Seagull was built by Alex Lacco in Rosebud, Victoria in 1960. She was built without a centre-plate casing and was powered by a 3 cylinder Lister diesel. She was fitted with an auxiliary mast and jib as many boats did while they transitioned from sail to power. Seagull operated as a successful charter-fishing boat that worked out of Portarlington on Port Phillip until 1985.
Custodian: Tim and Jamie Sutcliffe; 1985 – 1995
Custodian: Jamie Sutcliffe; 1995 – 2017
In 1985, brothers Tim and Jamie Sutcliffe purchased Seagull and took her home to Portsea on the southern end of the Mornington Peninsula where she spent the next 18 months in her original configuration as a pleasure craft along the Portsea coastline. Late in 1986, she was taken up to the Sutcliffe’s vineyard Peninsula Estate Winery at Red Hill where she undertook extensive refurbishment with the skilled hands of Len Dobson, a renowned boat builder of the day.
The old cabin and deck were removed and replaced with a new beautiful laid Queensland Beech timber deck and a new more traditional two-berth cabin with an extensive cockpit area. Fitted with a new 20 hp 3 cylinder Nanni Diesel, she was the envy of many boat owners, sailors and spectators around Port Phillip.
Moored just off the old Sorrento Aquarium, Seagull could be seen from the Portsea and Sorrento clifftops cruising along the coastline, from Blairgowrie to the Portsea Quarantine Station vicinity and across the bay to Queenscliff.
Geoffrey Sutcliffe and his sons Tim and Jamie were renowned yachtsmen and had owned several Couta Boats since 1960. In those earlier years they would frequent the seaside town of Mornington for the summer holidays. With a steady progression from sailing Couta Boats to ocean racing keelboats, with an extensive list of yacht classes in-between, they eventually gravitated back to their love of Couta Boats.
After the death of Tim in 1995, Jamie kept Seagull in honour of his brother. Vale Tim.
Over the next 10 years, Seagull was used for cruising on Port Phillip between Portsea and Mornington, and as far as St Kilda Pier. Whether her crew and guests were fishing for King George Whiting, diving for scallops or jigging for calamari along the coastline, she was the perfect all-round day party and fishing boat.
Circa 2009, Seagull made her way to the seaside fishing port of Robe in South Australia where she spent the next three years catching crayfish and the sort after South Australian King George Whiting beyond the Robe Obelisk and the famous Robe Long Beach.
In 2012, Seagull was fitted with a new engine and was given a refurbishment before her massive journey to the Gold Coast in Queensland. She was loaded onto a long haul truck and transported across south east Australia 2,200 km to her new home at Main Beach, South East Queensland. For the next five years Seagull set the scene for classic timber boats, cruising the Gold Coast, the Broadwater, to Wave Break Island and around Stradbroke Island and Morton Bay.
One of the saddest days of Jamie’s life was in 2017 when, after 32 years of proud custodianship and some significant milestones, it was time for Seagull to return home to Port Phillip waters of Portsea and Sorrento. But he knew that part of Tim would always be at the helm of Seagull. Tim was a member of the Couta Boat Club from the early days.
Custodian: David Sainsbury; 2017 – Present
Seagull was purchased by David Sainsbury, principally to be used for fishing and family cruising.
David is a keen fisherman. Having spent his childhood fishing on Port Phillip, particularly out of Rye, the appeal to own a boat was strong. Seagull is used predominantly as his fishing boat and as a place for David to seek some solitude and peace from the pressures of work.
I try to get to the mooring and turn the engine over at least once a week.
Fishing is David’s passion; frequently he will fish off the mooring and when time permits he will take Seagull out further, drifting for calamari between Portsea and Blairgowrie, at the southern end of the Mornington Peninsula.
As well as being used for fishing, David ensures that his wife and young family also gain some pleasure from Seagull in pleasure cruising. Occasionally they will cruise along the shoreline to Portsea and also venture out into the middle of the southern end of Port Phillip to Pope’s Eye.