It’s that time again in the two-year cycle of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, when we start to get serious about the assembly of more than 500 beautiful wooden boats that will gather in Sullivans Cove, Hobart, Tasmania. In 2015, we saw boats travel from as far away as Darwin and New Zealand to be with us, as well as superb heritage yachts and feature vessels from all the Australian major ports. Punishing weather off New South Wales meant that some never made it to the festival at all, but we were delighted to see tall ships like Enterprize from Melbourne battle the tough conditions to reach safe harbour at last. From all around Tasmania, hundreds of lovely boats, from 60’ cruisers to hand-made rowing shells, attracted a crowd of 220,000 visitors over four glorious summer days. The Australian Wooden Boat Festival is a showcase, a celebration and a famously social event for everyone who shares a love of wooden boats. We are very grateful for the enormous amount of time, effort and money that our boat owners put in to make this the biggest wooden boat festival of all.
We are eager to hear from you. We want to help you to get your boat into the mix and have a great time while you are with us. We promise a great program of hospitality, entertainment, expert advice and good service, so that you won’t regret the investment you’ve made to join us.
‘Now that the dust has settled a bit, we wanted to pass on our congratulations and thanks for a wonderful weekend. It was a privilege to be a part of such a huge, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable Festival. From the moment we applied to come, to our final departure, the whole thing went incredibly smoothly. We loved the parade of sail and encountered none of the parking mayhem we had been warned about. Coming alongside couldn’t have been easier and the guys from the Antarctic Division were extremely professional. Please pass on our thanks to everyone involved who made the event the highlight of our 10 month, 6500 nm trip to get here. As we head back to NZ, we will certainly be looking at how we can get back again to a future Wooden Boat Festival’. – Simon and Barbara Graves, SV Tuarangi
‘I just wanted to send you all an enormous congratulations and thank you for the incredible event that went on this weekend. I had never actually been able to attend a Wooden Boat Festival before this year, and had absolutely no idea what we were in store for! The crowds, the activities and entertainment, the smoothness of the entire operation, and the actual footprint which made the whole waterfront feel like a great big theme park for grownups…it was absolutely phenomenal. Well done and again congratulations. Tassie, and Hobart in particular, are incredibly lucky to be the beneficiaries of such a well-oiled machine’. Stephanie Katz, Brigantine Windeward Bound
So, let’s get you started: Boats Afloat are invited to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) by going to our website page:
That will take you to the necessary form that you’ll need to fill out, carefully. Once you’ve done that, we will acknowledge that your EOI has arrived and pass it on the selection panel. There’s nothing that guarantees you entry: not first to register, not who you know, not how many times you have been to festival before, not even how shiny your brasswork!. For every festival, we try to select an interesting, lively and fresh cross-section of the whole wooden boat community, from well-loved family runabouts to cutting edge designs and exquisite workmanship. The selection panel works with the information you give them. Excellent, recent photographs are a very good start. Tell us your story, and the story of your boat. Fill out the details accurately and fully. Please don’t just say ‘same as last time, look up your records’. Boats change hands, addresses and phone numbers change, even the condition of the boat can change, for better or for worse. Don’t miss out because you can’t be bothered filling out forms. If you’re struggling, or something just won’t work, just give us a call on (03) 6223 3375 and we’ll help you get it sorted.
We encourage as many boats as we can to display in Boats Ashore. We have plenty of great positions, often with boats of similar design or size. You won’t have to wait for a selection panel to give you an answer. If your boat is in reasonably presentable condition and you can display it on a trailer or a cradle, you’re in! Applications for Boats Ashore open on Monday 26 April and you’ll find the right page
Got a wonderful Model Boat, or a collection of them? We want you, too. We have a special registration form designed to make it quick and easy to get your boat into the largest display of model boats in Tasmania, and this year, you’ll be back in your favourite venue, the Waterside Pavilion, right next to Constitution Dock. Model Boats registration opens on Monday 9 May, 2016.
Photo: Ketch Racing at AWBF 2015 – (c) Rob Oates, Ballantyne Photography