Planning for the 2019 Davistown Putt Putt Regatta & Wooden Boat Festival is proceeding at pace. With 5 months to go to 20th October there are still a myriad of items to be finalised to make this the best Regatta ever. The Committee have divided responsibilities covering items from line marking, hiring of portaloos, arranging for rubbish removal, confirming entertainment, planning for a huge variety of boats, co-ordinating the market activities through to liaising with the Central Coast Council, Roads and Maritime Services and all of our generous sponsors.
This year we are looking to focus the event into 4 specific precincts – Children’s Amusements, General Markets, Premium Food and Marine. We are most excited about the Marine Precinct which will bring together all of the Boating and Boating related service areas from Norglass (speciality paints and surface coatings) to Sub-Aqua Services (Hull cleaning and servicing). This area will also incorporate our historic car displays, vintage farm machinery, Buckle Sports cars and many others.
Along with the traditional Putt Putt’s, we will also be highlighting the Wooden Boat part of our charter with the appearance once again of a number of boats from the Sydney Heritage Fleet (remember the Protex from 2018) and a series of other historic timber boats (more about these later). There will be opportunities to take a ride on these fantastic old vessels. Central Coast Ferrys will again be present with the venerable old Codock II.
Watch this space for details as they develop over the next few months and put the weekend of 18th (Regatta Charity Dinner), 19th (special event – more to follow) and the 20th (Regatta) October in your calendars.
I recently had the pleasure of cruising (putting) the pristine waters around Foster and Tuncurry in some beautifully built Putt Putt’s. The workmanship on the boats and the pride shown by their owners is to be seen to be believed. The boats were from as far afield as Brisbane, Lismore, Lake Macquarie and Davistown and most of them will be making an appearance at the Regatta in October. So if you haven’t already done so, save the date of Sunday 20 October to come and see some of these magnificent craft.
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 email@example.com 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.
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