Sailing to Tasmania

Thinking of Sailing to Tasmania for AWBF 2019?

With about nine months to go before the next festival, we have started receiving enquiries from mainland boat owners about sailing to Tasmania.

Where can I berth my boat after the festival?” is a common question.

What else is on in Tassie after the festival?” is another.

Yes, with boat registrations open for AWBF 2019, some boat owners will now be planning ahead. Interestingly, some enquirers are not even planning to display their boats in the festival, but they plan to sail down anyway and want to know more about the Island State.

Fortunately, Tasmania has plenty to offer visiting boat owners:

  • wonderful scenery
  • great sailing
  • awesome food and wine
  • friendly yacht clubs with great facilities, and
  • quality marine services to look after your boat

With Tasmania’s attractions and its well known boating opportunities, several ‘mainland’ boats which came south for previous festivals are still here! 

Some are floating homes away from home for retirees on the big adventure while others are a floating shack for owners still in the rat race. Either way, the attractions of the Apple Isle have won again.

With frequent and inexpensive airfares from most mainland capitals, the idea of having a yacht here has caught on.

For more advice on planning your voyage see this article by Laurence Burgin.

More information is available from the Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania’s excellent guides here.


New marina berths

Visitors will see new or extended marinas at several locations. The Derwent Sailing Squadron  can now accommodate  vessels up to 30m and the Triabunna marina which has now been completed, offers more room for visiting boats and a fuel dock.

In addition, several new marinas are under construction, expansion or on the drawing board in 2018. Boat owners will benefit from new facilities in great locations such Margate, Dunalley, Prince of Wales Bay, Triabunna and even Flinders Island in varying stages of design, approval and construction. As they are completed, these marinas will provide even more boat hotels, and we’ll bring you more information when known.

Post festival activities

Visiting and local boaties alike will be able to enjoy some great post festival activities, which are currently being planned.  Watch for a cruise organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania and activities at Franklin on the beautiful Huon River.

Festival co-founder Ian Johnston has been discovering some special places on Tasmania’s West Coast. Here’s one of his drone images of his boat Juliene at Ketchum Bay Cove. Watch for more from Ian  – maybe a book ?

Juliene at Ketchum Bay CoveSo while it’s absolutely worth the effort of Sailing to Tasmania for the festival, staying on for more sailing fun makes a lot of sense as well.

To save you searching for Marinas Tasmania here’s more information for you on yacht clubs and marinas around Tasmania .

Click on the marker to display details about each facility.

Marina managers: If your marina or yacht club is missing from this map, please leave a comment and we’ll add it in.

Tim Oxley manages the festival’s Maritime Marketplace and contributes articles for AWBF and ReviewMarineProducts

New Management at Franklin Marine

Laurence Burgin, the long-time owner of Franklin Marine in the Huon Valley was known for his community mindedness, his enthusiasm and his expertise with everything maritime, from diesel engines to fishing lures. Laurence has moved on now, handing over the reins to South Australian Ian Kuhl, who has worked at Franklin Marine since 2016. Ian is no stranger to the sea himself.   He is a qualified Master 4 with thousands of sea miles in his logbook and long association with wooden boats. We popped in to ask Ian a few questions about his decision to make a home in the Huon Valley.

Where are you from originally, Ian?

I was born in South Australia and went to Immanuel College and Urrbrae Agricultural. Started my working life as a jackeroo and worked my way up to farm overseer. I put in eight years working farms in south east SA before I ran away to sea.

You got connected with the One and All, Adelaide’s tall ship?

That’s right. I was with the One and All for twenty years, all told. Started as a watch leader, then purser, Second Mate, First Mate and eventually Captain. Later on, I became the CEO and Operations Manager. I was also board member and president of what’s now known as Tall Ships Australia and New Zealand. It was AUSTA in my day.

Adelaide’s tall ship One and All

You did a lot of commercial sea time as well?

