Selectors report that Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are running high for the Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2017, but that there’s still time to get your boat into the mix, especially smaller boats and dinghies looking for a water berth. There’s still plenty of room for boats displayed on the hard, in cradles or on trailers. The independent Selection Panel reviews every application and scores the boats against written criteria including the design, the provenance and the condition of the boat. The aim is to come up with a genuinely interesting cross-section of the wooden boat spectrum. They want to make the display on the Hobart waterfront worthy of the largest wooden boat festival in the Southern Hemisphere, with boats of interest for all sorts of reasons, be it their construction, their history or how well they represent a class. Once the selectors have scored the boats independently, the scores are combined to reach a total. This system ensures that personal preferences do not influence the final result. Photographs are very important to this process, they report, and successful boat owners take care to make the best possible job of this. The figures so far are impressive:
Fitting all these boats into Sullivans Cove is another challenge altogether. The selectors report than on average, we are seeing larger boats this year, a trend that has been increasing for some time now. At the other end of the scale, dinghies and small boats still have good berths available, but owners are encouraged to get their EOIs in. It’s not a ‘first in, best dressed’ system, but selectors say they have to be able to see a boat application before a place can be offered and leaving it late means that options narrow. Having lost about half a dozen berths to new infrastructure on the Hobart waterfront, the challenge is tougher than ever.