Soren Larsen for AWBF 2019

We haven’t seen the 1949 brigantine Soren Larsen here in Hobart since the Tall Ships Festival back in 2013, but there are some hopeful signs that this star of a ship (literally – she was captured on film in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Onedin Line and Shackleton) will be with us again. Soren Larsen was one of the original Jubilee Sailing Trust vessels and of course the JST has since sent Lord Nelson and Tenacious to Hobart for the AWBF.

The ship was built in Denmark just after the Second World War and was the last ship built by the Larsen Shipyard. She was a true working vessel, carrying general cargo in the Baltic for more than 20 years, until she was gutted by fire in 1972. Re-decked and re-fitted in 1979, she reached Australia permanently in 2011 and is now part of the Sydney Harbour Tall Ships fleet. 140 feet in length and 100’ tall, she is a magnificent example of a late-era wooden sailing ship

Sydney Harbour Cruises also operate the Coral Trekker, the Southern Swan and the ferry boat Wangi Queen.

Introducing the Dutch Boatbuilding Students

In collaboration with our Dutch friends to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, visiting what would one day become Tasmania, we at the AWBF are welcoming six enthusiastic boatbuilding students and one great teacher from the Netherlands to Tasmania to embark on a great boatbuilding adventure.

We would like to use this opportunity to introduce the six talented students: Keith (19yo) with his girlfriend Mirjam (20yo) are both studying at the HMC College in Rotterdam, and met during their learning experience at HMC. They are both looking forward to staying with their host families throughout their foreign internship, and jumped at the opportunity for the highly desirable experience. Mirjam started at HMC studying furniture making, however found boatbuilding much more interesting. Rens (29yo) from Amsterdam started his working career working his way up the corporate ladder, but found it was not for him, and joined HMC for a new adventure; he is excited for a Tasmanian BBQ. Jeroen, (29yo) also from Amsterdam is an adventure seeker who is looking forward to experiencing all Tasmania has to offer. Pim (21yo) from Rotterdam specialises in wooden boatbuilding and yacht interior design, and saw the Tasmanian project as a once in a lifetime opportunity that he just couldn’t miss. Finally, Frans (23yo) who is passionate about wooden boat restoration, says he is looking forward to a new travel and learning experience in Tasmania.

Keith (19yo) with his girlfriend Mirjam (20yo), who fell in love while building boats.

Not only will the students be working in the boatbuilding village of Franklin, but they will also be living with host families in the beautiful Huon Valley. The opportunity is a once in a lifetime experience to learn about our culture, develop their boatbuilding skills and to make lifelong friendships with the Tasmanian boatbuilding community.


Also, our Dutch friends are bringing with them four wooden vessels, which are currently in a container off the coast of Brittany. Track their voyage from the Netherlands here. 

Two of the vessels ready to embark on their adventure across the high seas.
Two traditional Dutch tjotters ready to embark on their adventure across the high seas.


Two of the wooden vessels making the journey from the Netherlands.
Two of the wooden vessels making the journey from the Netherlands.
The Dutch container on it's way from the Netherlands.
The Dutch container on it’s way from the loading point to the container ship.

If you can understand the Dutch language, there is a great video that was follows the progress of the container being filled to the brim with boats, materials and bikes ready for its departure to Tasmania. Have a look at the video here.

(Information and photographs provided by Bert van Baar and students, source: and Facebook)

GM’s Log – July 2016

Hectic is not the word; there has to be something stronger to describe the amount of effort going into festival preparations by the production team here at AWBF at the moment. With an Antarctic Festival to produce, now just seven weeks away, the crew is in high gear, marshalling exhibitors, volunteers, equipment and publicity. At the same time, of course, preparations are steaming ahead for the next Australian Wooden Boat Festival, now 29 weeks away in February 2017.

We have plenty of news to impart this month, with the confirmation of most of our Feature Vessels for 2017, a report on the flow of boat registrations and a preview of the International Wooden Boat Symposium. There are challenges too, with alterations to the Hobart waterfront costing us a few berths and the number of larger boats up considerably on the last festival. We have some good news on new sponsorships and continuing support from the Tasmanian State Government, as well as one or two changes in our crew line-up to take us into the new festival.

There are some important dates to be aware of: Expressions of Interest for Boats Afloat will close on 17 October and applications for commercial trading spaces on the festival site will close on 31 October. The festival site and the Maritime Marketplace are filling up at a rapid rate, as maritime suppliers take advantage of an enormous audience (220,000 visitors in 2015) interested in the very latest developments in maritime equipment, clothing and technology. And not least, get in soon to register your interest in the Tawe Nunnugah ‘raid’ organised by the Living Boat Trust in Franklin. There are limited spaces left for boats and crew in this challenging and exciting sailing, rowing and camping trip that starts in Recherche Bay and makes its way up the stunning Channel coastline to arrive in time for the Parade of Sail that open the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

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