ABWF 2019

Last weekend saw the Bi-annual Australian Wooden Boat Festival on again in Hobart. This event is huge, the largest boat show in the country with everything from the Barque James Craig and HM Bark Endeavour down to canoes and standup boards, if it floats and made of timber it’ll be there. Again as before Hobart really turns it on for a four day festival of all things that float, they do it right down there and I spoke to people from around the world and from Cairns to Perth as well as quite a few Sydneysiders who made the trip south.

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It’s a bit of a hike down to Hobart, the 10 or so hour drive to Melbourne then the overnight ferry trip followed by another 3 hours or so from Devonport to Hobart. The ferry of course was fully booked, there were those like myself with trade stands and those towing boats to display. In talking to one visitor from Melbourne to the stand on Sunday, he said the majority of those on the flight were coming to the Festival. He could tell by the style of their clothing, much of it wet weather sailing gear!

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Endeavour with James Craig behind

This year DeckHardware shared a stand with Almasts a Tasmanian rigger/spar maker who purchase various products from our range from us. This made it a little easier to man as Ben who is their Hobart based staff had worked out that about 70% of all the shows he had worked on were with me! We also had a range of products on the Peter Johnston stand, PJs is the local chandlery and has their shop only a few hundred metres away backing them up. I took down a range of products including some of the Antal range which we were showing for the first time. Feedback from the stand display was all positive which was very encouraging.

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LIROS Lr01172 three strand classic in white aboard Storm Bay

I had a chance finally late in the day Sunday to have a quick wander around after meeting up with Tim Phillips from the Wooden Boat Shop aboard his wonderful Gaff Cutter Storm Bay. Tim is looking to do some replacement rigging aboard Storm Bay and we spoke about the various options available from LIROS. He also had a range of boats that he’d crafted over the years alongside. A delight to see great Aussie craftsmanship on display.

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Storm Bays rigging, all rope

Also there finally after nearly 160 hours of motor sailing south was Defiance on which I was last aboard in Sydney. On Sunday evening after the show closed, Ben, Mitch and I met up with Craig aboard. The number of passers-by who stopped to ask and make comments was incredible. One who also stopped worked with Doug Brooker in her build, Craig had Lindsay Buckmaster jump aboard for a look around and to tell tales of her build. Whilst I was there several others also stopped to chat about her. Craig mentioned ‘welcome to my world , this is how I’ve spent my time tied up in Constitution Dock’. He’s immensely proud of the work done doing her up and there are many others, not just me  thankful of the job done to keep her afloat for another 45 or so years.

If you haven’t been before, see you in Hobart in 2021, there’s something for everyone who loves being afloat.

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Till next time Tassie



Sometimes a boat returns

Sometimes a boat returns in to your life many years after last being aboard. Many boats I’ve sailed over the years have disappeared only to pop up somewhere along the line when I’m on the road.

In this case it’s Defiance, the original IOR MK3 1/2 tonner built in timber by Doug Brooker back in 1972. After she was sold by Robyn’s father John, I saw her once up at Church Point just a few years later. Then back in May of 2015, there she was on the hard at Scarborough in Queensland looking rather neglected. I tried to source the owner through the yard and local chandlery without success. Then a few years ago, I received a call from a Brisbane yachtie asking about her and a bit of history.  It turned out that Craig had saved her from being broken up as the previous owner hadn’t paid any yard fees. Craig bought her and set about rebuilding with a view of taking Defiance to Tasmania.

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On a following road trip north seeing DeckHardware customers, I had a look at what was being done by the shipwrights at RQYS, cutting out the rot from various additions for example. As she was now accessible, it’s amazing how small these 1/2 tonners were as these days everyone sails something a bit larger especially offshore. Then on another trip north Craig had moved her to another yard for finishing off and respraying. Time for another check-up. He’s certainly taken his time to do the renovation properly, she’ll last another 50 years hopefully.

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So this past week Defiance made an appearance at Middle Harbour Yacht Club enroute to Hobart to live and to be shown at the Wooden Boat Show in February. Plenty came down for a good look, including sons of another previous owner, who also had stories to tell.

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They say that boats like these have custodians, not owners and full credit must go to Craig and the team of shipwrights for bringing her back to new, including the colour scheme. I know I’ve certainly enjoyed watching the progress, hopefully one day I can have another sail.

January Tasmanian trip

This trip was arranged to coincide with the Australian Youth Sailing Championships held at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania [RYCT] which were sponsoring. As it turned out there were several other regattas on in the area around the same time. These included The International Cadet Dinghy World Championships, the 420 Australian Championships and the Optimist Australian Championships. Then there was the finish of the Rolex Sydney Hobart for which I have been the Race Official on the Southern Line for the last 6 years. The Farr40s also held their Championships with three Sydney boats making the trip down to Hobart. The Derwent River was the place to be in January.
In recent years I have been flying down, however with all that was happening, it was an opportunity to pack the van and do the trip on the ferry, Spirit of Tasmania with plenty of product. I also had a couple of tables and a marque for the youth champs, so the DeckHardware van was pretty full.
The first week was spent at the Derwent Sailing Club [DSS] supporting the 420s with the DeckHardware van. It was as it turned out, to be quite a busy week due to the conditions. For the greater majority of the time spent in Tasmania, it blew. More often than not over 30 knots! Whilst the competitors were on the water for the 420s, I was able to get around visiting the other events and seeing the chandleries in Hobart, Kettering and Franklin. Then it was back to the DSS in the afternoon to help the competitors with various bits and pieces. It made for some long days as I generally arrived at the club around 0730 and didn’t leave till 1800; this was to be the pattern for the two weeks there. I only had the opportunity to get out on the water to spectate on two occasions, my hosts in Hobart Roy and Dianne have a Jeaneau and were able to host me and a couple of the parents that are old friends and crew mates.
With the excellent support of Allen Brothers in England, DeckHardware were sponsors of the Youth Sailing Championships next door at the RYCT. All the skippers received an Allen backpack and DeckHardware stickers to apply to their booms upon registering at the RYCT. Several parents were noticed wearing the bags, they liked them so much. During the week, it was interesting to see the bags scattered beside the boat covers and dollies on the rigging grass, I think they were well received and put straight in to use. Allen also supplied a range of product to be presented along with the trophies at the presentation dinner, which DeckHardware added to with a range of other products including JDC, Liros, TBS and Protect tape.
Once again it was full days helping the competitors, I also had those from the Cadets come and see me as well, once the word was spread around that the DeckHardware van had a range of product available to suit.
Once the regattas were over it was the drive back to the north of Tasmania, where before returning home I saw another major Tasmanian chandlery in Launceston. Unfortunately the sparmaker next door was away on holidays at the time.
123It was a full couple of weeks and I took the time to do my first trip to the top of Mt Wellington [1270m/4000’] which dominates the skyline to the south west of Hobart. Many of my friends have told me that it can be cold and windy at the summit and windy it was. Once I got over the vertigo of the drive the view was spectacular. I was glad to do the drive up in summer as a couple of days later several others in town for the regattas went to the summit and just about froze as there was a little frost and ice! Some may have seen reports of the fires in Australia, Tasmania was not spared and a large area of the state was destroyed. Many of these fires were visible from the Hobart waterfront. I experienced the extremes of Hobart’s summer weather; I can claim to have been in Hobart on the hottest EVER day in history – 43.8c and then there was the day when the temperature didn’t rise much over 16c.
My thanks go to Roy and Dianne Barkas for hosting me for the couple of weeks in Hobart. As with all of my interstate trips, it was great to have the support of our friends.


I have posted photos of the events on the DeckHardware facebook page and in the coming weeks gradually add more.