Yes, I was in the Whitsundays for three years with Barefoot Cruises. I was skipper for 18 months on the Oceanic Pearl, a 65’ gentleman’s cruiser, then on an early Incat 37m wave piercer and the square rigger Coral Trekker. I ended up on Hayman Island for three years, managing a fleet of seven cruising vessels and a staff of 20.

Coral Trekker cruising the Whitsundays

And then the decision to move to Tasmania permanently?

Yes, that happened in 2015. I found work at Whitworth’s for a short time, then rolled up at Franklin Marine and started working with Laurence in December 2016. When Laurence decided to step back, I bought the lease on the shop, the trading name and of course all the stock.

It’s a pretty busy operation, isn’t it?

It certainly is. It’s a one-stop-shop for boaties and anyone going fishing. We’ve got a huge array of boat fittings, marine products and fishing gear. I’m looking at that range and working out how we can streamline our operation and build relationships with the local shipwrights, sailing clubs and organisations.

Franklin as a town is moving forwards with development on the waterfront and I see this as a big positive for the town and for the Huon Valley. Franklin already has some wonderful attractions with the Wooden Boat Centre and the Yukon. These attractions can only be helped by the development and more people coming into Frankin and I look forward to seeing it develop over the years.

You still have an interest in youth sail training as well?

Yes, I’ve been involved in that for a long time, through One and All and AUSTA. I’m looking for opportunities to support these kind of programs into the future.

Well, good luck. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of you at the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

Aussie 18s in the News

There’s word around the slips about a possible Hobart showdown in 2019 between The Yanks (in the shape of the East Coast sandbaggers) and the Aussies (look to the classic Sydney 18-footers like Britannia, displayed at the Australian National Maritime Museum). Ian Smith’s exact replica of the 1919 craft Britannia put in an appearance at AWBF 2017. The extreme length of the jib and boom had many visitors scratching their heads – how could a little 18-foot boat carry that much sail and avoid going airborne? Well, they did, and they still do, as evidenced by the Sydney Flying Squadron sailing modern replicas.

Off Center Harbor, the fast-growing video website for sailors was suitably impressed when they saw Britannia and recently released a new video on these classic boats. CLICK HERE to see the video and another on Victorian couta boats. It will cost you nothing to see the video and ten more of their best, but be warned, the website is seriously addictive if you’re into wooden boats. is a membership website with 1,000+ professional videos/articles on wooden boats, including topics such as boat handling, repairs, maintenance, boat building, and getting aboard legendary boats. It’s worth checking out.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast of the USA, the classic 19th century fast sailboats called sandbaggers are again tearing through the water, descendants of the working oyster boats that once delivered fresh shellfish to the tables of the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts in their New York City mansions. Sandbaggers get their name from the practice of moving bags of sand ballast from one side of the boat to the other to keep them upright under a huge press of sail, racing their rival skippers to get to market first for the best prices.

Sandbaggers Racing in Long Island Sound by James Edward Buttersworth (1817-1894).            Image:

In France, there’s also renewed interest in a similar style of over-powered high-speed sailing craft called a houaris Marseillais. Prestigious boating magazine Classic Boat covered the phenomenon in a recent article:

Radical New Sandbagger-Type Yachts in France

“To say Alcyon is extreme would be an understatement. She’s like a soup bowl carrying a pillowcase of rig. With her length overall of just 22ft 11in (7m) but boom and bowsprit extending out to 68ft 11in (21m), the cloud of canvas overhang is absolutely nuts – she looks like a boat that you’d really expect to see in black and white, when our yachting ancestors were zealously over-rigging yachts to win silver on sunny summer regatta days.”

It turns out that Ian Smith, with Britannia and a gang of his mates went to Annapolis, Maryland recently, took on the sandbaggers in their home waters and in a distant echo of the 1983 ‘Thunder from Down Under’ that won the America’s Cup, the cheeky 18-footers won the day. Now, there’s honour at stake and word is, a return match is on the cards. Likely champions? The famous sandbaggers Bull and Bear from the US National Sailing Hall of Fame might just wet their sails in the River Derwent. Stay tuned for more news.

Feature photo:  Bruce Kerridge, courtesy Sydney Flying Squadron