GM’s Log November/December 2018

We are sometimes asked: The Wooden Boat Festival is four days long, once every two years, right?  So what do you do all the rest of that time?

Gosh, where do we start?

When the festival is going full blast, you’ll see around 400 volunteers on deck – parking boats, staffing counters, collecting data, managing deliveries and helping Little Johnny find the loo before he bursts.  Behind the scenes, there’s a score of technicians and stage hands, making sure that the lights work and you can actually hear the fellow with the microphone. Hundreds of boats owners are also with us, from as far away as Darwin and the USA, and they need supplies, services and information.  Dozens of presenters are checking their notes, getting ready to give their talks or demonstrations. A small fleet of tall ships are loading up for another harbour cruise at Elizabeth Street Pier, and the ferries are still running right through the event.  We are spending money like water from a firehose on security, waste handling, technical services and a heap of other things and there are a twenty journalists on site, impatient to speak to someone who can tell them what’s going on. All of this doesn’t happen as if by magic.

You can think of it as a hundred pieces of string, each attached to another ten pieces of string, laid in place as much as two years ago.  We are very gently tugging those strings together, pulling various parts of this large event together slowly.  The strings wind into ropes, the ropes into cables and we pray that everything comes together in the right order to produce a festival that is exciting, attractive to a wide audience, clean and safe and well-presented.

It does start to get exciting around this point in the cycle.  We’ll be putting up our first back-of-house structures next week, receiving our shipping containers from the US, welcoming the American boat builders setting up at the Franklin Wooden Boat Centre and releasing our Preview Program with all the details of the coming event.  There will be another Official Souvenir Program printed in January with the full listing of all the registered boats.  We’ll be putting up details on our website Directory before that, so that you can check to see who’s coming and what there is to see.

Don’t be slow if you still need to book accommodation.  Hobart’s hotels, B&Bs and apartments fill to bursting point over the February weekend and many are already full.  If you’re finding it hard to find what you need, don’t forget our accommodation partner, TasVacations.  The staff there know every available room in Hobart and can often find a place even when it all seems to be full.  And don’t forget the same applies to cars and vans – our car hire partner Budget will tell you that February is peak season in Tasmania, so if you’re planning a bit of touring before or after the festival, best get onto that booking straight away.


Paul Cullen

General Manager

Australian Wooden Boat Festival, Inc.


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