Wednesday, 11 February 2015


The spectacle of the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival.  Certainly the best boat show we've EVER been to! 
Every day since my last post has been busy ... up early with somewhere to go, someone to meet and someplace to see. 

As usual it's been great fun & rewarding on many levels.  But the bummer of all bummers has been our persistent head and chest cold which has slowed us both down a bit.  We've still kept going, probably the reason why we can't seem to shake the damn things. 

Lately at the end of particularly long day I say to George, "that's it, I'm taking tomorrow off and staying in bed!".   Then the next morning that wish appears to be THE most ridiculous thing.  "I can't miss that!", rings in my head as I roll out of the v-berth and we get ready to cough and sniff our way through another action packed day.  There's too much to do and nothing short of pneumonia can stop us!

The highlight has most undoubtedly been the Wooden Boat Festival held over 4 days this past weekend.  The literature for the festival describes it as an ... exciting celebration of our nation's rich maritime history and one of the world's most anticipated events.  I'll admit to not knowing exactly what to expect when we were planning our trip down here.  The thought of a hanging around a boat show every day for 4 days didn't particularly seem exciting and I just didn't understand how varied, beautiful and enticing wooden boats can be.  As we've been here hearing about the show and talking to our friends Bruce & Thelma - who own a beautiful and well loved wooden boat themselves - I started to get a better idea of the "specialness" of the show.  But, as they say, nothing can prepare you for the first time with the real thing!!!

In addition to the sights of the Festival I've had a chance to meet many people - some are women sailors who have circumnavigated the planet (I admire their courage and ability so much) - who've become internet friends through blog posts or through sailing specific Facebook groups.  We also met two famous world cruisers who have been sailing together around the world and around Australia for a total of more than 40 years.   Here as some photos of all the activity ....

The opening day of the Festival there was to be a sail past of participating boats and we took our boat out to see the parade from the water.  I thought they would all be waiting just outside of the entrance to the Derwent River and that the sail in would be rather staged.  It was nothing like that!  As we progressed down the river to where Storm Bay and the opening to The Channel meet the river there was nothing.  Then, after going a little further, there they were - the Fleet - on the horizon.  So many yachts coming with their colourful sails up and sailing proudly towards Hobart. 
Wow!  It was really something to see. 

Out in front of the grand parade were the tall ship replicas .. so impressive under full sail.

Then came the larger cruising type yachts all varnished and gleaming ...  
 moving, living monuments to the artistry of wooden boat building.
With just our head sail out we turned to mingle in with the fleet as they approached the show docks in Hobart.
This was the bit that made me nervous!  As all the yachts approached central Hobart and with helicopters overhead everyone sailed on display backwards and forwards across the bay to show off their boat.  This meant lots of in close sailing with the afternoon breezes getting up.  George handled the boat perfectly.  Me, I'm happier where there's lots more room around the boat.  I am not - in no way - a racing sailor.  Never will be.

Back at the docks in Hobart.  The Festival featured all sorts of wooden craft from tall ships, to shore traders, rowing boats and motor boats.  All were loving cared for and the owners welcomed visitors aboard to have a look inside their pride and joy.  There were dogs on boats and kids everywhere, buskers and performers, street theatre and demonstrations .. the saying "something for everyone" certainly applies here.
A view across the docks from the bow of our friend's Bruce and Thelma's beautiful wooden yacht - Tui of Opua.
Hobart has been a major surprise this trip.  The things to do and see since we've been here have been exceptional but, like I said earlier, I think the Wooden Boat Festival has been the highlight so far.  Not to be outdone the social life has also been in high gear as well.  It is surprising but the number of people you meet just shuffling up and down the docks through the crowd is amazing.  Great atmosphere and terrific sights .. this is an event to put on any bucket list.

At the start of this Tasmanian adventure I was introduced to two very supportive Facebook groups ... Tasmania Cruising, set up by Jack and Jude Binder the well known world cruising couple; and Women Who Sail Australia, a forum of women just like myself who are cruising around this continent on lakes, rivers or the ocean.  Each group provides a forum for posting achievements, thoughts, and questions relating to sailing ... and in my case in Tasmania.

I can unequivocally say that each forum provided us - me, in particular - with good information and support in taking on this sailing venture.  We followed up some of the people at the show and went on their boats.  I loved meeting the skipper of the magnificent yacht 'Kintail'.  He was so welcoming and shared his experiences of the area.  He's yet another new friend to meet up with on the water somewhere between here and our home port .. both boats live in Pittwater, NSW.   We also met Jack and Jude at the signing of their latest book at the Boat Books stand ... again great people, honestly welcoming and interested in how others see this cruising thing.

On Sunday some of the Women Who Sail Australia group who are down here for the show got together for a glass or two of bubbly and an afternoon lunch.   It was wonderful to be able to put faces to so many of the supportive comments over that site.  We had a blast.  Linda Flylink Anderson, who wrote about her experience circumnavigating the globe in her book 'Sailing in my Sarong, Around the World A 30-Year Dream' joined our lunch as did Jude.  For awhile Jack joined us and Linda's husband and my husband but they all left us for the time necessary to have a great female lunch session .. which is sooo good for the soul!!!

Ladies who sail, also Lunch!
The girls having fun.  From the left around the table .. Jude, me, Linda, Madelaine, Judy and Julie.
Excellent afternoon spent laughing and sharing.

There're many more things I can share and rave about ... like our wonderful dinner with Di, John, Nic and Peter and drinks with Bev and David.  But you get the picture .. all good with great people. 

Today George and I are doing what we tried to do during the show ... rest.  A lot of our RPAYC group are out exploring the fabulous cruising grounds of Tassie.  Bogart left this morning for Port Davey as did a number of the people we've met here in the marina.  Port Davey is our next destination but we're going to spend a bit of time getting well first. 

As usual... more later.  And to everyone reading this a very big THANK YOU!

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