We are currently closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions in Victoria, however we are able to carry out service work. Please get in touch with us if you would like an update on your boat, would like to purchase items from our chandlery or for any other enquiries.

Open Hours
Monday - Friday: 8am-5pm
Saturday: 9am-12pm
Sunday: 10am-12pm

129 Hotham Road
Sorrento, Victoria
3943, Australia

035984 4333


Shed 4, 10 Wharf Street
Queenscliff, Victoria
3225, Australia

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodions of the land and waterways on which we live, work and play, the Boonwurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respect to Ancestors  past, present and future. Sovereignty has never been ceded.

Queenscliff Boatbuilding Shed

In addition to our central headquarters in Sorrento, our Queenscliff shed is often bustling with activity. Operating now for a decade, our outpost at Queenscliff represents The Wooden Boatshop’s enduring commitment to engaging with maritime history. Originally a fishing village, Queenscliff evolved into a crucial cargo port, docking steamships, and enabling their safe passage through the nearby perilous Heads.

More locations... more boats!

Our Queenscliff Shed offers our full range of services, extending across the sprawling Bellarine Peninsula. Recent focused activities include the construction of Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club’s Cheviot 32 Volunteer, as well as several boat constructions, including a Kooyong 28. The 150T travel lift and hardstand gives us the capacity to service large craft, including quick and easy slipping of boats for repairs and maintenance, including painting, varnishing and mechanical services. We encourage enquiries about the possibility of new boat constructions, flagpoles, or any type of service relating to boats!

Our History


Fishing boat origins

On the south-eastern coast of Australia, in the late 1970s Tim Phillips, along with a group of like-minded friends, begun messing around in Couta Boats. The Couta Boats had been named after the eponymous barracouta – the local fish caught off The Heads, and the most popular fish of the day in the early 1900s.

The Couta Boat was a fast and seaworthy craft, and there had been a slew of local boatbuilders who constructed beautiful and singular boats in the era, such as Andrew Hansen, Mitch Lacco and Peter Locke. Her lines were clean and classic, and she was practical and efficient, having proved herself in navigating under sail the treacherous waters off Pt. Lonsdale and Pt. Nepean in all manner of conditions.

The Couta Boats would head out from Queenscliff before dawn, often catching their quota before racing back to port. Those first back would command the most desirable wharf position and fetch the best price for their catch. There was a competitive edge embedded into the boats even in the early days. In fact, every so often the fishermen would organise a Couta Boat regatta, usually held on New Year’s Day or over the Easter long-weekend.

The demand was steep for Couta Boats, and right up until the Second World War there was a shortage. With about 15 new boat builds a year, and an abundance of barracouta, the Couta Boats were thriving. However, the boom years did not last. Barracouta eventually became scarce due to overfishing, and the rise of gummy shark as a popular eating fish saw the gradual decline of the Couta Boat fleet.


Humble beginnings 

By the 1960s and early 1970s many Couta Boats were rotated out of use and sat dilapidated in garages and backyards. Years later, Tim and his friends begun to take an interest in these craft and set about restoring their own Couta Boats. Thus, The Wooden Boatshop was born, and its early origins exemplify our ongoing commitment to maintaining and preserving important and often long-forgotten aspects of maritime history.

In the early days The Wooden Boatshop was operated out of Tim’s carport in Delgany Avenue, Portsea. Already a master carpenter, Tim undertook an informal boatbuilding apprenticeship with Jack Norling, restoring Couta Boat Wattle and building 28’ Sally alongside Ken Lacco. As a local Couta Boat fleet begun to emerge Tim and his mates started the Portsea Fishing Boat Regatta (now The Portsea Cup). As the fleet kept growing, so too did The Wooden Boatshop. We now occupy 3-acres of land in the heart of Sorrento, where we service and build hundreds of boats throughout the local area.

