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McConaghy Boats – what really happened

Senior management’s attention was drawn to the appearance of three of its employees.

Tim Dobe, shipwright, scalded thighs.

The Floater McTavish, executive, bruised shins.

Jacko, shed foreman, black eye.

They ordered an investigation. The final report is as follows.


The Incident

Internal investigations into The Incident are now complete and the findings are published below.

Please treat this report as confidential and do not scatter copies about the shed where everybody can read it, PARTICULARLY THE LUNCHROOM, THAT’S JUST UP THE STAIRS BY THE OLD BUNDY CLOCK.

Fact 1

The longhorn decal stuck to the rear-end of Shipwright Tim Dobe’s vehicle has long been coveted by Marketing’s Floater McTavish. This has been evidenced by the Floater’s single-minded mission to park behind Dobe’s ute almost 24/7. The man’s insatiability is legend in this regard. A career in corporate development does that to a fellow, regrettably.

Fact 2

Decals are notoriously hard to remove all in one piece, especially the Queensland ones as they are stuck down with cane-toad venom, and the only proven removal method is to do so by the application of super-heated steam. Face masks are recommended for this operation and storeroom records (thanks Dan Mauger) have indicated the Floater has signed out 35 masks in three months. This is noted as being unsatisfactory.

The Floater works in the office and has the ear of the Managing Director. He floats around the establishment in a shirt and tie. Dodging resin bursts.


Fact 3

Dobe’s car overheats with regularity, the bloke’s a hoon after all and that’s what they do, overheat. This has been noted by the Floater who was seen loitering around the carpark on several occasions in the vicinity of the front-end of the ute as witnessed again by Dan Mauger – an invaluable friend of the enquiry.

Fact 4

Jacko, the shed foreman, has never been awarded an Executive carpark slot. This has been noted in previous correspondence with head office and it no doubt provides fuel for his long festering dissatisfaction and general lack of performance.

Jacko’s previous attempts to have Floater removed from his coveted shade position by the kiosk are common knowledge and a sobering disappointment to his superiors. His file has been thus marked as impatient for un-earnt rewards.

It is also known that Jacko resents being treated like a Frenchman in that he is forced to park on the road amongst the riff-raff and ladies of the office, all of whom would also like the shady spot but a decision in that particular matter will be decided at another time.

The First Incident

Dobe arrived at work on the 24th of November at 7:56 am; his ute was overheated and he drove it into the shade of the store entrance to cool – this of course is an offence and makes him subject to instant dismissal – before he headed up to the lunchroom for an early morning brew.

The Floater was seen to arrive at 77 Bassett Street on the same day at 6:45 am and slide himself inside the carbon-fibre container (Dan again, guy is always on the job). The clipboard fooled NOBODY, stocktake was the previous week.

The Floater seized his opportunity when Dobe hit the stairs, ducked out and popped the ute bonnet then commenced to detach the radiator hose before being interrupted by a delivery of five-day old pizzas for the day’s  Management Meeting.

Exit Floater, stage left.

Enter Dobe, stage right. Coffee in hand.

Dobe notes popped hood, steam escaping from radiator hose. He attempts to to refix it, loses the plot, drops the radiator hose and steams up his bare legs. Big, red meaty blistered thighs, somebody’s probably taken photos. Only Dobe knows what he looks like under the shorts.

Meanwhile Jacko, busy up on the mezzanine trying to make sense of the project manager’s drawings of the interior of Neville Crichton’s new 90 footer, witnesses the whole thing.

He decides to bide his time.

The Second Incident

The Laser and the Wakeboard. The Floater and Jacko.

Despite the fact that neither of these gentlemen are exactly in the prime of their life, they insist on telling and re-telling their conflated stories of weekend waterborn wankfests. The enquiry has been told under oath that both men were seen on the Saturday of the last weekend of November in the northern corner of Palm Beach, Pittwater side.

This was the day of the Laser single-handed dinghy races: small boats for small girls with dominant attitudes, it was also the occasion of the NSW Wakeboarding elimination mixed craft series.

The Floater had entered the Laser competition.

Witnesses’ accounts are mixed, as not everybody saw everything, but the picture that has emerged is that (1) the Floater, whilst under Jacko’s tow through the wakeboarder’s carnage, was trying to raise his mainsail when he tripped heavily over a thwart,  the genoa then slipped a mainbrace shackle and the wind caught him abeam with his weather-side exposed to a steady breeze. This proved to be unfortunate.

(2) Jacko noticed his towee’s discomfort. He saw the Floater scrabbling about on his hands and knees trying to avoid the free-swinging boom and grab something stable (he usually sails with his wife).

Jacko saw his opportunity. He brought the tinnie around, planning to take ahold of the boom and swing  it back just in time for the Floater’s head to pop up above the thwart. Then ……

BANG .. !




A few weeks off work.

Jacko is thinking, the shade spot is mine!

However, due to a minor wind shift and some chop from a passing ferry, Jacko mis-timed his grab and copped on the head exactly what he had planned for the Floater, except for the sick leave, and who has any of that when you need it?


In the service of the company, I remain


Pete Bowes, beancounter.


This was written and handed around McConaghy’s when I was pretending to be their accountant. Some boat sheds have a tradition of such ruthless exposures.

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