What an excellent video from our friends at Off Center Harbor (take a breath, you English teachers, that’s how they spell it over there)!
For a live link to these videos, please go to http://www.offcenterharbor.com/tour/
Guest boat builder Bert van Baar is with the fleet of Dutch tjotters at the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2017. Bert, the guiding hand behind the Seacrest project (see elsewhere in this newsletter), explains why the tjotters have such an unusual design and why they are so perfectly suited to their normal environment, the shallow lakes and inland canals of their native Friesland – the far northwest region of the Netherlands, where the countryside is as much water as it is land.
Bert describes the region and the technical reasons for the shallow draft (very shallow waters), the collapsible mast (many bridges) and the distinctive lee boards (extreme manoeuvrability) of the traditional tjotter. This was perfectly demonstrated at the festival, when a fleet of four boats executed some very smart sailing in the waters of the River Derwent.
If you have not discovered the pleasures of Off Center Harbor, we strongly recommend you give it a go. This is a fantastic collection of short films that rises far above the usual standard of amateur YouTube video clips. Each video in the collection is a short, finely made film with a story to tell and some great photography. There are instructional videos, even a full series taking you through every step of building an Off Center Skiff from scratch. There are films on boat design, ship building skills, workshop tips, sailing, notable characters and wonderful locations. Ever since Off Center Harbor’s Steve Stone first visited the AWBF back in 2015, there’s been a strong thread of Australian and Tasmanian content in the OCH collection and you can see local figures like Ned Trewartha, Steve Knight and Philip Myer telling their stories to camera.
Wet weekend with unfavourable winds? Too cold out there to be any fun? Curl up with a wood fire, a glass of good Tasmanian pinot and lose yourself in the wide world of wooden boats and the stories that come with them.
Off Center Harbor is a subscription website, meaning you pay a fee to be a member and get access to hundreds of videos streamed across the internet. We rate it five stars, and there’s a generous offer to see 10 of their best videos for free with no obligation to join. Have a look at their front page here: http://www.offcenterharbor.com/tour/