The most important news this month is that the first round of offers has gone out to interstate and Tasmanian boat owners seeking Boats Afloat berths at the 2017 festival. Once again, we are dramatically over-subscribed and finding room for all of our enthusiastic boat owners is a real challenge. This is a problem that we are keenly aware of and it is already part of our long-term strategic planning. For 2017, we are faced with numerous changes to the Hobart waterfront, some of which have impacts on the number and kind of boats we can accommodate. TasPorts refurbishment of Franklin Wharf, remediation work at Princes Wharf, the new hotel development at Macquarie One, new trading punts in Constitution Dock and a number of other changes pose serious challenges for our Dock Master and Boat Manager. We are doing our best to provide as many water berths as we possibly can, but inevitably some owners will be disappointed when they are unable to secure the berth they want.
Expressions of interest are still open, of course, and will remain so until 17 October (Boats Afloat) and 12 December (Boats Ashore). It’s not too late to nominate, but time is pressing. We especially urge boat owners who can display their boats on cradles or trailers to get involved. We have a wide range of locations to suit boats ashore and in some areas, we’ll be displaying boats of a class together. Don’t leave it too late to contact us.
Some boat owners will be offered places on a wait list for boats of their size and class. This means that if a registered boat withdraws (and this happens for all sorts of reasons), we are able to turn to the wait list to offer the berth to a suitable replacement. Withdrawals, particularly on grounds of weather, can happen right up to the opening day of the event.
Who decides which boats get in and which go to wait list? A dedicated, independent selection panel is made up of experienced sailors with an intimate understanding of wooden boats and long association with the AWBF. They use a transparent, detailed system to award points against written criteria to arrive at independent point scores from each judge. These are then compared and added up to arrive at an overall score. In each category (motor cruisers, for instance, or sail boats or working boats) we have a certain number of allocated berths and these are filled by the highest-rating boats. It’s not a matter of the largest boat or the shiniest brightwork: boats can gain valuable points for their history, their design or their outstanding interest to our audience of wooden boat enthusiasts. The whole selection process is conducted independently of the festival management to ensure that it is fair, balanced and provides us with a varied, interesting and fresh presentation each year.
We are planning for the largest Australian Wooden Boat Festival to date. With the help of our stunning feature vessels, our Dutch guests, our Symposium presenters and a packed entertainment program (not to mention the biggest Maritime Marketplace we have ever presented), there’s not just something for everyone – there are four full days of excitement, fun, music and entertainment to be enjoyed in the company of friends. Come and join us for the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2017.