Messing About in (Mini) Boats

Mini Boats at AWBF 2013, Hobart, Tasmania (c) Ballantyne Photography


In Kenneth Graham’s classic Wind in the Willows, Mole and Ratty are out for a day on the river in Rat’s little boat. He advises Mole that:

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”.

We have no argument with that and we like to make that possible for as many youngsters as possible at the MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival.  In the calm, sheltered water of Constitution Dock, under the watchful eyes of our volunteer Sea Scouts, we fit out the children with life jackets and turn them loose in one of Ian Johnston’s mini boats to paddle about under their own steam.  We have larger dinghies, too, so if you would like to get out yourself, or with family members, we can usually make something available.

In the meantime, if you own an Ian Johnston ‘Mini-Boat’ and you are willing to lend it out for a couple of days, Ian is offering to make any reasonable repairs required to make it seaworthy and repair any minor scratches that it might pick up during the event.  We are keen to introduce young sailors to the pleasure of ‘messing about in boats’, just as you might have been introduced to the water when you were a young ‘un.

If you can help, please contact Ian at



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