There’s more than one count-down to watch this month and you’ll find them both covered in this months’ AWBF blog. The big news, of course, is that Expressions of Interest (EOIs) will open on Monday 18 April, 2016 for wooden boat owners who wish to be part of the 12th Australian Wooden Boat Festival in February 2017. (That’s 42 weeks from now for those of you who are counting!) There are always more applications than we have berths to offer, so competition for Boats Afloat (displayed in the water) is always stiff. We’ll remind you of a few tips to improve your chances of getting your boat in to the festival and scoring one of those prized spots. Fortunately, we have plenty of space for Boats Ashore (displayed in trailers or cradles) and registrations for that category will open one week later, on Monday 25 April 2016.
The other count-down is for an event to be produced by AWBF, Inc. – the Australian Antarctic Festival coming up in September 2016. Before you get excited, there are only two boats involved, but they are pretty special: the Class 1A ice-breaker Aurora Australis, Australia’s Antarctic supply vessel and floating laboratory and the French Antarctic vessel L’Astrolabe. Both will be open for school groups and guided public tours, the first time that has happened in more than a decade. AWBF, Inc is proud to be associated with the Mawson’s Huts Foundation for this exciting festival, which celebrates that Antarctic community and the important work they do.
We’ve also got a report from Chairman Steve Knight, who has just returned from Amsterdam with excellent news about the Dutch participation in AWBF 2017. There are some fascinating boats in this low-lying country with a venerable maritime tradition and we’re working hard to get some of them here to Hobart for the festival. Steve also brought home some pictures that might just raise a few goosebumps. It’s been 375 years since the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman tumbled across what would one day be Tasmania, and you’ll be surprised what Steve came upon in a climate-controlled vault deep inside the Dutch National Archives.
Along with the usual catch-up on maritime events in Tasmania and around the world, I hope you enjoy this latest edition of the AWBF news.