Oughtred Tammie Norrie design, which in turn was based on British working boats from the early 20th century. They have all been beautifully built by various alliances with many of the schools of the Huon and the LBT and all have their own individual character.
Named after the indefatigable, and much loved Administrative Officer of Franklin School, Rhonda K was built at the Wooden Boat School in 1997, an activity in which every student from Grade 1 to 6 at Franklin Primary took at least a small part, supervised by Peter Laidlaw and John Young. Planking is King Billy Pine, with grown Huon Pine knees and breasthook, and Celery Top keel, centreline, centreboard and ribs. She has taken part in innumerable capsize drills, sailing classes, adult education expeditions and several voyages from Franklin up to Hobart for every Wooden Boat Festival since 1998. Good maintenance has been kept up and she is in as good condition now as when she was launched.
This version of the Grebe design was built by students of Geeveston District High School in 1994, guided by Gerald Wright and Ron Wilds, who were the craft teachers at that time, with some initial help from John Young and Peter Laidlaw. She is built of Huon Pine, with a grown breasthook and laminated celery top pine quarter knees and thwart knees. She was rigged with the support of the “Quit” anti smoking campaign directed at school students, and carries the sign with pride on her mainsail. Like Rhonda K she has participated in many expeditions, including the Biennial voyages to Hobart for the Wooden Boat Festivals. Her fitted floors give her additional strength and her structure is immensely strong and durable. She is named after the original name of the Hospital Bay settlement that became Geeveston. “Lightwood” was an Acacia timber so named as opposed to ‘Blackwood”, and was the timber used to make barrels or Casks, for the local whaling industry.
This was the first Grebe class vessel to be built in the Huon by student boatbuilders of Sacred Heart School, Geeveston. They were instructed by Peter Laidlaw during 1993 in the original boatshed of the Shipwright’s Point School of Wooden Boatbuilding, at Port Huon, purchased in 1991 from retiring boatbuilder Athol Walter. She was later given to Geeveston District High School and then to the Living Boat Trust in 2000. She is built of Celery Top Pine throughout, except for her grown knees, which are Huon, so like Lightwood bottom, she is very strong, and has stood up well to heavy use for 12 years.
This vessel is our newest, built as the result of a successful grant application by the whole Huon Cluster of state schools. This enabled the Trust to buy the Huon Pine and to appoint Mark Singleton as instructor of the series of students from a total of six local schools, who came in relays to help over a period of ten weeks. To Mark’s credit he had the sense of humour, and the patience to make this a memorable creative experience for a huge number of students, and to get the boat finished to a very high standard, on time. She has completed the trip from Dover to Hobart in a Tawe Nunnugah RAID.
There is a mysterious quality about this boat which has made her a favourite of dozens of Huon Valley Children ever since she was built in 1996 though the Huon Valley Council’s Huon Challenge program, initiated by Youth Development Officer, David Perez. She took 8 weeks to build by an enthusiastic group of closely supervised local teenagers now in their early twenties. Planked in King Billy pine on celery top ribs, she seems a little lighter than her sister ships, and in experienced hands she does tend to get out ahead of the others, but that may be due to the way she gets sailed. In 2005 Southerly Dolling and Lyn Goodwin decided that she had been varnished for long enough and they painted in her present Black Swan colours, red, black and white. She joined “Tawe Nunnugah” the expedition that led into the 2008 Wooden Boat Festival, sailed by Southerly Dolling, Hon Sec, and David Pittaway , co-ordinator of the Living Boat Trust, and made a memorable voyage from Franklin to Hobart.