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Seeing Sailboats in ‘Down Under’ Tasmania

While Latitude 38 is, at its core, a West Coast sailing magazine, our crew come from and travel to various places around the globe — as sailors are inclined to do — and sometimes they’re able to get a glimpse of the local sailing life. Our ‘Lectronic editor is spending a little time in Tasmania, Australia, and snapped a few pics from various locations in the island-state’s northwest.

First stop, Strahan (pronounced Strawn). The fishing village is situated on the banks of Macquarie Harbour, known to locals to be three times the size of Sydney Harbour (already an enormous body of water.) Here we met Terris, known as “the crappy old bastard under a hat,” but his mates call him Terry — a fellow who has lived in Strahan all his life and is a third-generation local.

Tasmania
When we asked Terris when his boat would be finished and back on the water, he said, “The day after tomorrow. Gotta get off the slip for the next bloke.”
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Terry told us his boat had been built in South Australia in 1976, and although he doesn’t know its pedigree, his intention is to simply cruise it around the Harbour.

On the other side of the bay we spotted this sleek-looking beauty . .

The entrance to Macquarie Harbour is known as “Hells Gates.” A rock wall built in 1897 helps keep the shallow and dangerous channel open.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

… and in the middle of the harbor, a vessel that looked as if it had fought its way in through the notorious “Gates.”

Macquarie Harbour is the spot where, in September, 450 pilot whales stranded themselves on a sandbar. Despite a concerted rescue effort, at least 380 of the whales died.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Then, in suburban Burnie, we met John Martin, who had built this sturdy little sailing skiff in his shed — a 16-ft Swampscott dory, originating in the Boston (USA) area.

“I built it between 2008 and 2012.” said John. “I sail it on the Mackintosh Lake, but mostly I use it for fishing.”

John’s boat is made from structural ply, with Oregon thwarts and eucalyptus gunwales and framing. Plus the 500 copper rivets that hold the planks in place.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
Boatbuilding is part of John’s heritage, with his family’s first shipwright, William Davis, learning his trade on the Central Coast, New South Wales (mainland Australia), in the mid-1800s.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

Later in the day, during a drive into Smithton on the Duck River, we were lured to the water’s edge by a pair of masts that made us believe we’d discovered a long-lost schooner.

There was no one around to tell us about Wild Wind, but she looks as if she’s had a long life thus far.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica
Motorsailers seem to be popular vessels in Australia. This boat’s aft deck was stacked high with old-style wooden crab or crayfish (lobster) pots.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Monica

We also met a sailor who, many years after spending almost a week tied up at Tiburon Yacht Club in 1972, spent several months circumnavigating the island of Tasmania — by all accounts, a voyage not designed for the faint-hearted.

1 Comment

  1. Buzz Bauer 7 months ago

    Please send Ms Grant on more assignments!
    Nice job

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