Over 500 beautiful wooden boats will be the main attraction at Australia’s most popular salute to wooden boats and the biggest maritime event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – the biennial MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival, 8 to 11 February 2019.
Visiting tall ships including the James Craig, Soren Larsen, Young Endeavour, Bark Endeavour, Enterprize and One And All will lead the ever-popular Parade of Sail to mark the opening of the festival on Friday 8 February and then gather in Hobart for the four days of the event. These will be joined by Tasmanian-based tall ships Julie Burgess, Rhona H, Yukon, Lady Nelson and the brigantine Windeward Bound, celebrating her 21st birthday.
The magnificent Hobart waterfront will be enhanced by a forest of masts forming the perfect backdrop for a perfect celebration of the history, craftsmanship and community of wooden boats, guaranteed to stimulate admiration in participants and visitors alike.
Boats Ashore are always a major attraction at the festival. In February, the main Boats Ashore draw-card is likely to be the inaugural Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race participant Mistral II. At 64 ft long, Mistral II will certainly be the largest boat on display on land and, given her history, there will be significant nostalgic interest in her. Another historic racing yacht, Tassie Too, will be on display as well.
The USA is the festival’s featured nation in 2019, with containers full of America’s finest wooden boats already in transit across the Pacific Ocean for the occasion. Simultaneously, guests from all over the world are currently finalising travel plans. If the success of The Netherlands as the featured nation at the 2017 festival is anything to go by, the influx of North Americans proudly displaying their finest wooden boats is bound to be a show-stopper.
The National Maritime Museum International Wooden Boat Symposium has become a highlight of the festival providing a forum where wooden boat enthusiasts can learn from experts from around the world.
The Symposium is an important part of the national museum’s regional outreach program.
In addition to these centre-stage features, visitors to the festival will be delighted by a feast of other attractions including a fully subscribed Maritime Marketplace (with many hopefuls still on the waiting list); interesting displays from maritime-related not-for-profit organisations and community groups; a wonderful choice of Tasmania’s finest foods and beverages, including a display by the Tasmanian Fishing Industry Council with guest chefs Rodney Dunn and Tetsuya Wakuda; the Wrest Point Cup; an Adventure Stage; a film festival; the hilarious Quick ‘n’ Dirty race and a fascinating entertainment program catering to people of all ages.
There is also the inaugural Specsavers AWBF Photography Competition attracting and displaying amazing images taken at the festival since its inception in 1994 and a fascinating display of model boats and ships-in-bottles, with a serious attempt to set an Australian record.
With the generous support of Events Tasmania, City of Hobart, TasPorts and corporate sponsors, the event is again entirely free to the public.
The 2019 MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival will be held on Hobart’s beautiful waterfront from 8 to 11 February 2019, and it is certainly shaping up to be the best ever.