It is believed Victoria, not her original name, was built in the 1930s by the Lacco’s at Rosebud in Victoria.
A regular pattern in the 1930s along the southern coast of Victoria, was the migratory habits of snapper and ‘couta during the winter months, which encouraged a number of fishermen that normally fished Port Phillip to seek the seasonal fishing grounds, principally around the port of Lorne, Victoria.
Because of the exposed anchorage at the Lorne Pier, the boats had to be smaller and lighter than the usual ‘couta fishing boats, so they could be hauled out onto the pier when heavy seas prevailed.
With the opening of the Lorne ‘couta fishery in 1934, fishing out of Lorne Pier became popular, so did the demand for the smaller boats. Constructing a clinker or lapstrake boat, is significantly faster than a carvel, in that the overlapping planks don’t require as precise shaping and fitting. Clinker construction was a quick and less expensive option to meet a sudden demand. Victoria is believed to be one of the many smaller clinkers built in response to this demand.
In the decades of the 1930s to the 1980s, the location of Victoria is not documented. It is possible, however, that for some years she continued to fish out of the port of Lorne and also on Port Phillip, before being converted to recreational use. Her history is charted, though, from the late 1980s.
Custodian: Peter and Sally Hannah; 1988 – 1992
This Victoria was found barely floating at Hastings in 1988 and restored by Peter and Sally Hannah at the Wooden Boat Shop (WBS) in Sorrento, where she was fitted with a new centre case, lining boards and floors. Once restored, Victoria competed in Couta Boat Club racing events in 1989 and 1990, before her owners Peter and Sally commissioned the 26 foot Armadale.
Whilst quick to construct, a clinker ‘works’ in a sea, as it is only the roved or clenched nails that hold the planks together, and with modern day sail plans, and a fresh breeze, she used to take a few inches of water when working up wind. Her low freeboard saw the foredeck under water when going down wind in any sea!
Custodian: Richard Ingersole; 1993 – 2014
Victoria was sold to Richard Ingersole in 1993, and for some years was moored in Camerons Bight to the west of the Blairgowrie Marina. She was rarely seen in Couta Boat Club events thereafter. In June, 2014, Victoria was wrecked, unsalvageable, on the Blairgowrie beach when a storm broke up part of the marina, driving it ashore and the Victoria with it.