Sunday, December 30, 2007

Couta Boats

Couta boats have a pedigree that is purely Australian.

First built in Queenscliff in the 1850's, their name comes from the Barracouta fish, once an important fish for the fishing trade as it was the abundant, inexpensive mainstay of the fish and chip industry.

By the 1890's the Couta's had evolved from a flat-bottomed net boat to a deeper hulled vessel that could handle the roughest of seas, as the fishing trade moved further off-shore.

The speed of these boats developed from the basic requirements of the fishermen - the first to the schools of Barracouta got the best catch, the first back to port got the best price and the less time on the water meant less chance of being caught in bad weather.

Soon fishing boat regattas emerged from this rivalry of speed between fishermen, with races held on Boxing Day or New Years Day.
Traditionally these working boats were worked just by the power of wind; it wasn't until after WW1 when returned soldiers brought back their newly gained knowledge of small inboard motors that engines were used on the Couta boats.

Today there are many enthusiasts who belong to the Couta Boat Club, eager to preserve these fast working boats. The Association is very strict on the integrity of the boats, ensuring that they remain true to their uniquley Australian heritage.

More information and stunning pictures of Couta Boats HERE,HERE and HEREand HERE.


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