PHOTOS: BoatsAfloat 2013 takes to Narooma waters

THE eighth Narooma BoatsAfloat festival wrapped up on Sunday with 42 traditional boats and their crews again thoroughly enjoying the pristine, scenic waters of Wagonga Inlet.

Strong winds on Sunday morning forced organisers to call off the popular grand parade along the Mill Bay boardwalk, but spectators could still see the boats motoring around Forsters Bay and close up on the jetties.

The Narooma News caught up with committee members Malcolm McKay and Brian Craven on board Malcolm’s hand-built motor cruiser Paddy D.

“We had visitors participating from Perth to Melbourne and boats came from as Canberra, Port Macquarie and the Central Coast.”

Cancelling the grand parade was indeed a difficult decision made on Sunday morning based on the expertise of local mariners, they said.

Beautiful weather on Saturday made for great cruising as the boats sailed around Wagonga Lake out to Paradise Point.

This year’s Best Boat award went Eric Simes’ 21-footer named Legend that he built in his backyard at Coila Lake.

It took about 20 months to build out of Huon Pine featuring the classic sheer lines of a 1950s, 1960s Chris Craft speedboat.

“I wanted to get this boat faster than my previous boat Quest but with the same horsepower, and I succeeded,” he said.

And while the spectators would have had their own favourites, the decision by the five judges was apparently unanimous.

Building boats in backyards and sheds around seems to be great tradition and something special to Narooma.

Malcolm McKay is not only on the BoatsAfloat committee he is also a prolific boat builder and he likes to tell the story of how he waited for the quiet streets of Melbourne Cup day to tow the Paddy D, named after a grandson, down to the water.

He based the design on a photo he saw in a boating magazine of the cruiser Merna in British Columbia that was built in 1928.

It took him 12 months to build the electric-powered craft on his property off the Old Highway and he did have to take the roof off his shed to get it out.

Before that he built the Carmel J of similar design that also looked resplendent in this year’s BoatsAfloat with its dark blue paint set against the cold-moulded plywood.

Malcolm and Brian said the festival was not only great for the town of Narooma its also helped preserve the tradition of boat building, which was now unfortunately a dying art.

Narooma BoatsAfloat was an idea born eight years ago to bring like-minded people together to celebrate all that is wonderful about traditional boats. 

“We want to keep these wonderful craft in working order and foster interest in the young to keep them going forever," member Mark Westwood said.

The skills of boatbuilding continue when a retired boat-builder mentored a bunch of locals, who got together to form the Narooma Centre for Wooden Boats a few years ago and in a non-descript boat shed built a clinker boat from scratch. 

The members are currently restoring local boats in a pure labour of love with the added benefit of later cruising them on Wagonga’s waters.

Builder of this year’s Best Boat Eric Simes is indeed also a member, as well as being active with the Narooma Woodies wood-crafting group.

But building your own is not the only option for traditional boat enthusiasts who want to get out on the water - you can always buy one!

The vessels ranged in sizes, styles and ages with a couple of large ex-fishing vessels featuring this year, as well as local Narooma yacht Public Nuisance.

The Narooma Bridge needed to be lifted on Saturday to allow the yacht and the ex-fishing boat Lady-Jane to sail onto the lake.

Public Nuisance could be seen working the stiff winds on Sunday morning hard up on its keel, while mixed-breed dog Josie loved riding the breeze on the bow of the Lady Jane.

The biggest boat out on the water was ex-trawler Dael formerly from Bermagui and who knows before that, which has been lovingly restored by Canberra couple Steve and Jan Barnes with the help of a local tradesman.

The big blue-and-white boat along with many other traditional boats now call Forsters Bay and are ideal for sailing the inlet and further afield.

This year also saw a new partnership between Montague Arts and Crafts Society and BoatsAfloat, with an exhibition of MACS members’ art on display and for sale in two boat sheds on Forsters Bay.

Narooma artist Margaret Moran won the “BoatsAfloat Art in the Sheds” award for her watercolour “Waiting for the Men”.

There was also a solo show in the SoArt Gallery in Midtown Narooma featuring nautical-themed “oarsome” work of artist Sandy Musto.

“It’s been wonderful and boaties have been tickled pink with the show,” MACS member David Pye said.

