Custodian: James Gibson; 1987 – 2013
Cheviot was built in 1987 by James Gibson at the Wooden Boat Shop, Sorrento, Victoria under the supervision of Tim Phillips.
The Gibson family commissioned Cheviot to be built after James’ previous boat, Rose, which sank in the deep water in the Portsea Hole while cruising off Portsea, at the southern end of Port Phillip. She was recovered some years later – see a separate entry under Spitfire. James took a gap year from his studies so that he could build the boat under the supervision of Tim, his brother-in-law.
Cheviot was very active in the Couta Boat Club events and was sailed at the time, by one of the youngest crews in the fleet. She is one of the few Sorrento built Couta Boats built in more recent years that has sailed in waters beyond Port Phillip. She was transported by ferry to Hobart, Tasmania in 1996 to attend the Wooden Boat Festival. There she sailed the River Derwent, using zinc ballast lent by the mining company, Pasminco Smelter for the week, as well as being on display in the docks. She created such interest that the local television lifestyle programme ‘Healthy, Wealthy and Wise’ filmed a segment on Couta Boats whilst aboard the Cheviot.
A year later she was trucked to Sydney for the Classic and Wooden Boat Festival. In a warm-up race on the Wednesday afternoon prior to the regatta, Cheviot finished ahead of all the keel boats in her division and finished in amongst an earlier starting division passing many of the modern ½ tonners.
The week culminated in the 125th Anniversary Gaffers Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour. A number of boats from Sorrento participated, including Muriel, and the Australian Maritime Museum allowed Thistle to compete in the fleet which also included a large number of Ranger yachts, as well as other classic yachts of all sizes.
Back home on Port Phillip, Cheviot maintained an impressive race record winning many events. Of particular note was taking Line Honours, Division 1 in the Portsea Cup in 1997 and 2001 and 1st Handicap, Division 1 in the 2013 Portsea Cup.
James remained an active participant in Couta Boat Club events, both on and off the water until 2013 when the Cheviot was sold to a syndicate: Glen Draper, Gus Haysom, Sam Haysom and Stuart Smith, all members of Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (SSCBC).
Custodians: Glen Draper, Gus Haysom, Sam Haysom and Stuart Smith; 2013 – Present
Initially, the new owners raced Cheviot regularly out of the SSCBC, with some commendable placings in the Couta Boat Association Nationals and other major events.
After Sam moved interstate, the other owners continued to race Cheviot, although more sporadically as they all had young families. However, they use her regularly to fish and picnic with their families. In time, they look forward to campaigning Cheviot on a regular basis.
Cheviot is much loved. We think she is one of the most beautiful boats in the fleet.