Seacrest – It Started with a Log

If you own a wooden boat (or if you used to own a boat and you’re all better now), this little story might ring a bell:

Once upon a time there was a log.  It was a very nice log of celery top pine and along with a slightly smaller log, it was donated by the clever people at Hydrowood, who are reclaiming valuable boat-building timber from the Tasmanian highland lakes.  Here at the AWBF, someone said ‘Hey, free wood! Those logs would make a great boat, wouldn’t they?’  So the log was milled by local wooden boat enthusiast Dave Golding and the lovely clean timber was brought to the Wooden Boat Centre at Franklin.

But of course if the timber was ever to be anything more than a stack of wood, we would need a team of boat builders to knock it into shape. We were lucky to find a team of six student shipwrights and their instructor who were willing to come out all the way out from Holland to build our boat.  Well, they needed somewhere to stay and somewhere to build the boat, so the kind people in the town of Franklin helped to find them places to live and the Wooden Boat Centre gave them a workshop to build the boat in.

Sure, the air fares and the accommodation and the tools and the extra materials and the transport all cost a few dollars, but hey, it was free wood and volunteer labour, right?

And then one day, it was done! We had a beautiful Dutch-design sailboat called a BM16m2 and it was christened ‘Seacrest’.  We hired a truck and a crane (oh, we had to build a cradle for it to sit in)  and then we shipped it up to the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival, where it was a big hit and everyone admired it.


In fact one man, a retired rock lobster fisherman from Victoria named Gerhard Wilmink, liked it so much that he pointed it out to his partner, Cherie.  ‘Look, that’s a lovely boat and it’s up for auction today and I bet it will go for a good price and wouldn’t the grandchildren love it?’ (If you have ever watched a patient partner listen to the ravings of a wooden boat lover, you can imagine the eye-rolling and the resigned expression).  Gerhard bid carefully in a lively auction and soon the boat was his!

But, of course it would need a final coat or two of varnish, so it was back to the Wooden Boat Centre for a little more loving, while Gerhard sorted out a  a very sturdy twin-axle trailer to transport the boat back to Apollo Bay in Victoria (and yes, the fares on the Spirit of Tasmania can make your eyes water).  Soon, it was ready to go.  But as it happened, the boat and the trailer were a little too much for Gerhard’s car, so he had to go out and buy a new truck to tow it.

Which is the story of how a couple of free logs turned into Seacrest, a Cinderella of a sailboat, ready for the warmer weather and some excited grand-kids to go sailing.

Of course, we are teasing a little.  The project that built the Seacrest was a wonderful example of international cooperation and the community of wooden boats. Gerhard Wilmink is a highly respected skipper and a repeat visitor to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.  His previous boat, the 50′ rock lobster boat Johanna Cherie, was built by renowned shipwright Gary Stewart at Port Fairy, Victoria.  The Johanna Cherie is still in the industry, operating out of Currie on King Island.  Gerhard and Cherie have become welcome friends in the community at Franklin, Tasmania.  Many thanks to photographers Rob Oates, Daryl Peebles and Barbara Murphy for their contributions.


Dutch BM16m2 Goes to Auction

Isn’t She Beautiful?


The lovely ‘sixteen metre square’ sailboat Seacrest sold at auction in under 15 minutes to a very happy new owner – retired Victorian fisherman Mr Gerhard Wilmink from Apollo Bay.

He takes home a hand-built, elegantly designed and beautifully finished small yacht, ready for the water and keen to sail.  It’s been the closely-followed program for the Dutch Project at the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival.  Crafted by a young team of boat builders under the direction of veteran boat builder Bert van Baar, the sleek keelboat is made from Tasmanian celery top pine donated by Hydrowood and was built at the Wooden Boat Centre at Franklin.

Dutch boat builders at Franklin with associate producer Karen Meirik and AWBF Chairman Steve Knight © Robert Oates | BALLANTYNE Photography

The boat went under the auctioneer’s hammer on Sunday, February 12 at 4:00 pm on the festival site at the Shipwright’s Village in Mawson Place.  The hotly contested auction, introduced with a few words of Dutch by local auctioneer Mr Hank Petrusma, drew a large crowd to Franklin Wharf where the BM16m2 has been admired by the tens of thousands of visitors attending the festival. All proceeds go to the not-for-profit AWBF, Inc. to keep our festival free!

