After two years of Covid delays the Hal Harpur Award was presented at Dundas Sports Club on Tuesday December 13th.

The nominees varied from a team of dedicated old boat builders turning out a variety of craft, many to specific orders, working from an ex-seaplane hangar on Lake Macquarie to a school teacher building her first boat. Lara Tyler enjoyed the experience so much she is now building another sailing version.

Shane Greaves showed exceptional workmanship in his lightweight Moth which had mitred joints in 1.6mm plywood all along the chines.

Roger Patterson built a jaunty strip planked inboard double ender and amazed us with his mechanical installation by mating an assortment of widely sourced EBay components.

Peter Widders won the Good Housekeeping Award for his meticulous hand sewing on his Inuit inspired kayak. His son Greg designed and built a sailing dinghy for his young daughter using left over ply from previous projects. (We liked that devotion to recycling.)

Jon Bell finally finished and finely finished his clinker ply rowing boat inspired by a Thames rowing skiff. He came second in the sewing awards for the cushions as we found out they were made by his wife. Jon was highly commended, mainly for his laparoscopic surgery technique in installing the hatch in the cambered aft deck.

It was a difficult decision for the three judges as the standard of workmanship and finish were exceptional on all entries. The prize was awarded to the Lake Macquarie Classic Boat Association for their series of four Pittwater rowing skiffs.

Following the Hal Harpur rules, the judges decided that this group, with two sheds of wooden boats under construction or restoration demonstrated the aim of perpetuating wooden boatbuilding. They have up to 25 members actively involved at their regular sessions. That’s a lot of old blokes kept off the streets.

The Lake Macquarie team all had immaculate clean crisp club uniforms with the logo and their names on. It appeared they had been dressed by Hugo Boss. Quite a different look from those who judged the award.