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

December 19, 2013

It's Official! St Ayles Skiff Regatta in Franklin 2015



February 8 –15, 2015







International St Ayles Skiffs



 The excitement is starting to build….


Event under construction!

ph 62663224


















November 10, 2013

IMAGINE ….rowing to Cygnet!

An overcast, cold November day in the Huon saw the St Ayles Skiff crew on “Imagine” head off for the 30km voyage into Port Cygnet.

On board were the “Women On Water” members who had also been the builders of the skiff.

The “jabble”(wild water) that started around the Port Huon fish farms, was well controlled as the crew aimed for the destination half-way point at Petcheys Bay for a quick crew change.

Bullock and Brabazon Points were rounded and the safe, quiet waters of Petcheys Bay were a welcome sight for the changeover.

Arriving at Petcheys Bay after a long row from Franklin

The new rowers headed into worsening weather with turbulent swells and rain, but undeterred, manoeuvred around Beaupre Point before heading into the relative safety of Drip Beach.

There, some of the Cygnet community members boarded to complete the final leg of the five-hour journey into the Cygnet Sailing Club.

Arriving in Cygnet, with John Walduck’s ‘Emma’ in the background.

A new St Ayles Skiff is being built in Cygnet and community members are looking forward to a week of trying out  Franklin’s “Imagine”.

 It was a memorable trip for all, with new crews set to row back to Franklin next week. “Imagine” will then be available for teaching Franklin Primary School children “On the Water” skills.

Rowing is part of the heritage of the Huon, so it was a welcome sight to have the 1923-built King Billy Pine boat  “Gemma”, (owned and skippered by John Walduck), an important part of the neighbourly adventure.

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