The boat was built from celery top pine, reclaimed from the bottom of Lake Pieman by Tasmanian company Hydrowood and donated to the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

Ironically, Mr Wilmink emigrated from Holland at the age of 12, along with the many Dutch who did so after World War II.  Having Seacrest is like reclaiming a little piece of Holland and its culture for the Wilmink family. The visiting Dutch boat builders were also delighted with this outcome.  Mr Wilmink retired from fishing after 44 years in the industry and sold his boat, the Johanna Cherie, in February 2016. In another twist of irony, the Johanna Cherie was also constructed from celery top and Huon pine. She was built in 1983 in by renowned Port Fairy boat-builder, Garry Stewart.  Other examples of Garry Stewart-built boats were on display at the festival.

Johanna Cherie still operates as a fishing boat, and now is based on King Island.

 When asked his intentions for Seacrest , Mr Wilmink said he was looking forward to taking his grandchildren sailing at home in Apollo Bay.

Seaquest (foreground) races a Dutch tjotter at AWBF 2017. © Mithun Rajshekar | BALLANTYNE Photography



Why I keep my boat at South Haven Marina

Roscoe Barnett is a Kettering boat owner and wooden boat tragic.

He is a member of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival Inc and has been the On Water Manager / Dockmaster for the last five festivals, a member and past president of the Wooden Boat Guild of Tasmania, a member of the Kettering Yacht Club and a committee member of the Maritime Museum of Tasmania.

Maori Lass – LOA 30’, Beam 9’, Draft 5’

As well as owning Maori Lass for the last 23 years Roscoe and Cheryl Barnett have a collection of assorted clinker dinghies and a couple of Piners Punts as well!

Tim Oxley recently caught up with Roscoe to ask him about Maori Lass and where he keeps her.

TO: Roscoe, what can you tell us about Maori Lass?

RB: Maori Lass was designed by H.E. Cox and was built by Ron Andrewartha assisted by his two sons in Letitia Street North Hobart in 1948/9 and launched from Franklin Wharf in 1950. She is built from Celery Top Pine on Blue Gum frames and weighing in at 6 tons.

She sailed and raced the Derwent before heading to Sydney, on to the Great Barrier Reef then in 1976 headed off from Darwin, returning Maori Lass C60 on River Derwent-1 1950sto Sydney in 1982 via the two canals. When Cheryl and I took over the custodianship in 1993, she had been let go for a few years and we started the restoration job that is still in progress today! She has been splined from the keel to the waterline and had new floors, mast step, some refastening, some new ribs, new decks and numerous other jobs. I am currently replacing half the galley.

She hasn’t been used as much as I would have liked, but now I’m retired things will change! Cheryl loves sailing and we plan to enjoy more time exploring the channel.

20160824_125240_resized_2TO: And you have some special items which go with Maori Lass.

RB:  I met the Andrewartha family shortly after we purchased Maori Lass her and fortunately I have accumulated a substantial amount of memorabilia along with the original blueprints, a half model and recently a full size model, ¾” to the foot which was also built in 1949 by the builder’s son Bob.

I feel very privileged to have all this material relating to her.

         “now I’m retired things will change!”

TO: And where do you keep your boat, Roscoe?

RB: She’s kept at the South Haven Marina, Kettering, a very handy spot, being right on the Channel. The marina doesn’t have a slipway or marine services as such, however there is a marvellous travel lift, hard stand area and first class services at the Oyster Cove Marina just across Little Oyster Cove. Over the years, both South Haven Marina and Oyster Cove Marina along with the Oyster Cove Chandlery management have been very generous supporters of the AWBF and the KWBRSouth Haven Marina does boast the Mermaid Café which I can highly recommend for their bacon and egg rolls with a fresh coffee, and of course all their other meals.

Little Oyster Cove (Kettering) is always a popular destination for interstate boat owners after the AWBF and the Kettering Yacht Club in conjunction with the Wooden Boat Guild hosts the Kettering Wooden Boat Rally on the off year to the AWBF where wooden boat owners can get out on the Channel and have a good sail in the company of other wooden boats .

Thanks, Roscoe for telling us more about Maori Lass!

Want to tell us more about your boat and where you keep her? Contact [email protected]