Tassie Too Returns

Tassie Too, the 21 Foot Restricted class yacht which won the Forster Cup an unequalled ten times between 1927 and 1952, was successfully re-launched in early February 2018 thanks to the efforts of a team of passionate supporters of Tasmanian maritime history; several with deep connections to the vessel itself. Kenn Batt, Greg Muir, Bill Batt, Colin Grazules and Nicole Mays established the “Friends of Tassie Too” not-for-profit organisation in early 2017 to coordinate administrative, financial, insurance, scheduling and maintenance efforts associated with Tassie Too. Their hard work and determination resulted in the vessel making a triumphant return to the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania from Melbourne in September 2017, and an auspicious re-launch a few weeks ago. With support from the Tasmanian maritime industry, maritime history and sailing community, the “Friends of Tassie Too” organisation will ensure that Tassie Too is well cared for into the future, and well used.

Tassie Too was launched from the Battery Point slips near Hobart on 26 November 1927 having been built by Charlie Lucas and Chips Gronfors. The yacht was designed by W. P. “Skipper” Batt in conjunction with Alfred Blore and John Tarleton with principal measurements of 25ft overall x 7.5ft beam. Class requirements called for a vessel of 21ft on the waterline, 25ft overall with a maximum beam of 8ft. Tassie Too was commissioned by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and paid for by subscription to allow a second Tasmanian boat to compete for the hotly contested Forster Cup; the national event for the 21ft Restricted Class. Skippered by several members of the Batt family, including Skipper Batt, his brother Harry, and later Harry’s son Neall, the vessel was a standout at the Forster Cup, winning the event ten times between 1928 and 1952.

Believed to be the only survivor of the three ‘Tassie‘-named boats which represented Tasmania and dominated the 21 Foot Restricted class for more than two decades, Tassie Too will be a popular and welcome participant in the 2019 Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Additional information about the vessel, its history, lists of crews, and how you can donate to the Friends of Tassie Too organisation can be found at www.friendsoftassietoo.org.

 

Maori Lass Gets Some Attention

Maori Lass

Our long-serving Dock Master, Ross Barnett, is a man who knows a thing or two about wooden boats. He’d restored enough of them, God knows, and there probably isn’t a piner’s punt in Tasmania he’s not on first-name terms with. So when he decided that his beloved Maori Lass needed a polish up for her 70th birthday (this is not the beloved Mrs. B, you understand, but a 30’ compact offshore cruiser built in Hobart in 1948), he should have known what he was in for. Roscoe did know enough to enlist the services of master shipwright Terry Lean to ‘replace a few ribs under and astern of the engine and give it a lick of paint around the topsides. Six weeks, eight at the most.’

Captain Crusty gets to work

We know, dear reader, we know. You have already laid your head to one side and adopted a knowing look. Stand by, they’re going to lift Maori Lass out of the water and put her into the Gardners Bay shed once occupied by the fabled Wilson Brothers, creators of Varg and many other superb Tasmanian boats. Terry Lean will be in charge, assisted by Captain Crusty (aka Ross Barnett) in the part-time project to complete the tune-up.

Terry has the runs on the board, having worked on the restoration of the Kathleen Gillett (now in pride of place at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney) and the Jock Muir boat Lahara. Trained at Halvorsen and Gowland, he was shipwright and charge hand for Halvorsen Boats at Bobbin Head, then for Beashel’s in Pittwater before moving to Tasmania and taking up the position of principal tutor and boat builder at the Wooden Boat Centre on the shores of the Franklin River. Terry, who is also a qualified marine surveyor, continues to practice his traditional trade, with many notable boats to his credit.

Remind me, Terry, where does this bit go?

Maori Lass was designed by HE Cox and built by fellow New Zealander Ron Andrewartha with the help of his two sons, Tom and Bob. The two Kiwi gentlemen took Mrs Trewartha’s advice and christened the boat with an appropriate name. Built from Tasmanian blue gum keel and ribs with celery top pine planking, she was designed for true ocean sailing. The boat has proved herself well up to that task, having spent considerable time in Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, Darwin and around the world via Singapore, the Suez Canal, Panama Canal and across the Pacific.

Mrs. B. has just told Terry and Ross they can go home now, it’s 6:00pm.

We caught up with Ross here in the AWBF office recently to see how things were going:

AWBF:   So, Roscoe, having started the re-fit back in September, how is that 6 week project coming along?

RB:    Have you seen the state of those ribs? It’s like a jungle in there! Christmas. We should be done by Christmas. Well, soon after Christmas, anyway.

AWBF:   That’s OK, Roscoe, but the next festival is just 13 months away. Do you reckon you’ll be clear by then? We need our Dock Master back, after all.

RB:        Leave it with me. (walks away with a limp where his wallet used to be)

The Tao of Woodcraft

 

 

photo: Doug Thost

Among the woodcraft luminaries coming to the Australia Wooden Boat Festival in 2019, the latest to confirm is Jim Tolpin, an acclaimed woodworker, teacher and author who has published a dozen books and sold 750,000 copies world-wide. Jim is co-founder of the Port Townsend School of Wooodworking and a member of that thriving community of shipwrights, sail makers, artisans and craftspeople in the Pacific Northwest. Jim takes a naturalistic, reflective approach to shaping wood to a purpose and his beautifully crafted projects are a joy to the eye.

photo: Doug Thost

The connection to Tasmania and the Australian Wooden Boat Festival is clear – our island state is home to some of Australia’s finest boat builders, restorers and furniture makers, and to quality centres of learning including the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Tasmania, Alex Jerrim’s Wisdom Through Wood south of Hobart and the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin. Coupled with a long history of heritage skills and craftsmanship, Tasmania has a great deal in common with North American centres of excellence like Port Townsend.

Australian bush joinery at the AWBF with Alex Jerrim

The Australian Wooden Boat Festival (AWBF) is committed to preserving traditional wooden boat building and to passing on the skills that make it possible. Even for the amateur enthusiast, there will be a feast of woodcraft on the program at AWBF 2019. And best of all, these presentations are entirely free to the public. Stay in touch through the AWBF news blog to get the earliest news of what you can see and do at the festival, February 8-11, 2019.