Australian Wooden Boat Festival: 10th - 13th February 2023
The Australian National Maritime Museum Boat Builders of Australia display will feature Bygone Boat builders profiles; a selection of the most significant historic boat builders and designers from around Australia. The exhibit will feature self-contained boxes that unpack to reveal the design speciality of these boat builders, through graphic panelling, text, images, and Australian National Maritime Museum collection items.
The 21ft restricted class was implemented after World War 1, along with its national title, the Forster Cup. The class was the starting point for many strong national championships. 21s from all states raced and the winning state would host the championships the following year. So, you could call it the first of the ‘state of origin’ sporting events! Tassie Too, representing Tasmania, was probably the most famous 21, designed by ‘Skipper Batt’ and built by Charles Lucas and ‘Chips’ Gronfors.
C. Blunt Boat Builders
Since 1858, C. Blunt Boat Builder has seen five generations of boat builders building and restoring all manner of craft, from ship repair timber work to small classic rowing boats. Still proudly owned and operated by the Blunt family, this historical business is situated on Nelson Place, Williamstown, Victoria, and backs onto Hobson’s Bay. Their 30 ton slipway and storage area, with an ever changing boat show, is open to interested parties with a love for timber craft.
The late Ray Kemp from Woodbridge, southern Tasmania was a master shipwright, and a superb craftsman that produced several distinctive vessels over a 50+ year career in the industry. Kemp predominantly used Huon Pine and created a reputation for not only building but designing great reliable boats. This Festival you can view some of his work including Barameda, Dennison Star, Vigilant, Lady Nelson, Mater Cara, Shipright and Tilikum.
Len is probably one of Western Australia’s most famous and prolific boat designers. At 27 he was elected an associate of the Institute of Naval Architects (London). Len began designing ten years earlier after rebuilding an old boat into a 20ft centre-board cruiser. He designed many yachts and the first of the high-speed cray boats that operated off the coast of WA. Travelling all the way from WA, will be Rugged, R23, one of his most famous designs built by many amateurs in the early 1950s. Other Len Randell vessels attending the festival will be Swift, and Duet.
Alan was an English naval architect, working in Australia until his death in 1995. His yacht designs were readily built by both professionals and amateurs and remain well represented in the ocean-going and coastal yacht fleet. Sir Frank Packer commissioned Payne to design Australia’s first America’s Cup challenger for the 1962 event, the 12 metre class Gretel. The champion American design Vim was brought to Australia and studied closely. Payne and his small team designed and tested over 30 models before building Gretel, and also designed most of the fittings and mechanical features for the new challenger. This included cross-linking the main winches (grinders) to double the number of crew who could operate a winch. Many observers felt Gretel was as good as or better than the defender. Payne’s second 12-metre design, Gretel II in 1970, (built by Billy Barnett in Berry’s Bay, Sydney) added to his international recognition as a leading yacht designer.
The Wilson Brothers from Cygnet, Tasmania started building boats in 1863. The boat builders are now one of the longest continuously running businesses in Australia and even now are still recognised as some of Tasmania's best. Although the actual building location has changed over the years, the artisan craftspeople at Wilson's still build and maintain some of the strongest most seaworthy boats around. View boats like Alathea, Gloria of Hobart, Kerrawyn, Margaret Eve and more during the Festival.
Norman R Wright & Sons
Norman R. Wright & Sons is a custom designer and builder of quality commercial and pleasure boats – from tenders to super yachts. Based in Brisbane, Queensland, since 1909, they have been mastering the art of vessel design and building for over 113 years. In the early years the focus was on competitive racing yachts, but this work was suspended during WWII when the military engaged Norman Wright patrol boats. From the 40’s onwards the firm moved into trawlers, luggers, and sleek powerboats, which is what they are known for today. Some of the Norman R Wright vessels attending the festival will be Bali Hai II, Conway, Magellan, Tilting at Windmills, Boxer, New Horizons, Reluctant and Jenny VII.
A history spanning five generations, from 1925 onwards the family built over 1500 vessels out of Sydney, NSW. The Halvorsens built stylish quality vessels and over 250 for the armed forces during World War II. The family also built vessels that competed in the America's Cup and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. See vessels like Anitra V, Minocqua, and Safari this Festival.
After the Second World War, Jock Muir developed his talents at his Battery Point boatyard – designing and building fine seaworthy yachts for cruising and racing. Westward (owned by the Maritime Museum of Tasmania) is a yacht designed and built by Jock Muir in Tasmania in 1947. It is the only Tasmanian yacht to have twice won the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, in 1947 and 1948, and represents Muir’s robust construction and traditional, seaworthy hull designs. Muir was one of Tasmania’s most respected shipwrights in the post-World War II era and Westward began life as a fishing cruiser with no intention of racing and therefore no consideration was given to racing rules during its design and construction. Other vessels designed and/or built by Jock on display include Trevassa.
Wooden Boat Shop
Inspired by the modest historical Couta boat, Tim Phillips and his friends took an interest in the little. boats and started restoring them. Fast forward to the present day, the Wooden Boat Shop designs and builds stunning modern versions of the typical wooden boat. Over the past 30 years, skills and techniques have been developed and refined to now make the Wooden Boat Shop the epicentre of modern wooden boat building. At the Festival you will see classic examples including Argonaut, Gina, Green Moon, Jane, Squally Cove and Tideways.
Kim Marsh's passion for surfing and surf life saving introduced him to the traditional surfboat on the coast of Australia. History shows surfboats were first used from the 1890's off Manly Beach, and were traditional small fishing row boats. Designs have ranged from cold moulded to clinker dinghies, and throughout the years they have developed into the modern day version, but the traditional surfboat still exists and will be on display out front of the Boat Builders of Australia exhibition.
Cygnet Wooden Boats - Te Uira
Follow the journey of Cygnet Wooden Boats and their restoration of 120 year old Te Uira. They called it an archaeological journey of discovery, stripping back layers and layers of paint, researching historical articles and studying the timber construction methods under the paint. Originally built by the Bailey brothers in New Zealand, the Cygnet team have been meticulously working on the restoration and she will be on display at the Living Restorations Display, next to Shipwright's Village.