Impressive line-up of speakers at International Wooden Boat Symposium

This year’s MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival features the International Wooden Boat Symposium, to be opened by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AM, Governor of Tasmania, on Saturday 7 February at 10.00am. 

The International Wooden Boat Symposium is an opportunity to hear experts from around the world pass on their knowledge of wooden boat matters. Running over three days in the Dechaineux Theatre (part of the Tasmanian College of the Arts in Hunter Street), the Symposium will bring together a number of overseas and local wooden boat experts. Presentations will range from the technical to more general interest, the theoretical to the practical, but always with wooden boats as the theme.

The final event of the Symposium (Monday 9 Feb at 11.30am) will be a panel discussion involving the overseas speakers plus Tim Phillips (Victoria) and Andrew Denman (Tasmania) who will discuss the future of wooden boats. The format of this discussion will be similar to the ABC’s ‘Q&A’ program and will be moderated by Kaci Cronkhite, so questions from those attending will be encouraged.

The speakers and their subjects are:.

Meade Gougeon The man who developed the WEST system will talk explain why wood is still a great boatbuilding material, and review the fifty year history of this construction method

Taylor Allen The owner of Rockport Marine in Maine, USA, will take us through the restoration of the 83’ schooner Adventuress, originally built in 1924, and take us inside Rockport Marine to see how a major boatyard operates in the 21st century

Tom Jackson Senior Editor of WoodenBoat magazine, Tom will talk about the boat he built, and also explain the mysteries of lofting. If you’re planning to build a wooden boat, you have to be here.

Brion Toss Well known rigger from Port Townsend, USA, Brion will tell you how to set your rig up to get the best from your wooden boat, and also discuss some of the lesser known causes of rig failure and how to prevent them.

Kaci Cronkhite After she bought her boat Pax, Kaci embarked on a quest to discover its history. The search took her around the world. This is her story.

Tim Phillips Owner of the Wooden Boat Shop in Sorrento, Victoria, Tim has been the driving force behind the resurgence of couta boats in Australia. He will talk about Tasmanian and Victorian fishing smacks.

Women on Water Lorri Harrison and Ali Grant will tell you how the ‘Women on Water’ group in Franklin, Tasmania, built a St Ayles skiff. They reckon it beats doing the ironing any day!

Russell Kenery From Victoria, Russell will tell us about Matthew Flinders’ amazing voyages in small open boats.

Cathy Hawkins and Ian Johnston Before they founded the Australian Wooden Boat Festival Cathy and Ian amassed an astonishing swag of wins and records in their trimaran Bullfrog, a boat they built themselves. Hear how they did it.

Ross James Everyone in Hobart knows the Cartela. This is her life story so far, and the restoration project that will keep her going another hundred years.

Kraig Carlstrom and Bruce Stannard From a wreck to one of the most beautiful boats in Australia, the story of Varg is the story of one man’s passion to recreate a legend.

And for something completely different Ian Stephen, a writer, artist and sailor from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides will regale audiences with tales of his sailing adventures using poetry and storytelling for which he has received numerous prestigious international awards.

For more details, including session dates and times, check out the AWBF website at

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Selden Asymetric Rib Technology
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