July 13, 2014

The Race is On!

Wow have certainly been busy over the winter months. Planning is well underway for the 2015 St Ayles Skiff Regatta in Hobart and Franklin. Lots of fundraising activities are being planned and sponsorships sought. A huge and heartfelt thank you to those local businesses who have already become involved: Shop@Franklin a unique little vintage/retro boutique in the heart of Franklin, owned and operated by Southerly Dolling, an active community member on and off the water; Franklin Marine supplier of all things nautical, owned and operated by mariner and more, Laurence Burgin; and Petty Sessions, licensed Gourmet Cafe and Gallery.

For all the latest news and information go to the Tasskiffie 2015 official website and don’t forget to bookmark it.

Shop@Franklin for vintage and retro chic


Petty Sessions – Coffee and gourmet dining overlooking the Huon River at Franklin


Franklin Marine – for all things nautical and more

There is also exciting news that a new St Ayles Skiff  will be built in Franklin. Funded by a generous grant from Bendigo Bank‘s Community Fund, the Living Boat Trust is about to take possession, any day now, of a new kit from Robert Ayliffe at Stray Dog Boat Works in South Australia. The project will be supervised by master boat builder Peter Heading and will be an inclusive, community boat build in the tradition of the St Ayles Skiff worldwide movement. The new skiff should be ready to compete in the 2015 regatta.

All hands on deck for shaping the steamed wood during construction of Imagine by the Women on Water


Building a boat – building community

April 20, 2014

St Ayles Skiff Regatta in Franklin

The Huon Valley turned on one of its picture perfect autumn days for the St Ayles Skiff Regatta at Franklin on Sunday 30th March.

Women on Water hosted the event and competition was provided by crews from Cygnet, Taroona, Franklin, Huonville, Castle Forbes Bay/Port Huon, Dover, Geeveston, Gecko and the Living Boat Trust.

Two local community built boats battled it out for line honours and overall best times. Novices rowed alongside seasoned rowers with friendly rivalry and great fun was had by all in this inclusive sport.

The St Ayles Skiff phenomenon is growing worldwide and Franklin is at the forefront of its development in Australia. The regatta at Franklin was the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, however our cousins the Kiwis are snapping at our heels as they have recently launched their second skiff with more to come.

The Regatta was a rehearsal for the St Ayles Skiff Championships to be held next year in conjunction with the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Organisers are looking forward to hosting crews from as far away as Scotland (the home of St Ayles Skiff competition), New Zealand and Victoria.

Congratulations to Jane Johnson and her team for organising the day, and thanks go to our generous sponsors: Star Anise, DS Cafe, Bendigo Bank, Village Antiques, Harcourts Huonville, Franklin Marine, Franklin Ecocruises, Petty Sessions Gourmet Cafe and the Living Boat Trust.

Huonvile Primary School staff’s men’s team.


Star Anise Women’s 1 km Heats: Castle Forbes Bay 7min 57.25 sec, Franklin Workforce 8.5.3, Living Boat Trust 8.7.28 Geeveston Community Centre 8.14.75, Cygnet Two 8.47.75, Taroona 8.47.84, Huonville 8.49.78, Cygnet One 8.56.444. Finals: Castle Forbes Bay 7.43.52; Franklin Workforce 7. 51.38.

Harcourts Men’s 1km Heats: Taroona 8.13.82, Huonville 7.55.56, Cyg Two 7.48.16, CFB 7.43.16, GeCo 7.26.53, Cyg One 7.17.04, FW 7.15.90, LBT 7.14.60. Finals: LBT 7.09.44 FW 7.21.15

Bendigo Community Bank Mixed 1km Heats: Cyg Two 7.31.94, CFB 7.51.25, Taroona 8.26.43, GeCo 8.19.56, Cyg One 8.15.81, FW 8.00.47, CFB 7.51.25, Cyg One 7.31.94. Finals Cyg Two 6.52.53, CFB 7.54.06.

Petty Sessions Women’s 250 m: FW 1min 29.10sec, Taroona 1.30.03, GeCo 1.30.38, CFB 1.31.84, Cyg Two 1.33.91, Huonville 1.34.44, LBT 1.34.47, Cyg One 1.40.10

Franklin Marine Men’s 250 m: CFB 1.12.65, Cyg One 1.12.90, FW 1.16.60, Cyg Two 1.22.69, Taroona 1.23.44 LBT 1.23.87, GeCo 1.26.31, Huonvile 1.27.35

Franklin EcoCruises Mixed 250 m: GeCo 1.22.82, LBT 1.24.28, FW 1.24.53, CFB 1.27.59, Huonville 1.27.84, Cyg Two 1.27.85, Taroona 1.30, Cgy One 1.30.94.

