When I bought Corio Vertue I never thought that the boat I was buying had impacted so many people. The following accounts are some of the encounter I've had with people who knew Corio Vertue and some of my exploits with her.

History Lesson

As Corio Vertue was not in a fit state to be sailed from Sydney to Melbourne I had her trucked down  to her new home at Westernport Marina, Hastings. Once CV had been placed into her cradle I began the task of sorting of sorting out the good and bad, and removing all wiring and plumbing. I had not been going too long when a chap approached and asked for the name of the boat. When I replied "Corio Vertue" you could not believe the absolute surprise in me when he said that he had sailed in CV in the mid 1960's and hadn't seen her since.

The chaps name was Rob Stott and he had seen CV on the back of the truck parked outside a motel in Hastings and recognised the boat as a Vertue but there was no name on the moat. The next couple of hours were spent talking about Rob's times on the boat and about Wil Heard the first owner and builder.

A couple of weeks later Rob came into the boat yard and gave me some clippings about CV's win in the 1965 Queenscliff - Devonport yacht race. The boat did not win by boat speed but sheer cunning. The race fleet were close to the mouth of the River Tamar when the wind died and the race fleet start drifting backwards with the tide. CV was close to shore and Wil Heard dropped the anchor and watched the fleet drift past him. Once the wind picked up CV was ahead of the fleet and crossed the finish line first!

The photo caption reads:
The 25ft Geelong sloop Corio Vertue, outright winner of the Queenscliff-Devonport yacht race, pictured at Devonport with its crew. Corio Vertue, the smallest yacht in the field also gained first placing in the second division of the race. The trim sloop took 51 hours 55 seconds for the the Strait crossing. Crew members are (from left) Darrel Morrison, Jack Stewart, Wil Heard (skipper) and Robert Stott. The Advocate 31/12/1965

      

Return to Geelong.

Wil Heard actively raced Corio Vertue from the Royal Geelong Yacht Club between 1960 and 1970. This is an account of racing in the Skandia Geelong Week Regatta in 2009. I felt a great sense of pride and emotion in bringing CV back to her home in Corio Bay, and I'm sure Will Heard was looking over her.

Saturday Jan. 24th

After a challenging long beat in 20-25knt westerly winds ‘Corio Vertue’ made it to Geelong for the Skandia Week regatta. Sails often in the water and crew soaked by waves, after 12 hours of racing we decided to abandon the passage race in order to get to the marina before nightfall and skipped a couple of marks. Unbeknown to us at the time the course had been shortened at the point where we decided to abandoned the race. We were the last boat home, and were very wet and weary after our slog, but ‘Team Corio Vertue’ got into the party mood and the pains soon anesthetized after a bottle of bubbles, several beers, and Bundy and Cokes.  Apparently this was the toughest passage race in the Skandia race history and quite a few boats retired.  On the Sunday heard that 2 boats sank, 1 lost it’s mast and the ‘Classic boat’ division Corio Vertue was in had most boats ‘retire hurt’ back to Melbourne.  Even the maxi yacht Skandia was slowed down to doing the race in 2hr 40mins instead of the expected 1hr 30 time!

Sunday Jan 25th.

We raced well on Sunday with a couple of close shaves where at one point we had only 1ft of water under the keel, and a little later nearly speared a competitor who rounded up uncontrollably a couple of feet to leeward of us.  Much to our surprise our result for the race was 'Did Not Compete',   Found out on the Tuesday so too late to protest!!   That evening Corio Vertue team caught up with our neighbour's from home who own ‘Quantum Leap’.  Pre-dinner drinks on their boat and then a riotous dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf watching the sensational fireworks.

Monday Jan 26th.

On Monday morning Team ‘Corio Vertue’ was reduced from 3 to 2 crew ( the young buck of 19 years slept in!) so just Andy & Di.    Therefore, racing was going to be interesting! Nevertheless, with some cunning strategy, some excellent boat handling, and only one miss-timed tack we were able to get first place on corrected time - Corio Vertue had won her first trophy in our ownership.!    Results overall were CV 3rd place in the Classic Boat Division ! ( not caring that most retired hurt)

But the story goes further; while CV was moored at the Geelong Yacht Club she had a number of visitors.

  • The first was the son in law of the Gil Allbut who built the boat for Wil Heard.
  • The second was from Darrel Morrison who sailed with Wil on his trips to Tasmania, and is now of the commodore of the Queenscliff Cruising Yacht Club.
  • A young chap walked up and admired CV, and we had long conversation because his father owned a 'plastic' Vertue in Melbourne.

