Craftsmanship in Demand

Storm Bay (003)

The Wooden Boatshop produces its own range of timber boats and will showcase its skills at the 2023 Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

Situated in Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, The Wooden Boatshop is a hub for hand-made timber boats, crafted by experts intent on preserving traditional boatbuilding skills.

Deal Island 50 Side (003)

Led by experienced boat builder, Tim Phillips, they are committed to “building beautiful boats, and sharing our love for the sea and its culture amongst our community”.

Like most boat builders, The Wooden Boatshop has experienced a post-Covid surge in demand for new boats. “But Victoria is traditionally very seasonal,” explains Emma Phillips, Marketing Manager. “We usually experience a pre-summer and post-summer rise. But at the moment we are very busy and we’re pleased with customer interest right across our range.”

At the 2023 Australian Wooden Boat Festival, 10 to 13 February in Hobart, the Storm Bay restoration and couta boat, Kauri Chief will demonstrate the fastidious craftsmanship and skills of The Wooden Boat Shop.

Designed by Alfred Blore, Storm Bay was built by renowned Tasmanian shipwright Percy Coverdale in his yard at Nubeena, south of Hobart for George Bridge, third-generation fisherman.
She was launched in Hobart in July 1925.

Storm Bay Resto (003)
Storm Bay (003)

Described at the time by the Mercury newspaper as “a very handsome addition to the Tasmanian fishing fleet, she resembles a cruising yacht rather than a fishing vessel – her lines are graceful and she should prove to be speedy under sail”, Storm Bay arrived at The Wooden Boat Shop in 1998.

Tim stripped Storm Bay back to basics to begin restoration to original set-up and condition and the entire project took a decade to complete.

Today, Storm Bay is moored at Queenscliff and used by the Phillips family.

Built in 1967, Kauri Chief is an impeccable couta boat restoration and a popular charter boat, available for hire on the waters of Port Phillip Bay.

Kauri Chief (003)
Kauri Chief available for hire on the waters of Port Phillip Bay

Ahead of delivery in time for summer cruising, the workshop has several projects in different stages of production, including new builds of their in-house designs and some complex restorations.

There are two Deal Island 50s, one demo boat and one for a client in Portsea, Victoria. “It’s a very efficient boat,” states Emma. “With a top speed of 28 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots, it’s ideal for Port Phillip Bay and coastal cruising. The aesthetic suits this part of the world and our waterway at the southern end of Port Phillip Bay. But it’s also capable of ocean-going voyages as it’s very fast and stable.”

Another vessel, the Efficient 44 will be on the water in early 2023. Shorter, with a similar in layout it will have a top speed of 26 knots and a cruising speed of 18. One more 44 is in construction, scheduled for delivery next year.

They have just completed a Kooyong 28, which is awaiting final inspection by the client. A second Kooyong 28 has been built by a contractor, a former apprentice, for a customer in Sydney, and another Kooyong 28 will soon be delivered to a customer in Queenscliff, Victoria.

Kooyong 28 (003)
Kooyong 28

Used in restorations, repairs and new-builds, WEST SYSTEM products are the range professional boat builders rely on.

“We have been using West System products at The Wooden Boatshop for over 30 years,” said Wayne Parr, Shipwright and General Manager at The Wooden Boatshop.

“West System is the go-to product for the construction and restoration of wooden boats. We are drawn to its versatility and as such often utilise resin as a base with different additives for gluing, filling, and fairing.

“We use the WEST SYSTEM 105 epoxy resin for sheathing and strengthening applications with glass and other fibre materials. All structural bonding applications from laminated masts, strip planking hulls or repairing timber components, we utilise the 413 Microfibre Blend. The 410 Microlight and 411 Microsphere Blend are used with the 105 resins for fairing, filleting, and coving.

“The range of hardeners offer further benefits with 205 fast and 206 slow, allowing for confident use in the different seasons even when working outside. We have extensively used the clear 207 special coating hardener as a pre-treatment for clear finishes to maximise the beauty of feature timbers. The metering pumps allow for accurate measure of resin/ hardener ratios, essential for efficient work and confidant mixing.

“We have become adept at utilising the product range to suit each job that comes to hand. A selection of the WEST SYSTEM products used in conjunction with the resource material available off the WEST SYSTEM website, is an essential toolkit for any professional or novice undertaking a new build, restoration, or maintenance project.”

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Developed specifically for the marine industry, and in the early years, specifically for timber boat construction and repairs, WEST SYSTEM Epoxy is the world’s most reliable and widely used marine epoxy, used by both professional and amateur builders.

Based on 105 Epoxy Resin, WEST SYSTEM Epoxy is a versatile low-viscosity epoxy system. It is used for boat building, composite construction and repairs that require high-strength, waterproof coating, bonding, and filling. It readily wets out fabrics and porous materials and is easily modified for a wide range of working conditions and applications.

Supported with repair and maintenance manuals like the Wooden Boat Restoration & Repair Manual, professional level repairs and renovations that dramatically extend the life of wooden boats, can be achieved by following detailed instructions.

Dry rot repairs, structural frame repairs, and plank repairs using modern products and techniques are among the many solutions covered in this fully illustrated manual that can be downloaded for free at or hard copies are available from leading chandleries throughout Australia.

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