Village Antiques 2 km award: Franklin 14.31.87, Cygnet 15.50.59

Living Boat Trust award for the most points: Franklin Workforce

DS Cafe Best Dressed Award: Castle Forbes Bay Women’s Team


Geeveston Community Centre’s women’s team.


The Living Boat Trust’s men’s team magnanimous in victory.

Cygnet community boat “The Swan”

Castle Forbes Bay women’s team in full regalia.

Living Boat Trust Men’s team.

March 17, 2014

“Cygnet” Turns Into a Beautiful Swan

 Say “St Ayles Skiff” and the Huon Valley is starting to see double! Cygnet Township proudly launched Tasmanian St Ayles Skiff Number 2 at a very special ceremony on March 1st at the Cygnet Sailing and Yacht Club.


On behalf of the “Women on Water” Franklin-based group it was a pleasure to be “special invitees”. All who attended were impressed with the workmanship in the skiff’s sleek design, paint and special finishing touches. The “Cygnet” skiff was named “The Swan”. The townships gathered to share the community spirit and pride in being part of the project. It was an obvious demonstration of the success of a health and well-being grant administered by the Huon Valley Health Services Advisory Committee.

The launch was a prelude to the Cygnet Township’s 150th celebration and an inaugural St Ayles Skiff event for the Cygnet Regatta was a great way to reinforce the benefits of being involved. The weather conditions were perfect, many skiff crews were involved, there was friendly rivalry and camaraderie with both St Ayles Skiffs, “Imagine” and “The Swan” gliding through the water, side by side.

And there’s more to come. The Focus on Franklin St Ayles Skiff Regatta is to be held from 9am on Sunday March 30 on the Huon River. There are more crews, events and opportunities to be involved. This is an open invitation to form or join a team and be involved with community rowing. For more information, visit     or phone 62663224

February 3, 2014

Focus on Franklin 2014

Focus on Franklin 2014 is shaping up to be bigger, brighter and better than ever. The inaugural St Ayles Skiff Regatta is still open to team entries and with the inclusion of the new skiff ‘Cygnet’, some exciting on water action looks promising.

For more information about this and other Focus on Franklin events and activities, check out their website


January 24, 2014

Wooden Boat Celebrations


The summer to autumn boating calendar in 2014, particularly south of Hobart, is packed. In early February, the Kettering Wooden Boat Rally should attract visitors from all round Australia, followed closely by the northern version of the Wooden Boat Rally in Launceston.

Cygnet is next, in early March, with a “special event regatta” to celebrate a 150th anniversary. This year, St Ayles Skiffs will appear in the events with inaugural races of community rowing boats. Franklin and Cygnet each have community-built 22ft St Ayles Skiffs, part of a worldwide boat-building phenomenon. This has seen over 100 skiffs built in the last 5 years, resulted in a World Championship in Ullapool, Scotland in July last year, promoted community spirit and interaction and increased the active involvement of a wide range of people in water-based activities. The Cygnet-built St Ayles Skiff will be officially launched on March 1st as part of the Cygnet Regatta.

On the last weekend in March, the “Focus on Franklin” features the first St Ayles Skiff Regatta in Tasmania on Sunday March 30. The day before, as part of the town’s community festival, there will be river-based activities such as the “Roger Harwood Trophy”, “come and try St Ayles Skiffs”, cruises, tours, sailing and rowing events for all ages. As a lead-up to the Sunday regatta, the Saturday March 29 evening solar-light boat parade will also feature the skiffs, as well as Grebes and a variety of other watercraft. It is a unique event not to be missed.

And there’s even more planned for the 2015 calendar. These St Ayles Skiff events are a prelude to the Tasmanian Festival to be held in 2015, which kicks off with Hobart’s International Wooden Boat Festival celebrations from February 6.

Nominations are open now for the inaugural Focus on Franklin St Ayles Skiff Regatta 2014. Just form a group of 5 for men’s, women’s and mixed events to be a part of it, or put your name down to join in. Entry forms are available from Franklin Post Office, ph 62663224 or visit

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