Custodian: David and Sue Hopkins; 2002 – 2006
Couta Boat C134 was built for David and Sue Hopkins at the Wooden Boat Shop in 2002 as a Division 1 boat. Her dimensions are: length 26 foot 6 inches, beam 10 foot 5 inches and draft 3 foot 3 inches. She is built of Kauri planking on Celery Top ribs, Hardwood keel, African Teak deck and Oregon spars.
The owners christened C134 Susan which they fondly remember as giving them great enjoyment through racing at Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (SSCBC) and other club activities, including participating in the opening of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Custodian: Jenny and Merv Baird, Donna and Peter Osbourne, Geoff and Wendy Stops, Jeremy and Rhonda Trotman; 2006 – 2009
On 15th August, 2006, C134 passed to the Leeuwin syndicate, none of whom had daughters, wives or girlfriends called Susan at the time, so it was decided to rename her. After a draw for naming rights, the winning syndicate member Geoff Stops named her Leeuwin after his favourite winery and winemaker, the Leeuwin Estate winery at Margaret River in WA.
The original Leeuwin syndicate was formed from a group of friends who met through association with another captivating wooden boat, the Minnow dingy, sailed from SSCBC by their children, who now sail Leeuwin in the hugely popular ‘Next Gen’ races. Initially, the Leeuwin syndicate comprised Merv Baird, who first organised the group and continues to do so with great competency, Merv’s wife Jenny, Peter and Donna Osbourne, Geoff and Wendy Stops, and Jeremy and Rhonda Trotman.
The syndicate model Leeuwin uses has been modified only slightly over the years and has worked well for the syndicate as a group and the individuals involved as the second oldest surviving SSCBC Couta Boat syndicate, surpassed only by the Kate C305. The key is to start with good like-minded people.
Custodian: Jenny and Merv Baird, Jenni and Phil Cooke, Donna and Peter Osbourne, and Jeremy and Rhonda Trotman; 2009 and 2010 – 2017
Over the years, the Leeuwin syndicate has successfully weathered multiple syndicate changes: Phil and Jennie Cooke joined up in 2009, Geoff and Wendy Stops left for New York in 2010.
Custodian: Jenny and Merv Baird, Chris and Sally Clapp, Jennie and Phil Cooke, and Jeremy and Rhonda Trotman; 2017 – 2020
In 2017, Donna and Peter left the syndicate while Chris and Sally Clapp joined.
Custodian: Jenny and Merv Baird, Chris and Sally Clapp, Jennie and Phil Cooke, Peter George, Philip McLean, Paul Skafte, and Jeremy and Rhonda Trotman; 2020 – Present
In COVID cursed 2020, the syndicate’s long standing Leeuwin crew were reinforced by SSCBC members Peter George, Philip McLean and Paul Skafte.
At the time of preparing this record in 2021, the syndicate has owned Leeuwin and actively participated in racing at SSCBC for 14 years. Over the time they have had many podium finishes in handicap events and with many highlights such as The Sorrento Cup, which was raced in 2017 for the first time since World War I and won by Leeuwin on Handicap.
Leeuwin has always supported KPMG Day each year and a memorable highlight in 2007 was that Leeuwin won Division 1 Handicap and, arguably, Line Honours as well. Regrettably, the skipper and crew never got to leave the bar! The reality was somewhat less grand, as the wind on the day was so strong that sailing was abandoned. But not to be outdone, Club Captain James Mighell wanted a winner and drew the name ‘Leeuwin’ out of a barrel. Hence, the syndicate believes it can justifiably claim the Handicap win and Line Honours!
In 2008, at the same event, sailing was again abandoned due to strong winds and, again, James was keen to produce a winner. Yes, Leeuwin was drawn again as the winner, our unique claim to Couta Boat fame!