Boatbuilding takes centre stage at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2023 from 10-13 February

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© Australian Wooden Boat Festival – Photographer Doug Thost 

The countdown to the 2023 Australian Wooden Boat Festival has begun! Back for the first time in four years after Covid forced the cancellation of the 2021 event, the AWBF will welcome more than 500 wooden boats afloat and ashore at the four-day festival in Tasmania. More than 200,00 people are expected during course of the event, which is completely free.

Held on Hobart’s waterfront, this year’s programme opens with the parade of sail which will see hundreds of wooden boats and tall ships make their way up the River Derwent to the Festival in Sullivan’s Cove. Ashore, boatbuilding is at the heart of the event, with a Shipwright’s Village, Noisy Boatyard Workshops, the Quick N Dirty Boat Boat Building Challenge and the Australian National Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Symposium and Boat Builders of Australia display, plus many more activities on land and on the water, together with local food and drink, live music and entertainment.

© Australian Wooden Boat Festival – Photographer Ashlie Hill

The Blundstone Shipwright’s Village will showcase traditional boatbuilding skills and crafts, with demonstrations of steaming planks, manufacturing crayfish pots, rope work and forge work among others.

© Australian Wooden Boat Festival – Photographer Rob Oates

A mix of multiple-day, full day and short Noisy Boatyard workshops will take place before and during the festival, in conjunction with the Shipwright’s Village, with participants working closely with skilled craftspeople and using specialist hand tools to produce unique maritime objects. 

© Australian Wooden Boat Festival – Photographer Rachael Green

Also in the Shipwright’s Village, The Wooden Boat Centre, based on the banks of the Huon River in Franklin, will present a program of boatbuilding demonstrations and activities; giving festival-goers the chance to meet and talk to working shipwrights and students, with boats under restoration, new builds, craft demonstrations and tool talks. 

© Australian Wooden Boat Festival – Photographer Pam Parks

Meanwhile, the down at Constitution Dock, the Clennett’s Mitre 10 Quick & Dirty Boat Building Challenge will see student teams construct a boat on site during the festival to race under propulsion of sail and paddle/oar on the last day, Monday 13th February at 2.30pm. This is one of the most popular events during the Festival weekend – complete with flour and water bombs and a huge crowd of spectators! 

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