If the MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival was a tugboat, right now the throttle would be wide open, the towline tight and the windows rattling – it’s flank speed ahead for the big event, now just days away. The amount of backstage work going on is monumental: printing signs and programs, working out the berthing plan for almost 500 boats, setting up inductions and training for 350 volunteers, assembling equipment, building boats, booking venues and catering, planning a film festival, pushing out media releases and invitations and a thousand other tasks. This is where our 20+ project leaders earn their reputation as the best in the business – fast, organised and professional. We’ll build a small city in a week, entertain around 200,000 visitors and then tear it all down again in four days. It’s a beautiful thing to see, if you enjoy watching a plan that’s taken two years to hatch, roll out like well-oiled and articulated machinery.
I take my hat off to this crew of committed, talented people, including Production Manager Andrew Brassington, Site Manager Lyndon Bounday and the amazing Bronwyn Hansson. We call her our Office Manager, but she is really a walking, talking command centre with a brain like a telephone switchboard. Liz Lord is our award-winning (no kidding) Volunteers Manager and Daryl Peebles and Bob Catchpole have all the bases covered for the media and advertising. Paul Kerrison is the man to see about what’s on in the Shipwright’s Village and his American opposite number, Sean Koomen, is keeping everything copacetic on the Franklin boat-building project and the American Precinct. Chris Palmer is not only Secretary and board member of AWBF, Inc. but has also stepped in to run the prestigious International Wooden Boat Symposium. Kyia Clayton is across the Adventure Stage, the Wooden Boat Film Festival and the Author’s Centre, while Lucinda Toynbee Wilson has the sprawling Food and Beverage program under control. Commercial Sales Manager Tim Oxley has the site bursting with cool marine toys and beautiful tools, while Vintage Machinery Coordinator Ted Domeney has steam coming out of his….exhibits! Roz Wren will work her magic with Signs and Displays and Michael Stoddart is marshalling Model Boats and the Boats in Bottles project. Bev Hitchens has a calm and steady handle on the Boats Ashore while Martin Killick is on the case in Constitution Dock. Boat Manager Cathy Hawkins has the boat handling crews well trained and organised and our Boat Owners Liaison Officer Stewart Edwards is ready to meet out guests. Suzy Managian is with the Quick ‘n’ Dirty kids, while Rob Oates and Joe Shemesh direct our talented band of AWBF photographers. Stuart Harris and Giles Neilsen are looking after the One Metre radio yachts and the Four Foot Twos respectively. Festival veteran Ian Johnson has a finger in every seacock, while the monumental task of keeping all of this afloat falls to Rear Admiral Ross Barnett, the man with the master plan for everything that goes in the water. I’m grateful to our American producer, Kaci Cronkhite, for organising so much at the US end of this big project and to another score of section leaders and organisers who work as part of this brilliant team. But enough words…it’s SHOWTIME!