— By Kelvin Aldred
A major feature vessel boat for the 2021 Australian Wooden Boat Festival, “The Franklin 29”, has commenced construction at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin, Tasmania.
Paul D’Olier, the Wooden Boat Centre’s Manager, is delighted that students from around Australia have joined to participate in a 12 month course which includes building traditional clinker & carvel planked small boats, and the modern strip planked launch.
Paul was appointed Manager of the Centre in April of last year, with exciting new ideas and programs for the Centre. The Centre has operated for the past 2.5 decades, and is known internationally for its teaching and fine vessel builds.
Paul’s team has wasted no time in introducing extensive renovations to improve the buildings facilities, extending new student courses available, implementing a new improved telephone system, point of sale systems and has filled student courses for the balance of this year with 2021 filling fast.
A commitment to write the course curriculum for the exciting New 1-Year Shipwrights Program encompassing the “Franklin 29 motor launch” project was also completed by Paul, over a six month period.
Seven students commenced full time learning at the Centre in February for their 12-month course. Two further students due to commence in April, can no longer attend due to travel restrictions.
Their first projects were a pair of 10’ Puffin Clinker Dinghies, in Huon Pine, one complete and the other recently commenced, and a “Whitehall “rowing or lake fishing boat. The Whitehall is almost completed, and the students have planked the 14 foot clinker boat in Huon Pine with steamed Celery Top ribs and King Billy transom.
Other projects the students have completed are hand crafted oars and spars, and are now challenging themselves by building the second Puffin upside down, This has created wonderful learning experiences and new skills and training provided by the instructors Mike, Adrian & Gordon.
The Franklin 29 motor launch is the showcase major project for the 1-Year students, and now they have learned many skills of traditional wooden boat building, they are eager to commence construction of the slender sleek lines of the Franklin 29, with its time honoured warmth of timber construction.
The launch will be strip planked with cedar, have laid decks of Celery Top Pine and fitout with other Tasmanian native timbers. It will cruise at 17 knots and be powered by a 110 HP low emission diesel engine and have a displacement of a little over four tons.
Work has already commenced with the cutting list reviewed, and timber milled ready for the commencement of the project.
The lower workshop at the Centre in Franklin where the 29 foot launch is to be built has been insulated ready for the winter months ahead, and is only a few metres from the beautiful Huon River; the very location vicinity of the construction of Tasmania’s most famous Wooden Boat The May Queen, built in Tasmanian Blue Gum back in 1867, and proudly moored at Constitution Dock in Hobart.
You can imagine the delight and feeling of achievement the students will experience when they see their beautiful Franklin 29, proudly on display at the Shipwrights Village next year at the 2021 Australian Wooden Boat Festival.
The Wooden Boat Centre Team will be all smiles at next year’s Boat Festival, looking at the Franklin 29, as they reflect on the achievements at the Centre since Paul D’Olier’s arrival, along with the great support he has had from Instructors and students, the wonderful Volunteers, staff, Committee, local community, and visitors. Paul said; bring on the 21 Festival and see the “Franklin 29” come to life at the shipwrights Village.