Dawn was built on the beach at Rosebud, Victoria by Alec Lacco in 1958. She was commissioned as a ‘fishing party boat’ and at 30 foot, was built longer than a standard Couta Boat, with a broader beam and a very shallow draft. This build is due, possibly, to the lack of deep water at Rosebud from where she was launched.
She operated as a charter vessel out of Williamstown in Melbourne for almost 20 years. However, the name of her owner during this period is not known.
Custodian: Philip Myer; 1983 – 1996
Philip Myer, who at the time lived on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, purchased Dawn in 1983 to operate as a charter boat out of Queenscliff.
After the purchase, Philip gutted her almost entirely, which included removing the wheelhouse and about ‘half a tonne of fishing gear’ to convert her back to a Couta Boat. He also inserted a centre-case and rigged her for sailing.
Once she met survey regulations, Dawn was used under sail to charter patrons from the Queenscliff Hotel, on the condition that the weather was conducive to pleasure sailing. But after 13 years of service to the hotel patrons, Philip decided to sell.
Custodian: Sam Haysom; 1996 – Present
Sam Haysom purchased Dawn in 1996 and campaigned her in the Couta Boat fleet that operated out of Sorrento Sailing Club (SSC), later to become Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (SSCBC).
Because she was not a standard 26 foot, Dawn sailed in the Division 2 fleet. But her sail plan is massive, compared to the standard 26 foot boat; the headsail takes three people to trim in a strong wind.
She is particularly good in strong winds due to her size and uncatchable on a broad reach.
Sam raced Dawn competitively from 1996 until 2013. In that time he was able to rally some young and enthusiastic crew who, although initially lacking sailing experience, grew to be very accomplished Couta Boat sailors. Consequently, Dawn won many Division 2 races over the years including the Queenscliff Maritime Regatta White Jumper in 2011. Dawn was also successful in winning the SSCBC Club Aggregate for Division 2 in the 2011 season.
In 2015, Sam transferred to Sydney for work and Dawn was transferred to the local Couta Boat fleet at the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club located on Sydney Harbour. She competed in the 2015 inaugural Couta Week on Sydney Harbour and Pittwater, along with other Couta Boats from Sydney Harbour, Pittwater and Victoria.
Dawn is now retired from competitive racing and is used for pleasure sailing, namely, for picnics and swimming.