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 so that it can be added to the Register.


Boat Details

Boat Location:
Not known
Current Custodian:
Not known
Year Built:
Circa early 1900s
Length: 26ft.
Beam: 8ft. 6ins


Custodian: Frank Durance; circa 1969 – 1980
Bob Durance tells his father Frank purchased the boat when she was moored off the then known Sorrento Aquarium at the southern end of Port Phillip, Victoria. Later she was moved to a mooring off the other side of the Sorrento pier.

At the time of purchase the boat was known as Josupa, apparently after the former custodian’s three daughters Jo, Sue and Pat.

She was fully rigged and, notably, had two ‘dead eyes’ on each shroud for tensioning the rigging. Shortly after the purchase she was repainted in a striking aqua blue.

In the 1970s, before the popular resurgence of the Queenscliff fishing Couta Boat as a competitive sailing boat, Josupa was sailed in the Portsea-Sorrento waters by the Durance family, along with other historical Couta Boats, particularly Mermerus and Heather.

Bob Durance recalls:

She was still quite solid, although my father used to sail her gently in deference to its age. Before Couta Boat racing took off, Mermerus, Josupa and Heather had an annual race for a few years. I was astounded to learn what Josupa could really do when one time Ted Mackinnon (custodian of Mermerus) sailed her hard in a stiff breeze. He didn’t seem to think that her age was an issue and I guess he was right because nothing broke.

Each year Josupa was pulled out of the water for scraping, painting, caulking etc. at a place that was then known as the docking area and managed for many years by Tally Erlandsen, sometime custodian of Ripple, and which is adjacent to his jetty on the foreshore opposite what is now Erlandsen Avenue, Sorrento.

Although there was a winch there, my father bought an old tractor which was kept at our place in Darling Road in Sorrento. Dad used to drive it down to the docking area when required to tow out our boat and any others that might be coming out at the same time.

Josupa was sold around 1980. An apparent restoration by her new custodian was planned in a shed in outer Melbourne; before this occurred, however, she was destroyed by fire.

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