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

 

 

Home Stays for Dutch Guests at AWBF

We will welcome more than 30 visitors from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival in February 2017.  Seven more are already with us, working on the Dutch Boat Project at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin. While we have provided accommodation for many of them, we know that home stays with local Tasmanian friends and families are a very rewarding way of enriching their experience.  It could be that you have Dutch heritage, or that you are interested in the remarkable wooden boats our guests will be bringing out with them, or just that you enjoy meeting new people and showing them what a beautiful place we live in. Perhaps you have received hospitality in another country and you would like to return the favour.

If you would like to open your home to one or more of our Dutch visitors, we have an easy way to make that happen:  just contact the AWBF office on (03) 6223 3375 or email us at [email protected] to register your interest.  We’ll do our best to match you up with our Dutch guests.  Most will arrive on 7 February, 2017 and stay through the festival, departing the following weekend on 18 February.  You don’t have to host a Dutch visitor for the whole period; we’re asking for a minimum of three nights’ accommodation, whenever you like.

 

You probably know that almost all Dutch adults and children have an excellent command of English and you might even learn a few words of Dutch before they go home!

Almost all of our guests will take part in Festival activities, including sailing, children’s entertainment and an interesting project to trace Dutch heritage for Tasmanians with links to the Netherlands.  That means that daily access to the festival site will be important, so if you are on a public transport route or within an easy taxi ride of the Hobart CBD, we’re interested in talking to you!