Wednesday, April 24, 2024

164 boats at inaugural Auckland Wooden Boat Festival

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Auckland has one of the largest fleets of classic boats still sailing in the world. Photo Suellen Hurling, Live Sail Die

From tiny model boats, perfect in every detail through to a steam tug that helped build the Auckland Harbour Bridge, to our most famous race yachts – more than 160 boats will be on display at the Jellicoe Harbour in Auckland’s Viaduct from March 1-3 for the Auckland Wooden Boat Festival.

“We put out a call for owners of wooden boats to let us know if they were keen to be involved and the response was overwhelming,” says Tony Stevenson, co-director of the Auckland Wooden Boat Festival.

The list includes an electrified classic launch, a full line up of A-Class gaffs, Ranger, Innismarra, Tawera, Little Jim and a selection of lake boats. Original boat building tools used by the Logan Brothers will be on display and sail makers will show how they stitch sails for the famous vessel Ngataki.

Dozens of smaller boats will be displayed inside the Viaduct Events Centre in a fully rigged state and dozens more will be berthed in Jellicoe Harbour so that visitors can get close – and in some cases, even climb aboard.

“There will be some incredible boats, real works of art, on display,” says Stevenson.

He says that the festival will feature collections from some of the country’s most famous maritime designers and builders – Logan and Baileys to Spencer, Townson, Lidgard, Brookes and many more.

“These are the people who made New Zealand the yachting powerhouse it has been. They did amazing things with boat building, creating light, fast, world-leading boats using the best materials and the best boat building practice,” says Stevenson.

He says that boats like Team New Zealand’s AC75 are the end result of this decades-long journey in boating excellence.

“It’s been in our DNA all along.”

Some of the boats on display are immaculate– others show their age and patina.

“The Rona, built in 1892 for Alexander Turnbull is ready for restoration – which means you will see the real boat in its working state.”

Stevenson says that telling the stories of Auckland’s marine heritage from the very beginning is the purpose of the Auckland Wooden Boat Festival and the support from the classic boating community has been immense.

The inaugural Auckland Wooden Boat Festival is part of Moana Auckland – New Zealand’s Ocean Festival.

It is organised by members of the Tino Rawa Trust and the Classic Yacht Association with the support of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, the New Zealand Maritime Museum and Eke Panuku to tell the story of Auckland’s maritime history from the early days of settlement through to today.

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