One of the world’s most respected maritime photographers, Ben Mendlowitz, has selected two Tasmanian boats to feature in his eagerly-anticipated Calendar of Wooden Boats for 2019.
This is an extraordinary result from a first-time visit for Ben to Tasmania for the 2017 MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival. With a 20,000 copy print run, this famous calendar is a hot item on every wooden boat owner’s Christmas list in North America and hundred of mail-order copies find their way to Europe, Asia and Australasia. It’s a remarkable honour to see not one, but two Australian vessels in the calendar and the boat owners can be justifiably proud to be chosen for this prestigious and beautifully produced photographic essay.
The boats are Ben Marris’s 1936 Huon Pine ketch Saona and Toby Greenlees 13-metre, 111 year-old ketch Mallana. Both boats were popular features at the 2017 festival. Saona is something of a cinematic star, having hosted the Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans television team for an SBS series in 2012. Mallana was a participant in the thrilling Working Ketch Race for the Wrest Point Cup.
The Calendar of Wooden Boats is published by Noah Publications in Brooklyn, Maine, which also produces elegant books featuring Ben Mendlowitz’s photography. The calendar will be available on Amazon and from the publisher, but we are hoping to convince a local Hobart bookshop to stock the calendar when it is published. If you are a lover of fine wooden boat photography, an advance order for the 2019 calendar from your favourite bookshop might be a sound idea.
Ben Mendlowitz was a guest of the AWBF at the last festival, along with Off Centre Harbor film maker Steve Stone. Both friends have been instrumental in helping to build awareness of the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival in the North American market.
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.
We hear a lot of extraordinary stories about special boats preparing for the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival, but this one is particularly inspiring. David Pescud is a leader in the Sailors with disABILITIES organisation, which exists to improve the lives of young Australians living with a disability or facing adversity. It’s a great initiative and has been a part of several festivals in the past.
Sailors with disABILITIES is about to unfold a new project and it’s one of the most ambitious they have ever undertaken. They are starting work on a complete restoration of a classic 53’ Herreshoff ketch named Wright of Passage, donated by a generous benefactor. The boat needs a great deal of work to make it seaworthy for its exciting goal – sailing from Sydney to Hobart to attend the MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival in February 2019.
Woolwich Dock and Parklands
The work will be done at the historic Woolwich Dock in Sydney with the aid of volunteers and David Pescud is looking for help. ‘We would love to have some trade-skilled help of course’, David says, ‘but we’ll take anyone with the right attitude who can drive a paintbrush or use a piece of sandpaper’. The project also needs boat bits – paint, timber, plywood, electrical fittings and machinery. ‘Contact our office – we’ll explain what we need and hopefully get you excited about a wonderful plan with a really worthwhile goal.’