Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wood Floats

Elvis needs boats.
Elvis needs boats.
Elvis Elvis Elvis
Elvis Elvis Elvis
Elvis needs boats

Ahh! The sailing Elvis!
Captain Elvis!
Commodore Elvis, it is.
Elvis Is Everywhere, Mojo Nixon

Sir Bedevere:Does wood sink in water?
Peasant: No, no, it floats... it floats. Throw her in the water!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This weekend was boat weekend. More properly, wooden boat weekend, as Hobart hosted the biannual Wooden Boat Festival. There were yawls and couta boats, America's Cup yachts, steamboats and dinghies and just about any other type of vessel in between.

Even though it's a major event in our new home, it is the sort of festival LK and I probably would have skipped since we're not boaties. But our good friend Linton is a boatie, and he and Elisabet were Hobart-bound for the weekend.

Linton is one of the truly mad men who worked to restore the James Craig, a 19th-Century barque that had been abandoned and ultimately beached in the 1930s. (You can read about its restoration and re-floating in 1997 here.) Friday night we were invited aboard the James Craig for a tour and drinks, followed by a dinner with many of the dedicated crew who keep this ship afloat.

It must be good karma, because David was visiting this weekend and it turns out he is a bit of a mad boatie, too. Or at least that's my definition now that I know he owns seven boats himself. We all toured the festival on Saturday. It was a glorious summer day, hardly a cloud in the sky as we walked up and down the docks looking at dozens of boats.

Many were quite beautiful, even to the eyes of someone who doesn't know stern from aft. (And once I wrote that sentence, I checked out the definitions and discovered I really don't know!)

The highlight of the weekend, though, was a visit to the Wooden Boat School, which it turns out is only down the road a short drive from our house. There we saw some of the great craftsmanship that goes into building these boats. Dean, who runs the school and is from a family of boat builders, was excellent in telling us about the building process and also how the school worked.

He was a superb teacher - keeping the attention of all the keen boatsmen who were in our group and me, who knew nothing.

I've put some of LK's pictures from the festival and boat school on Shutterfly here.

Monday was a boat-free day as we prepared for the attack of the painters today. And having to do that little bit of work around here proved enough of a pain in the butt to convince me that I would never be inclined to buy one of those beautiful boats with all the work and time - and yes, money - they involve. But it was a fun weekend with good friends, lots of laughs and a chance to learn heaps of things I didn't even know I would be interested in.

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