Custodian: Tony Baxter; 1998 – 2009
In 1998, Port Fairy boat builder Garry Stewart commenced the construction of a Couta Boat ‘on spec’. In September of that year, Tony Baxter happened to visit the coastal town and wander into Garry’s boatshed, where he sighted ‘this lovely piece of work’ in the process of being built. So taken was Tony by Garry’s fine craftsmanship, that within one hour he had purchased the boat.
The Baxter family look upon the beautifully designed Emily, which may be around for the next 100 years, as a fitting tribute to their beloved infant daughter Emily who died in 1987. Vale Emily.
Emily was launched at Port Fairy in February, 1999. At this stage in his life, Tony was not an experienced sailor but he did not hesitate to sail her from along Bass Strait from Port Fairy to Port Phillip, with some family members on board. Having up to two tonne of lead in her, Tony knew that Emily would prove to be a very seaworthy vessel.
The journey was undertaken in two days with an overnight stay in Apollo Bay. The second day was sailed in mostly light winds, with some exhilarating sailing coming through The Rip at Port Phillip Heads in a flood tide and travelling at 11.5 knots. But Emily held course and delivered Tony and his crew safely to the Queenscliff Marina at the southern end of Port Phillip.
Queenscliff Marina became Emily’s base for the next few months, to where Tony travelled most weekends to sail her with family and friends.
The next phase for Emily was a pen at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron where Tony sailed her in the summer Twilight Series, and used her for pleasure sailing with family and friends. Sailing trips were made to various locations on Port Phillip, including: south to Sorrento, Queenscliff and Portarlington; east to Mordialloc Creek, and west to Limeburners Lagoon in Corio Bay.
In 2002, Emily moved to Royal Yacht Club of Victoria (RYCV) from where Tony sailed her in racing events conducted by the Classic Yacht Association of Australia. Emily, along with Eva WBC1 and Ella C129, competed regularly, and successfully won The Beazley Working Boat Trophy in 2005.
Emily remained at RYCV until 2009 when Tony decided to purchase a Dufour yacht for cruising. The agent Jason Antill in Sydney sold Tony the Dufour and, in return, purchased Emily.
Custodian: Jason Antill; 2009 – 2011
Jason introduced Emily to the local Couta Boat fleet at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) on Pittwater, NSW where he used her mainly for pleasure sailing and competed in the occasional regatta held on Pittwater. In this period, Jason painted her in a neutral white, a stark contrast to her cherry-red coat that had been applied by Tony Baxter some years earlier.
Having spent two years owning a classic wooden boat, Jason decided it was time to part with Emily. And at a weekly Tuesday lunch club attended by Pittwater sailors, he arranged a sale transaction with another member of RPAYC, Maurice Drent.
Custodian: Maurice Drent; 2009 – 2013
Custodians: Maurice Drent and Clive Knott; 2013 – 2016
Emily’s new custodian sailed her regularly in the RPAYC Couta Boat fleet. Then in 2013, Clive Knott bought a share in Emily. Under this duo custodianship, Emily was successful in winning the Gaffers Day for Rangers and Couta Boats and was placed 1st Handicap and off scratch, back to back, in the annual Pittwater Regatta in 2019 and 2020.
In the time of their custodianship, Emily was upgraded to be competitive and now has a full size mast, boom, gaff and jibboom plus racing sails.
In October 2013, Emily with six crew onboard, departed Pittwater and headed south to Port Jackson on Sydney Harbour, NSW to compete in the bi-annual Gaffers Day event hosted by the Sydney Amateurs Sailing Club (SASC). This was during the southern migration season of whales returning back to the Antarctic after travelling north to calve. A strong westerly of about 30 knots developed off Long Reef Headland and as Emily was approaching North Head, a whale calf breached a boat length ahead of her bow. The crew became concerned, not only about handling Emily in the sea and wind conditions, but also anticipating that the calf’s mother might want revenge for sailing over the top of her baby. Fortunately, she did not appear and Emily’s journey continued on and into Sydney Harbour.
After mooring at SASC in Mosman, the crew deliberated the risks of sailing in the Gaffers Day event, due to the increasing wind and state of the sea. The deciding factor was that they had already dealt with the risk of travelling down the coast and closely encountering a whale, so they were indeed up for the challenge.
To stem the impact of 40+ knot force winds, the crew put two reefs in the main and hoisted the No 3 headsail, and went on to win the Couta and Rangers Division of the Gaffers event.
Custodian: Maurice Drent; 2016 – Present
In 2016, Maurice once again became the sole custodian of Emily. He continues to sail her in the weekly races out of RPAYC with the support of a rotating crew of up to 12 sailors.
Emily is moored at RPAYC, Pittwater, NSW.