“We’ve had quite a few sales and definitely would love to be involved again next year.”

The festival wrapped up with a barbecue and presentation at the Taylor’s boat slip sheds.

WINNING BOAT: Narooma BoatsAfloat president Smilie McGill with Eric Simes, winner of the Best Boat award for his 21-footer named Legend that he built at his home at Coila Lake.

WINNING BOAT: Narooma BoatsAfloat president Smilie McGill with Eric Simes, winner of the Best Boat award for his 21-footer named Legend that he built at his home at Coila Lake.

BEST BOAT: Winner of the Best Boat award - the 21-footer named Legend built by Eric Simes.

BEST BOAT: Winner of the Best Boat award - the 21-footer named Legend built by Eric Simes.

BOYS IN BOATS: The Narooma News caught up with committee members Malcolm McKay and Brian Craven on board Malcolm’s hand-built motor cruiser Paddy D.

BOYS IN BOATS: The Narooma News caught up with committee members Malcolm McKay and Brian Craven on board Malcolm’s hand-built motor cruiser Paddy D.

BOATING LEGENDS: Boating legends of Narooma include Charlie Bettini of the Wagonga Princess and Bill Taylor, owner of the slip way and boat builder of great experience.

BOATING LEGENDS: Boating legends of Narooma include Charlie Bettini of the Wagonga Princess and Bill Taylor, owner of the slip way and boat builder of great experience.

ART CREW: BoatsAfloat’s Brian Craven with MACS members Dianne Pye, Joyce Collins, Tony Pye, Ingeborg Baker and Gary Caldrow.

ART CREW: BoatsAfloat’s Brian Craven with MACS members Dianne Pye, Joyce Collins, Tony Pye, Ingeborg Baker and Gary Caldrow.

CATERERS: Caterers Garry Ebbeling and Dave Moore serve Heather McIldowney and Janice O’Shea from Melbourne and Sydney respectively and who came to sail on board Thumper.

CATERERS: Caterers Garry Ebbeling and Dave Moore serve Heather McIldowney and Janice O’Shea from Melbourne and Sydney respectively and who came to sail on board Thumper.

MOTOR WORK: Traditional boat motors can be temperamental and here Narooma’s John Glover works mid channel on the engine of his boat Goodrabigbee.

MOTOR WORK: Traditional boat motors can be temperamental and here Narooma’s John Glover works mid channel on the engine of his boat Goodrabigbee.

CHOOF N PUFF: Choof N Puff with its steam whistle is always a popular entrant.

CHOOF N PUFF: Choof N Puff with its steam whistle is always a popular entrant.

CARMEL J: Carmel looked resplendent in this year’s BoatsAfloat with its dark blue paint set against the cold-moulded plywood.

CARMEL J: Carmel looked resplendent in this year’s BoatsAfloat with its dark blue paint set against the cold-moulded plywood.

ELLA JADE: The Ella Jade came down from Moruya for BoatsAfloat 2013.

ELLA JADE: The Ella Jade came down from Moruya for BoatsAfloat 2013.

BELOW DECK: Chatting and relaxing in the cabin of the Paddy D are host Carmel McKay of Narooma, Faika Jappie of Brisbane and Susan Burgess of Bathurst.

BELOW DECK: Chatting and relaxing in the cabin of the Paddy D are host Carmel McKay of Narooma, Faika Jappie of Brisbane and Susan Burgess of Bathurst.

SEA DOGS: Narooma BoatsAfloat always features a couple of dogs and here is Josie shooting the breeze with owner Peter Duffy at the wheel.

SEA DOGS: Narooma BoatsAfloat always features a couple of dogs and here is Josie shooting the breeze with owner Peter Duffy at the wheel.

DOGGY REGULAR: Local dog Tack is a regular sailing on Chug with his owners Stewart and Bev Long.

DOGGY REGULAR: Local dog Tack is a regular sailing on Chug with his owners Stewart and Bev Long.

HUON ISLANDER: Locals Stewart and Bev Long’s magnificent cruiser Huon Island is perfect for cruising the inlet.

HUON ISLANDER: Locals Stewart and Bev Long’s magnificent cruiser Huon Island is perfect for cruising the inlet.

