Guest speaker announced for 2018 Wooden Boat Festival

by Stuart Dickson

Organization for the Yanmar Wooden Boatshop 2018 Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong is progressing and we are looking forward to another successful event at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club. The Festival will be held over the Labour Day weekend commencing on Saturday 10th March and running until Monday 12th March 2018.


We are pleased to announce our key note speaker for the festival is Mr Ian Smith, President of the Australian Historical Skiff Association and author of the book “The Open Boat – The Australian 18 Footer Origin, Evolution and Construction” to be released in February 2017.


The Australian Eighteen Footer has been a big part of Sydney Harbour, the Brisbane River and to a lesser extent Perth and a number of harbours up and down the NSW and Queensland coast for more than a century.

But where did they come from?

Folklore tells us that they evolved from working boats, but no-one ever traced the links and documented it. Now retired Sydney boat builder Ian Smith has done it. Ian's research will appear the website and a book that will be published in February.

The Open Boat Book, will have some details of how these boats were built, with a how-to guide based on extensive interviews in the last decade with the last remaining builders of these boats before it all changed in the 1950's and Ian's record of construction of his 2002 replica of a Sydney icon, Wee Georgie Robinson's Britannia of 1919.


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