Wooden Boat Festival

Every two years in February the Derwent River comes alive with a vast collection of wooden boats. On Friday I made my way to meet my Mum and sister Nancy down at Sandy Bay Beach to watch the sail-past, which begins the festival and brings hundreds of boats into Sullivans Cove. It was quite a spectacle, with many of the replica tall ships enabling us to imagine we had slipped back in time to early Hobart.

Boats ranged from kayaks and open row-boats, to sloops of all eras, and huge square-rigged sailing ships, including the sail-training vessel Tenacious. This ship, 65 metres long and 10.6 metres wide, was launched in 2000 and is rigged as a three-masted barque. It is owned by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a UK charity and is equipped to carry a crew of about 40, half of whom may have a physical or sensory disability. Late last year our crew member Willem’s sister Julia was accepted as crew, and has done a stint on board, sailing around Australia.

On Sunday Derek and I joined good friends Dawn and Gary at the Festival on the waterfront. For a while there it looked like we had got the better of the erratic Hobart weather – we sat outside in the sunshine for a while then visited the exhibitors shed in PW1 just as the rain came down. Dawn purchased a lovely slice of famous Huon Pine as a cheese-board for daughter Emily’s upcoming wedding, I got temporarily lost at the book stall while Derek and Gary visited all the gadget stalls and managed to come away without making any impulse purchases!

When we left the shed the sun was shining again and we took a tour of the marinas. So many beautiful wooden boats were on display, all varnished and polished and decked out with flags and pennants, creating a true carnival atmosphere.

We wandered around gazing and admiring the beautiful craftsmanship. Everywhere we saw evidence of countless hours of hard work and passion. Then the rain came down again and drove us under cover for  a drink until we were rewarded with a stunning rainbow.


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