HUON ISLANDER: Locals Stewart and Bev Long’s magnificent cruiser Huon Island is perfect for cruising the inlet.

HUON ISLANDER: Locals Stewart and Bev Long’s magnificent cruiser Huon Island is perfect for cruising the inlet.

THE MELKIRDAN: The Melkirdan featured in the Narooma News last week and is a regular.

THE MELKIRDAN: The Melkirdan featured in the Narooma News last week and is a regular.

MISS MOLLY: Launching Miss Molly on Saturday morning.

MISS MOLLY: Launching Miss Molly on Saturday morning.

MV ALLWOOD: The classic MV Allwood is regular and came down from the Central Coast.

MV ALLWOOD: The classic MV Allwood is regular and came down from the Central Coast.

MV FISHER: The MV Fisher came down from Toronto, NSW.

MV FISHER: The MV Fisher came down from Toronto, NSW.

DRAGONS AHOY: The Narooma Blue Water Dragons are about to celebrate their new shed opening and had fun with the BoatsAfloat flotilla.

DRAGONS AHOY: The Narooma Blue Water Dragons are about to celebrate their new shed opening and had fun with the BoatsAfloat flotilla.

SAILING TIME: The yacht Public Nuisance joined the traditional boats for the sail out to Paradise Point on Saturday.

SAILING TIME: The yacht Public Nuisance joined the traditional boats for the sail out to Paradise Point on Saturday.

OFF SAILING: Boats head off after the Saturday sail past on Forsters Bay.

OFF SAILING: Boats head off after the Saturday sail past on Forsters Bay.

THE SEAL: The resident bull seal at Forsters Bay provided a lot of entertainment and was not fussed at all by the action.

THE SEAL: The resident bull seal at Forsters Bay provided a lot of entertainment and was not fussed at all by the action.

POLICE: Water Police and NSW Maritime checked boats on Sunday morning.

POLICE: Water Police and NSW Maritime checked boats on Sunday morning.

PRESENTATION: Carol Meindl and Elisabeth Craven at the presentation.

PRESENTATION: Carol Meindl and Elisabeth Craven at the presentation.

BEST BOAT: Winner of the Best Boat award - the 21-footer named Legend built by Eric Simes.

BEST BOAT: Winner of the Best Boat award - the 21-footer named Legend built by Eric Simes.

THE PRESENTATION: The presentation at Taylors boat sheds on Sunday afternoon.

THE PRESENTATION: The presentation at Taylors boat sheds on Sunday afternoon.

THE DAEL: Ex-trawler Dael formerly from Bermagui and who knows before that, which has been lovingly restored.

THE DAEL: Ex-trawler Dael formerly from Bermagui and who knows before that, which has been lovingly restored.

SHOOTING BREEZE: Josie loved shooting the breeze on the bow of the Lady Jane.

SHOOTING BREEZE: Josie loved shooting the breeze on the bow of the Lady Jane.

THE COOEE: The Cooee cruises out onto the lake on Saturday.

THE COOEE: The Cooee cruises out onto the lake on Saturday.

THE INDIAN: Steve from Sydney built the trailer sailor named Indian.

THE INDIAN: Steve from Sydney built the trailer sailor named Indian.

RAFTED UP: A collection of classic wooden boats rafts up in preparation of the sail to Paradise Point.

RAFTED UP: A collection of classic wooden boats rafts up in preparation of the sail to Paradise Point.

DOCKING: The Noosa docks with a full crew on board.

DOCKING: The Noosa docks with a full crew on board.

THE ANNE MARIE: The Anne Marie came down from Vincentia.

THE ANNE MARIE: The Anne Marie came down from Vincentia.

THE WHiSPER: The Whisper and its lone sailor flying a Canadian flag heads off onto the lake.

THE WHiSPER: The Whisper and its lone sailor flying a Canadian flag heads off onto the lake.

THUMPER: Thumper came down Penrith and sailed with a full crew that came from far and wide.

THUMPER: Thumper came down Penrith and sailed with a full crew that came from far and wide.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

UNKNOWN LAUNCH: We did not quite get this name of this traditional boat.

NSW Maritime and water police made an appearance on Sunday conducting vessel checks on the water.

Organisers are already planning for next year with a more formal “Plan-B” for inclement weather conditions and other improvements for the festival.