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Couta Boat

Name of Boat

Heather

Owner's Name

Mrs E M Gardiner 

Boat Location

East of Sorrento Pier or Shelley Beach, Portsea 

Registration No.

C 139 

Sail No.

C 139 

Dimensions

Feet & Inches  Outside of stem to outside of transom

Overall Length

28' 

Maximum Draft

3'6'' 

Maximum Beam

9'6'' 

Centreplate Case Length

5' 

Construction

Planking
Structure
Framing

Carvel Clinker
Open 1/2 Cabin Cabin

Rig

Gaff Lug

Ballast

Weight

 

Material

Lead 

Engine

Make

Yanmar 

Horsepower

25 

Heritage

Built

1926 

Builder

Blunt & Co (Williamstown) 

Designer

Charles Blunt 

History

Heather was built for the Minifie family c.1926. Moored in the Yarra river at Hawthorn, her mast was taken down to negotiate city bridges and this may have been the reason for her sale.

Acquired by businessman JT Thompson around 1928, the boat frequently ventured into Bass Strait to fish for yellowfin tuna and inside the Heads was used to fish for schnapper and whiting. A highlight of her fishing career (c.1935) was the landing of an 8-foot shark within Port Philip Bay, photographic evidence of which remains.

Ownership of Heather transferred to Mrs EM Gardiner upon JT Thompson’s death in 1954. She has been held in the family for over 75 years and in that time has been moored at either Shelley Beach or alongside Mermerus to the immediate east of Sorrento pier.

Over the years renowned boatmen who have maintained Heather include Len Howard, Joe Pertotto, Leon Lever and Ted Mackinnon. In recent times she has been refurbished by Tim Phillips, including installation of the obligatory Yanmar diesel motor. Heather’s original 14ft clinker-built tender has been similarly restored, making her one of few boats to have an original tender in working order.

 

Race Record

Although fitted with an “as new” set of sails in 2001, Heather is yet to make her racing debut. Built without a bowsprit and with a mast of below-average length, she is a gentle sailer and unlikely to challenge the modern-day coutas for speed or handling.
 

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