Home' Afloat : AFLOAT September 2018 Contents 36 AFLOAT.com.au September 2018
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The award-winning Australian Wooden Boat Festival continues
to grow in stature as it matures into one of the world’s largest and
most important maritime gatherings. Clear evidence of that can
be seen in the glittering line-up for the four-day festival which will
be held on Hobart’s historic waterfront between February 8 and
11 next year.
Over 200,000 passionate wooden boat devotees are expected
to make the biennial pilgrimage to this, the 13th festival. They will
have an unprecedented opportunity, not only to experience the best
of Australia’s own wooden boats but also to savour the delights
of a fleet of classic small boats from some of America’s greatest
builders and designers.
Two 40ft containers full of lovely American small-craft are being
shipped to Hobart for the festival. They will be accompanied by
some of the leading lights in America’s wooden boat movement:
Jon Wilson, the founder of WoodenBoat magazine, sailmaker Carol
Hasse, the traditional rigger Brion Toss and Betsy Davis, Executive
Director of the Northwest School of Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock,
They will all share their knowledge and experience at the
festival’s Symposium, hosted by the Australian National Maritime
Museum at the University of Tasmania’s Dechaineaux Theatre in
Hobart. There will also be a crew of American filmmakers from the
Off Center Harbor website as well as journalists from WoodenBoat.
In addition, a team of seven American boat builders, alumni
from the renowned Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding
will arrive in Hobart in December this year to begin construction
of a Joel White-designed Haven 121⁄2, which is a slightly modified
version of Nathanael Herreshoff’s most popular small boat, the
iconic Herreshoff 121⁄2, also famously known as the Buzzards Bay
121⁄2. She is 16ft overall and 121⁄2ft on the waterline and a very pretty
Herreshoff designed her in 1914 with a full keel but to make her
more easily trailered, Joel White gave her a centreboard and increased
her beam amidships by three inches. Joel White’s son, Steve, will
be one of the boat builders constructing her from recycled Celery
Top Pine at the Australian Wooden Boat School at Franklin on the
banks of the Huon River.
She will be auctioned in Hobart to support the festival, which
has over the past 24 years grown to be one of Australia’s most
successful free public events. The festival continues to fully justify
the strong sponsorship support it receives from both the Tasmanian
Government and the My State Bank.
Among the fleet of lovely vessels will be one which deser ves
special attention. She is the truly beautiful 40ft, canoe -stern yawl
La Vie en Rose, designed by Paul Gartside and built by Jespersen
Boat Builders in Sidney, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Her owners, the retired American doctors, David and Rosemary
Lesser, are sailing her all the way from the United States. The
American writer and world voyager, Bruce Halabisky, describes her
as “a collaborative masterpiece by owner, designer and builder.”
Cold-moulded in Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir, sheathed
with fibreglass and epoxy, she has a stable full-keel and features a
spacious single cabin layout that makes her ideal for a cruising couple.
During the 2003 Wooden Boat Festival, my wife and I sat in the
sunshine by Constitution Dock and struck up a warm conversation
with two complete strangers, a delightful American couple, who
shared their dream of designing and building their own world-
wanderer, a boat in which they said they might one day sail down
That couple was Dr David Lesser, an orthopaedic surgeon and
his wife Rosemary, an obstetrician. Having made their dream come
true, living aboard La Vie en Rose for the past five northern summers,
they are now “taking the plunge offshore,” cruising through the
Pacific to Australia. In February next year we will have the greatest
pleasure in welcoming the Lessers and La Vie en Rose to the Australian
Wooden Boat Festival where they will undoubtedly be among its
shining stars. h
There will be a strong American presence at the
Australian Wooden Boat Festival next February.
Bruce Stannard reports from Hobart.
The beautiful Hydrowood-reclaimed Tasmanian celery top pine
destined to be transformed into a classic American keel-boat , a
Haven 121⁄2, by a team of American boat builders, has now been
milled and is in the process of drying.
American classics at 13th Australian
Wooden Boat Festival
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