Custodian: Stan Stevens; 1930s
Maud, originally named Mayflower, was built for Stan Stevens by Peter Locke Jnr. in Queenscliff, Victoria in 1931 and worked as a fishing vessel. The precise date of the change of name from Mayflower to Maud is unknown, as is much of Maud’s early history.
She is carvel planked in Kauri with a Jarrah keel, Red Gum stem and copper fastened throughout. She also has a shallower draft than normal at 2 foot and 9 inches, as she was built to fish out of Barwon Heads, a short distance south west of Port Phillip Heads and had to cross the sandbar at the entrance to the Barwon River.
The contract for her building shows that Locke charged £210 for the entire vessel including rigging and sails, with 1/3rd as deposit and the balance upon delivery. The quote did not include an engine, yet Locke included the engine beds so presumably Stan Stevens sourced his own.
Custodian: Harry Blyth; 1930s. – 1960s
Maud worked as a fishing vessel from 1931 to the 1960s. At some time during this period she passed into the custodianship of Harry Blyth, also of Barwon Heads.
Custodian: Graham and Sam Belottie; 1960s – 1996
From the 1960s until 1996, Maud operated as a fishing vessel out of Apollo Bay on the south west shipwreck coastline of Victoria. In this period, she was owned by Sam Belottie and his son, Graham.
Custodian: Brett Almond; 1996 – 2000
In 1996, Maud was acquired by St Leonards’ boatbuilder, Brett Almond from the Belottie family in Apollo Bay, Victoria. Brett brought her back to Queenscliff and restored her. Once restored, she raced very successfully in Sorrento Couta Boat Sailing Club (SCBSC) regattas over the next four years winning many races.
Custodian: Jim Black and Andrew Scorgie; 2000 – 2008
Custodian: Jim Black, Peter Crofts and Andrew Scorgie; 2008 – 2010
Custodian: Peter Crofts, Andrew Scorgie and John Tiller; 2010 – Present
In 2000, she was acquired by Jim Black and Andrew Scorgie and subsequent syndicate custodianship has reflected those closely involved in sailing her; Peter Crofts joining in 2008 and John Tiller replacing Jim Black in 2010. Under this custodianship, she has raced on a much more social and local basis, in some SSCBC regattas but mainly local Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club regattas, winning the Commodores Cup twice and early Geelong Wooden Boat regattas.
Whilst not taking racing seriously, the current owners are proud of a tale that now is a part of Maud’s folklore.
We were returning from Sorrento after a race and time at the bar. The wind was getting up from the south east and it was a nice reach back. We passed the Queenscliff ferry leaving Portsea before the ferry had time to pick up speed, causing passengers to comment about the mad, out of control, sailors sailing at such speed. My daughter, returning from visiting friends advised those around her. ‘That will be my father and his mates’. She was right! A watercolour painting now commemorates the event.
Maud is currently in good condition, fitted with a diesel auxiliary engine and gaff rig, and is moored at Queenscliff.
Association with Queenscliff Maritime Museum
During this period from 2000, a strong relationship with the Queenscliff Maritime Museum Inc. (QMM) was established. Some points of note are:
– Maud, like other local Couta Boats, has undertaken refit and restoration work in QMM’s Couta Boat shed, becoming a working exhibit for QMM. During one such period, meeting a visiting Ballarat man who holidayed at Barwon Heads as a child and on one special holiday had gone on a regular fishing trip on Maud with his father and her normal crew.
– Maud features along with other Queenscliff boats in the two children’s books about the Queenscliff Couta fleet written by current owner Andrew Scorgie and others: ‘Defiance Goes to Sea’ and ‘Defiance to the Rescue’.
– Maud’s scale model, which was commissioned by John Tiller, is now part of QMM’s Couta Boat exhibit and received its own christening from the Vicar of the local Anglican Church: St George’s Queenscliff, with its own Couta Boat weather vane and port and starboard lights.
– Maud was an early, if not first, Couta Boat included in ‘The Australian Register of Historic Vessels (ARHV)’ at the Australian National Maritime Museum.