Ben Mendlowitz Calendar Features Tassie Boats

One of the world’s most respected maritime photographers, Ben Mendlowitz, has selected two Tasmanian boats to feature in his eagerly-anticipated Calendar of Wooden Boats for 2019.

This is an extraordinary result from a first-time visit for Ben to Tasmania for the 2017 MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival.  With a 20,000 copy print run, this famous calendar is a hot item on every wooden boat owner’s Christmas list in North America and hundred of mail-order copies find their way to Europe, Asia and Australasia.  It’s a remarkable honour to see not one, but two Australian vessels in the calendar and the boat owners can be justifiably proud to be chosen for this prestigious and beautifully produced photographic essay.

The boats are Ben Marris’s 1936 Huon Pine ketch Saona and Toby Greenlees 13-metre, 111 year-old ketch Mallana.  Both boats were popular features at the 2017 festival.  Saona is something of a cinematic star, having hosted the Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans television team for an SBS series in 2012. Mallana was a participant in the thrilling Working Ketch Race for the Wrest Point Cup.

Saona – photo courtesy Ben Marris
Mallana – photo (c) Ballantyne Photography

The Calendar of Wooden Boats is published by Noah Publications in Brooklyn, Maine, which also produces elegant books featuring Ben Mendlowitz’s photography.  The calendar will be available on Amazon and from the publisher, but we are hoping to convince a local Hobart bookshop to stock the calendar when it is published.  If you are a lover of fine wooden boat photography, an advance order for the 2019 calendar from your favourite bookshop might be a sound idea.

Ben Mendlowitz was a guest of the AWBF at the last festival, along with Off Centre Harbor film maker Steve Stone.  Both friends have been instrumental in helping to build awareness of the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival in the North American market.

Haven 12.5 Project in Franklin

We are busy planning the next Australian Wooden Boat Festival, and we hit the ground running after the Christmas break.  There’s a lot of work to do, as the featured nation this time around is the USA and they have reacted to our invitation like long-lost friends. We’ve already got an brilliant line-up of wooden boat stars ready to present at the festival.

One of them is Sean Koomen, chief instructor at the North West School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Townsend, Washington.  Sean will bring a team of graduate students out to build a Haven 12.5, a classic American design originally by Herreshoff, modified by Joel White.  Joel’s son, Steve White, will be on the team.  They will build the boat at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin, with the same sort of time-frame as the Dutch boat building project on 2017.  This project will generate a huge amount of interest in North America.

Chief instructor Sean Koomen at the NWSWBB

Sean is eager to get his hands on the Hydrowood reclaimed-timber celery top pine. Dutch boat builder Bert van Baar gave it a rave review after building the smart BM16 at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin.  ‘Smooth, cuts like butter, fine finish’, he said.

Hydrowood has agreed to be involved again in 2019, which has everyone smiling.  Anne Holst, manager of the Wooden Boat Centre has generously offered to provide space and access to tools.  ‘There will be opportunities for locals to get involved in the build’ she reports.  The town of Franklin is the perfect location for international guests to get a taste of real Tasmanian hospitality and our fascination with wooden boats. The vessel is expected to be on site for the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival and will be auctioned to support this free, public event on Hobart’s beautiful waterfront.


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