ON Saturday 10 February, 2024 the Australian Wooden Boat Festival (AWBF) relaunched an iconic Derwent Class yacht, meticulously restored by the staff and students at the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin, Tasmania.

The significant restoration project has taken hundreds of hours by lead Shipwright Cody Horgan, students and volunteers from the Wooden Boat Centre after commencing in June 2023.

The Derwent Class vessel was donated to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in poor condition, by the Oyster Cove Marina in 2020. The AWBF then gained philanthropic funding to support the restoration project.

The Derwent Class yachts date back to the 1920’s, as they were a style of yacht that could be built by amateur builders and inexperienced yachties as an entry level vessel. Undine was originally built in a suburban backyard, in Pirie Street, New Town in 1948.

It is hoped Undine will join the fleet of several Derwent Class yachts sailing out of Kettering, with young custodians at the helm. Undine is available for purchase for $20,000 ONO, with the condition she stays in Tasmanian waters. All funds from the sale will be injected back into producing the Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2025.

AWBF Board, staff and dignitaries, including Dean Young MP were in attendance, accompanied by Wooden Boat Centre staff, students and volunteers and over 100 other wooden boat enthusiasts.

Lead Shipwright at the Wooden Boat Centre of Tasmania, Cody Horgan, said “the project came with immense pride and joy, and shows the artistry of restoration, as well as providing a great model for future projects at the WBC”.

AWBF General Manager, Paul Stephanus, said “this momentous occasion celebrates maritime heritage, and what can be achieved through collaboration with other like-minded wooden boat folk. WE hope to see Undine on the water racing against her rivals once again”.

by Bella Laughton-Clark

Photos by Michael White