There’s much to do behind the scenes and many a challenge to overcome at the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Long before the crowds arrive on the Friday morning, our technical crew has to build a small city of temporary buildings and marquess, install enough power to run a medium-sized town, supply essential services to more than 100 exhibitors and vendors and deal with some unusual requirements.
Not least of these were two 40-foot refrigerated containers chock full of Dutch boats, delivered to our warehouse in Evans Street by ANL shipping lines. What was inside? Well, seven Dutch boats, an antique wooden organ, a priceless wooden carving from the Batavia Shipyard, 200 wooden clogs and boxes and boxes of tools, equipment and supplies. All of it wedged into these huge steel containers like broad beans in a pod. ‘How the hell are we going to get all of that out?’ asked production manager Andrew Brassington. ‘We’ll work something out.’ said our multi-skilled site manager Lyndon Bounday. And work it our they did, though there were some head-scratching moments.
Dutch boat builder Bert and a professional strapper from Briar Maritime Services talk it over with Site Manager Lyndon Bounday
The problem was, everything was very tightly lashed to prevent damage on the 12,000 mile trip from Rotterdam to Holland and of course none of us at this end had seen it loaded. But the lads know a thing or two about rigging between them and Lyndon can make a fork lift do cartwheels and pirouettes (not that we encourage him, you understand). Four heavy wooden tjotters (Dutch shallow draft vessels) were strapped into a purpose-built frame with not a centimetre of space between them. The Dutch Navy had packed the yacht Oranje, the personal property of the King of the Netherlands (don’t drop that one, boys) and they had done it with military thoroughness.
With little room to squeeze a tape measure in there, it got complicated…
Somewhere in the depths were the precious wooden organ and the ‘Very Fragile’ carving of Dutchman Pieter Jacobsz, the man who planted the Dutch flag in Tasmania 375 years ago.
So it was a case of softly, softly, and let’s not break anything important.
The King’s boat came out with millimetres to spare.
The second container was more of a challenge. Four tjotters and a music boat were in there somewhere.
Production Manager Andrew Brassington happens to be a qualified rigger, which came in handy.
In the end, all went beautifully: calm, professional and safe. Not a single scratch on anything, passed Customs inspection and was ready to take part in the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival. All we had to do afterwards was get it all back in there!