(photo by Doug Thost)
Photography has always been a big part of the AWBF. At every Australian Wooden Boat Festival, there are hundreds of lenses trained on the boats, the people, the entertainment and the gangs of friends enjoying the social weekend of the year. Our trained and dedicated crew of accredited festival photographers capture thousands of beautiful images all over the site and on the water, too. That collection of images becomes a library that we mine for the next two years to illustrate our publications, answer media requests, populate our on-line collections and generally recall what a wonderful event it was. Continue reading “Top Shot – Photography at AWBF”
(photo courtesy Chesapeake Light Craft)
Back in 1977, the northwest corner of the United States was a fertile stamping ground for many veterans of the counter culture that had flowered in the 60s and early 70s in the US. Communes, farms, experimental communities and festivals flourished in a score of rainbow colours. One group of self-described ‘salt water hippies’ gathered in the town of Port Townsend northwest of Seattle with a vision of a community and lifestyle based on the sea and wooden boats. The most visible result, at first, was a festival of wooden boats held at the end of the Northern summer. More than 2,000 people attended the first Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in 1997 and the event is largely credited for launching the renaissance of wooden boat culture in the United States. The event has been presented annually ever since and the 41st festival will run from 8-10 September this year.
Today, Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival is the most education-packed and inspiring wooden boat event in the world. Featuring more than 300 wooden vessels, dozens of indoor and outdoor presentations and demonstrations, a who’s who of wooden boat experts and thousands of wooden boat enthusiasts, there’s something to do, someone to meet, or a boat to board at every turn. Expanded a little each year, the Festival honors its traditions while inviting energetic debate and demonstration about the latest innovations in boatbuilding, equipment, skills, and adventure.
The festival gave birth to the Wooden Boat Foundation in 1978, as the convenors sought to establish a year-round program for teaching, preserving and encouraging traditional skills and bringing more people into the world of sailing, rowing and working on wooden boats. By 1995, the Foundation resolved that it should buy or build a permanent home and a building fund was established. Port Townsend began to attract other maritime businesses including chandleries, a boat building school and sail training organisations. The Northwest Maritime Centre opened in 2009, offering multiple courses and programs for adults and children.
Kaci Cronkhite, the celebrated sailor, circumnavigator and author – was the director of the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival for ten years, from 2002 to 2011. Her first visit to Hobart in 2007 was by invitation from AWBF co-founder Andy Gamlin. She visited again in 2013 and 2015. Kaci has become an active promoter of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival world-wide. Kaci brought the present director of the Port Townsend festival, Barb Trailer, along to see us in 2017. We were delighted to meet a kindred spirit who actually understood what was going on! Barb got to enjoy a wooden boat festival without worrying about whether the microphones are working properly. We’re looking forward to returning the visit and we’ll try to stay out from under her feet!
Who can forget the magnificent Bark Europa, or the visit of the Dutch fleet for Tall Ships Hobart back in 2013? Along with Tecla and Oosterschelde, this beautiful tall ship drew thousands of people to see her at Princes Wharf. Europa lives an exciting life and the latest news is that she is back in the Southern Ocean and on her way to Antarctica. Fresh from the Bermuda to Boston Tall Ships Race, Europa is about to embark on a 6,000 nautical mile voyage from Nova Scotia in Canada to Montevideo, Uruguay. Then it’s time for a stopover, preparing the ship for the real adventure: on to Antarctica. If a genuine blue-water passage on a traditional tall ship is on your bucket list, have a look at the details on the ship’s website here:
We are hoping that tall ship expeditions in the Southern Ocean will become more familiar, perhaps extending to adventure cruises to the sub-Antarctic islands and East Antarctica from Hobart. Now, wouldn’t that be something? Hobart’s growing reputation as an Antarctic gateway city might get us there.