Vale Meade Gougeon

Farewell to our respected friend Meade Gougeon, who passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by his family, on Sunday, August 27, 2017.

“I’ve been involved in wooden boat festivals for quite a long time now, including about 15 years of running the skills demonstrations at the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, Connecticut. I’ve been to Brest twice, and I’ve been attending the Port Townsend festival since 1979, plus numerous other shows and festivals here and there. In general, I would say the Hobart festival stacks up most favorably against the best of them. I saw American and European designers represented from the early 20th century right up to now, in staggering variety, with no one influence dominating. That is a great, great strength of the Hobart festival, and I believe the International Wooden Boat Symposium reinforces it.“ Meade Gougeon (USA) leading sailor and designer

In 2017, Meade became the first Honorary Life Member of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival Inc. as a mark of our respect and gratitude for his encouragement and support. In 2015, at the age of 76, Meade travelled all the way from his home in Bay City, Michigan to Hobart to attend the Festival. He was the keynote speaker at the International Wooden Boat Symposium that year and delighted everyone he met with his undiminished enthusiasm for wood as a high-tech building material and for the international world of wooden boat design.

Meade, with his brothers Joel and Jan, founded the company that pioneered the use of epoxy glues and laminate timber for building boats in 1969. Their radical composite structures brought elegant boat construction within the reach of thousands of owners who could not afford the traditional service of professional shipwrights. Meade was an avid and successful sailor, on the water and on the frozen surface of the North American lakes. He co-authored The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction, which has remained a standard reference book since it was first published in 1979. The West System is the well-known brand of the employee-owned company that continues to supply innovative products to the professional and amateur boat builder.

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.

Results Are In for the AWBF Survey

Results Are In for the AWBF Survey

We mentioned in our June update that the results were in for the post-festival survey completed by 786 festival-goers, answering an extensive questionnaire so that we can better understand who comes to the festival, where they are from, how long they stay and what they value most about the event. This kind of data is essential for us to plan the festival’s future and to demonstrate to our partners, sponsors and supporters the value of the largest wooden boat gathering in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are some interesting trends emerging, since we first began the survey with the 2013 event. Estimated attendance (215,000) is steady, with fluctuations mostly attributable to weather, and the number of boats (490) and volunteers (435) stable over the last three festivals. What has changed is the percentage of our audience travelling from interstate and overseas to attend the event. Continue reading “Results Are In for the AWBF Survey”