Custodian: Brian DeLacy; 2011 – 2013
Magpie was built by Brain DeLacy in his shed in West Rosebud, Victoria over a period of seven years. Construction commenced in 2004 and the boat was launched in 2011. She was built to a set of plans purchased from the Wooden Boat Shop (WBS) in Sorrento. Tim Phillips supervised the project. To this day, Brian declares that:
Without Tim’s constant help, the boat would not have been built; thanks to Tim it was finished to the highest of specifications.
For Brian, the process of the build gave him immense satisfaction. Brian was a recreational fisherman so the boat was fitted with a larger capacity 15 hp engine and a 3-bladed propeller. He named the boat after a friendly Magpie that kept him company in his shed throughout the construction.
Magpie was moored at Rosebud and used for fishing. Although Brian regularly used her for recreational fishing, the boat was rigged for sailing. And when he had his mates on-board, they occasionally enjoyed a sail to Dromana, over four nautical miles east of Magpie’s mooring.
Due to a change in his work circumstances, within two years Brian was looking for a buyer.
Custodian: Ben Pedersen; 2013 – Present
Ben Pedersen purchased the boat from Brian in late 2013. Ben has a love of the area, having spent his childhood summers in Blairgowrie, with close family friend Gil Flanagan, a well-known yachtswoman who has delivered countless yachts around Australia. Ben recalls:
As little kids, we spent hours at the boat shed and fishing off Vandra, which was Gil’s family Couta Boat passed down from her father and accomplished sailor, ‘Grandad’ Bill Osborne.
Ben’s construction company built the new Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron (BYS) clubhouse, and this reinvigorated his interest and love of timber boats. And when Brian DeLacy was looking to sell Magpie, Ben acquired her.
Over the next five years, Ben used her with his young family, taking them fishing and passing on the timber boat passion. Andrew Skinner helmed Magpie to win the Division 2 Lacco Cup in 2016, with Wayne Parr and Moose Johnston. Ben was then persuaded by Tim Phillips to sail her more regularly in the Division 2 fleet out of Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club. In the 2019 season, Tim helmed Magpie in several close races, claiming victory in the WBS Series Race 3.
On the suggestion of Tim Phillips, for the 2020 season, Ben seconded experienced sailor Stephen Atherton as the regular helmsman and to pass on to Ben his expert knowledge in racing and fine tuning a boat. This arrangement has proven to be an enjoyable and successful one for both Ben and Stephen: the highlight being a 3rd over the line and 2nd on Handicap in the Division 2 fleet in the 2020 Portsea Cup.
As her helmsman, Stephen regards Magpie to be:
A beautiful little Couta Boat that sails well, particularly to windward; she deserves to be out on the water as much as possible.
Magpie is moored in Camerons Bight, Blairgowrie, Port Phillip.