Committment to craft

Our yard comprises a sail making loft, mechanical workshop, multiple marine engineering factories, a well-stocked boat chandlery, boat storage, flagpole construction, bronze castings, boat painting and antifoul. We are passionate boaters and master craftsmen, placing quality and function above all else!

An incredible boat range

Over the years we have developed our boat range, which was born out of a love for cruising both near and afar. Our range consists of smaller craft such as the Wyuna Launch, modelled from the early Pilot Boats at Queenscliff, responsible for safely guiding ships through the perilous Heads, to 50’ Launches capable of circumnavigation and outfitted with all the modern amenities such as wood fires, full galley set-ups and futuristic navigation software.

We pride ourselves on building boats capable of practical seafaring, and the foundation of our ethos travels back to the early tales of the Couta Boat. Working boats are reliable, having proved themselves in the hard years spent fishing and working local grounds. Our boat range reimagines traditional working boats and offers those dreaming of a seafaring lifestyle the ideal vessels for exploration.

Constant refinement

To date we have built over 120 boats and have dedicated a lifetime to developing a boat range suitable to any number of purposes. Whether it’s cruising down to Tasmania and exploring the Kent Group Islands, cray-potting, snorkelling, and sailing around Australia, taking a Clinker Dinghy for an afternoon cruise, or racing a Couta Boat off Sorrento, we are a one-stop-shop able to cater to any seafaring itch!

Speak to us about ordering your boat today!

Our Values

Striving for perfection

We are highly skilled speciality tradesmen passionate about crafting beautiful, one-of-a-kind boats. Every single aspect of our boat range is quality controlled from our factories in Sorrento and Queenscliff. Our boat range has emerged from a rigorous process of refinement, and through an artistic sensibility honed and polished through a lifetime commitment to wooden boat building.

Our launches are modelled off the East Coast lobster boats, and offer an extraordinary balance between comfort, style, and function. The latest in our range, the Deal Island 50, is remarkable in its understated luxury.  

When you purchase a boat from our range, you are assured to have the best in the world. We are unlike any other boat builders on the market. The boats we offer are efficient, practical, and safe, and are built by hand from beginning to end.  

Sustainability & commitment to materials 

We are committed to ensuring our business model utilises sustainable and ethically sourced timbers and does all that is possible to reduce its carbon footprint. We utilise Cedrela, a plantation grown timber endemic to Africa and whose fragrant aroma is resistant to insects and termites. Cedrela is a wonderful boatbuilding timber, due to its strength-to-weight capacity. It was first used by Joshua Slocum on his boat Liberdade, built in Brazil. Cedrela saws, sands and bores well, is easy to glue and nail, produces an excellent finish and has a high impact resistance.

Likewise, we also use Iroko and Makore, both timbers are endemic to Africa, and commonly used for boatbuilding purposes. Iroko is known to be an extremely durable timber. American White Oak, an excellent all-round timber commonly used in high-grade furniture and boatbuilding, is utilised for steam bending and much of the finer details on our boats.

Our importer upholds the strictest standards of due diligence and ensures timber products are regulated and traced using licencing, records of audits, log delivery documentation and forest concession licences.

The foundation of The Wooden Boatshop rests on that of the historic fishing vessel, the Couta Boat. We envision boats as being built to last well beyond the lifetime of those individuals who construct them. We apply our ethos of long-term thinking to the restoration of historic vessels, and are devoted to ensuring that the materials we so greatly value do not ever go to waste.

Achieving net zero

While we take great pleasure and enjoyment from the natural environment, we acknowledge Global Warming and Climate Change presents a litany of major threats toward future generations of seafarers and land-lovers alike. We pledge to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2030. This will be accomplished through a combination of solar energy and the transformation of our fleet of vehicles and forklifts to electric power. We plan to install car charging stations at The Wooden Boatshop premisis in Sorrento in the coming years.

A safer, cleaner environment for all!

Purchase Process

Hand crafted by us, in Australia… purchase direct from our factory!

