It’s not just about hundreds of gorgeous wooden boats. This has got to be one of the most extraordinary gatherings of wooden boat expertise on the planet, and it’s all free on the Hobart waterfront over four days, from Friday 8 February to Monday 11 February. Check out the program now and be sure you don’t miss anything you want to see. Over at the National Maritime Museum’s International Wooden Boat Symposium, you can hear legendary founder of WoodenBoat Magazine Jon Wilson talk about the history of the leading wooden boat publication in the world. Brian Toss is the liveliest presenter you could wish for and an expert in rigging, traditional and modern. Ian Smith talks about the history of the Sydney 18-footers and 53-year veteran of RAN warships, submarines and tall ships John Dikkenberg explains the challenges of commanding the Bark Endeavour, the superb replica of James Cook’s 18th C expedition vessel. Sean Koomen, Chief Instructor from the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Townsend and Executive Director Betsy Davis give us two different views on operating a thriving wooden boat school. Along with Carol Hasse, Emily Jateff, David Payne and Steve White (of Brooklin Boatyard fame) this symposium makes compulsory viewing.
Over at the Adventure Stage in the Elizabeth Street Pier, hear long distance sailor and author Lin Pardey speak, then stay on to hear the remarkable story of large-scale traditional boatbuilding in Indonesia from Andrew Laughlin. Greg Hatten will take you drift-boating down some of America’s wildest rivers in a wooden boat and race boss Daniel Evans will put you through the paces of one of the wildest competitions in the world, the Race to Alaska. Tasmanian entrepreneur Andrew Morgan explains the amazing recovery of thousands of tonnes of prime timber from Tasmania’s highland lakes. Susan St. John has brought the 32′ Scilly Isles Pilot Boat Spirit some 10,000 miles to be with us in Hobart and you can hear her describe her inspiring work for Outward Bound and the Apprenticeshop in Maine, USA. Rita Brand was on the transport vessel that brought the historic City of Adelaide all the way from the UK and is with us to tell that story, while celebrated master woodworker Jim Tolpin talks about his work. Captain Sarah Parry gives us an account of the history of the Windward Bound and the future of the Mistral II and designer Ron Holland tells his story – ‘San Francisco to Australia with No Engine’. Author and sailor Kaci Cronkhite introduces her book ‘Finding Pax’, while Erika Grundmann tells a fascinating story of a sailor/philosopher George Dibbern. Museum specialist Evelyn Ansel gives a talk on the Herreshoff Museum project ahead of her workshop at Port Arthur and Ferdi Darley brings us unto date on the ambitious Alma Doepel restoration.
Like something a bit more practical? We have you sorted with the Small Stages Program. A Small Stage is a simple workbench and you’ll find three of them on the festival site. The Shipwright’s Stage its in the Shipwright’s Village. The Woodworker’s Stage is directly in from of Brooke Street Pier. You’ll find the Sailmaking & Rigging Stage in the forecourt of Elizabeth Street Pier. There are no seats, no reservations; just get up close and watch our master craftsmen and women at work. This is hands-on practical instruction and advice from some of the best in the business. Boat Builder Ned Trewartha is one of Tasmania’s most respected craftsmen and Port Townsend’s Joe Greenley creates beautiful Redfish kayaks. American presenter Bob Fuller demonstrates the antique trade of the wheelwright and master joiner Jim Tolpin drops in for a few sessions, too. Tony Duvallet covers caulking and Mick Taransky shows us how split cane rods are made. Mechanical master Graeme Creighton demonstrates traditional rope-making, while rigger Brion Toss and sailmaker Carol Hasse bring their expertise along.
Too much to take in? Don’t worry, many sessions are repeated and you can check details on our website at australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au or stop into the Festival Information Centre in Mawson Place. You’ll find details posted at each of the Small Stages and at the venues.