
In 2000, the year following her launch, Gary sold Julia to Jamie Spencer. Jamie sailed Julia at the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (SSCBC) in the Division 2 competition until 2004 when she was sold to John Lessels of Paynesville on Gippsland Lakes on the south east Victorian coastline. Repairs were undertaken and the original Volvo engine was replaced with a Yanmar 2YM15.
Custodian: John Lessels; 2004 – 2009
John sailed Julia out of Paynesville until 2009. During 2009, the tabernacle and mast were modified by Timber Boat Works, Paynesville for use at Patterson Lakes, Victoria.
Custodian: Scott Botrill; 2009 – 2014
She was then sold to Scott Botterill who brought her to outer south east Melbourne and occasionally sailed her out of Patterson Lakes. She remained in Scott’s custodianship for five years.
Custodian: Andrew Somerville; 2014 – 2017
Julia then returned to the Gippsland Lakes after she was purchased by Andrew Somerville in 2014. Keel repairs were undertaken and the centre-case was replaced by Timber Boat Works, Paynesville. She was obviously successful, winning the 2017 Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club Championship.
Custodians: Colin Arcaro and Graeme Mee; 2017 – 2019
In 2017, Julia was purchased by Colin Arcaro and Graeme Mee, and shortly after the purchase they renamed her Gisella. During 2017, a three bladed propeller was replaced with an Austral two bladed propeller and the ballast was increased from 500 kg to 845 kg. Then in 2018, new sails by Doyle Sails, Melbourne were fitted.
With her new sails fitted and her relocation to the SSCBC, a new era began for Gisella. She quickly gained a reputation as a successful competitor in the Division 2 fleet. In 2018, she won both Line Honours and Handicap in the San Pellegrino Cup.
Custodian: Graeme Mee; 2019 – Present
Graeme Mee is now the sole owner after Colin Arcaro sold his share to Graeme in 2019. In 2020, Gisella was 1st Handicap, Division 2 in the Portsea Cup after the race had been postponed twice due to unfavorable wind conditions.