Handmade In Tasmania

I’ve long been fascinated in Tasmania — its history, its culture.

Yesterday, I read this:

“This handmade thing. Tasmanians are good at it. It’s in our bones.  Historically, we are boot, beer and boat makers. Shack constructors. Cray-pot weavers. Shell necklace designers.Growers. We grew up cobbling together our own huts, billycarts or wooden horses from bits hanging around the yard. We poured out our dreams into reality and we made things. Our ancestors were self-styled carpenters, orchardists, fishermen or boat builders, seamstresses, jam makers and cooks. As islanders, we’ve always been good at making or making do.”

This is the introductory paragraph of a very eloquent article by author Hilary Burden in the newspaper Tasmanian Times.

Further on in her article:

“Let’s be grateful that we are connected to our maker past when others are seeking to imitate or usurp it. How we look after our traditions, arts and crafts is a measure of how much we care about our distinctive way of life.

So, support the handmade artist. Hold them near and dear, because artisans rely on us as regular patrons to survive. If it means going the extra mile to find the cider maker who brews in the shed at the side of their house, then do, and if you love it, tell all your friends, because the cider maker has gone the extra mile for you.”

Of course, we readers of WoodenBoat understand what the author is saying.  But it’s nice to read what someone else is saying about our craft, and artisanal crafts in general.

Here’s the link to her article:


OK, well and good, you say.  What’s that got to do with the overlying topic here, wooden boats?

Here I go, diving into the segue…  I — as well as 200,000 or more people — am planning to attend the biennial Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart (Tasmania) in February.  Sorry, the “MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival.”

Here’s the link:  http://www.australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au/about-us

And, because WoodenBoat.com webmaster Greg yells at me if I don’t post an appropriate photograph, here’s one from a fine Tasmania boatbuilder, Andrew Denman, at Denman Marine:

Denman Marine


So, last week I had no power, so I couldn’t post here.  This week, my computer got infected with a virus, so I am a day late in posting.

And next week I’ll be at the METS trade show in Amsterdam.  But I will try to post a topic or two from there.

But, what do you think about Hilary’s article?  I love it, and it makes me all the more excited about the prospect of going to the Wooden Boat Festival and to Tasmania in general.  Sorry, I mean the MyLife Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

Please post your comments below.


Thanks, Carl


Posted in My Wooden Boat of November 2014 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Build Your Own: 41′ Dragon Boat

Years ago — it must have been 2007 or thereabouts — I was looking for an ultimate boatbuilding and racing challenge.

Here’s what I found:

Dragon Boat2

(Photo courtesy Great White North, http://www.gwndragonboat.com.  The Dragon Boat pictured is not necessarily wooden.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not.)

Here’s what I envisioned at that time:

Great White North then offered Dragon Boat kits in plywood (they still do — CN$7,000).  I was thinking what a great boatbuilding project this would be:  to get two of them, and open up the boatbuilding part to anyone who wanted to pitch in, a few days before the WoodenBoat Show.  And then race them in the Mystic River.  Although there were a few navigational issues.

After the show, I was imagining offering one finished boat to a group in Portland (ME) and another in Bangor (ME) and having races in Back Cove (Portland) and down the Penobscot River (Bangor).

Dragon Boat

(Rendering courtesy Great White North, http://www.gwndragonboat.com.  This, too, is not a wooden one.)

A crew of 20 + coxswain (helmsperson ) + drummer per boat.

Well, moments into my revery lo’ those many years ago, the economy crashed.  And so did this dream.

Talking with the nice people at Great White North this morning, I learned that they sell plans for plywood construction:  CN$2,500.  But you won’t find anything about the kit boats or plans on their website.  Here again is the link:


For more information, you can email:  info@gwndragonboat.com.

A little gooooogling yielded two other kit suppliers.  I have no idea if this information is still correct:




And so I am passing the mantle to you, gentle readers.  Get your community involved and have some fun in the process.  And please let me know your progress?

What do you think?

Thanks, Carl


Posted in My Wooden Boat of October 2014 | Tagged , , | 2 Comments