'Queen of the harbour': Sailing boat from Sydney's history repaired in Bermagui

SAILING INTO HISTORY: In Bermagui Jamie Watt holds the rudder to the Scot, a 1995 replica of a famous boat that raced on Sydney Harbour.
SAILING INTO HISTORY: In Bermagui Jamie Watt holds the rudder to the Scot, a 1995 replica of a famous boat that raced on Sydney Harbour.

The replica of a legendary sailing boat that races on Sydney Harbour has returned to Bermagui for its annual repairs.

The original Scot was built in 1906 and holds the record for longest sailing career of an 18-footer at 43 seasons.

In 1995 a replica of the historic vessel was launched, which for the last 10 years has been skippered by Jamie Watt and races every week in Sydney.

"She's the queen of the harbour," Mr Watt said.

"She did so well last year after her refit we are the Australian handicap champions."

But it is an achievement that does not come easily - he spent 270 hours last year fixing up the boat, although repairs have been going faster so far this year.

It is also hard to put a price on how much it costs to keep such a piece of history operational, as when asked how much repairs were Mr Watt said it was "an open-ended thing".

Then there is the challenge of learning the necessary skills to keep the boat afloat, as he said the knowledge of how to fix wooden vessels such as the Scot was disappearing.

For instance there are "millions of staples" that keep the wooden hull together.

So he uses the skills and knowledge of different people to assist with repairs, such as the staff at the Bermagui slipway which he said had been very helpful.

The Scot can go up to around 15knots on the water, depending on the conditions, but sailing it comes with a few challenges.

A photo that was taken as the original Scot is launched into the water in the early 1900s. Picture: Supplied

A photo that was taken as the original Scot is launched into the water in the early 1900s. Picture: Supplied

Mr Watt said if it capsizes - "which happens fairly often as we drive her pretty hard" - then it has to be towed back to shore to be pulled upright.

Still the Beauty Point resident, who has been sailing since he was a child, loves to take it out.

"There's nothing like going down the Sydney Harbour with the sail up in one of these," he said.

"Heading down the harbour, out of control, with eight people jumping up helping with the sails - it's quite chaotic, but it all comes together."

While the knowledge to repair old dinghies might be disappearing, Mr Watt said there were still plenty of people passionate about sailing.

There is also still plenty of interest in historic boats, as he said there are 10 replicas that sail on Sydney Harbour that are based on models from the 1900s to 1950s, "all different world champions from different years".

This is not the only connection Bermagui has to the world of sailing on the Sydney Harbour.

World War 1 veterans Norman and Erwin Blackman who were born in Bermagui in the late 1800s are on the honour roll of the Sydney Flying Squadron, with Norm owning and racing the famous champion 18 foot skiff Yendys.

The sailing season starts in Sydney on October 12.