The Australian Wooden Boat Festival has come to a close, after a fabulous four days of celebrations. The sun was out for most of the weekend and the sea breezes were perfect for the sailing events out on the River Derwent.

From exhibitions, to the Vintage Machinery, small model boats, to Tall Ships, there has been an activity for people of all ages. The newest addition to the program, The Spirit of Tasmania Classic Dinghy Display at City Hall, proved to be a crowd favourite as visitors marvelled at the display of iconic sailing dinghies and the Australian National Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Symposium was packed for every session.

Families were delighted at the array of nautical activities and performances at the Old Woolstore Little Sailors Village, with the My First Boat Project being a highlight; with the #AWBFnextgen boat builders parading their My First Boat’s to Constitution Dock for launching. Thousands gathered to watch the famous Clennett’s Mitre 10 Quick and Dirty Challenge, the battle between school teams building and racing their purpose built wooden vessels in Constitution Dock.

Numbers are still being counted, but it appears the Festival attracted over 90,000 people, with many travelling from interstate to attend. With the Royal Hobart Regatta and the Hobart Cup on the same weekend, Hobart has seen thousands of tourists filling the hotel rooms.

32.5% of happy boat owners also travelled from interstate to display their wooden boats, with most now travelling around the waters of Tasmania.

AWBF General Manager Paul Stephanus said “You will continue to see wooden boats around the waters of Tasmania for the coming weeks, and we know many of our visitors will continue to explore what Tassie has to offer. I want to give a huge thank you to the AWBF team, volunteers, and boat owners, as without them this would happen”.

“The event was such a success, we are all very tired but happy. We certainly couldn’t do it without our 350 plus volunteers, and our core crew. So I’d like to congratulate the team, we have a few more days of wrap up, then we can rest. I’d also like to thank all the boat owners too, as clearly it cannot happen without them too. It has been great to see families out learning about our rich maritime culture and heritage, and to see Hobart once again thriving.”, said Stephanus

The next Australian Wooden Boat Festival will be 7 – 10 February 2025, on the Regatta long weekend.

For more information please visit the AWBF website

Main photo by Geraldina Dijkstra