Finally, I was a bit inebriated with CV's success and the people who I had met who had known her. I had to go the gents at the Geelong yacht club and was minding my own business at the urinal when a quite inebriated chap rolled in and asked me about the time I had with the regatta. When I told him that I had won the last classic race he surprised me by saying that 'technically I had not won', but because it was Corio Vertue, and division leader would not be penalised, he gave the race to me. It turns out that this chap was the race officer for the day and had raced against Wil Heard in the 60's & 70's and had a soft spot for CV.

Tuesday Jan 27th.

We sailed back to Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron in half the time it took to go to Geelong!

 

PARKS VICTORIA CLASSIC YACHTS Top five:
1 MAATSUYKER William Newman RGYC 4
2 SCAL Graeme McNie RGYC 17
3 CORIO VERTUE Andy Indrans FYC 27
4 SALLYFISH John Honey HBYC 29
5 SEAQUELLA Col Anderson RYCV 39

 

 

An Amazing Encounter

I submitted the following post on the Wooden Boat magazine restorer's forum back in 2008

Corio Vertue - she's a boat now! Posted: 07-07-2008

I'ts taken nearly 5 years to get Corio Vertue to this stage so I'm blowing my trumpet again!.
Check out: my website  for progress over the last few years.

Most of my inspiration and dedication to othe task has come from this site and I thank all contributors. There is more work to be done but I can at least now live on board, and sail with a new set of sails and they are working just fine!

Unbeknown to me the following item was posted in 2010.

Re: Corio Vertue - she's a boat now! Posted: 08-11-2010

Hi Guys,

The Corio Vertue was my Grandfather yacht, he was the first owner, he raced it before I was born. We did some sailing together, but not enough. We never talked much until he got really old and we started talking about ocean racing, International Dragons, Ecthells, a friend's teak Cheoy Lee (Marco Polo) that I borrowed a few times and of course the Geelong Footy Club. I'm in Sydney now and he cherisihed my calls.

When he passed away he left me the trophies, a brief log, photos and a model (to scale) of the Corio Veture. I see the Corio Veture everyday its in my lounge room (don't laugh I'm a tragic). The Devenport trophy and photos, (I scanned) and gave to my Mum.

So when I tripped over Andy's Web page and this forum I was amazed. I had given up on the yacht ever being restored, I heard you raced it in the Geelong regatta.

There are many stories, about how the keel was laid up, running repairs, beating Lou Abraham's (46 timber SS Vittoria) and more. Andy if you want the original race medallions there all yours, they belong on the yacht not under my house in a box.

She is a narrow girl....but it will go anywhere, Andy well done, the yacht looks brilliant.

If anybody know's how to get in touch with Andy please do.

Regards

Stu

I got news of this post only when one of the Wooden Boat forum members contacted me directly to indicate that Stuart was trying to get in touch with me. We eventually got in touch with each other and as he was coming down to Geelong for Christamas I invited him and his father to come and see Corio Vertue at Westernport Marina. Stuart brought the medallions he was talking about which will eventually adorn VC's bulkhead, and also his father's scrapbook of Corio Vertue. We spent a lot of time talking about CV and Wil Heard.

Stuart also came down to Geelong in 2011 and I invited him and his father to come out for a sail at Williamstown where CV is currently based at Hobson's Bay Yacht Club. On this trip Stuart presented me with some of CV's racing pennants, including her RGYC burgee.

  

Stuart's the young chap on the right.

CV's Racing Pennants.

Geelong Week - 2011
Now that CV is based Williamstown getting to the start line of the Williamstown to Geelong race is not too difficult. This year the race was sponsored by Audi.

This  article was written by the First Mate Di and published in the HBYC monthly newsletter.

Audi Week 2011 -  Highlights (Lowlights??)

SAT 22nd Jan:  Because of the lack of wind in Port Philip it was a long sail to Geelong.   Having tailed the fleet in 2009 it was satisfying for CV and crew to have 10 boats trailing at the Hopetoun Chanel 1 marker.   There was an hour before the race closed at 8.40pm and all was looking positive.   Then a ship decided to steam down the  channel!   To ensure we were out of it’s way the skipper ‘hoved to’  and hovered for around 15 minutes.   This resulted in a stressful race to the finish as the minutes and seconds ticked closer to 8.40pm.    After first mis-reading the finish line CV successfully sailed through the finish with 2 minutes 37 seconds to spare!!    The crew by this stage were freaking out.  To miss finishing after 11 hours of racing would have been devastating.   The day ended well with the RGYC bar easing the knotted stomach stress pains.

