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.

 

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?

STOP PRESS

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