It is thought that Loama was built by Cayzer Brothers at Queenscliff circa late 1940s. However, reliable sources suggest that Loama has the markings of a Peter Locke boat and could have been built earlier, evidenced by a flat plank having been inserted where the transom curves around about the water line. In addition, her size of 21 foot 5 inches and marks of lifting hooks installed also suggest that she may have been built by Peter Locke, most likely in the early 1940s. She is very similar in design to another Peter Locke boat, Swan.
Her original owner is not identified. However, a conversation with local Queenscliff fishing identity, the late Louis Ferrier, revealed that she was originally built as a recreational boat for a Queenscliff local, rather than as a working boat. But it is also possible that she was owned by a fisherman who fished out of her in Lorne on the south-west coast of Victoria. The lifting hooks were used to hoist the smaller fishing boats onto the Lorne Pier at the end of the day, to protect the vessels from the exposed seas.
Custodian: Keith Parkinson; Unknown
A known fact is that Loama was owned by Keith Parkinson, the son of Blairgowrie fisherman Des Parkinson of Parkinson Fish in Point Nepean Road, Blairgowrie, at the southern end of Port Phillip. But the year of purchase is not recorded. Port Melbourne fisherman Dugga Beazley tells that at the time of Loama’s purchase, the Parkinson family also owned and fished out of Swan. But Loama replaced Swan as their main working boat; they removed the rigging from Swan and fitted it in Loama.
Custodian: Peter Galbally and Adrian Triaca; Mid 1980s – 1987
In the mid 1980s, when the Couta Boat fleet was gaining momentum in numbers at both the southern and northern ends of Port Phillip, Loama was sold to two newcomers to sailing: Peter Galbally and Adrian Triaca. By this stage, Loama’s centre-plate had been replaced with a checker plate and the boat was not adequately rigged for sailing. Adrian used to buy fish from Dugga Beazley, so he called on his services. Dugga arranged for boat repairer Charlie Strong to undertake the major repairs in Dugga’s backyard in Port Melbourne.
Once repaired, Loama was back on the water off St Kilda, but not for long. Once the owners sighted Dugga’s beautiful double-ender Volunteer, they decided they wanted a similar boat.
Custodian: Unknown; 1987 – 1997
Sometime in 1987, Loama was sold, but the name of her new owner is not known. However, when Ranald MacLurkin purchased the boat 10 years later in 1997, he acquired her from St Kilda and indicated she may have been used for competitive or recreational sailing in the vicinity of St Kilda.
Custodian: Ranald MacLurkin; 1997 – 2004
Ranald MacLurkin owned Loama for about seven years until 2004. During this time, she was berthed in Williamstown, rafted up at the Boyd Pier to one of Ranald’s other boats, the vintage Tasmanian river ferry Reemere.
Ranald raced her with the Classic Yacht Association of Australia (CYAA) fleet. For several years, Ranald also sailed her with about half a dozen other Couta Boats based in Williamstown, all of which would race a short course around Hobsons Bay on a Tuesday evening before retiring to either the Stags Head or Steam Packet hotels to reconcile the event. These Williamstown based Couta Boats included: Amanda, Ella, Eva, Jane, Loama, and Swan.
Custodian: Peter Denniston, Matthew Fewster, Joe Tuck; 2004 – Present
In 2004, Loama was purchased by a syndicate of Peter Denniston, Matthew Fewster and Joe Tuck, with the knowledge that she needed some work. She came out of the water six months after she was purchased, for a ‘one thousand dollar, one month paint job.’
After drying out for a couple of months, both garboard planks sprung off showing that all the nails had previously rotted away. At this point it became apparent just how poor her condition was. It would be three years later, after an extensive refurbishment by the owners and local shipwright Ian Currie, before she would go back in the water. She was completely re-fastened, fitted with some new planks, ribs, a new transom, thwart, rudder, center-plate, deck and deck joists. A new floor with an in-floor cooler was installed three inches higher to make for easier sailing.
Now in 2021, Loama is moored at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown, Victoria and has been sailed regularly since her restoration more than 12 years ago. She is raced with the CYAA fleet, with the owners taking turns at the helm; she won the CYAA Stradbroke Cup in 2012 and CYAA Summer Series in 2013. Loama continues to be used as a recreational boat, as originally intended, giving the three mates an opportunity to sail, fish and race together.
Even a trip up the river to fuel up or an inspection of other yachts moored at Williamstown can end up taking hours!