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.
Peter Locke, Queenscliff, Victoria
Planking: Carvel in construction
Hull and Deck: New Zealand Kauri
Mast and Gaff: Oregon
Coaming: Celery Top Pine
Custodian: Tommy Warren; c1941 – 1950s
Jessie was built by Peter Locke in Queenscliff, Victoria for Tommy Warren, circa 1941. She is 19 foot 6 inches in length. Her planking is carvel in construction, her hull and deck are of New Zealand Kauri, her mast and gaff are of Oregon, and the coaming is of Celery Top Pine.
Custodian: Ivan Tulloch; 1950s
It is understood that after working out of Queenscliff, Jessie spent a good part of her working life operating out of Portland where she was owned by a number of commercial fishermen who used her for cray fishing. She was first transported to Portland in 1955 by Ivan Tulloh, the retired Head of Longerenong Agricultural College near Horsham, Victoria. Local Port Fairy boatbuilder Garry Stewart recalls that as a young boy of about 10, he occasionally fished with Ivan on Jessie. At the time, Garry’s father also had a boatyard in Portland.
Custodian: Theo Lewis;
Custodian: Barry Shepherd;
Custodian: Herb Shaw;
Following Ivan Tulloh’s custodianship, Jessie was sold to Theo Lewis who was a commercial cray fisherman and could carry 21 pots on Jessie. Other custodians were Barry Shepherd and Herb Shaw.
Custodian: Tim O’Meara; 1990s
In 1992, a severe storm hit Portland and unfortunately for her custodian at the time, Tim O’Meara, Jessie was badly damaged. Her bow lines ripped the bow out of her and she sank.
Tim had been using Jessie as a pleasure boat but was deterred by the enormous task of salvaging and restoring her. However, Garry Stewart purchased the wreck from Tim and set about rebuilding Jessie, working on her at intervals between other boatbuilding jobs over the next five years.
Custodian: Garry Stewart; Mid 1990s
The restoration of Jessie was finally completed in July 1997. The work involved fitting a new stem, some new ribs, a new Kauri deck from 80 year old timbers taken from the old Ballarat Brewery building in Ballarat, Victoria fitting a new centre-case where the old motor had been and installing the new motor further aft. A new Oregon mast and gaff were made and the old mast converted to become the boom.
Custodians: Jock Bromell and Richard Walter; Late 1990s – 2016
After her restoration, Garry sold Jessie to Port Fairy locals, Jock Bromell and Richard Walter. She was well maintained during their custodianship and was inspected by Garry Stewart annually when on the slipway for maintenance. Garry also carried out marine surveys as requested by their insurance company.
Jock and Richard and their families used Jessie as a pleasure boat for 19 years. While Jock used her mainly for fishing, Richard’s family used her for the pure joy of sailing a Couta Boat in the Southern Ocean. Several of the grandchildren learnt to sail in Jessie, but there came a time when they decided that they were not utilising Jessie sufficiently to warrant keeping her. Jessie was advertised ‘For Sale’ on the condition that they retained possession until the end of January, 2016. Like many boats in Port Fairy, Jessie was sold to existing residents of the town.
Custodians: Heather and John Clue; 2016 – Present
Jessie is now owned by Port Fairy locals, Heather and John Clue, who use her for recreational sailing. She remains berthed in the marina at Port Fairy.
Custodian: Jed Macartney; 2023 – Present
In 2023, Jessie was purchased by another Port Fairy local, Jed Macartney.
Jessie still remains in Port Fairy waters moored in the same location in the Port Marina. Jed and his family intend to use her for recreational boating, including sailing and fishing.