The Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong starts Friday 6th March

The Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong, presented by Wooden Boatshop and Yanmar, is set to rock the Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) this weekend, as the biennial event running from Friday 6th to Monday 9th March, 2020.

The Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong is a fan favourite on the Boat-Lovers’ Calendar and also gives the Geelong Community the opportunity to see some of Australia’s most historic Wooden Boats first-hand.

This family-friendly festival spectacularly celebrates Australia’s maritime heritage and local history by immersing visitors in the world of wooden boats and their craftsmanship.

Set to attract over 30,000 visitors, the festivities include boat races, classic boat displays, historic tall ships, FREE family-focused activities such as face painting, FunFit games, pirate treasure hunts, children’s art competitions and live on-shore entertainment. There will also be a FREE family outdoor movie night on the RGYC lawn on Friday evening (6th March, 2020).

Take in the atmosphere and watch the wooden boat racing on Corio Bay, check out the classic boat displays at RGYC and explore one of the historic tall ships attending the event.

With something for everyone, there will also be cultural displays and performances, a vintage car show, food stalls and the popular ‘Rough and Ready’ boat-building competition – participants design and build a ‘rough’ wooden boat with a carbon neutral propulsion system before putting them to the test in a race around the marina.

Festival Chairman, Stuart Dickson, invites the public to enjoy the wonderful spectacle that is the Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong.

“There is plenty to do and see this weekend, for all ages, at the 2020 festival,” Stuart said.

“We are proud to continue our celebration of the heritage of wooden boats and the people who build them as well as offering a full program of activities.

“The committee has made a strong commitment to community involvement to deliver a fabulous, fun family event,” he said.

A special inclusion in this year’s event includes the custom-built wooden boat ‘Meme’ designed and constructed by boat builder, Howard Hughes for Geelong’s Mountain to Mouth arts event – a two day 80km journey where participants walk, while together carrying a symbolic canoe, from the You Yangs to Barwon Heads.

As part of the closing ceremony in Barwon Heads, this canoe is laden with votive offerings and then ceremonially set alight onboard ‘Meme’ and sent out to sea. Howard has customised his canoe to be remote controlled to perform the symbolic burning, before then doing repairs to any damages in preparation for the next event.

With every boat having its own unique story, a full boat guide containing technical and historic information will be supplied at the 2020 Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong.

The event will also feature a panel of guest speakers talking to their own experiences and expeditions including Richard Ferguson talking ‘Cook in the Antarctic’ and Jeanne Socrates’ ‘One Woman Four Oceans’.  

For more information on the 2020 Wooden Boat Festival of Geelong, please see


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