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.

Magpie C169

Boat Details

Sail Number:
Boat Location:
Blairgowrie Marina, Blairgowrie, Vic.
Current Custodian:
Ben Pedersen
Year Built:
Designer & Builder:

Brian DeLacy at West Rosebud, Victoria.

Timbers Used:

Ribs and Transom: Celery Top Pine
Deck: Iroko

Length: 20 ft. 4 in.
Beam: 8 ft. 4 in.
Draft: 2 ft. 6 in.


Custodian: Brian DeLacy; 2011 – 2013
Magpie was built by Brian 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,

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 15hp engine and a 3 blade 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
In late 2013, Ben Pedersen purchased the boat. Ben’s construction company built the new Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron (BYS) clubhouse, and this reinvigorated his interest and love of timber boats.

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.

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.

Race Record

2016: 1st Lacco Cup, Sorrento, Vic.
2019: 1st Race 3, Division 2, Wooden Boat Shop Series, Sorrento, Vic.
2020: 2nd Handicap, Division 2, Portsea Cup, Couta Boat Association, Portsea, Vic.
2020: 3rd Line Honours, Division 2, Portsea Cup, Couta Boat Association, Portsea, Vic.

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