A visit to the Wooden Boat Centre at Franklin a few weeks ago revealed remarkable progress on the BM 16m2 (Bergumer Meer-class) sailing dinghy being built by six young Dutch apprentice wooden boat builders and their instructor from the HMC (Hout-en Meubileringscollege) in Amsterdam.
“The hull planking had to be finished by Christmas, even though we needed to do a little extra work on Christmas Eve,” instructor Bert van Baar said. The six students could not all work on the boat simultaneously so those not scheduled for work used their time wisely enjoying much of what southern Tasmania has to offer. Once the boat neared completion, the visitors ventured further, in particular to visiti Lake Pieman to see Hydrowood’s operation which recovers Tasmanian timbers from the bottom of a lake flooded for a hydro-electricity development 25 years ago. Hydrowood donated the wood being used to construct the BM 16m2.
Bert said the timber was beautiful to work with although some pieces were harder than the European timbers with which he was more familiar causing an occasional nail to bend. But he emphasised that this was all good learning for the students.
In their ‘down-time’ the students have fitted well into the Franklin community with a host of dinner and barbecue invitations; visits to the Tahune Airwalk; sailing on the Huon River and visits to Hobart for attractions such as the Salamanca Market and the occasional nightlife experience.
One memorable experience that two of the team members had was to visit the local atelier of archetier and luthier Philip Smith in Salamanca Place. Mr Smith is a traditional maker of stringed instruments and their bows; in fact he is one of few French-trained bowmakers working in Australia. With their fascination for wood and the crafts associated with wood working, the students were obviously very impressed with Philip Smith’s skills and the timbers he selects to handcraft his fine, sort-after violins, violas, cellos and double-basses.
After the BM 16m2 is launched, maybe we will see some of the team start the construction of a stringed musical instrument out of Tasmanian timbers.
And why not? Our MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival stalwart Ned Trewartha builds both superb wooden boats and exquisite ukuleles and guitars which he plays with the same trademark perfection.
The MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival is held on Hobart’s waterfront from 10 to 13 February 2017.
For more information visit www.australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au