Marcia Waller writes:
'The excitement of the St Ayles Skiff Regatta to be held in Franklin from 12th to 15th February begins the weekend before in Hobart at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival and Hobart Regatta. A St Ayles Skiff component will be based at “Franklin Village” at Waterman’s Dock, throughout the Festival, where you can buy souvenir T-shirts, caps, badges and car-stickers. Skiffs will also be on display near Mawsons Hut.
At Princes Wharf on Sunday 8th February, from 2pm to 4pm, St Ayles Skiff 250m sprint races will be held. This will be a wonderful opportunity to witness the excitement generated by the crews over the 250m course. At the Royal Hobart Regatta at the Domain, on Monday 9th February, from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm more 250m sprints and a 1km race will be conducted. Sprints at both events will be 2 boats at a time, some races will be experienced crews racing each other and other will be “come and try” crews rowing against each other. The 1km race, at the Royal Hobart Regatta, will be an experienced crew race, of up to 6 boats at the same time.
So come to both events in Hobart and get a hint of what the St Ayles Skiff Regatta will be like the following weekend in Franklin.
The Regatta’s first event converges on Shipwright’s Point which has a long boating history with regattas held there from 1855 to 1970. Boatbuilding was conducted up until the early 1900’s when the population was in the 1000’s. The Huon Yacht Club located on the site carries on the tradition of sailing and community involvement. The first Regatta race leaves Franklin at 10am Thursday 12th February for Shipwright’s Point, a distance of 10km. This is the L&S Doyle Heritage Long Row. A return race leaves Shipwright’s Point for Franklin at 2pm, with an expected race time of one hour. By 4pm the seven St. Ayles Skiffs will be joined by the boats from the Living Boat Trust’s Homecoming Cruise and the flotilla will arrive in Franklin for the official opening at 5pm at the Franklin Rowing Ways. See the “oar salute”, enjoy the Derwent Pipe Band and the Didgeridoo, and stay to watch the International Sprint. Afterwards the Palais Theatre is hosting a free concert, with a BBQ dinner beforehand.
Jane Johnson, from the organising committee, says “We have planned the program leading up to the Regatta to enable as many people as possible to see firsthand the fun and excitement of rowing the St Ayles Skiffs, which we hope will encourage them to come to Franklin for the three days of racing”.'