GM’s Log – February 2018

Festival Team Gets Into Gear

I hope that you enjoyed the Christmas break and perhaps got a little ‘shack time’ in January.  For our readers interstate and overseas, ‘shack time’ in Tasmania means getting down to the waterfront, somewhere along Tasmania’s 2,800 kilometres of spectacular coastline for a relaxing snooze in a deck chair with a chilled beverage somewhere close at hand. Or even better, cruising our sheltered waterways in a wooden boat, enjoying the sunny summer breezes and the crystal-clear water.  By the beginning of February, though, thoughts turn to the coming year as the kids go back to school and we get down to business once more.

Here in the AWBF office, that means pulling the production crew together again for twelve months of intense planning, leading up to the next MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival in February 2019. We are fortunate to have one of the best teams in the events business.  It’s a healthy mix of enthusiasm and professionalism, seasoned veterans and bright new faces. There are around 25 people on the principal crew, each one managing some part of the creative whole.  There are berthing plans to be drawn up, sub-contractors to arrange, venues to be booked and risk assessments to be prepared.  We will need heavy equipment to lift boats, fencing and signs and of course those indispensable Porta-Loos to accommodate thousands of visitors on site.  We’ll need to consult with waterfront businesses, publish media releases, recruit volunteers and prepare traffic plans.  We have to reach out to hundreds of boat owners (with whom we wouldn’t have a festival) and find the generous sponsors who will help us undertake the massive task of paying for a huge festival that welcomes 200,000 people, with no tickets and no gates.

You don’t do this sort of job because you like punching a time clock or watching the stock market results.  We do it because we like the excitement and energy that comes with a genuine community event, the great team we get to work with and a sense of pride in the unique place we live in.  Our maritime heritage and the beautiful wooden boats in the harbour are essential parts of living in Tasmania, and we love showing them off to the world.  Four hundred enthusiastic AWBF volunteers can’t all be wrong – join us in 2019 for another fantastic festival!

Paul Cullen

General Manager

GM’s Log – December 2017

As the year winds into the mad Christmas rush of shopping and cooking and socialising with friends and family, we are conscious of a big clock on the wall, ticking away the weeks until this time next year, when we will be in the final stages of preparation for the 2019 Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

The festival plays a long game, of course, facing challenges to find enough sponsorship and support to cover our operating budget and dealing with changes to our waterfront infrastructure that influence how we do things and where. We have an international program to arrange, as well as planning berthing arrangements for 500+ boats and organising the equipment we’ll need to produce the event.

Continue reading “GM’s Log – December 2017”

GM’s Log – November 2017

As summer rolls into Tasmania, we are all enjoying the bright sunshine and warm weather and of course we’re reminded that when the warm weather returns again in a year, we’ll be celebrating the 2019 MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival. A little more than twelve months from now, that is, and there’s much to be done between now and then.

Our featured nation in 2019 will be the United States and we’re already putting together an exciting program that includes some of the best-known names in the wooden boat world, including Jon Wilson (founder of the iconic WoodenBoat Magazine), Carol Hasse (legendary sail-maker from Port Townsend, Washington), Steve White (Brooklin Boat Yard, Maine) and Sean Koomen (chief instructor at the North West School of Wooden Boat Building). We’ll be shipping out some classic North American examples of boat design and welcoming a contingent of deeply experienced and committed people to celebrate our shared heritage in wooden boats. We’ll announce more names as they are confirmed over the next few months.

The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) continues its support for the International Wooden Boat Symposium in 2019, with noted speakers from Tasmania and interstate, as well as our international guests. There are exciting plans to cooperate with the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin to run a boat-building project similar to the enormously popular Dutch project that saw a beautiful 21’ sailboat created out of unique Tasmanian timber. The design of the new project is rumoured to be a Herreshoff Haven 12.5, once described by Brooklin Boat Yard’s founder Joel White as ‘probably the best small boat ever designed’. Anne Holst at the Wooden Boat Centre tells us that limited places may be available to join this building team – details to come.

The classic Tasmanian steam launch Preana is often skippered by Sam Yousofi, who is on the Hobart waterfront often enough to ask ‘Where Have All the Ferries Gone?’ Boat Manager Cathy Hawkins continues her story of high adventure in the Arctic with ‘Iqualuktuuttiaq to Nuuk, Greenland – A Bloody Long Way!’. (Any reader who can accurately pronounce the first place name receives a small prize from AWBF this month.) Mal Riley, master of the Lady Nelson weighs in with a good suggestion for the next festival and there’s more news from around the traps, including a respectful farewell to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival’s first Honorary Life Member – Meade Gougeon.