To help us celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Regatta we will be joined this year by a number of boats from the Sydney Heritage Fleet. Joining our own Codock II will be the Protex, a doyen of the fleet, along with the Banksia, the Girrakool and the Macleay. It is intended that these boats will be available for cruises (details to follow later) around Brisbane Water during and after the Regatta. All of the Heritage Fleet will perform a “sail past” on the morning of the Regatta and the Protex will lead the fleet for the Grand Parade. The Protex has a long and varied history including time spent on the Central Coast.
Originally named Waikara, a New Zealand Maori name for ‘smooth water’, she was purchased in 1934 by the Sydney ferry and tug company, Nicholson Bros. In line with their usual policy of naming their craft using words beginning with ‘Pro’ she was called Protex after a popular brand of soap. No wonder she was often called the ‘soap boat’. It was fitting that her duties included ferrying goods and people from the Palmolive factory at Balmain to various city wharves.
Protex nearly ended her life in 1952 when she collided off Balmain East with her sister ferry, Provide. She suffered serious damage and sank. But it was decided to salvage her and extensive repairs were necessary before she could return to service. The repaired Protex continued her service on the harbour and in 1968 passed into the ownership of Stannard Bros., another ferry and tug company, when they took over Nicholson Bros.
In 1970, at the age of 60-plus, Protex took on a new life when she was leased to Mr Terry Hodgson who used her as a ferry operating out of Woy Woy and Toukley, and later between Brooklyn and Dangar Island on the Hawkesbury River.
Protex joined the Sydney Heritage Fleet in 1981, presented by Mr Chris Stannard of Stannard Bros. She has been faithfully restored, is still in regular use with the Fleet and can carry up to 20 people
Looking back through photos of previous Regattas I am reminded that this is not just about the iconic Putt Putt’s but it is also a celebration of wooden boats of all types. Previously we have been joined on the day by a number of different wooden boats – both on the shore and on the water. The Committee wants to encourage owners of all sorts of wooden boats to join with the Putt Putts and other heritage boats to make this 20th Anniversary event a day to remember. Enter the “Wooden Boat – non-Putt Putt” judging category, pickup a Skipper’s Pack and go in the draw for a $150 Gift Voucher. Application Forms are available by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the Contact Us facility on this website.
Please come and join us for a great day and help us maintain this great community event.
Put Putts are alive and well on Brisbane Water. Some of the most used Putt Putts in the area are Grand Tourer, Scallywag, Imp and Dodi. Each Friday – rain, hail or shine – one of these boats along with a normal (some might say abnormal) crew of 3 all dressed in Hawaiian Shirts can be seen heading to a different Brisbane Waters venue. From the Gosford Sailing Club to Koolewong Marina and the BoatHouse to Hardy’s Bay Bistro and RSL, these boats wile away a Friday afternoon while the crew discusses Bars, Beer and Bulls*!t. Anyone who wishes to join in, either in their own boat or aboard one of the ones listed (numbers restricted) is more than welcome. The BBB cruise departs the Putt Putt Wharf at Scandretts Boatshed, Davistown around 2 pm each Friday.
A long popular judging category at the Regatta is the “Best Novelty Boat & Crew” category. Sadly there has been a reducing number of entries in this crowd popular category over recent years. The Committee would like to encourage boaties to dress up their boats and crews and provide some light, colour and competition on the day. Some previous entries have been a Mississippi River Boat, a Viking Long Boat, the Batmobile, a Gondola and a number of Pirate Ships. Join in the fun for the day