Wooden Boat Festival’s summer fun at the Docklands

Wooden Boat Festival's summer fun at the Docklands

Fans of wooden boats will be able to get their fill at the Melbourne Wooden Boat Festival at the Docklands precinct on Victoria Harbour from February 19 to 21. 

The event, which is designed to promote wooden boat heritage and connect the broader public with the spirit of timber boating, will combine all of the major wooden boat and classic yacht groups in and around Melbourne.

Wooden boat enthusiasts will not only be able to enjoy the luxury of hundreds of beautiful timber vessels, from the very old to the newest, but can enter competitions and take in the entertainment planned for the Festival.

The Festival will feature both on-water and on-piazza displays, a Quick and Dirty competition, model sailing and racing boats, marine trade displays, strolling shanty musicians, in-harbour sailing and working boats displays.

“Melbourne has such a rich heritage with wooden boats; it’s the founding city for Classic Yacht Association, Wooden Boat Association and the revival of the Couta Boat fleet — so it was natural that it should also have a Wooden Boat Festival,” said Mark Bergin, the
Wooden Boat Festival director.

“We expect between 70 and 120 boats for the inaugural event. To date, we’ve got about 50 per cent of those spots spoken for, so that’s a great start,” he enthused.

Other activities include boat maintenance master classes and ‘How to Maintain your Hull’, plus engine, rig, sail and paint demonstrations, along with what is required for an annual safety inspection and information on the suitability of marine timbers.

Shipwright Conference Gathering will bring together Victorian shipwrights in one space and they will share their skills, knowledge and history.

To run an event of this magnitude, volunteers are needed both on and off the water. No experience is necessary, but a fun few days are guaranteed.

“Volunteers are a key factor,” Bergin says.

“Not everyone is a seagoing person; for many, it’s the land activities that get them in — and we require help in both these areas.

“We’re very focussed on helping to build an active community in the Docklands area. Over the next five to 10 years, over 20,000 people will move into this area and wooden boats are a natural pastime activity for the local community,” said Bergin.

This Wooden Boat Festival adds to a growing calendar of events on Port Phillip Bay and complements the existing events at Sorrento, Queenscliff and Geelong.
Now is the time to build up an activity centre closer to the largest population in the state, while supporting regional events and activities, event organisers said.

Event supporters include: Blunts Boatyard; City of Melbourne; Classic Australian Wooden Power Boat Assoc; Classic Yacht Association; Couta Boat Association; Docklands Yacht Club; H28 Association; Maritime Heritage Association of Victoria; Mordialloc Boating and Angling Club; Mordialloc Motor Yacht Club; Sail and Adventure Ltd - Alma Doepel; Sandringham Yacht Club; Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club; Tall Ships Victoria; Tumlaren Association; Wooden Boat Association; and, Wooden Boat Centre.

For sponsorship opportunities and event information, contact Mark Bergin, Festival Director: phone 0418 565 848 or email: mark@woodenboat.com.au