Another classic wooden boat was launched at Narooma on Friday with the ‘Mavis Minnie Francis’ taking to the water on the birthday of her namesake.
The 13-foot waterman’s skiff was built by Chic Osgood with a little help from the men of the Narooma Centre for Wooden Boats after he was diagnosed with cancer and named after his mother, whose birthday it was on Friday.
And the launch of the Mavis Minnie Francis comes just in time for this year’s Narooma BoatsAfloat traditional boat festival coming up on November 11-13.
There are more than 50 traditional boats expected and the best time to catch them all is in the grand parade on Sunday morning when they will all steam under the Narooma Bridge and along the boardwalk.
And Mr Osgood is very pleased to be able to enter the Mavis Minnie Francis into the festival.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “My father had boats like this before and after World War II and this is just like the skiff he used to sail. My family can’t believe we were able to make a boat of this construction.”
He started building the little boat about 10 years ago in his garage at Bermagui before later moving the bare hull to his son Van’s shed at Wapengo Lake.
But he has since had a battle with cancer including several rounds of chemotherapy and that’s when the men of the Narooma Centre for Wooden Boats stepped in and decided to finish the little wooden boat.
Mr Osgood was able to complete the planking for the hull before becoming too ill, and that’s when the boat building centre boys stepped in to finish off the ribs and other aspects of the construction.
“These guys have done an amazing job and should be considered regional treasures, if not national treasures.” he said.
Mr Osgood got the plans from a member of the Wooden Boating Society in Sydney who drew up the plans based on the remains of one of the last remaining vessels of its kind, an original 1947 Sydney Harbour skiff built and designed by Bill Fisher.
The Mavis Minnie Francis is built out of silver ash and some cedar from Dorrigo, while the cedar for the seats came from west of Grafton and the tea tree knees came from salt ash from mangroves near Port Stephens.
Keep an eye out for the little vessel on local waterways as it is going to his son's shed at Wapengo Lake south of Bermagui where it will take the water on holidays, perfect for the grandchildren.