Purchasing a boat from us is easy and straightforward, but more than that, buyers find it to be a highly rewarding and enriching experience. The journey toward owning a Wooden Boatshop build is highly unique. Unlike the dealership model, clients are purchasing directly from our factory, where quality and service is of the utmost importance. Our builds are completely custom and bespoke – hand crafted from the beginning through to the finer details. Clients often work with us multiple times over, loving the experience of observing their dreams come to life that they commission multiple projects over the years.

A highly enriching experience

Once you decide you’re interested in purchasing a boat from The Wooden Boatshop, we’ll give an indication of pricing and options that may be suitable for your boating requirements and budget. We’ll take you for a sea trial and offer inspections from our range so you’re able to make the best decision of your life.

Bespoke, from beginning to end

Once you’ve settled on a decision, we’ll give you a lead time of the exciting new build. Our shipwright will discuss the various options available in terms of final styling, upholstery, optional mechanical systems and so on. Every part of the building process is completely bespoke, hand tailored to suit your desires.

The journey is just as great as the destination

Watching the boat take form is an awesome process to observe. Client’s love popping into our factory in Sorrento and Queenscliff to watch their boats take shape, and chat with our craftsmen about the technical aspects. Afterall, we are a highly unique and specialised service. Watching the dream take shape is half the fun.

Realising the dream!

Upon completion of your craft, we’ll celebrate the launch (at Sorrento or elsewhere) and undertake a handover period where our specialists run you through the systems and show you how to manoeuvre and drive the boat. We’ll make sure you’re feeling competent and then we hand over the keys!


Our newsletters contain information and updates on cruising, new boat constructions, Bass Strait adventures, restoration activities, boat service, maintenance, and lots of fishing! From 2005-2012 we published The Grommet, a newsletter dedicated to spotlighting our wide-ranging involvement in all things nautical. Here we have collated digital copies of past newsletters for perusal.

Tim’s Cruising News  

From Esperence to Fremantle, 16 days!

Sun, April 18th, 2021

Tim’s Cruising News

Cruising the Kent Group Islands at the beginning of 2021!

Fri,  March 19th, 2021

Tim’s Cruising News

Instead of our annual trip south to cruise Tasmania and Bass Strait in February, we chose to join Gary Kerr in going west...

Thu, April 30th, 2020

Tim’s Cruising News

Off To The Festival! We on the Storm Bay left Sorrento in company with Gary Kerr’s crew of Jane Kerr...

Thu, March 14th, 2019

The Grommet 

 In September Sam Phillips, Ben and myself steamed the new Chevimaid, the round bilge series II...

Summer 2012 

The Grommet

Every piece of electronic media I see today has the doom and gloom, being a manufacturer we are in the second speed side of the economy...

Winter 2011

The Grommet

My message is, come to WBS, marvel at the new boats, share a bottle of peninsula wine & Dugga’s local fish, talk boats...

Winter 2011

The Grommet

Two new Cheviot 32s are under construction at The Wooden Boatshop. These boats are the next chapter in the WBS’s quest for design excellence...

Autumn 2010

The Grommet

Cheviot 32 number 5, Alouette was launched early this year, number 6, 7, 8 are on the workshop floor now at various stages of construction...

Autumn 2009

The Grommet

White Cliffs 22: Built for Mr Rick Jamieson, this little boat is a ripper! Powered by a Yanmar 3YM 30 she should scoot along easily at 7 knots...

Autumn 2008

The Grommet

It has been confimed that four Nepean launches will take pride of place as start vessels for the 2008 29er/49er world champi- onships, to be hosted by Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club in January...

Autumn 2007

The Grommet

The sight of a Wooden Boatshop Launch hurtling along at over 30 knots was the point of discussion for many Sorrento Portsea locals...

Autumn 2006

The Grommet

Since her launch in early March the Rough Up has already travelled over one thousand miles. Her maiden voyage was a return trip across Bass Strait...

Autumn 2005

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The Wooden Boatshop © 2021

Contact      Instagram       Facebook    Newsletter       Review

The Wooden Boatshop © 2021