Once the expressions of interest for Boats Afloat and registrations for Boats Ashore open, for the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival, we sit back and admire the parade of remarkable boats lining up to be part of this fantastic event. They are a magnificent cross-section of wooden boats in Australia, from elegant launches to tall ships to family runabouts. Unlike the major city boat shows, this is not a competition for the shiniest boat in concourse condition, but a friendly gathering of wooden boat enthusiasts of all sorts. The line up so far includes working fishing boats, home-designed and home-built projects, classic Derwent Class yachts and Fazackerley dinghies. We’ll see designs by L Francis Herreshoff, Al Blore and Iain Oughtred, along with Pompei boats and couta boats, H28s and Carmens. We have ex-Sydney to Hobart racers, 100+ year vessels and a brilliant display of American designs in the American Precinct.
The smallest vessel registered so far is Nelson Brown’s delightful Squeak, a giant among dinghies at 7’10”. The largest, other than the tall ships, are Goolarat at 69′, a Navy-built ketch now in private hands and the utterly beautiful Hurrica V, down from Sydney for the festival. Tassie Too, the giant-killing veteran of the 1928 Forster Cup returned to the river where she was launched just last year and will be with us as well.
There are more tall ships with us in 2019 than we have seen for many years, including the welcome return of veterans One and All (Adelaide) and Soren Larsen (Sydney) and the rare double-header of Bark Endeavour (Australian National Maritime Museum) and Young Endeavour (Royal Australian Navy) in Hobart at the same time.
Boats Afloat is now fully subscribed, but applications for Boats Ashore run until December 16. Come one, come all – because it takes all sorts to make a vibrant show!