Letter from the Chairman – September 2018

The countdown has begun – we do not have long to go now, until the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival, 2019!

As I sit down to write this message, I have just returned from at one of the local slip yards, where I happened to talk to some fellows who were working on one of Hobart’s many beautiful racing yachts.

This particular yacht, while sheathed with modern materials, was built out of three layers of King Billy Pine diagonal planking. I asked them whether they were considering registering the yacht for the next Festival; their response clearly indicated they had not thought that she would qualify, being sheathed with modern materials.

Of course, that is not the case, and I am looking forward to having this beautiful vessel on the water as part of the eye-catching fleet at the next Festival.

It may be that there are others out there in the boating community who do not think their boat would qualify to enter our event, because modern materials have been used with wood, or because the hull has been sheathed with modern materials.  That is not the case; all we ask is that wood is the major material used in the construction of the vessel!

And remember, whilst we all admire those beautiful boats that are varnished and polished, we love to see wooden boats of all kinds, types, sizes and for that matter, condition.  I admire Tasmania’s working wooden fishing boat fleet, and because these beautiful boats work for a living, we all know they are going to show marks where cray pot lines have been hauled, where they had have been bumped by pots, and all of the other little bits and pieces of damage that occur.  To me, this is part of the beauty of a wooden boat; they are meant to be used, they are meant to be enjoyed, and they are meant to be loved – and occasionally, that means that there will be a mark, or a bit of damage, or a knock, here and there.  It is all part of the patina of the vessel; it all tells a story.

So, don’t worry if your wooden boat is well used, and well loved – in fact, that is all the more reason to lodge your expression of interest, and be in the Festival!

Please remember that expressions of interest can be lodged until 14 October 2018.  These expressions can be lodged online.  If you ever need help, please feel free to ring the friendly people at our office on 03 6223 3375!

Sadly, for us, Barbara Murphy retired as the Board Secretary of Australian Wooden Boat Festival Inc at our recent Annual General Meeting, after having served in that capacity since 2012, and prior to that as a board member from about 2009.  Not only did Barbara make a wonderful contribution as a thoroughly experienced yachtswoman and former wooden boat owner, but she was great to work with, and provided a huge and enthusiastic contribution to our organisation, and the event. Whilst we will continue to see Barbara around the boats and the wharfs, on behalf of all of us here, I would like to sincerely thank her for her wonderful contribution.  She will be missed!

Barbara’s position as Board Secretary was taken over at the AGM by Board member Chris Palmer.  Chris has been a long-standing Board member, and has made a great contribution to our organisation.  We are very fortunate to have somebody as talented as Chris to fill the shoes that Barbara has left – he will do a great job.  Thanks, Chris!

Whilst the AGM saw the retirement of Barbara, it also saw the election of Captain Sarah Parry, of Windeward Bound, as a Board member.  Congratulations, Sarah!  We look forward to working with Sarah; her considerable experience and skill as a mariner, and a tall ship operator and master, will be of enormous benefit!

I should also note that we were proudly involved with the recently concluded Australian Antarctic Festival, as the managers of that event.  Many of our staff and volunteers assisted to handle more than 20,000 attendees over the four days.  Well done, and congratulations to all, and especially our General Manager, Paul Cullen, ably assisted by Office Manager Bronnie Hansson, Volunteers managers Liz Lord and Kevin Maguire, Production Manager Andrew Brassington and Site Manager Lyndon Bounday.

Finally, with the confirmation that magnificent vessels including the three masted bark James Craig, the replica of Captain Cook’s Bark Endeavour, and the (former) Danish two masted brigantine Soren Larsenwill take part in the Parade of Sail at the beginning of the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival, along with several other notable large vessels, it will truly be the most amazing spectacle!  If you cannot take part on the water, make sure you do not miss out – grab a local vantage point, take a camera, and enjoy the spectacle before joining the fun at the docks!


Steve Knight

Chairman AWBF


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