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By Gregg Spies - Grafton, New South Wales - Australia

November 2010

The second Jacaranda Festival's celebration of Wooden Boats (Grafton, New South Wales, Australia) was held on the first weekend of November and it became obvious that He must love wooden boats, as despite inclement weather all around, the Saturday remained mostly clear for the participants.

Heavy rain on the coast had some participants reaching for a good book and not venturing out, but those that did exhibit their boat had a great time.

The 'Plywood Pirates' from Coffs Harbour again provided great support for the day by bringing along their beautifully crafted strip planked kayaks. Many thanks to Ray and the crew for their continued support.

Fly casting tuition was also provided by the Big River Bass Fly Fishing Club, who were kept busy showing and coaching people in the art of 'The Long Wand'.

Eric Bale was able to bring his Viking long boat replica along (with small inboard motor), and Bruce Keogh made the much appreciated effort of bringing along his beautifully restored boat Hen down from the Tweed.

Bruce Keogh and his beautiful Hen
Eric Bales' replica Viking longboat Helga - pic by Jeff Clout

John Douglas also had his half cabin constructed from 'Build a Boat' plans, and showed his incredible workmanship. The strip planked flare on the bow was a work of art.

John Douglas and his finely crafted boat

Ross Pollard from Dorrigo brought along his replica Endeavour long boat and was seen regularly sailing mates up and down the river. A great sight.

Ross Pollard and his replica Endeavour longboat.
Old yolk woodwork display - Pic Jeff Clout
Brett Wilkins' extremely rare old Clarke trolling motor. Piston is at base of shaft under water. Wires at top are for battery attachment for glow plug and motor is started by wrapping cord/rope around propeller front then pulling sharply. pic Jeff Clout

Jason from Skinner Marine had his vintage outboard display and promises to have more motors to show in 2011.

Coffs TAFE were on board to show their boat and to advise of their boat building classes held over summer. Contact Dominic De Masi via the TAFE for further information.

Coffs TAFE exhibit

We are all go again for 2011, and regardless of weather, the show will go on. The program will be similar again this year to last, with the Friday again being a social gathering of boaters to proceed via water to a local venue for lunch, then on Saturday we will set up at Corcoran Park for public viewing of boats both static and on the water.

With over 55 boats promised to be exhibited, the festival is picking up momentum, and promises to be bigger and better in 2011.

Coff's TAFE - pic by Jeff Clout
Alf Rose's beautiful 99% finished boat. David Payne 6m outboard ply clinker workboat.

The Jacaranda Festival itself began in 1934 as a celebration to give thanks to the generosity with which nature blesses this part of the world.

The festival has many things to offer for the cruising boatie and his or her better half, with street parade, Venetian Carnival on the riverbank, woodwork displays, markets, fairs, vintage cars, fashion parades, and many other events to cater for all interests.

The Jaca week starts the last weekend of October, and the Thursday following is a locally proclaimed public holiday and many local businesses provide entertainment in the form of skits and musical numbers outside their premises both for the public and to try to take out the 'best performance' trophy for the year.

It is a fantastic week of fun and festivities, and well worth making it a family holiday for the full week (and bringing your wooden boat along too!)

This year's festival starts Friday, 4th November at Grafton, New South Wales, Australia.

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