January 29 - February 4, 2023: Issue 569


Woody Point Yacht Club’s 2023 Putt Putt and Gentlemen’s Launch Regatta

Best Dressed Crew was those aboard John and Gemma Winterbottom’s’ boat ‘Primrose’ who all dressed as Martians in full green bodysuits. Photo: Marg Fraser-Martin, Marg's Yacht Photos

Loved for its casual nature and just for fun focus, the Woody Point Yacht Club’s legendary Putt-Putt and Gentlemen’s Wooden Launch Regatta has returned this Summer with a good-sized fleet.

The Woody Point Yacht Cub was formed around 1980. The late and great Philip Bond penned a condensed history in 2012, available here.

The WPYC Charter states just before listing its activities:

Founding Members of the Woody Point Yacht Club were a dedicated group of social drinkers with a boating problem.  Their motivation was and is the enjoyment of the Pittwater and its inhabitants, largely facilitated by craft giving access to the remote foreshores and to the water itself. Suitable craft included tinnies, yachts, putt-putts, work boats, in fact anything that floats - and even some vessels whose buoyancy is questionable. 

These craft provide a platform for the many and varied pastimes enjoyed by Members, including fishing, yachting, putt-putt regattas, picnics, parties, breakfasts, etc. 

The Club does not favour a particular past time so long as a boat is involved either as a means to an end (ie. transport, fishing) or an end in itself (ie. sailing, cruising, just messing). 

The Club has a penchant for all things traditional - timber boats in particular - and prefers the simple family orientated atmosphere inherent in our unique community.

Stephen Hosking, manager at Quays Marine Centre at Church Point, and also on the committee of WPYC, explained the annual regatta is known for its handstand in the middle of Summer and waggle your feet about if you feel like it approach.  Although the WPYC has world-class sailors among its membership, knowledge and skills clearly evident during their Summer and Winter program of sailing races, the annual Putt-Putts regatta celebrates what is at the core of the club.

Steve actually won the regatta once, taking out the 2014 edition of the Putt Putt Regatta Cup and was allowed to keep the famed trophy on display.

This year he helmed ‘The Patsy’, a 26 foot stunningly restored timber motor vessel.

Originally built as a prawn trawler on 'The Patsy' is a piece of Pittwater history, working for the Council for nearly 28 years before the restoration to her present glory. 

On her retirement as one of the oldest working council boats in Australia, The Patsy was sold with the proviso to be recognised for her contribution to Pittwater, restored and maintained to remain a fixture of the area. The Patsy was bought by three locals, including Larry Eastwood, who at the time was running the Wooden Boat School in Mona Vale. Larry carried out extensive work on the boat including a new cabin and decking, lovingly bringing her back to life. As other commitments grew, the decision was made to sell her, unfinished, and less than a day after that decision was made, she was bought by the current owners, residents on Scotland Island. 

Understanding their role of custodians of a piece of Pittwater history, they commissioned Larry to carry out the rest of the restoration. This included repainting and re-varnishing her entirely, building the solid timber curved ‘bulwark’ seat back surround and custom designed table cabin flooring, cabin cabinet doors, side steps with storage, installation of classic cowl vents and a head with curtain.

In 2016, the Patsy was named Best Presented Boat on Pittwater at the Woody Point Gentleman’s Regatta. Meticulously maintained, she has been regularly revarnished and painted, anti-fouled annually and with a new bilge pumps installed in 2017. She is now reluctantly up for sale so it is time for a new custodian for this beautiful day boat and a treasured part of Pittwater history.

The Patsy – was the council workboat for many years that was used to push the garbage barge around. 

Also taking part was 'Rosebud' (pictured) is 100 years old and came to Pittwater from the Shoalhaven where she was a working fishing boat. Robert and Ingrid Hawke now have her on a mooring in Little Lovett Bay.

Steve Hosking said ‘It was a beautiful day for today’s regatta and great to have that nor’easter. There was a great crowd enjoying themselves afterwards on Treharne Cove, although I had to return to work.’

On where he finished;

‘In the middle of the fleet.’

Beryl Driver OAM took part aboard her son’s Bruce’s beautiful timber launch ‘Twig’

Beryl and team were aiming to win Best Dressed Boat with everyone dressing up in mermaids costumes from the Variety Children’s Charity Bash and even the big dolphin off the car on the Twig.

Pittwater Mermaids they all now are…and Mermen.


The Putt Putt race was won by Hugh Tory with 'Rosie II'

The Gentleman’s Wooden Launch race was won by Barry Haygarth with ‘Big Frank’.

Best Dressed Boat was taken out by ‘Hawthorn’, Craig Witten – dressed as a Viking boat

Best Presented Boat was ‘Sanderling’, Bill Ratcliff

Best Dressed Crew was those aboard John and Gemma Winterbottom’s’ boat ‘Primrose’ who all dressed as Martians in full green bodysuits.


Margaret Fraser-Martin, ‘Marg's Yacht Photos’, whose work readers will have seen in Pittwater Online aquatics reports before, took some great shots which run below.

Marg says participants can purchase of any higher res. is $40.00 per image, and just need photo number with order to her email address, yachtphotos@yahoo.com.

Some examples have already been loaded up to her social media platforms Facebook page (Marg's Yacht Photos) and Instagram (margsyachtphotos

Winners are grinners!!!. Photo: Marg Fraser-Martin, Marg's Yacht Photos

Marg says; Three went out, two came back, waiting on the event report!! Photo: Marg Fraser-Martin, Marg's Yacht Photos

Photo: Marg Fraser-Martin, Marg's Yacht Photos

Photo: Marg Fraser-Martin, Marg's Yacht Photos

Merman aboard Twig. Photo: Marg Fraser-Martin, Marg's Yacht Photos

In her natural element - Beryl Driver OAM, a Palm Beach Mermaid. Photo: Beryl's family
More of the Mermaid Crew aboard Twig