SUN 23rd Jan:    Having calmed down over night crew stress returned with a vengeance when getting across the Classic Boat start line seemed to be beyond CV and crew.   Seeing the race support boat lining up to remove the Audi starter buoy added to the strain.   After around 20 minutes from the start siren we tacked over the line just before the buoy.   To the skipper’s chagrin the  Committee start boat announced “the Bluebird has made it across the line – remove the buoy”!  “It’s a ‘Vertue’ not a ‘Bluebird’” screamed the skipper and started to dive for the radio to correct this heinous mistake.   Just in time he decided it was best to leave well enough alone given the generous amount of ‘start time’ we were allowed.

If only that had been all the day’s excitement.   Later in the day, at the other end of the channel, we found ourselves in the Maxi Yacht’s play-ground!    Made every attempt to get out of there fast but not before a huge 60’ Maxi came swooping down on us.   Bow sprit like an enormous dagger was aiming straight for the First Mate’s chest (mine!).   Could see the whites of the eyes of the 20+ crew hanging over the rail.  Only comfort was that they hadn’t started to jump ship.   Started screaming to our skipper who calmly replied – “It’s o.k. we have right of way, we are on starboard tack”!!!  The Maxi, at the final second, changed course and gave us 1 inch clearance as we looked up to see the soles of the Maxi crew’s boating shoes skimming overhead.   See Photo below  so you can decide if the First Mate was really overreacting!

 Mon 24th Jan:     At last lots of wind which CV loves.   With 2 tons of lead we had a good chance of making a strong finish.    90 minutes into the race, for no apparent reason, First Mate looked below.  ‘Oh My God!’ was the scream – the cabin was 6 inches under water and rising!    The ever calm skipper asked for First Mate to take the tiller while he pulled down the main.  First Mate is meanwhile trying to calmly suggest calling race control.   Luckily a race control small boat came along side and radioed,  the Committee Boat to be on stand by for a tow.  A guy on the boat was heard saying “lets go and help – Corio Vertue is part of my youth”. Once the main sail was down the Skipper started pumping.   Good news was that the pumping worked and the water levels retreated.  Motored back to RGYC where a new bilge pump was installed.

Later we heard our ‘mates’ on ‘Quantum Leap’ had considered whether to abandon race to help us in our hour of need and then decided ‘no, lets keep racing’!!

Tues 25th Jan:    Just too much excitement for 4 days so headed back to H.B.Y.C.   An uneventful and enjoyable sail for most of the trip.

Geelong Week Again 2012
The skipper was still trying to capture the glory day of 2009 when Corio Vertue won a first place.
This year CV got her lowest handicap ever  .494 so there was a very good chance for a "gong", however this year there were a couple of S&S in the field, and a Giles 34 so it was not going to be easy.

CV did not get close to a "gong" this year but was mentioned in despatches as being the last boat in the race. The following article was published online as part of the Geelong Week Regatta.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST IN THE MELBOURNE TO GEELONG PASSAGE RACE

Posted on January 27, 2012 by festivalofsails

Andy and Di Indrans’ 25-foot classic timber yacht, Corio Vertue, returned to her hunting ground, on Australia Day 26th January ’12, when she signalled the close of the Melbourne to Geelong passage race just before 6pm.

Corio Vertue’s elapsed time for the 34 nautical mile course was 8 hours 42 minutes compared to Tim Pepperell and his red hot trimaran, Bare Essential’s time of 3 hours 35 minutes and Premier division A line honours winner, Shogun, with an elapsed time of 3 hours 38 minutes.

The Indrans’ were delighted with their result as it’s the first time they have finished the passage race in daylight!

“The boat punched along nicely into the southerly at four knots. She weighs five tonnes and for her that’s flying,” said Andy.

Sailing ‘two up’ with wife Di, Corio Vertue finished well within the sunset time limit. Last year the lights were almost turned out on the pair who scraped in within three minutes of the course being shut down.

When asked whether they have found their place within the classic yacht collegiate Andy retorted, ”we haven’t caught up with them yet – literally”.

Corio Vertue, now based at Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club, was a Royal Geelong Yacht Club standout in the 1960s and 1970s, including line honours winner of the 1965 Queenscliff to Devonport race.

From the Laurent Giles design board, the first Vertue was launched in 1935. Built of NZ Kauri planks and Blue Gum  frames in 1960, Corio Vertue is the 99th edition of the Vertue design.

 

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